If the Capitals and Alexander Semin are stuck together for the foreseeable future, writes Tarik El-Bashir, the Russian winger needs to conform and stop taking selfish penalties.

And if his actions — and comments — the night after he was benched are any indication, Semin may know that:

When Semin arrived at Verizon Center for the game later that night, the winger was so down in the dumps, a source said, that Boudreau did not want him to take pregame warmup for fear that he would drag down his teammates’ spirits before a crucial game. (Players who are going to be scratched usually take the warmup.)

But on Tuesday there seemed to be a complete reversal in Semin’s attitude. He was all smiles as he joined six other skaters for the Capitals’ first optional practice this season.

Even after most of the players left the rink, Semin remained on the ice with assistant coaches Dave Prior and Bob Woods to help fire shots at backup goalie Michal Neuvirth. It’s not unusual for spare part Mathieu Perreault and rookies Dmitry Orlov and Cody Eakin to do that; it is, however, rare for stars.

When Semin finally left the ice, he walked into the dressing room, placed his stick on the rack and removed his helmet. Then he returned to the gate that separates fans from the bench area and signed autographs.

That, too, is rare for Semin.

Click here to read the full column. Below, check out a video of the Post Sports Live crew discussing whether it’s Semin or Alex Ovechkin who is hurting the Capitals more right now: