Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Semin's Agent Challenges Caps Brass

28 signed a 1-year, $6.7 million extension yesterday.
To no one's real surprise, the Capitals' recent re-signing of Russian winger Alexander Semin to a contract extension has come under fire in the 24 hours since it was announced.  The major issues with the signing are the usual suspects with Sasha: that he cracks under pressure in the playoffs, is fragile, and has an absolutely maddening Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde playing style.  However, a recent story published by the New York Times states that Semin's agent, Mark Gandler thinks that his client's inconsistencies are the fault of Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau's constant line-juggling and seemingly steadfast unwillingness to put star center Nicklas Backstrom with Semin for any extended period of time.  “The team has never had a second center, and they still don’t,” Gandler said in a telephone interview.  "[If he played with Backstrom regulary, he] would have very different statistics.”  Well, no cheese, my friend.  There isn't a player on the planet who would not love an opportunity to play with 19 consistently, save maybe Sidney Crosby.  But that does not mean that Semin cannot be effective without a center of Backstrom's quality in the middle.
In 2006-2007, Semin scored 38 goals playing most of the season alongside Jeff Halpern and Matt Pettinger.  No knocks on those guys, but they are not Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson, whom Semin has skated with most of the season at even strength.  Despite this supposed beef with Boudreau, however (pun very much intended), Gandler stressed in his interview that Semin would like to eventually work out a multi-year deal with the Capitals, and that Washington is his first choice city.  That seems to contradict a bit, but I'll take it.  I love Semin as a player and having him around long term would be great, providing it is at a reasonable price and he figures out how to play in April.  Some food for thought, though - would the Capitals perhaps be better served as an organization by trading Semin for some draft picks or younger players?

In other news, Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has been selected as a Kontinental Hockey League All-Star, where he will play alongside former Cap Sergei Fedorov in the Russain league's midseason showcase.  Kuznetsov, 18, was selected in the first round, 26th overall, of the 2010 NHL entry draft.  The combination center/right wing has 14 goals and 26 points in 40 games this season for Traktor Chelyabinsk.

Lastly, today is the 25th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which took the lives of seven American astronauts when their spacecraft disintegrated just 73 seconds after taking off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Please take a minute to remember their sacrifice today.

That's all for now.  Enjoy the draft tonight and check back tomorrow.

Information from the New York Times was used in this report.

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