Almost a week after the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens pulled off one of the biggest first round upsets in NHL Stanley Cup Playoff history, questions around the Washington Capitals ability to take the next step continue to bubble to the surface.
While much of the blame has been directed at Alexander Ovechkin's inability to score in the Caps final three games of the series, the NHL's version of Bono still led the team in points with 10 (5G,5A) against the Habs.
Yes, he was about as predictable as a romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey, coming down the wing and taking a snap shot that was blocked by Canadien defenders nine out of ten times.
That being said, at least Ovie was working hard trying to create offense, and if it wasn't for Jarolsav Halak doing his best Ken Dryden impersonation the Capitals most certainly would have moved on to the second round.
Which brings me to Alexander Semin.
Semin was absolutely lathargic for the most part, and after scoring 40 goals during the regular season, he posted a measly 2 assists in the seven games against Montreal.
And to think, just a year and a half ago, the unproductive playoff performer was knocking the Penguins Sidney Crosby stating in an interview, "What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else."
Well, there is something else Alexander...heart, which you need in order to get it done in the big games.
If Semin had half the heart and drive as the aforementioned Crosby, he may have been a difference maker, as 3 of the 4 games the Capitals lost were by just one goal.
While the Capitals management is looking for a player to single out, they need look no further than Semin, who is set to become a restricted free agent come July 1st.
It would be a shock to see the Caps offer him anywhere near the $4.6 million he made the last two seasons after his playoff performance, especially with Niklas Backstrom set to also become a RFA, and going to command a hefty raise on his $2.4 million salary.
The Caps may be best to let the Russian winger sign elsewhere in order to recieve the 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks that would be compensation, then spend that money to sign a proven playoff performer like the Detroit Red Wings 37-year-old Tomas Holmstrom.
Yes, it is just a bold prediction that Semin will not be back in a Capitals jersey next year. But can they afford to keep him? And even if they could, do they want him?
If you weigh in his magnificent disappearing act in the playoffs, and what this team could recieve in return, the writing may just be on the wall.
Yes, Alexander Semin, you are the weakest link...goodbye!
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