One of the best parts about beat reporting is being around for almost every game and almost every practice to provide some perspective – and, sometimes, comparisons.
The following quotes are presented without any other comment. The first set is from the visiting locker room at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Nov. 11 after coach Bruce Boudreau benched Alexander Semin for much of the second period and all of the third. The Caps won 3-1.
The second set is from Monday night, when Boudreau made Semin a healthy scratch. The Caps won 4-3.
“For us, it just kind of means that nobody’s safe. 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.”
“Actually, I just saw [Semin] didn’t play in third period. You know what, I know what happened. I don’t know, actually. It’s coach’s decision.”
“He was the one of the guys I shortened the bench with. He’s a great player and he’s a player we’re going to need tomorrow night. I just thought, you take another penalty and at the same time there was some plays where I thought he could’ve done a little bit more and he didn’t. Again it’s one of those feelings where … I’ve had him for four years now. It just didn’t look like he had it tonight. I hadn’t done that, I don’t think, to him before. We had to shorten the bench to get guys in the game.”
“It’s a substantial player. It’s a significant player in our lineup. It’s not only a message to him, but to other guys in the room: If you’re not going to play hard every night, we have that balance. That’s probably a little bit of a luxury Bruce has – he hasn’t had that before. When he’s got to play with guys and live with their mistakes and live with their ups and downs. You get under the gun like we are, like we’ve been the last little bit, and if he’s got guys that are going to work hard for him, then he’s probably going to go with them.”
Alex Ovechkin (to Yahoo Sports)
“I was surprised at first, but it’s not my decision. It’s all about coaching. He decided to put him on the bench, so he put him. I don’t want to comment about it.”
“We’ve talked about it. I guess the talk has gone away from it because we were starting to lose. We’ve scratched guys. He was taking penalties seven games in a row. At some point you have to be accountable for your errors. I don’t like doing those things to people that are that talented, but everybody’s got to know that everybody’s accountable. It was a tough decision, but it was a decision, I thought, that had to be made for the group.”