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.”
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?