Lack of team discipline haunts the Caps

Ben Raby,

WASHINGTON – Alexander Semin will return to the Capitals lineup tonight against Winnipeg after sitting Monday’s 4-3 win over Phoenix as a healthy scratch.

Semin was relegated to the Verizon Center press box for the first time since his rookie season due, in part, to his undisciplined play through the first 18 games this year and his lack of finish.

The former 40-goal scorer has been called for a team-high 14 minor penalties while chipping in just four goals and nine points.

“He’s taken penalties seven games in a row,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said Monday. “At some point you have to be accountable for your errors. We don’t like doing those things to people that are this talented, but everybody’s got to know that everybody’s accountable.”

Accountability is again the word of the day as Boudreau confirmed that Joel Ward will be a healthy scratch tonight after he overslept yesterday.

“They’ve got to be the rules for everybody,” Boudreau said. “It’s an unfortunate thing he overslept, and he missed [the meeting].”

Boudreau acknowledged that if one of his players had overslept or missed a meeting in years past, it likely would have been dealt with by fining him.

The decision to scratch Ward is another example of Boudreau’s attempt to change what has been described as a “country club atmosphere” inside the Caps dressing room.

“I have to pay the consequences,” Ward said. “I understand that it’s part of the team rules. It was written and I just made the mistake of sleeping in.”

In 19 games this season, Ward has four goals and eight points while playing primarily on a shutdown line with Jason Chimera and Brooks Laich.

“He understands the rules,” Boudreau said. “He’s a good team guy and he feels bad about it, but he knows the rules.”

John Erskine will also miss tonight’s game as he continues to nurse his surgically repaired shoulder, which he reinjured at practice Sunday. Erskine is considered day-to-day and could return to the Caps lineup as early as Friday against the Rangers.

Catch the Capitals and Jets Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame at 6:45 p.m. on Federal News Radio, WFED 1500AM &


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