Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has sent more messages in the past month than he sent all of last season.
That continued again on Sunday when he turned a day off into a practice day and dropped struggling right wing Alex Semin to an extra skater on the fourth line.
Asked if Semin might be a healthy scratch for the first time in his seven seasons with the Capitals Boudreau said, Infer what you want. If everybodys healthy two guys have to sit. We have to figure out who its going to be.
Through 18 games, Semin has four goals and five assists and is a minus-3. Through the same number of games last season he had 13 goals.
People dont realize he tries, Boudreau said. Ive watched tapes on him and hes really trying. Hes not used to not scoring goals.
Semin is used to taking penalties, just not as many as hes taken this season. His 14 minors lead the Caps and are one short of the NHL lead.
The refs seem to have it out for him, Boudereau said. Theres no doubt there are penalties he deserves. Were not disputing that.
Boudreau took issue with the diving penalty Semin was assessed Saturday night his second of the season and a stick foul he committed in Thursday nights loss in Winnipeg.
Hes got a reputation. Its unfortunate for him but hes earned that reputation.
If Boudreau decides to sit Semin on Monday -- and the bet here is that he will -- it will serve as a signal flare to the rest of the NHL that the 6.7 million Russian is now open to all bidders.
What can the Caps get in return? The Islanders, Predators and Canadiens are believed to be teams that could show interest. The Canadiens would need to unload Scott Gomez (three more years at 7.35 million) to fit Semin under the cap.
The Predators and Isles have plenty of cap space, but would either team be willing to take on Semin's salary?