Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/22/10 at 03:53 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Regardless of just how many goals he scores and how many points he puts up, there has always been a temptation to be dismissive of Washington Capitals winger Alexander Semin. In general he was considered a strictly one-dimensional player that, while wildly gifted, couldn’t be counted on in the crunch.
Quietly, that notion is changing, at least internally, as head coach Bruce Boudreau turns to Semin more and more in key situations, including using him more frequently on the penalty kill even as he continues to pile up the points.
“It was a work in progress last year,” Boudreau said this week. Sometimes Semin would cheat while killing penalties, worried more about creating a scoring chance.
“Now he’s a lot better at it,” said Boudreau, who recalled that GM George McPhee watched Semin in a more complete role for Russia at the World Championships two years ago and that sparked the idea that he could take on a bigger role with the Caps.
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