Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Matt Bradley: Alexander Semin doesn't care
Matt Bradley is getting ready to start the 2011-12 NHL season with the Florida Panthers, but that didn't stop him from sharing his thoughts on the Washington Capitals' lack of playoff success.
"I don't mind saying Alexander Semin's name, because he's one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn't care," Bradley said on Ottawa's TEAM 1200 radio show.
"When you've got a guy like that, you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he doesn't show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia."
Bradley played six seasons in Washington before signing with the Panthers in the offseason. In the past three postseasons, Semin was mostly absent when the Capitals' season was on the line. In 2011, the Russian forward had just one assist in Washington's last three games against Tampa Bay. In 2010, he had two assists in seven games as the Capitals lost to eighth-seeded Montreal. And in 2009, Semin did not score in the series against Pittsburgh.
"We had some guys who didn't show up in the playoffs," Bradley said on the show.
"I think our locker room was maybe a little bit too nonchalant, and guys weren't disciplined the way they should have been. Those two things are big things. It wasn't that guys were going out the night before a game, but not being ready to practice or missing practice with questionable injuries and not being focused."
Bradley also was critical of star players getting ice time in the playoffs despite struggling.
"I mean, there were a lot of guys who played well that didn't probably play as much as they needed to, but I love Bruce [Boudreau] and Bruce is a great coach and he was in a very tough position there, because in Washington our top guys are definitely the stars and the guys that people want to see on the ice, so I totally understand," Bradley said. "That just doesn’t happen on our team, it happens on a lot of teams.
"When you're paying your top guys a lot of money and those guys carry you through the whole season, and if one of them isn't going, it's very hard not to play them, and I understand that that's tough. But I think in the end, if you want to win, sometimes you have to sit some of those guys down and maybe send a message and try to get them going."
One top player Bradley had nothing bad to say about was Alex Ovechkin.
"I never worry about Ovi," he said. "He’s an all-in guy. He's young, he makes his mistakes, the same as anyone would. I often try to put myself in his position. And you've got to remember, he's 25 years old, he's got a guaranteed $120 million, he's on top of the world, and he still for the most part makes the right decisions.
"Ovi has some growing up to do as far as taking care of himself and things like that, but as far as his want to win, he really does just want to win the games, and he doesn't care if he scores or not. That isn't an act. He's a great guy, great player. I'd never say anything bad about him."