- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2005

The Washington Capitals have been granted a temporary restraining order that will force Alexander Semin, the team’s reluctant-to-report left wing, to find a new means of representation if he plans to continue playing organized hockey anywhere but Washington.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. yesterday ordered agent Mark Gandler, his International Sports Advisors Co., Inc., and anyone representing those interests to stop acting in Semin’s behalf.

Kennedy has ordered depositions and responses to be taken and heard within 10 days in an effort to expedite the Caps’ suit to have Semin report to the team and fulfill his contract, which has two years to run.

Whether the temporary restraining order will accomplish anything remains to be seen. Semin and his agents have successfully ignored all efforts by the Caps and NHL to have the player report.

Semin plays for Lada Togliatti in the Russian Super League. Lada has run into severe financial trouble this season, has already cut back some management personnel and players are next. Semin, the highest paid player on the team, is said to be the first in line to be moved.

Kennedy’s order prevents Gandler or any of his associates from helping Semin, who was suspended 14 months ago by Washington, relocate to another Russian team. Russia is the only country the left wing can participate in because the Caps’ suspension would be honored by any other International Ice Hockey Federation member nation.

“Contracts should always be honored,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday. “This is a situation where a valid, legally-binding contract is not being honored and that’s not right.”

It would appear that Semin can simply find a new agent to help him find a new team, forcing the Caps to start legal proceedings all over, or represent himself, which the team seemingly would be powerless to stop.

Semin, 21, was picked 13th overall in the 2002 draft and played 52 games for the Caps in 2003-04. He was ordered to report to Washington’s American Hockey League farm team the following season but did not. The Caps then suspended him.

Injury update

Injuries continue to cause havoc with the Caps’ lineup. Center Jakub Klepis was recalled yesterday from Hershey with right wing Matt Bradley going on injured reserve, backdated to a week ago. Despite not having enough forwards for four full lines, the team made veteran center Andrew Cassels, in his first year with the Caps, a healthy scratch for the first time.

Six players, four of them forwards, were out with injuries last night, a one-game high for the season. None of the players is likely to return as soon as tomorrow’s game against Toronto.

Cassels was signed as a free agent during the summer to give the team leadership and experience up the middle. But he has not been particularly effective, with just one goal and three points in 11 games.

Missing the game were defensemen Nolan Yonkman and Ivan Majesky and forwards Dainius Zubrus, Bradley, Petr Sykora and Stephen Peat.

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