Alexander Semin

New coach, same tactics: Semin might be healthy scratch tonight


Dale Hunter is finding that life coaching the Capitals can be tricky handling some of their stars. For example, Alexander Semin.

Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times reports that Semin wasn’t taking line rushes during this morning’s practice leading to speculation that he’ll be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game against Ottawa. When we said it’s a work in progress in Washington, we weren’t kidding.

If Semin is scratched tonight, it’ll be the second time in six games and a first under Hunter. Semin’s season has been less-than stellar this season as he leads the team in penalties while not contributing enough offensively to justify his mistakes. To call the start of his season ugly would be a disservice to ugly things.

The Caps need to get the best out of Semin because they’re a championship-caliber team when he’s on his game. Then again, the Caps have a lot of guys performing below lofty standards and Semin makes for an easy guy to send a message to with the number of penalties he takes and his other struggles.

Of course, the Caps have to hope that these messages are getting through to him because nothing else to this point has motivated him. The more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.