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A shot at redemption

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – Coming off a subpar campaign, Alexander Semin is eager to turn things around with the CH in 2015-16.

On Friday, the Canadiens agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the 31-year-old right-winger, who was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes on July 1 with three years remaining on his contract.

The move north of the border marks a fresh start for Semin, who put up just six goals - a career-low - and 19 points in 57 games last season, while also amassing a minus-10 differential along the way.

“I want to try [to get going again] because last year I had a bad season. I didn’t score goals. I didn’t pick up points. I didn’t play well. I want to get back to playing how I can play. I think I can help this team, and they can help me, too. I want to have a good year,” offered Semin, who boasts seven 20-goal seasons on his resume, including a career-high 40-goal season with the Washington Capitals back in 2009-10.

“I like Montreal. I like this town. I like the fans here. It’s a good atmosphere. There are good people on this team. It’s a good organization,” added the 10-year NHL veteran, who has suited up for Russia internationally on multiple occasions over the years, including at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. “I spoke to Andrei Markov about coming on board. He said to come [to Montreal] and we’ll try to win the Stanley Cup.”

Confident in his decision to make Montreal his hockey home for at least one season, Semin isn’t dwelling on the past, preferring instead to focus on getting his game back on track in La Belle Province come early October.

“I feel great right now. I think it’s a good time for me. Carolina bought me out, but I’m not thinking about that right now at all,” stressed Semin, who spent seven seasons in the District of Columbia, before joining the Hurricanes in 2012-13. “I’m very happy to sign here. I think this will probably help me restart my career, and I’ll start to play well again.”

While the former 13th overall selection couldn’t pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for him last season, he did suggest that offseason wrist surgery might have had something to do with it. That being said, Semin isn’t one to offer up excuses when it comes to coming up short on the scoresheet.

“I don’t know what happened [last year]. Maybe it was the surgery over the summer. I’m just looking forward to playing in Montreal. That’s all,” shared Semin, who admitted that returning to the KHL ranks – where he most recently played for a period of time during the 2012-13 NHL lockout – simply wasn’t an option this time around. “My agent had already said a couple of times before that I wanted to stay [in North America] and play in the NHL. I’m still young. I want to play here. My family likes it here. I like it, too.”

All Semin wants to do now is deliver for his new squad, and get back to doing what he’s done best for the better part of his career.

“I don’t know what role I’m going to play in Montreal. That’s a good question. That’s something for the coach and Marc Bergevin [to answer],” mentioned Semin, who has racked up 238 goals and 513 points in 635 career regular season contests since making his NHL debut 12 years ago. “I’m just here to score goals and win games. That’s it.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

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