BALLSTON, Va. - Accountability has been the buzzword surrounding the Washington Capitals this season and it was thrust into the forefront after Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. Tuesday, Mike Knuble addressed the situation in his own way and players responded to his comments Wednesday. Yet, after practice Thursday, the normally-silent Alexander Semin opened up about his own play this season and holding himself accountable.
Through 13 games, Semin has three goals and five assists. Last season, Semin had eight goals - including one hat trick - and six assists through 13 games. Semin acknowledged that he has started the season slow, but is hopeful that things will turn around soon.
"The season's young," Semin said through translator Igor Kleyner. "Last year, I started really well...I'm hoping maybe the bad part of the season is over for this season and the good part is just about to begin. [Head coach Bruce Boudreau] has told me that aside from scoring that he's happy with my game, especially with the way I play on the defense."
Semin said that "scoring is just one component" of his game and "hopefully it will return," a sentiment that Boudreau shared.
"There's no reason to think that Alexander Semin has all of a sudden become a bad hockey player," Boudreau said. "He skates too well, he handles the puck too well, he shoots too well. He's gonna break out. One day very soon, it's not going to be one or two goals. He's going to get a five-point night. It's just gonna happen."
One statistical category Semin leads the Caps in is minor penalties, of which he has committed nine so far this season. Boudreau admitted after Tuesday's game that he took ice time away from Semin after he committed two tripping penalties. Semin knows that he has to play more disciplined, even though he is unsure of the penalties' validity.
"I'm really not sure what's going on with the penalties," Semin said. "I'm kind of puzzled myself. I don't know for sure if all of those penalties were really penalties or not, but it is what it is and I'm just going to try to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Semin held himself accountable for his season so far, but when it came to discussing the team's overall accountability, Semin was not shy in giving his take.
"I think thinking about all this stuff may actually be counterproductive," Semin said. "We know how to play hockey. We just need to get out there and play and do what we know how to do and things will be working out alright. If you start thinking about all this stuff too much, it can actually be counterproductive."