"The Alexander Semin experiment"
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07-27-2012, 03:23 AM
The Czech Condor
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: North Carolina
The balance between what you read and what you take to heart from the media can be a very interesting subset. Fact: Media members do not like players that cannot or seem unwilling to give them stories. Fact: Media members have been known to pump certain quotes out of players they have strong relationships with in order to sell their line of though. Fact: Alexander Semin has been skittish at best with the media.
Now, where there is smoke there is usually fire. However, to what extent we do not know. I don't like the look of the guy. He comes off as a self-obsessed twit.... but he can play hockey. This signing marks a significant sea change in Carolina's approach to free agents. This is not a player you're going to want to have a beer with or wants to have a beer with you. We've had some damn fine "good guy" teams flounder miserably here when we put "being a team player" ahead of filling the net. We certainly had a team full of guys who could churn out the cliches, but never a team of accountability. We had a lot of guys that talked about accountability, but never suffered to the blade of results against action being taken. Lots of people saying the right things, nobody doing the right things.
This shift in dynamic started with Kirk Mueller. Bringing in an entirely fresh set of eyes to evaluate what we had with crystal clarity and using the remainder of the season to pick out which guys were going to be his guys going forward and which guys needed to move on. Much the same way we did with Peter Laviolette, we gave way as an organization to the philosophy of a coach and have built the team in his image. Jordan Staal for sentimental fan favorite Brandon Sutter. A move made for winning hockey games, not hearts. Alexander Semin, a move made for putting pucks in the net and not for the Kids and Community Foundation. The atmosphere here now has accountability and people know that if they do not perform here, they will be deemed expendable.
Everybody in the locker room loving each other is entirely overrated. Yes, it helps when these team building experiences are used as a way for everybody to feel a certain attachment to their teammates, but as far as off ice chemistry is concerned it wouldn't bother me if some of these guys hated each other. They don't have to be best friends to make magic happen on the ice. The game moves too fast to think too hard about who you're passing to or who you're helping set up for a tap in. It's very instinctive. I will even go as far as to say that ideally, from an on ice standpoint, your linemates should be faceless entities that you trust to do their job which allows you in turn to focus upon doing your own. Make the right decision regardless of who is lined up with you and you'll always be fine.
This team has been far too happy in recent seasons to have missed the playoffs as much as we have, and it's partially due to the country club atmosphere that Mueller is having to systematically remove from the room. New additions shake that up. Controversial players shake that up. You just have to trust that any frustration that is residual from these moves only manifests in greater effort being applied or demanded by leadership and coaching.
These are grown men playing a children's game for millions of dollars. If they can't suck it up if they don't like a guy on their team, then maybe THEY are the ones with the character problem.
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