Friday, July 9, 2010

50 vs 40

About a month ago, I decided to research the question 'Is Alex Ovechkin A One-trick Pony?' by reviewing each of his goals and placing them in categories based on how they were scored. The conculsion was that, no Alex is not a one-move scorer. In fact, Alex scores more goals on plays where he is not leading the rush and when he uses his teammates.

So, with this being the season prior to his Unrestricted Free Agency, I decided to tackle the question 'How Does Alex Semin Score?' Given his performance in the post season, it's an interesting question. Does the way Alex Semin scores goals translate to a decline in goal production in the playoffs?

As with Ovechkin, I reviewed each of Semin's 40 goals on the season and attenpted to place each in a category. The categories are:

  1. "The Semin": A ridiculous wrist shot from the top of the circles
  2. A Breakaway (For the purposes of this list, pantsing a D to get behind them counts)
  3. Power Play one-timer
  4. 2-on-1
  5. Rebound low
  6. Shot from the low circles
  7. Deflection
  8. Slap shot
I've always been a huge fan of "The Semin", as I believe it is the best wrist shot in the game. Semin used it 13 times to score goals this past season. The key to the shot is having traffic in front of the goalie, and placement of the shot (see: his hat trick against Ottawa, 2/11). In the playoffs, Montreal's defenders did a great job of either blocking Semin's shots or steping aside and allowing Halak to see the shot the whole way. And from my personal perspective, there was less zip on Semin's otherworldly shot (an injury, perhaps?). Add in the 4 goals scored scored using his slap shot (which is also a rocket), and 17 of 40 goals were scored from the top of the circles.

Down low, Semin also excels, with 6 shots scored directly from rebounds and another 5 scored from shots from the bottom of the face off circles. With 2 power play one-timers, 2 goals off 2-on-1s and 1 deflection, Semin has shown that he can also work the puck down low and with help from teammates. Finally, his 7 breakaway goals showcase his speed and fantastic hands around the net.

I found it interesting that Semin has no empty net goals on the season. If you take away Ovechkin's 5, Ovie only beats Semin in goals by 5.

Based on the large percentage of Semin's goals coming from the top of the circles, I wonder why he hasn't been considered for a spot on the point on the power play (perhaps Mike Green's spot?). Frankly, the Caps #1 power play unit has far too many right handed shooters (Green, Ovechkin, Semin), so perhaps saving Semin for a point spot on Unit #2 while placing a left handed shooter on Unit #1 would provide more chances on the PP (and make both units less predictable).

In reviewing all 90 goals scored by the Alexes, it's clear to me that the two are dramatically different scorers. While Ovechkin is a bull with the puck, Semin is far more tricky and more creative. His creativity sometimes leads to turn-overs and a high percentage of his shots are blocked or sail high. If Alex can rein in his shot a bit (keep it lower) and choose when to shoot vs. when to pass better, 60 goals isn't beyond his reach.


  1. The problem w/Semin at the point on the PP is that he gives the puck away too easily. We tried him there briefly two years ago and it led to a bunch of chances against and a couple of SHGs against. He's just too casual on the puck. In addition, Semin at the point isn't in position along the half-wall to make that final, killer cross-ice pass to a pinching Green or Ovy. He's even better than Backstrom on those.

  2. Oh, I definitely agree that watching Semin at the point is often like watching a bad horror movie. His problem, as you said, is his demeanor with the puck; he looks lazy or bored with all the time he thinks he has. If he could kill that mindset and focus a bit more, I can see him doing the same kinds of things Ovie or Kovalchuk do. I just wonder if he's built that way.