In the first period Saturday night, Alexander Semin took his 11th penalty of the season. It was a tripping call in the offensive zone that negated a Capitals penalty, but that wasn’t going to bring about another stint on the bench for the Russian winger, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau.
“I thought he tried really hard,” Boudreau said of Semin’s effort in the 3-2 shootout loss at Verizon Center. “You’re not going to keep benching him and benching him and benching him. He got a penalty early; he went for the puck — that wasn’t a lazy penalty.”
On Friday night in Washington’s 3-1 win against the Devils, Boudreau sat Semin for essentially the entire second half of the contest. Following Friday’s game, the coach explained the decision was in part because of two penalties Semin took but also because “he just didn’t look like he had it tonight,” Boudreau said at the time.
When reporters asked if he considered sitting Semin on Saturday after yet another penalty, Boudreau explained his logic when it came to Semin’s ice time.
“You guys are getting the wrong impression,” Boudreau said. “Taking the penalties are part of the reason why he didn’t play [Friday] but it wasn’t the whole reason. He just wasn’t playing very well and we wanted to win the game, so we went with what were the nine best players at that time.”
Boudreau praised Semin’s effort on Saturday multiple times, though. Semin played 17:17 on 21 shifts on the second half of back-to-backs against the Devils and finished that contest with a plus-1 rating.
“I thought his effort overall, he tried really hard. He was engaged with the game,” Boudreau said. “It would have been nice if he had scored in the shootout. It would have been pretty good redemption for everything.”