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

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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.