Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs

Semin-less Caps take care of Coyotes


Bruce Boudreau was looking to send a message when he benched star sniper Alexander Semin for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Judging by the Capitals effort in their first game back, it looks like any message sending by the head coach was well received by the players. After falling behind 2-0, the Caps scored four straight goals and snapped their four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory.

Semin did not appear at today’s morning skate and was not on the ice for the pregame warm-ups this evening. In fact, with recent benching and tonight’s healthy scratch, there’s talk around the league that Semin could be on the trade block. Yet if he’s not playing for Washington, he might not be the most desirable player on the open market.

“We’ve all read that he’s had his wrist slapped a few times, so it’s not that surprising,” a Nashville Predators scout said of the scratch. “He’s an extremely skilled player and Bruce is definitely sending a message to other people in the dressing room.”

Message sent.

The offensive outburst that started in the second period was a welcomed change for the struggling Capitals. Over the course of their last three games, they’ve only mustered a single goal in each of the last three games. It was a curious move to willingly scratch one of their most dynamic offensive players when they were so desperately looking for goals—but the move was more about effort and less about offensive production. Still, when the rest of the team proved they could score four goals in about 19 minutes for a victory, it made the Capitals coaching staff look like they pressed the right button.

We’ll see what is next for Semin and the Capitals. Washington continues their three-game homestand on Wednesday with a date with Winnipeg. Will Semin be in the lineup against the Jets? Here’s a better question: should he be in the lineup?

Devin Setoguchi signs in Swiss League

Alexander Semin, Devin Setoguchi
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Devin Setoguchi, most recently in Leafs camp on a PTO, has signed with HC Davos of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Tuesday.

Setoguchi, 28, was with Toronto following a summer in which he attended rehab in an effort to get sober and start repairing his reputation which, he admitted in August, had been tarnished.

“The amount of times I’ve let people down, there weren’t a lot of takers on me,” he said, per Sportsnet. “Around the league my word has not really meant much.

“I had gotten to the point where I had diminished any merit I had in the league.”

The decision to go to rehab came after a disappointing ’14-15 campaign in Calgary. Setoguchi appeared went pointless in 12 games, but did reasonably well with the club’s AHL affiliate, scoring 10 points in 19 games.

A former 30-goal scorer, Setoguchi now joins one of Switzerland’s biggest and most prolific clubs. Davos has won 31 NLA titles, and is the league’s reigning champion.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.