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Bruce Boudreau staunchly defends Alexander Semin

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Bruce Boudreau isn’t afraid to rip Alexander Semin when the Capitals wing struggles.

Like last March, when Semin went to the penalty box for hooking with 3:19 left against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“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,” Boudreau said then. “The ref didn’t wanna call any penalties, but you have to call that. It’s a bad hook in the neutral zone.”

But a day after Monday night’s game against the Blue Jackets in which Semin took two offensive zone stick infractions, Boudreau defended him.

“He does a lot good things. We so much dwell on Alex’s negative things, and we talk about it and he’s correcting it and he feels bad about it,” Boudreau said. “I bet ya none of yas looked at how hard he backchecked every time that he was on the ice. He did so many good, good things. He’s so skilled. He wants to go right at the hands – instead of lifting the stick he just touches the hands and he can get the puck. It’s right on the border of right and wrong, and he gets caught.”

Boudreau pointed out that Semin’s penalty minutes went down last year from 2009-10 (they were actually up five to 71), but pointed out that the Russian should have fewer this season.

“They’re going to be way down again this year because he’s, more than anybody I’ve seen on this team, come committed to doing what’s right,” Boudreau said. “Every practice he’s worked hard; every game he’s tried hard. I’ve been really pleased with him.”

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