Alexander Semin is off to a slow start this season and Bill Peters has seen enough. According to reports from the team, the new head coach is healthy scratching the Russian for tonight's game against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Carolina Hurricanes, have started out terribly this season while accumulating an 0-6-2 record, the worst in the NHL. The winless start is also the worst in franchise history.
Not only are the Hurricanes winless, they have barely held a lead the entire season.
The Canes have faced a plethora of injuries so far, although even before the injuries, they were picked by most pundits around the NHL to finish near the bottom of the league standings.
With zero goals scored, two assists, and a (-7) rating, Semin is certainly not helping the cause. But Peters is not happy with the Russian's overall game and claims that Semin is "not moving his feet" or playing the game "as it should be played".
Semin is certainly an easy target to pick out and has been a lightning rod for criticism in the media all season. Some claim that he could take over a game, if he really wanted to and the effort is not there.
It's tough to question a professional athlete's effort, but Semin has gotten plenty of that type of criticism over his career.
In my opinion though, he is not the type of player who can take over a game by himself.
He has a ton of skill, no argument there, but needs others to perform in order for his game to excel. For instance, he can set up teammates, but needs them to finish the play, or he can finish, when he gets the puck with an opening.
But take over a game by himself? He's not Alex Ovechkin.
Peters has been touting accountability since he took over and this is how he makes players accountable. Although it seems contradictory that he is benching Semin, but seems to be starting Cam Ward over Anton Khudobin for this game. (Ward was the first off the ice for the morning skate.)
While neither goalie has stood out recently, Ward has allowed 16 goals on 100 shots for an .840 save percentage while Khudobin has allowed fewer goals, (13) on more shots, (119) for a .891 percentage. Ward started the last loss against Vancouver and allowed a goal on the very first shot of the game, so it would seem to be Khudobin's turn in rotation.
Is this a consistent message? Either way, it is risky to scratch Semin, as he has never been easy to communicate with. He's the only player that I am aware of who is never available for a post game or post practice interview.
It's assumed the Russian is allowed this because of the language barrier, but then how do the coaches and his teammates communicate with him?
Right now, Peters is sending a message which is understood in any language. We'll see if it makes a difference.