The Capitals aren’t going to trade slumping winger Alex Ovechkin. If push game to shove, that franchise would hire a new coach while hoping to revive Ovechkin’s formerly explosive game.
But forward Alexander Semin is a different matter. He moved under the spotlight this week for all the wrong reasons.
Beleaguered Washington coach Bruce Boudreau relegated him to the press box. This was Semin’s first “healthy scratch” designation since his rookie season.
“It was a tough decision, but it was a decision that I thought had to be made for the group,” Boudreau told reporters.
Ovechkin, who knows his away around Boudreau’s doghouse, tried to counsel his teammate.
“I just told him, don’t think about it,” Ovechkikn told reporters. “It’s going to be hard. Of course it’s hard when you are healthy and you feel pretty good about yourself and you are not playing, it’s pretty hard. But it’s done.”
Was Semin upset by the benching?
“Of course he was upset,” Ovechkin said. “He’s a big boy . . . He’s not going to cry about it.”
Semin, who is earning $6.7 million this season, earned penalties in seven consecutive games and scored just nine points in his first 18 games. He responded to the benching by scoring a goal and earning a plus-2 rating in a 4-3 victory over Winnipeg.
Does Boudreau have Semin’s fill attention? Or will Alexander play his way onto the trade block?
This situation bears scrutiny. Washington Times columnist Dan Daly offered this take:
Boudreau, once again under fire, has been trying to get through to his players in all the ways a coach can — and I’m not just referring to his extensive sailor’s vocabulary. He sat Ovechkin at a crucial moment in the Anaheim game Nov. 1. He benched Semin for the whole of the Phoenix game Monday. And he’s put some veterans on notice by working 20-year-olds Cody Eakin and Dmitry Orlov into the mix. There are multiple motives behind these moves, but one of them, no doubt, is to root out the complacency that continues to plague the Capitals, from the captain on down.