Continuing the coverage of "our" Russians participating at the World Cup in Cologne, Germany, I present to you a translation of an interview with Alexander Semin by Dinara Kafiskina, which appeared today on the Sportsdaily.ru website.
Forward Alexander Semin has been and remains one of the leaders of Washington and the NHL. But somehow he didn't have much luck in the first round of the playoffs. In a seven game series against Montreal, Alexander made 44(!) shots on the opponent's goal, but the puck didn't find the back of the net even once.
"I don't even know what to say, or how to explain it. You saw it all for yourself. The puck was simply cursed" said Semin. "Although it seems I was able to score during the season. But it was a totally different story in the playoffs. Whether or not I was totally happy with my game, it's difficult to say. I play the only way I know how. I can't judge myself from the outside."
How about Washington's performance?
"No problem. The season ended great. We were first place in the league. What could be better?"
Before the Olympic break, Washington won 14 games in a row. Maybe it would have been worthwhile to conserve your energy for the playoffs?
"It's difficult to determine what would have been worthwhile and what wouldn't have been. During the regular season we even broke several records. Even during our fight for the Stanley Cup we had every chance for success. We were even leading the series 3:1. But something was still lacking. Nobody, of course, can answer exactly what. But I try not to fixate on it. I don't want to remember it - what's done is done. Anything and everything can happen in life. Next season we just have to pay attention to any and every opportunity in our game. We have to learn from it."
During the playoffs you just couldn't penetrate Jaroslav Halak. Are you going to get your revenge on everyone else at the World Championship?
"What else is there to do?" he sighs. "It seems I had some opportunities in the game against our first opponent, Slovakia. I really wanted to score. But for now-alas. It's great that everything turned out well for the guys-Afinogenov, Ovechkin and Kozlov. And we were able to bring some joy to the people on Victory Day. This is the most important thing, not personal statistics. But, of course, I still try to upset the goalies of the other teams."
Would you say that you look deep inside yourself, searching for a reason when something doesn't work?
"No. I don't delve. Why? If you start coming down on yourself it doesn't lead to anything good. You might as well just stop playing hockey. The best thing is to keep moving forward. If you weren't able to be victorious at one tournament, then you have to try for it at another. That is, in Germany. Our singular objective, as you well know, is to win gold. We missed it at the Olympics. We will show them what we are made of at the World Championship."
Our national team has proven this twice before. By the way, in Quebec, just like now, you played on the first line with Ovechkin and Fedorov. Is it a matter of principle for you, which line you play on? Does it affect your self-esteem?
"No. Even if they put me on the third or even fourth line. The coaches know best. Whichever way you look at it, the main thing for a forward is to score. As for which line I was on while on the ice, hardly anyone is going to remember that. Everyone will remember that I changed the score" (smiles).
For sure, Canada has been and still is Russia's main opponent. Would you like to meet up with those "malefactors" again?
"Of course! If we can play them in the finals, it will be super. Very interesting. Revenge once again! We have a reason to get even with them. Although nobody can say that the other teams can be discounted. True, I only learned the makeup of the other teams when I got to Germany. I wasn't interested in that before. But one thing is clear-just like always, you don't know who or what to expect."
That is understandable. But you really have to try not to disappoint us. The captain of Team Russia, Ilya Kovalchuk, said that you simply must be successful.
"So it is said, so it shall be done" (smiles). "Ilya is just a great guy. He always plays for the national team, and when he's on the team it is a big plus. He always is able to raise spirits and get a good atmosphere going."