Update, 4 p.m.: Alexander Semin's agent, Mark Gandler, responded to Matt Bradley’s comments, telling The Post’s Tarik El-Bashir: “Alex always cares, no question. I am privy to private conversations. I know how much he cares.”
Original post: Former Capitals winger Matt Bradley said in a radio interview Wednesday that ex-teammate Alexander Semin “just doesn’t care,” and that the Russian sniper didn’t show up when Washington needed him in the playoffs.
Bradley, who signed with the Florida Panthers in July as an unrestricted free agent, also told Ottawa’s TEAM 1200 that the Capitals’ locker room was “maybe a little bit too nonchalant” and undisciplined.
A partial transcript is below:
On why the Capitals couldn’t break through in a second-round sweep against Tampa Bay:
"You know, I don’t have a definite answer. I mean, there’s reasons why. We had some guys who didn’t show up in the playoffs, and I’ll leave them unnamed. I think our locker room was maybe a little bit too nonchalant, and guys weren’t disciplined the way they should have been. Those two things are big things.
“I’d say that’s about it, because we had a lot of guys that played hard and played well, and it seemed that sometimes the guys that weren’t playing well were the ones getting the [majority] of the ice time. In the playoffs I don’t think it matters who you are; it’s who’s playing well for you at the time, and that’s not always what happened with our team. It wasn’t the guys who were playing well at the time, it was the guys who were our best players for the most part who were playing no matter what."
Asked to describe the discipline problems without naming names:
“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.
“When you’ve got a guy like that, you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he doesn't show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia. That’s tough to win when you’ve got a guy like that who’s supposed to be your best player not being your best player, or one of your best players."
Could one bad apple in the dressing room be devastating?
"Yeah, for sure, but the way I look at it is in the playoffs, you’re gonna have guys who play well in playoffs and guys who don’t, so in my opinion, you should kind of run with the guys who are playing well, and I don’t think we always did that there, for whatever reason I don’t know.
“If it’s a guy like Jason Chimera, who is maybe your third line guy playing well, I think you should play him more if one of the top-two line guys aren’t playing well, you know."
Did Coach Bruce Boudreau stick with the stars too long?
“Yeah, and I’m not talking about myself at all here. I mean, there were a lot of guys who played well that didn’t probably play as much as they needed to, but I love Bruce and Bruce is a great coach and he was in a very tough position there, because in Washington our top guys are definitely the stars and the guys that people want to see on the ice, so I totally understand. That just doesn’t happen on our team, it happens on a lot of teams.
“When you’re paying your top guys a lot of money and those guys carry you through the whole season, and if one of them isn’t going, it’s very hard not to play them, and I understand that that’s tough. But I think in the end, if you want to win, sometimes you have to sit some of those guys down and maybe send a message and try to get them going."
Is Alex Ovechkin all in for winning a Cup, or does he have growing and maturing to do?
"I never worry about Ovi. He’s an all-in guy. He’s young, he makes his mistakes, the same as anyone would. I often try to put myself in his position. And you've got to remember, he’s 25 years old, he’s got a guaranteed $120 million, he’s on top of the world, and he still for the most part makes the right decisions. I don’t worry about him, I don’t worry about most of the guys on that team. That’s why I think in the end they’ll do well.
“Ovi has some growing up to do as far as taking care of himself and things like that, but as far as his want to win, he really does just want to win the games, and he doesn’t care if he scores or not. That isn’t an act. He’s a great guy, great player. I’d never say anything bad about him."
(Interview link via @ngreenberg.)