Over the last month or so, three past or present members of the Capitals franchise have called into question the drive and character of enigmatic winger Alexander Semin. Mike Green, David Steckel, and Matt Bradley have all commented on the fact that Semin seems to “not care” about being on the Caps and that he does not always give his full effort during practices and games.
If true, these statements clearly show that a rift has developed in locker room between Semin and the rest of the team, a rift that cannot go unattended if Washington has any prayer of vanquishing their demons and making it to the Promised Land.
Unfortunately, these comments have also revealed that Caps fans, who are all seemingly on the same “side” as the team searches for a championship, are in fact very divided over that 27 year-old from Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Some Caps fans I know love Semin wholeheartedly and with reckless abandon, while others view him as an expendable piece of a machine that has sputtered spectacularly in crunch time during each of the last three playoffs.
It seems, as well, that there is no middle ground. You’re either with Semin or against him. I’ve had people tell me in person, being totally serious: “I hate people who talk bad about Semin. Go away.” (What I said to earn that: “Semin is not worth more than Jonathan Toews.”) Friends of mine have been blocked on Twitter for it. I think that’s a huge problem within our fan base.
Alexander Semin is not bigger than the Capitals. He is not their savior, nor is he the one piece of the machine that always breaks. Hockey is far too complex a game, with far too many variables, for one player to make or break a championship roster. However, the heat and anger regarding Semin’s presence on the team has never been stronger with 2011-12 season now about a month away. People argue with each other vociferously every day on Twitter and in person over Semin.
I do it too sometimes. Actually, I do it a lot. Discussion is a vital part of sports fandom and there is almost nothing I would rather do than talk hockey with someone, but the growing animosity between pro and anti-Semin Caps fans is borderline ridiculous.
It really upsets me when these arguments take a personal turn or get out of control, as they now often do and have a number of times, publically, since Bradley’s comments were first made in mid-August. “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand.”
We all want to see a Championship, now more than ever it seems. We are all Caps fans, not Semin fans. Semin may be your favorite player, but you probably would still be a Caps fan if Sasha weren’t on the team.
So while we may like or dislike players for our own reasons, we all want the same thing and we all love the Caps. Let’s all please remember that and get ready for what is going to be an incredible year.
NOTE: Please do not see this as a whiny, complainy rant. That’s not what I want it to be or what it is. I’m not trying to be people’s “mom,” I just want us to all pull for the team, and not individuals, together.