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Johnson Starting, Boudreau on Semin

Brent Johnson makes his first start in seven games this afternoon against Ottawa and will face Brian Elliott, who stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced in Ottawa's 3-2 win over the Caps on Jan. 20, will get the start for the Senators. Coach Bruce Boudreau wants to give Jose Theodore, who has started seven games straight, a bit of a break on this back-to-back weekend.

I'll have the lines after warm-ups but do know Dave Steckel and Chris Clark are the scratches and Boyd Gordon will be back in. Boudreau said Steckel played "a great game" against the Red Wings but he suffered a lower body injury in the win.

*A lot of attention has been paid to the large number of hooking and holding penalties Alexander Semin has been called for lately, including one taken late in the second period yesterday that led to a power play goal by Detroit's Johan Franzen. During the second intermission yesterday Boudreau made sure Semin knew what he thought of the penalty.

"Right in front of the dressing room, in front of all the players, I admonished him," Boudreau said. "You can't do it. I hope he understood."

But while Semin doesn't get a free pass with these penalties, it's not in Boudreau's coaching style to constantly hound a player about anything.

"You tell him and you tell him," said Boudreau, who added that he will sometimes ask Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov to translate for him. "The bottom line is he's a guy who can win you a game any night of the week. Sometimes you have to live with the young guys' mistakes and the immaturity of a player until he becomes mature, because he's one of the half dozen, dozen players in this league that has game-breaking talent."

By Katie Carrera  |  February 1, 2009; 11:24 AM ET
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Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | February 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Long overdue towards Semin, should have done it last year.

Side note .... kid needs to learn English. 2 years ago.

Posted by: MFepelst | February 1, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

If Semin would just learn to keep moving his legs instead of gliding around he wouldn't be getting all these hooking penalties. It's a bit a laziness on his part and a habit he must break. This is something that can be addressed in practice.

Posted by: sammie21 | February 1, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, Katie. If you keep reporting like this, we'll have to ask Tarik to let you put your picture up next to his. ;-)

How is Brian Pothier doing with his rehab efforts? It never ceases to amaze me how far he has come since last January.

Enjoy today's Super Bowl Sunday matinee. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: Terptwin | February 1, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

For the most part, I think he understands English. Not all of it, which I'm sure is why there's still translation going on, but there are a few clips with him in the background talking to his North American teammates, and for some reason, I don't think Greener speaks Russian. He's probably more comfortable speaking in Russian and doesn't have Ovi's devil-may-care attitude about whether he's talking correctly. It also enables him to play the ignorant card and give fewer interviews if people get the perception he still doesn't speak English.
It is interesting to see how teams incorporate non-English speaking players. San Jose gave Nabokov a tutor when he first came to the US and was playing for the Thoroughblades (now Worcester). Varlamov, I think, has his own tutor in Hershey. Ovechkin didn't bother with one, getting an anglophone roommate and using movies, TV, etc, instead.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 1, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

And the last sentence in that quote is the reason why any "Bench Semin" assertion is short-sighted.

Posted by: Section117 | February 1, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

As with any language, it's much easier to understand things being spoken to you than to speak it yourself to someone else. A lot of times you're just trying to get the gist of what someone is saying and can piece together the rest from the context. It's been said many times that he understands more than he lets on, I'm sure he knows about the penalties at this point. We berate him for taking all the hooking calls but it is that very active stick that enables him to make all those highlight plays as he is one of our most effective forecheckers in that he can pick a guy's pocket clean with a well timed stick lift or poke check.

Take the good with the bad I say, he just has to learn how to not get caught by not overdoing it when it's clear his chance to rip the guy off is past and anything else is going to get called.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

So, Steckel is on the ice...

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | February 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course bb's admonishment came before he had a chance to review the video, which I hope he does so that he can later apologize. Anyone who sees that video would feel differently about that penalty. I stick by it.

Posted by: superX | February 1, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ludeman95 | February 1, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Book on Semin this year:

-32 games
-18 goals
-42 points
-24 +-

Yeah he sometimes takes stupid penalties and makes an occasional bad pass but so do many top young players including Ovie. But he also produces highlight reel gems like his game winning blast against Boston and his "thread the needle" pass to Ovechkin for the overtime winner against the Islanders. And Semin was arguably our top performer in last years playoffs.

Posted by: r1ckh | February 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@ r1ckh

here here

Posted by: ludeman95 | February 1, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Datsyukian: (dǎt-SŪK'-ē'-ən) (adj.) 1.) Of or pertaining to a Detroit Red Wings' forward with really, really "sick" skills. 2.) Great, but not quite Gr8 enough.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I have the secret for Semin not to take so many bad PIM's:

Caшa: Переместите Ваши Проклятые Ноги! (Sasha: Move Your Damn Feet!)

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 2, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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