Following the Capitals' win at home over Phoenix, four-point-wonder Alexander Semin talked with Sovetsky Sport reporters Pavel Lysenkov and Dmitry Chesnokov.
Since the end of December, when you signed a new contract with Washington ($6 million for one year), you've started playing much better. Is there some connection between the two?
"This is mostly because I recovered from an injury. This takes time. It took a month and a half."
So your game against Phoenix, is this the "real" Alexander Semin?
"You're in a better position to judge how I'm playing. In principle I could even do more. But I'm happy with how everything's going. We have a very good team."
Once again you made an amazing saucer pass to Alex Ovechkin, when he shot into the empty net. Is this your new special move?
"It's just that there isn't much else to do in a situation like that, when your trajectory is blocked by an opposing player. When I made the pass to Tomas Fleischmann in the Pittsburgh game, sure, it turned out well. But it was a big risk on my part - the defenseman even got a little bit of his stick on the puck. But this time I nailed the pass, no problem! I could have even shot at the net myself."
So why didn't you?
"Why should I when there was a player in front of me? Even though at that moment nothing was going to be decided, since there were only six seconds left in the game. But Ovechkin was in a much better position."
Would you say that this was your best game of the season?
"I already made four points in a game, when we played Florida back at the beginning of December (2 goals and 2 assists- ed.). But this doesn't mean it was my best game. Just that everything on the ice turned out well."
How did your future Olympic partner Ilya Bryzgalov seem to you?
"He played well. Even great. Did you see how many pucks he snagged? Bryzgalov is in excellent form right now."
Why was there a fight at the end of the game?
"That was just dirty. I don't understand why that is necessary. The goaltender already has the puck, so why start pushing and shoving? The guys were just overcome with emotion."
And one time somebody whacked you on the wrist, which caused you to wince.
"Yeah, I was hit a couple of times. I don't know if it was on purpose or not. The reason doesn't really matter to me. I just felt the pain, and it was very unpleasant."
Is there a difference in playing teams from the West and the East?
"It's more interesting to play the Western teams, since we don't really know them. It's like a black box with the "what, where, when?". You don't know what you're going to get. And they don't know you. That's helpful for a forward."
Washington has recently proven themselves well against strong teams like Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and Phoenix is not a bad team right now either.
"In the Detroit game we had luck on our side. You saw for yourself-they made 46 shots on goal! It's a good thing that Jose Theodore played his best game of the season. If it hadn't been for him, it would have been very ugly.
"As for Pittsburgh-we have a special disposition towards this team. This team is our main (rival). I can't say that we will now win every single game. But we have get ready for every game. We have to go out and fight to the end for victory."
Compared to last season, has Washington become a more mature team?
"We are more united. We have played as one unit for three years already. Yeah, a couple of players were changed out during the year, but the backbone of the team is the same. The system has been worked out and it's easier to play. You don't have anybody not knowing where they are supposed to go. They say that the Capitals have a weak defense, but all defensemen make mistakes. The forwards just have to help them."