Alexander Semin has denied that he has decided to leave Washington, less than 24 hours after his agent told ESPN that the left winger would test the free agent market.
Speaking in Stockholm, Sweden, where he will join the Russian national team at the IIHF World Championships, Semin issued the following statement, according to Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov.
This is all just talk. Words can get twisted. There was no talk at all that I am not going to sign with the Capitals for sure. I have not talked to them [the Capitals] about leaving. And please don't ask me questions about the next season anymore.
Chesnokov, who has as much insight into the NHL's Russian contingent as anyone, added his own reporting, as well.
I was told the decision by Semin and his agent, made well before the playoffs, wasn't necessarily to test the free agency, but rather to take his time to see how the negotiations between the League and the union go regarding the new CBA. There's always a concern players will agree to another considerable rollback in salaries. Moreover, with the recent changes in Washington with Coach Dale Hunter's departure, it's also wise to wait and see who will be named the head coach of the underachieving team. Or maybe even a new general manager.
The key phrase there, of course, is "well before the playoffs." There's always the possibility that something changed to prompt Mark Gandler's outburst. Either way, the countdown to July 1 is on.