After Alexander Semin went five games without recording a point earlier this month, Coach Dale Hunter put the winger on the fourth line in practice.
Semin’s response? One could argue that the pending unrestricted free agent was the team’s best player in back-to-back wins over Boston and Toronto.
Against the Bruins, Semin scored the game’s first goal and set up Jay Beagle’s second-period strike in a 4-3 victory Saturday. Twenty-four hours later, Semin set up Mathieu Perreault’s goal in a 2-0 triumph.
“He’s been playing well. He had two good games, created a lot of opportunities for the team by passing and shooting,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “He did a good job out there.”
The back-to-back performances reminded everyone of the force Semin can be when he’s on. It also makes one wonder about his future with the Capitals, the only organization he’s known in his seven-year NHL career.
Semin earns $6.7 million this season and is set to become a free agent. Each of the past two seasons, Semin signed a one-year extension with the Caps before February.
As of this week, though, the team and the player have not had substantial discussions about an extension, I’m told. What that means is unclear. But it could mean Semin will hit the open market this summer.
The uncertainty surrounding Semin’s future comes during an inconsistent season for the 28-year-old Russian.
He had 11 points in his first 27 games. Then he posted 30 points in 31 games from Dec. 17 to Feb. 24 before going without a point for five games at the start of the month.
With 18 goals and 26 assists in 65 games, Semin is on pace for 21 goals and 52 points. His plus-9 rating is tied with Joel Ward for third best on the team (behind Karl Alzner and Perreault).
More from Post Sports:
— Semin: Russian mystery in the District (Dec. 2010)
— McPhee on Ovechkin’s struggles this season
— Caps win third straight, 2-0 over Leafs
— Capitals hit the road on upswing after win