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Alexander Semin and the 12 Most Criticized NHL Players

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2017

Alexander Semin and the 12 Most Criticized NHL Players

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    Media is growing by the day, and athletes everywhere are being put under more of a microscope every time they suit up. NHL players are no different.

    The coverage of the NHL may not be suffocating in the United States, but between the internet, Canadian coverage and the coverage VS, NBC and even ESPN are now providing, some players cannot escape the criticism.

    Hockey fans are some of the least forgiving sports fans in the world. One cowardly act, uninspiring performance in a big moment or series of blow opportunities and a player can be firmly planted in the dog house.

    This dirty dozen of NHLers knows all too well how harsh the critics can be.

Joe Thornton

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    Jumbo Joe has never been able to escape the critics. Since the Bruins drafted Thornton first overall in the 1997 NHL draft, Thornton has been put in the spotlight.

    He did not perform in Boston, forcing the Bruins to deal him for pennies on the dollar.

    San Jose welcomed the talented center with open arms, and Joe Thornton did not disappoint. However, despite gaudy regular season statistics, Thornton has struggled in the playoffs during his career.

    The Sharks' captain had 17 points during the 2011 NHL playoffs, but his lack of hardware and years of underwhelming postseason point totals are still engraved in the fans' minds. Thornton has averaged well under a point per game in his playoff career.

    Until he wins a Stanley Cup, Joe Thornton can count on being one of the most heavily criticized players in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby

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    LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Sidney Crosby.

    Players who are dominant in their respective sports have as many seething critics as they do undying supporters. It's just the way it is.

    Unfortunately, Crosby has done little to earn his criticism, unlike Tiger and LeBron.

    Crosby has been a model player and excellent personality for the NHL. He has brought some excitement to the game of hockey and helped it regain some popularity.

    Critics label him a whiner and a diver, but those people are holding onto behavior Crosby displayed as a teenager. He has matured quite a bit since being drafted.

Mike Green

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    Mike Green is an easy target for negative attention. He is an offensive dynamo from the point but tends to falter a bit in his own end.

    Green improved a bit defensively last season, but his attention to defense in addition to injury problems caused him to put up just 24 points.

    Another lingering concern with Mike Green and the entire Washington Capitals team is the inability for them to get it done in the postseason. Year after year, the Caps enter the playoffs as favorites and end up faltering in one of the first few rounds.

Roberto Luongo

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    Roberto Luongo has become an easy out. The Vancouver Canucks lost? It must have been Luongo's fault? The city of Vancouver is being destroyed by rioters? That must be Big Lou's fault too.

    The criticism of Luongo has gotten a bit over the top. Luongo has been nominated for his fair share of Vezina Trophies and has no shortage of accolades to his name.

    Of course, Luongo lacks the biggest accolade one can receive, the Stanley Cup. Worse than the fact that Big Lou has not brought Vancouver a Stanley Cup is the fact that he is usually subject to his fair share of blame for the postseason shortcomings.

    He does not perform in pressure situations, and unless that changes, the fans are never going to get off his back.

Jeff Carter

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    Getting on the bad side of the Philadelphia fanbase is not a difficult thing to do.

    Ask Jeff Carter, who piled up 343 points in six seasons with the Flyers but was unable to shed the stigma that he was a soft player and couldn't perform in the postseason.

    Philly's view on Carter was not completely unwarranted. He only managed to accumulate 21 postseason points, and while he only missed 31 regular season games in six seasons, Carter always seemed to be banged up come playoff time.

    Jeff Carter was a terrific two-way forward during his days as a Flyer. His shot was a weapon that will without a doubt be missed by the team. However, the fans may never appreciate what they had in Jeff Carter.

Sean Avery

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    NHL players often receive abundant amounts of unwarranted criticism. In Sean Avery's case, he does not get hit with criticism that he doesn't deserve. 

    Avery disrespects the game and his fellow players with cheap hits and plays to go with his over the line smack talk off of the ice.

    Some fans may find Sean Avery entertaining, but there is nothing the media says about this guy that he hasn't earned.

Phil Kessel

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    When the Boston Bruins traded Phil Kessel to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a pair of first-round picks and a second rounder, many thought the Bruins had gotten the better end of the deal. When both of those picks turned into top 10 selections, the consensus became that the Leafs had been completely ripped off.

    However, everyone ignores the fact that Phil Kessel has scored 30 goals in each season since being traded, earning a trip to the 2011 All-Star Game. And Kessel did all of this without a competent center getting him the puck.

    Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin hasn't made much of an impact, and Dougie Hamilton is still an enigma at the NHL level. Until either of them proves to be a gamebreaker, how can the winner of this trade be decided?

Rick DiPietro

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    Rick DiPietro has fallen out of favor with fans league wide as quickly as he burst onto the scene back in the early part of the decade.

    DiPietro's demise hasn't been entirely his fault. Injuries have derailed the Boston University product's once promising career.

    However, DiPietro hasn't exactly fallen out of favor gracefully. His body language on the ice is uninspiring, and he has even lost his cool a few times.

    It's plain to see that Rick DiPietro's frustration is at an all-time high.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin

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    Henrik and Daniel Sedin will always be lumped together so long as they are on the same team, for better or for worse.

    They often make opponents look foolish with their insane chemistry and offensive skills. But when the pair struggles, which is a common occurrence in the postseason, the Canucks struggle with them.

    Thus, the postseason failures of the Vancouver Canucks often fall back to the Sedin twins. However, if the Stanley Cup ever makes its way to Vancouver, you can bet that the Swedish twins will get their fair share of credit.

Ilya Bryzgalov

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    Having a Vezina-caliber season and carrying a mediocre team to the playoffs year after year is not enough in Philadelphia.

    After the Philadelphia Flyers signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a $51 million deal, the negative nature of Philadelphia sports fans started to creep up.

    Is there reason to be a bit worried about the type of contract Bryz received? Certainly. But his contract is no reason to criticize the Russian netminder. Sure, he struggled in the 2011 NHL playoffs, but the Flyers' defense will be a significant upgrade for Bryzgalov. 

    Flyers' fans love to be critical, but the criticism is too soon on this one.

Mike Richards

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    Mike Richards loves to party. A 26-year-old superstar hockey player in one of the great social scenes in America likes to go out and have a good time? I am shocked.

    During his time in Philadelphia, the media never got off of Richards' case about his commitment to the team, the coach and the game of hockey. However, Richards still put up 349 points during his Flyers' career and led the team to a birth in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

    None of that stopped the criticism, however. His strained relationship with Peter Laviolette and increasingly chippy play on the ice made matters worse for the Canadian two-way forward.

    The saga's final chapter involved the Flyers shipping Richards out of town, and the media subsequently speculating on the reasons why.

    Needless to say, Richards should find the fans and media a bit easier to handle in Los Angeles. Oh, and the party scene will likely be a step up as well. 

Alexander Semin

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    Matt Bradley accused Alexander Semin of not caring about hockey in a recent interview with an Ottawa radio station. That accusation is arguably the worst a player can receive, especially from a former teammate.

    Semin was already a heavily-scrutinized player due to his postseason performance and his spells of uninspired play. When a player gives the fans the impression that he does not care about the game that they pay to watch, it definitely leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

    However, when a teammate of that player confirms the suspicion, he is likely to be a lightning rod for criticism until he is run out of town.

    Expect Alexander Semin to be Caps' fans' favorite scape goat this season.

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