Alexander Semin will be a healthy scratch Monday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, according to the Capitals. The absence will mark the first time since Semin’s rookie season of 2003-04 that he has been a healthy scratch.

That Coach Bruce Boudreau would sit the Russian winger seemed to be a real possibility when Semin was skating as one of four forwards on the fourth line during Sunday’s practice. But as recently as his 5 p.m. pregame meeting with reporters Monday, Boudreau wouldn’t confirm any lineup alterations saying, “We haven’t even decided who we’re playing yet.”

Semin did not take part in the optional morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday, which is unusual for a player who will sit out that evening’s game.

In 18 games this season, Semin has four goals and nine points but leads the team in penalty minutes (28) and minor penalties (14). Semin is second in the league in minor penalties behind only Anaheim’s Corey Perry and he has been whistled for at least one minor in each of the past seven games.

This season, Semin has seen his average ice time drop down to 16 minutes and 21 seconds per game as compared to the 18:04 he averaged during 2010-11. On Nov. 11, Boudreau benched Semin for the second half of Washington’s 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils after the winger took a pair of penalties and seemed to lack focus.

“I just thought you take another penalty and at the same time, there were some plays where I thought he could have done a little bit more and he didn’t. Again, one of those feelings,” Boudreau said at the time. “I’ve had him for four years now. He just didn’t look like he had it tonight. I hadn’t done that, I don’t think, to him before.”