The Washington Times - February 15, 2012, 06:04PM

Say what you want about Bruce Boudreau, but he knows hockey. And he trusts his hunches, even at the expense of benching star players.

On Tuesday night he sat down Anaheim Ducks star and automatic, slam dunk future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne, telling the Orange County Register: “It was just my call. Every now and again, it just looked like it wasn’t his night.”

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Sound familiar? As coach of the Washington Capitals earlier this season, Boudreau benchedAlex Ovechkin in the final minute of a Nov. 1 win over the Ducks, and less than two weeks later benchedAlexander Semin for the entire third period.

Sitting Ovechkin brought on something of a mini firestorm, with Boudreau remarking that it was just one shift while also realizing it was becoming a big deal. It also helped that the Caps scored on the shift without Ovechkin.

I’ve played a lot of hunches in my time that haven’t worked, but nobody’s asked me about them. This one worked,” he said Nov. 2. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, Alex is the first guy I’m looking at. But these guys were going pretty good.”

Following a win over the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 11, Boudreau shortened the bench by not playing $6.7 million man Semin down the stretch.

It’s one of those feelings where… I’ve had him for four years now,” Boudreau said. “It just didn’t look like he had it tonight.”

What Boudreau has made clear with Selanne is that if a player doesn’t have it, he’s not afraid to bench him.

After Semin’s benching, Boudreau made it clear that accountability was not

“You’ve got to practice what you preach,” Boudreau said. “It can’t be lip service and then go out and do the same stuff.”