Semin will now sit on the "away" bench at Verizon Center (photo by Ross Hollebon)

As no surprise to many Washington Capitals fans, forward Alexander Semin is going to play elsewhere in 2012-2013.

Semin reached a one year deal worth a reported $7 million with Southeast division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Though I’m among those who think the Caps and Semin needed a change of scenery to benefit both, it is with no animosity I see him go. Back in 2010 I wrote about Semin as a Panther, and though it was an observation from Alex Ovechkin’s dad, it was fitting to say he was a different kind of cat.

Described as mercurial and rotating night to night, or even shift to shift as “good Sasha” with his  ferocious shot and nifty stick work  and “bad Sasha” when he seemed disinterested and took untimely minor stick penalties–he was equal parts exhilarating and maddening to many Caps fans.

But it was former teammates and the media that lowered the boom on Semin over the past couple off-seasons.

(Photo by Ross Hollebon)

Former Stanley Cup winning head coach Marc Crawford ripped Semin on the opening day of free agency on TSN, most notably with the terms “complete loser” and “no character.” Not to be outdone on the set, analyst Pierre McGuire referred to the goal scorer as “the ultimate coach killer.”

I don’t know how much credence I would have put in to these outbursts if it were not for two hardworking former Capitals and their stance.

Semin’s former Washington teammate Matt Bradley was quoted on the radio as saying, “I don’t mind saying Alexander Semin’s name, because he’s one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn’t care.”

Responding to Bradley’s comments, another former Capitals teammate, David Steckel, explained to Tarik El-Bashir, ”it’s not like he went out and told lies,” regarding the criticism of Semin.

For these reasons I think it will be beneficial to the Capitals with Semin on another team’s roster. It also allows a player I often enjoyed watching the opportunity to work with a clean-slate elsewhere.

And even though it is only July, I hope come next spring that Capitals fans can’t look at Semin and claim he is the reason the Caps didn’t go further in the playoffs.

Good luck and love the game Sasha.