|Author: Tarik El-Bashir (Washington Post)||Date: 04/07/2006
|Semin Likely Back Next Season (Washington Capitals NHL)|
Alexander Semin skating for Lada Togliatti during the Bashkir President's Cup tournament (Courtesy of Bashkir Press)
The Washington Capitals are expecting highly touted prospect Alexander Semin
to rejoin the team next season as negotiations to end his nearly two-year hiatus
from the NHL enter their final stages. A deal is expected to be announced next
week, according to a source.
A first-round draft pick by the Capitals in 2002, Semin, 22, likely is the
second-most skilled player in the organization behind Alex Ovechkin, the favorite
to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year.
Semin had 10 goals and 12 assists in 52 games for the Capitals in 2003-04, his
Semin was suspended by the Capitals in September 2004 after he failed to report
to the team's minor league affiliate in Portland, Maine. He instead remained
in Russia and played for Lada Togliatti, a top team in the Russian Super League.
Semin said at the time he was not permitted to return to North America because
he had not fulfilled his two-year obligation in the Russian military.
The Capitals unsuccessfully attempted to force him to return by filing a motion
for a preliminary injunction against Semin in U.S. District Court in Washington
last fall. Meantime, Semin remained in his homeland, where he most recently
played for Mytishi Khimik.
Semin's mandatory military obligation expires this summer, clearing the way
for his return. The status of his contract with the Capitals remains unclear.
With a smooth skating stride and deft stick-handing moves, Semin is widely
considered to be a first- or second-line winger with plenty of offensive potential.
His addition could take some of the pressure off of Ovechkin, who is often double-teamed
or shadowed by a designated player on the opposing team.
Capitals General Manager George McPhee did not return a message left with a
Related Player Profiles: . A.Semin
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