The Washington Times - March 30, 2011, 12:02AM

It was the best of Alexander Semin, it was the worst … well, you get the idea. That’s paraphrasing Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau following Tuesday night’s shootout loss to the Hurricanes.

Semin had the Caps’ first goal and a beautiful feed to Marcus Johansson for the second. In the offensive zone he was a magician. But then there was the penalty he took for hooking with 3:19 left.

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Asked to comment on Semin’s play, Boudreau was critical to say the least.

“Well, he was our best offensive player, but I think at the same time he did the same thing he’s been doing for five years: taking a dumb penalty with four minutes to go in the game,” he said. “The ref didn’t wanna call any penalties, but you have to call that. It’s a bad hook in the neutral zone.”

Carolina never scored on that power play, but playing a man down with just five defensemen available kept the Caps from pressing and possibly taking the lead in the waning minutes of regulation.

And while Semin’s offensive zone play spiked again with the return of Jason Arnott – not a coincidence – he didn’t get back on the ice following his shift out of the box late in the third.

That’s particularly telling: Boudreau felt Semin was his “best offensive player, but the enigmatic winger didn’t play at all following that penalty – even in a four-on-four overtime sessions where his skills are at their most dangerous.