Shortly after the Carolina Hurricanes announced yesterday that they had signed free agent winger Alexander Semin to a one-year, $7 million contract, general manager Jim Rutherford released a statement of welcome to his new player via Twitter.
"We did a lot of research about Alexander," Rutherford wrote. "Discussions about his fit with our team included coaches, players & staff."
So much for Southern hospitality! He went on:
"Alex’s elite skill level & ability to score fill important needs, & we hope a fresh start will serve both him & our team well."
This is a little bit like introducing a new flame to your pals with, "This is Frank. I did a lot of digging, and only a few of those rumors were true. And he's a really good cook, so
" But it was hardly surprising that Rutherford would want to make it clear that so much consideration had gone into the acquisition. After all, $7 million is a lot of money, and it's really a lot of money to spend on someone like Alexander Semin, who in his seven years as a Washington Capital emerged as one of the league's most divisive players — as talented to some as he is maddening for others. An Alexander Semin hat trick, the joke goes among Caps fans, is a goal, an assist, and an awful stick penalty (typically hooking). He's become the poster boy for the tired "enigmatic Russian" archetype — exquisitely gifted, enormously lazy; see: Kovalev, Alex — for reasons that contain both a little bit of truth and a lot of bullshit.