Penguins Notebook: Crosby mostly avoids responding to Semin
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby yesterday was asked for the first time about comments by Alexander Semin that have been circulating for several days and are less than flattering toward Crosby.
He declined to return the favor.
"I saw them," Crosby said of the quotes. "I'd be better off keeping my opinion to myself, I think. He can say what he wants, but I'll keep mine to myself about him."
Semin, a winger for the Washington Capitals whose play this season has outshined that of fellow Russian and teammate Alexander Ovechkin, was asked about Crosby during a wide-ranging interview with Dmitry Chesnokov of Sovetsky Sport. The transcript has been translated into English.
"What's so special about [Crosby]?" Semin said. "I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else."
Semin called another young star, Chicago's Patrick Kane, "a much more interesting player."
He also apparently believes Crosby -- the 2006-07 NHL scoring champion and MVP -- is as much a product of intense marketing as anything else.
"I think that if you take any player, even if he is dead wood, and start promoting him, you'll get a star," Semin said. "Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill."
Semin has declined to discuss the interview since it appeared.
"It's not the first time," Crosby said of criticism involving him. "It probably won't be the last. The sad part is every time somebody brings up something about me, I have to answer about them."
Crosby had nothing but compliments for Semin as a player. Semin was named one of the NHL's three stars for October after collecting eight goals, eight assists for 16 points and posting a plus-minus rating of plus-7 in nine games as Washington went 5-3-1.
"I think he's a good player," Crosby said. "He's got great hands."
For practice, the Penguins began breaking in some of their blue equipment, such as helmets and the shells that go over their hockey pants. They are part of the team's new third-jersey attire, which they will wear Nov. 15 against Buffalo at Mellon Arena and for other select home games.
The Penguins have five players on the NHL All-Star ballot -- forwards Crosby and Malkin, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney. The latter two are out after surgery, with only Whitney expected to be back before the Jan. 25 game in Montreal. Fans can vote and, in a first for major pro leagues, see real-time ballot results online at vote.nhl.com beginning next Wednesday.
First Published November 5, 2008 12:00 am