Pierre McGuire needs to rethink his Alex Semin narrative

The Washington Capitals played on the NBC Sports Network twice in the course of nine days recently, with Pierre McGuire “Inside the Glass”.  In both games, McGuire called out Caps winger Alex Semin and in both games Semin, within a minute of McGuire’s comment, put his name on the score sheet with a play that showcased his immense skill.  What I find most frustrating about the commentary is not that McGuire rehashed the same old “Semin is an enigma” narrative, but that he refuses to reevaluate the merit of the narrative in the face of evidence that should compel him to do so.

The first incident was the Caps-Wild game on March 25.  I’ve been unable to find the footage of McGuire bashing Semin, but here is a clip of the goal where you can deduce what McGuire had previously said based off of his analysis of the goal.

Just before that clip begins, McGuire said that the Caps “need more” from Semin and that he isn’t moving his feet or giving a good enough effort.  The game was tied 0-0 in the 2nd period, so it is fair to say at that point that both teams “need more” from any player, not just Semin, that they were relying on for contributions offensively.

In the 2nd period this past Monday night, Semin hit the post on a great chance in front and then just a moment later rifled a shot past Dwayne Roloson to give the Caps a 1-0 lead over Tampa Bay.  This launched McGuire into full Semin/enigma mode.

McGuire’s analysis was already astutely broken down here, but my point is similar. Is the sequence in the Tampa game really justification for McGuire’s position?  Or is it perhaps a chance for McGuire to reevaluate his narrative?  Was Alex Semin’s performance against Minnesota really one that merited him being singled out as the player that wasn’t contributing enough?  Or was McGuire taking the easy and lazy way out?

This wouldn’t be the first time that Semin was inaccurately evaluated by those outside of Caps-land.  After all, in 2010, Semin was quite possibly the first player to score 40 goals and then be left off the All-Star ballot the following season.  In present day within Caps-land, a couple of well-respected voices have spoken up in support of Semin.  Neil Greenberg recently looked at Semin’s value to the Caps and concluded the team should bring him back when his contract expires at the end of the season.  During the aforementioned Caps game vs. Minnesota, Alan May made an even bolder claim about Semin’s value to the Caps.

My point here is not to suggest that McGuire is absolutely wrong in his assessment of Semin (although, I would conclude that he is, but again, that’s not my point here), but instead that Semin’s immediate rebuttals to his comments are examples of why McGuire should at least reexamine his narrative.  Perhaps McGuire would still conclude Semin is an enigma, even if he took a harder look at the notion. However, isn’t it time that he at least takes his commentary on the Caps’ winger off auto-pilot?

About Pat Holden

Pat writes regularly about hockey on Brooks Laichyear and Russian Machine Never Breaks. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com and The Washington Post. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pfholden

Posted on April 4, 2012, in Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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