- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 3, 2011

Alexander Semin stood by himself along the boards while his Washington Capitals teammates did line rushes at Saturday’s morning skate. He stayed out on the ice with the young guys — Mathieu Perreault and Cody Eakin — well after everyone else jumped off.

But he wasn’t taking shots or any real contact, and it was revealed later that Semin would not play Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. A league source confirmed the 27-year-old was being bothered by an injured right shoulder but said it was not a serious long-term concern.

Coach Dale Hunter listed Semin as day-to-day.

“I think when anybody ever sits out if it’s injury or not, it’s a good opportunity to watch the game,” assistant coach Dean Evason said. “It’s always a lot easier from up top to evaluate and hopefully come back fresh to play hard the next night.”

Hunter has been complimentary of Semin this week, talking positively about his work ethic. The Russian winger played just 12:45 Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, though that likely can be traced to his injured shoulder.

The Caps’ next game is Monday at the Florida Panthers. The next time Semin is in the lineup, coaches would like to see him cash in on the opportunities he’s getting.

“We’re just looking for a real good work ethic, and then use his skill once he gets into those areas to score goals. We’d like him to shoot the puck a little bit more and getting a lot more pucks on the net,” Evason said. “A lot of times when you’re as skilled as he is, he’s trying to be so fine with his shot that a lot of times he’s missing the net so we’ve asked him to just get pucks on the net.”

Hamrlik out again

Roman Hamrlik (lower-body injury) has not been seen in public areas of the Caps’ practice facility since Thursday’s morning skate, when nothing appeared to be amiss. But then Hamrlik didn’t play against the Penguins and did not skate Friday or Saturday.

The 37-year-old defenseman was not made available to reporters when requested Saturday morning.

Hunter said Friday it wasn’t too serious of an injury to Hamrlik. Saturday, he repeated that.

“It’s one of those things that it is day-to-day,” the coach said.

Hamrlik is a minus-10 with 18 penalty minutes and just one point this season. But Karl Alzner was clear on what the Caps miss when Hamrlik is out.

“We lose a lot of leadership, a lot of maturity. We love having Hamr back there,” Alzner said. “He’s great in the dressing room for letting us know what he sees and reminding us of the little things. It’s a rock that we don’t have.”