When NHL players from Europe return to North America more than a month before training camp, it's typically an encouraging sign for the players' NHL clubs. When Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin returns to the United States in mid-August, it raises a few eyebrows.
According to Yahoo! Sports columnist Dmitry Chesnokov, Semin has not yet fully recovered from offseason wrist surgery and is returning to the U.S. this weekend for additional rehab. The former Capitals forward dealt with a nagging wrist injury for much of the 2013-14 campaign, before undergoing surgery after the regular-season.
Hurricanes General Manager Ron Francis said in May that Semin, 30, originally hurt his wrist at training camp but that he tried to play through the injury. Ultimately Semin produced 22 goals and 42 points in 65 games last year, a considerable drop from the lockout shortened 2012-13 season when he was Carolina's second leading scorer with 44 points in 44 games.
"He jammed [the wrist] and had issues with that," Francis told the team's website. "He tried a couple of different things over the course of the season, but more or less just played with the bad wrist all season."
According to Francis, Semin's wrist injury likely contributed to his disappointing season, which included his omission from Russia's original Olympic roster (he was later named to the team as an injury replacement). Semin was also called out publicly by then-Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford who questioned Semin's "will do to do well."
"He came off a great year, and we're all disappointed with his production at this time," Rutherford said in January. "He's a guy who is paid to score goals and put and up points and he hasn't done that... He needs to get his act going pretty soon."
The Hurricanes were hopeful that Semin would be 100 percent healthy by the start of training camp in September, but it's unclear whether his slow recovery from wrist surgery will cause him to miss any time.
Semin signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Hurricanes in 2012, and is now entering the second season of a five-year $35 million extension he signed with Carolina in 2013.
Prior to joining the Hurricanes, Semin spent parts of seven season with the Capitals, recording 197 goals and 408 points in 469 games. Semin's best season came in 2009-10 when he notched career-highs of 40 goals and 84 points in 73 games.