The Story on Semin
I’ll admit that when I heard Caps winger Alexander Semin had been booted off the Russian roster for the upcoming World Championship games in Moscow, I figured it was a formality, a hand slap, and that he would eventually gain reinstatement.
That’s not going to be the case.
According to Sergei Nemchinov, two-time Stanley Cup winner and one of the Russian coaches for the Worlds, this is the course of events that led to Semin’s dismissal. Nemchinov said he called Semin on Sunday to remind him that he had to report to camp by 4 p.m. on Monday. Semin replied that he wouldn’t be able to make it on time because his plane wouldn’t arrive in Moscow until 7:30 pm on Monday.
Nemchinov said that Semin knew beforehand when he needed to report; the information was given to him last month while Semin was still in Washington with the Capitals. Nemchinov told Semin to get a ticket for an earlier flight so he could make it to camp before the mandated 4 p.m. reporting time. Semin called Nemchinov at 8:20 p.m. on Monday to tell him he was on his way. But by that time the decision to had already been made to cut Semin from the roster.
Nemchinov was asked whether Semin could be forgiven, and he replied that the decision was firm and Semin would not be playing in this year’s Worlds. He was also asked whether the punishment fitted the crime, and Nemchinov claimed that it did, because all the players knew when they had to report to camp. Nemchinov also admitted that losing Semin hurts the Russian team because he is such a good player.
And there you have it. The story is official and public, and I thank my Russian friend for the transcription. It’s a shame Semin won’t be able to perform in one of the biggest international tournaments in his home country. In his defense, it’s somewhat odd that the Russians would be required to report so far ahead of all the other teams, but the team has its reasons for doing so.
Just hours before word filtered through about Semin being cut, Chris Clark was in the Capitals’ offices. Clark, who will represent Team USA won’t be leaving for Europe until this weekend. He will join his American teammates in Sweden for an exhibition game against Team Sweden at the Glove Arena in Stockholm on Apr. 25.
Most of the Team USA roster was announced on Monday; there are a few slots remaining for players whose NHL teams will be eliminated in the first round of the ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams are permitted to carry 20 skaters and three goaltenders at the start of the tournament, and they are allowed to add two more players after the first three games have been played. Team USA’s preliminary roster includes 19 players: three goaltenders, five defensemen and 11 fowards. Clark and defenseman Brian Pothier are the Caps’ representatives on the Team USA roster.