Eric Staal heard the buzz. He heard that Alexander Semin, his new teammate, did not have the work ethic to match his immense skill. He heard the phrases 'coach killer' and 'enigmatic' applied to the 28-year-old. And he didn't know what to believe.
"I knew he had a ton of skill, obviously, I'd seen him for a lot of years in Washington and he scored a lot of goals against our team, but, a lot of stuff was said about him that, for me, I wasn't going to judge or be opinionated on it until I knew him and met him and got to play with him," the Carolina Hurricanes captain said.
And the early returns have been overwhelmingly positive.