Gump Cup Hero: Alexander Semin

In Special Features, WVR on July 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

West Virginia‘s Alexander Semin is the kind of sniper you appreciate for their goal-scoring prowess while wondering about their commitment to the game.

Semin was drafted by the River Rats – then based in Bristol – 13th overall in 2004, between John-Michael Liles and Marek Svatos.

But he wasn’t Bristol’s marquee draft pick. This is the year management had decided to blow the whole thing up, dealing away most of its top players for draft picks. By draft day, they’d accumulated a staggering number of them – they had six picks in the first round and 10 in the top 30.

That year, they snagged the likes of Eric Staal, Joni Pitkanen, Dan Hamhuis, Antoine Vermette, Fedor Tyutin, Brent Burns, and Anton Babchuk… and Alex Semin.

Semin played one season for Bristol and failed to light it up, then bolted for Russia. In the meantime, Bristol became the West Virginia River Rats and Semin had matured into a big-time scorer. He potted 56 in his first year back, then 28, 40, and finally set a career high with 60 goals in ’10-’11.

Year   TM Name                       GP    G    A  PTS  +/-  PIM
04-06   8 Bristol River Rats         52    5    8   13  -19   58
06-07  -- Did Not Play
07-08   8 West Virginia River Rats   77   56   40   96   12  100
08-09   8 West Virginia River Rats   51   28   23   51   16   44
09-10   8 W Virginia River Rats      64   40   51   91   50   66
10-11   8 W Virginia River Rats      73   60   50  110   58   80
                     Totals         317  189  172  361  117  348

But he saved his best for the 2011 playoffs – scoring 12 goals and 12 assists in 17 postseason games in 2011, tying linemate Sidney Crosby in points.

And yet his line, with Crosby and Thomas Vanek, had a relatively quiet finals, accounting for just two goals in the first three games. Semin had one assist in the series. That changed in game 4. The line combined on a key second-period goal, and the game would head to overtime tied 2-2. The rest is history:

“At 5:06 of overtime, the long suffering fans of the Madison, then Brisol and now West Virginia River Rats had their moment. Thomas Vanek pushed the puck to Sidney Crosby who fired a pass to the left face off circle where Alex Semin fired the game winning shot and gave the River Rats their first ever Gump Cup!”


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