User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Semin's return stirs mixed feelings for Capitals

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Old friends Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin planned to get together for dinner Monday night, ahead of the Washington Capitals' big game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

It's safe to say Troy Brouwer would not be joining them.

Brouwer took a few potshots at Semin's work ethic after Monday's practice, reviving the reputation that dogged the talented but enigmatic Russian's seven seasons in Washington. The Capitals finally said goodbye to Semin last summer, and he signed with the Hurricanes as a free agent.

``It was tough to lose his scoring ability, when he wanted to play,'' Brouwer said. ``But all in all I think we've been doing well without him. ... Some nights you didn't even know if he was going to come to the rink. It's tough to play alongside guys like those because you don't know what you're going to get out of `em.''

For good measure, Brouwer also said the Capitals had a ``very lackadaisical'' culture under former coach Bruce Boudreau. The streak of candor highlighted an eventful day of news good and bad that comes just as Ovechkin and the Capitals are finding themselves with a chance to ride some momentum and get out of last place.

Goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman John Erskine both signed two-year contract extensions, Holtby for $3.7 million and Erskine for $3.925 million. But center Nicklas Backstrom missed practice with an illness and left wing Jason Chimera departed early with a lower body injury, leaving the Capitals contemplating a possible call-up from the minors for a game that could get them back in the running in the Southeast Division.

The Capitals are one of the surprises so far in the lockout-crunched season, losing 11 of their first 17 games to sit near the bottom of the NHL standings. But they're coming off of a dominating turn-back-the-clock performance, with Ovechkin scoring his first hat trick in more than two years in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

This could therefore be a make-or-break week. A win on Tuesday would pull the Capitals within four points of the first-place Hurricanes. There's also a road game against the division-contending Winnipeg Jets sandwiched around a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Which makes the return of Semin all the more compelling. He's playing well for the Hurricanes - his 14 points would tie Ovechkin for second on the team if he were still with the Capitals - and Ovechkin said his fellow Russian ``will want to show up and tell them it was a mistake'' for Washington to let him go.

As Brouwer indicated, a motivated Semin has not always been a given. Ex-Capitals forward Matt Bradley once said that Semin ``could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn't care.''

The Hurricanes feel differently, at least according to center Tim Brent, who responded Monday to Brouwer on Twitter.

``I can say on behalf of his teammates that we love having him here, and he has been a big part of our success so far with his consistent play and work ethic. NOT only his scoring ability. I hope he sticks it to them,'' Brent tweeted.

Brouwer also addressed the change in culture under new coach Adam Oates while picking apart the regime of Boudreau, who was fired early last season and replaced by Dale Hunter. Boudreau is now the coach of the first-place Anaheim Ducks.

``It was very lackadaisical, I would say,'' Brouwer said. ``Kind of guys were able to do whatever they pleased. There wasn't a whole lot of accountability. And then when we had a little bit of trouble and there needed to be accountability, it wasn't received exactly with welcome arms, I'll say.

``And then with Hunts everything was very strict, making sure guys were blocking shots, maybe getting them out of their styles of play as far as particular players go. And then with Adam, I mean everyone's still accountable, everyone has to do their job, but he's letting guys play the way that makes them successful - goal scorers need to score, checkers need to check. Everyone's got a defined role on the team now.''


Follow Joseph White on Twitter:

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

News: Grand Salami - November
Habs' goalie Price to miss at least 6 weeks
Rangers' center Stepan out 4 to 6 weeks
Tippett gets the title belt after 500th win
Kane gets point in record 19th straight
Rangers' Vigneault criticizes Bruins
Why Buy Picks From
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NHL Hot Streaks
9-0 +920 L9 Picks, 8-3 G-Plays TY
8-4, +740 Last 12 Guarantees
+1,392 Net Profits This Year
3-1, +533 Last 4 Picks
+1,215 NHL This Season
+1,324 Guaranteed Plays TY
NHL Pro Hockey Expert Sports Picks- Kevin Rogers
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1392
Alex Smith + 1215
Gary Bart + 631
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 563
Don Anthony + 305
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Don Anthony + 605
Bill Marzano + 323
Alex Smith + 293
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1459
Gary Bart + 1324
Bruce Marshall + 825
Yesterday's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Yesterday  
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smith + 953
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership