Alexander Semin

Demotion in practice snaps Semin’s slump


Since being dropped to the fourth line during Friday’s practice, Alex Semin has snapped out of his five-game pointless slump with a goal and two assists in two contests.

“I was just mixing up lines,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “Sometimes you get stale and need to practice with different people.”

Semin has been a disappointment this season with 18 goals and 44 points in 65 games, but those numbers mask the fact that he has turned his season around since the middle of December. He has 33 points in his last 38 games.

He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and how he performs over the next few weeks could go a long way towards determining what kind of contract he’ll get. Personally, I have a hard time believing that he’ll end up with an annual salary near the $6.7 million he’s making this season, but you can never discount the possibility that a desperate team will be open to throwing a ton of money at a talented, but risky player.

Leafs prospects Nylander and Kapanen heading to AHL

William Nylander
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The Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their training camp roster by 16 players on Sunday.

Two of the Leafs’ top prospects, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen, are heading to the the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

For the full list of cuts, click here.

Nylander was Toronto’s first round pick, eighth overall, in 2014.

The 19-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games with the Marlies in 2014-15.

Kapenen, 19, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

He had one goal and one assist in a brief four game stint with Pittsburgh’s farm team last season.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs have no issue being patient with their top young prospects. Both players could make their NHL debut at some point this season, but they may have to wait a little while longer before they become regulars at the next level.

The Leafs now have 24 players on their training camp roster. They have until Tuesday to put the finishing touches on their lineup. Toronto needs to cut at least one more player.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”