Capitals must decide on Alexander Semin

By Seth Keggins

The Washington Capitals will need to make an important decision on what to do with rookie winger, Alexander Semin. Could he be loaned to the Russian squad for the World Junior Championships (as Pittsburgh rookie netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was to Canada) or could he simply be returned to his Russian team in Lada Togliatti?

Alexander Semin, despite only playing sporadic games this season is seventh on the team in scoring. He has played ten fewer games than team leaders Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang and yet carries more goals (3) than team regulars Jeff Halpern, Mike Grier, Kip Miller, and Bates Battaglia. Semin is also capable of peppering the goaltender, already proving that this season against the Atlanta Thrashers, amassing ten shots on Halloween.

The Washington Capitals have until Tuesday, December 9 to decide if Semin will remain with the club or be loaned to Russia to participate in the World Junior Championships. Russia has a gold medal to defend and will begin the tournament on Friday, December 26 against the reigning fifth place team Slovakia.

Despite his limited playing time, Semin has taken full advantange of any icetime given to him by Washington head coach Bruce Cassidy. However, if he is loaned to the Russian team later today, he may benefit more from the added pressure and competitive nature of the World Junior Championships (not to mention more ice time). Alexander Semin may also gain more confidence teaming up with players closer to him in age. And after the tournament, he may still return to the Washington lineup or be sent to Lada Togliatti, his Russian Super League team. If he is loaned to the tournament, this would not be decided until after the new year.

Given the defensive woes around the Washington Capitals thus far in the season and with the return of Michael Nylander during the next couple of weeks, it may be easier to make the move, sending Semin to participate in the tournament. The Caps management could also perhaps part easier with Semin versus sending checking forward and “defensive” specialist Boyd Gordon to Portland to make roster space.