Penalties were part of the story in Tuesday night’s loss to the Dallas Stars, though they certainly weren’t all of it. The Capitals lost battles in every situation, but penalties hurt.
Asked about the general subject of penalties and how to address the problem, coach Bruce Boudreau was simple and to the point.
“You address it by taking ice time away,” he said. “Alex Semin got two shifts after the second penalty, both on power plays. As hard as he worked in the first period, and scored a goal and every thing else, but he can’t be leading our team with penalties with nine minors in 13 games.
“It can’t be done. He’s got to move his legs to not take those penalties.”
Semin was whistled for two penalties in the 5-2 defeat, both tripping calls. He actually took three shifts after the second penalty, which occurred in the third: at 9:02 after Matt Hendricks‘ fight (a shift that turned into a power play); at 14:18 for an even-strength time; and at 16:35 for the power play.
Accountability has been one of the themes for the Caps since June. That manifested itself in Alex Ovechkin not being on the ice for a crucial shift last week, and now Semin missing third-period time.
Semin leads the Caps with nine minor penalties and has a minus-1 rating for the season.
Earlier in the day, Boudreau praised the highly paid, offensively talented winger whose offensive production wasn’t good – but his hard work was.
“He’s more committed to doing what he’s supposed to be doing. You don’t see those real big lapses or just staying out on the ice for long periods of time,” Boudreau said. “I know he’s gotten penalties, but you don’t see the actual reaching and everything. A couple of times there was scoring chances; he has to take them. Those are the natures of the beast. He’s going to get better, but I like the way he’s trending.”
Tuesday night didn’t seem to follow that pattern, though Semin scored his third goal of the year on an unbelievable one-timer from the slot on the power play. That wasn’t enough, Boudreau pointed out, to make up for the penalties.