November 23, 2011
After watching his team flail and flounder for the last two weeks, Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau took a dramatic step on Monday when he scratched star sniper Alex Semin in a win over the Coyotes.
"He's taken penalties seven games in a row," said Boudreau. "At some point, you have to be accountable for your errors. We don't like doing those things to people that talented, but everybody's got to know that everybody's accountable."
Semin returns to the Capitals' lineup against the Winnipeg Jets, the hope being that a night of embarrassment will shame him into not adding to his collection of minor penalties. (Unless, of course, Semin's simply entered the "penalty by reputation" phase of his career.)
Why? He missed a team meeting because he overslept, according to Capitals writer Mike Vogel.
(Now, did he oversleep oversleep or did he DeSean Jackson oversleep?)
Said Boudreau, via Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner: "I didn't want to do it. He's a good player. But the rules have got to be the rules for everybody."
McNally points out that Boudreau would fine players in the past who missed meetings, so this is a dramatic step. It should also be noted that Ward is among Boudreau's favorites, skating 21.2 shifts per game; that puts him third on the team behind Brooks Laich(notes) and Nicklas Backstrom(notes), and ahead of Alex Ovechkin(notes) (20.5).
"I basically slept in, missed a team meeting. So I've got to pay the consequences of not playing," Ward said. "I understand it's part of the team rules. It's written. I just made a mistake of sleeping in."
Welcome to the Accountable Caps. Boudreau had the support of management to bench Ovechkin during a extra attacker situation and to scratch Semin. He's clearly taking that support and attacking like a slap-happy nun with a ruler to send a message to the rest of the room. It shows maturation for Boudreau as a coach; previously, accountability for Boudreau was limited to bussing his own tray at Wendy's. Will it show maturation for this team?