The Washington Times - November 12, 2011, 01:02AM

NEWARK, N.J. | A couple players weren’t sure what happened. They knew Alexander Semin wasn’t playing for much of the second period and all of the third but either didn’t know why or didn’t want to say.

But it’s hard to talk about the Capitals’ 3-1 victory over the Devils without considering that Semin played a career (healthy) low ice time of 8:14 (he was incorrectly credited with 8:25). Some, like Jeff Halpern, referred the question to coach Bruce Boudreau, while others agreed that accountability needs to be part of actual games.

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“For us, it just kind of means that nobody’s safe,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “If you’re not playing quality hockey, if you’re not doing what’s best for the team, then you’re not going to get the ice time for it. That kind of just makes sure that everyone knows that everyone has to be accountable for what they do out there.”

Jason Chimera was asked if he was surprised the Boudreau sat Semin.

“That’s the way it’s been this year. He’s going to play the guys that’s playing well, and I think that’s great,” Chimera said. “I think it’s an incentive for guys like me and [Matt] Hendricks and guys that really don’t see as much ice time the guys working hard in that game. it could be me tomorrow who gets less ice it’s every game, someone new it seems like. You’re not going to have your best night every night you play with the guys who are going good, which is how it should be.”

Captain Alex Ovechkin said: “Actually, I just saw [Semin] didn’t play in third period. … It’s coach’s decision.”

Dennis Wideman wasn’t privy to Boudreau’s reasons and thought maybe he was hurt. But in general terms he said the decision was part of the season theme.

“[Boudreau has] been talking since the start of the year that if you want to play, you’ve got to earn your ice time,” Wideman said.