The Alexander Semin experiment in Carolina is apparently going to last beyond this season after all.
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Semin to a five-year, $35 million extension that will keep the Russian sniper in Raleigh, NC, through the 2017-18 season.
Semin originally signed a one-year $7 million deal with Carolina last offseason, but has impressed teammates and coaches alike throughout his brief stay. Semin has eight goals and 30 points in 30 games this season, having played primarily with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty on Carolina’s No.1 line.
“We're very happy to retain Alex," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said. "Alex is an elite player and has been a major contributor to the Hurricanes having a very strong top line."
Prior to signing with Carolina last summer, Semin spent parts of seven seasons with the Capitals. During his time in Washington, Semin developed a reputation as a gifted forward with a questionable work ethic.
Former teammate Troy Brouwer suggested in February that “some nights you didn’t even know if he was going to come to the rink,” and that “it’s tough to play alongside guys like those but you don’t always know what you’re going to get out of them.”
Semin’s current teammates in Carolina though have been impressed by his performance on and off the ice regardless of his reputation.
“I've got nothing but good things to say about Alex,” Staal said earlier this season at Verizon Center.
“I think he's competed hard every practice and every game for us. He continues to prove people wrong. Sometimes you get reputations and you get things like that said about you. But for us, we're teammates now and I've got nothing but good things to say about him.”
LIGHTNING NAME COOPER NEW HEAD COACH
Less than 48 hours after relieving Guy Boucher of his head coaching duties, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman named Jon Cooper the team’s new bench boss.
Cooper had been working with the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate this season, leading the Syracuse Crunch to an AHL-best 39-18-3-5 record through Monday.
“We are very pleased to introduce Jon as our head coach," Yzerman said. "He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players. He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL."
Cooper also coached the Norfolk Admirals for two years before the Lightning AHL affiliate moved to Syracuse. While in Norfolk, Cooper led the Admirals to a league-best 55 wins last season a Calder Cup championships. He was also named the AHL’s Coach of the Year last season.
The Lightning have lost three straight and 18-of-25 overall as they sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, six points out of a playoff position.