Hurricanes see different Alexander Semin than Capitals remember

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Semin is better known for his offense than his defense, but the career plus-75 player has earned plenty of praise for his all-around game with Carolina.

“He’s been very good in all three zones,” Eric Staal said. “He competes very hard on the puck. He’s got a great stick. He’s got great instincts and knows the game. That’s all you can ask for: You want to play all three zones, you want to make sure that you’re contributing offensively because that’s what you’re counted [on] to do, but you have to be relied upon in different situations.”

Semin is getting first-line minutes and seeing time on the top power-play unit. Count some ex-teammates as those who expected to see him play this well.

“Everybody knows he’s a great player,” Washington captain and friend Alex Ovechkin said, “and it’s not [a] surprise for me he get that kind of success there.”

Semin did pile up 16 penalty minutes in his first 17 Hurricanes games, so it’s not all perfect. But with the puck he has continued to look like a magician on the ice at times.

“When you’re playing with a player like that, you know anything can happen, so you’ve got to be ready,” Eric Staal said. “You’ve got to be ready for a pass at any moment.”

Left wing Jiri Tlusty knows that from the Hurricanes‘ game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets, when Semin found him with a perfect blind pass.

“Behind the back, through the legs,” Corvo said. “That’s why he makes the big bucks. He makes the plays that other guys just don’t think of.”

Semin’s ability to make difficult plays look easy has never been questioned. But even the elements of Semin’s game that have come under fire aren’t ones the Hurricanes are concerned about.

“I think he’s competed hard every practice and every game for us. He continues to prove people wrong,” Eric Staal said. “I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him.”

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