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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Leaving the Capital

If their elimination from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoff wasn't tough enough, the Washington Capitals got word Monday they would be losing two of their players and their coach this off-season. Alexander Semin and Tomas Vokoun both came out and said they do not plan on returning to the Capitals, both, especially Vokoun, are expected to go to the KHL in Russian. While Dale Hunter came out and announced he was returning to London to be with his family, and resigned from his head coaching position.

Despite making it to the 7th game in the second round the season for the Capitals was yet another disappointment, anything less than a Stanley Cup meant the season was wasted. Lots of players including Semin had to make sacrifices this season under Hunter and clearly some weren't huge fans of the changes.

Semin on his way out:
Semin's agent announced on Monday that his client was going to try his hand at the free agency market, as he no longer felt the Capitals were the best fit for him.
"It just doesn't make any sense to him. He did the best he could under the circumstances and he earned his right to be a free agent. The club decided to change directions, Alex doesn't fit into that system obviously" - Alexander Semin's agent Mark Gandler.
The Capitals had told Semin to not expect anymore ice time next season if he were to resign with the Caps, he will not see time in the last minute of the game, nor when the team is shorthanded. Semin believes he is more valuable and versatile than that of a role player and can still be a superstar, and he has decided he wants to part ways with the Caps. Semin had become known as a player who didn't try hard to contribute to his teams success in the playoffs, but he stepped it up immensely in the playoffs this year but still was unable to produce when the Capitals needed him most.  As everyone knows Alexander Semin is Russian, and the Russians have started their own rival league the KHL, could Semin be loured away to join the KHL in his native land? He is heading to Russia for the World Championships, who knows what they'll be telling him to get him back to Russia! For the sake of the NHL hopefully Alexander Semin will stay!

Interesting twist:
On Tuesday Semin came out and said he has no plans on leaving Washington, and the media twisted the situation into something it's not. It's been less than 24 hours since his agent told ESPN that Semin will test free agency, but apparently that decision hasn't been made yet!
"This is all just talk. Words can get twisted. There was not talk at all that I am not going to sign with the Capitals for sure. I have not talked to them (the Capitals) about leaving. And please don't ask me questions about next season anymore."
Wow, talk about drama in Washington! Now it comes down to will he stay or will he go? The countdown to July 1 is on.

Dale Hunter Leaving:
 On Monday Dale Hunter also came out and said he was stepping down from his head coaching duties with the Washington Capitals, to return home and be with his family.
"I'm going home. I've got a good thing going there with the family, so I'll stay home"
Home, with his family is where Hunter wants to be. He is the co-owner of the London Knights (with his brother), his son is one of the assistant coaches, and his brother is holding down the head coaching job with the Knights while Dale was in Washington. Not to mention the London Knights are on their way to the Memorial Cup! Although he later came out and said he will not be behind the bench with the Knights right away, you know he'll be there watching every move the team makes. Hunter is a very smart businessman, he knows he'd make more money with the London Knights especially if they win the Memorial Cup. OHLer's are easier to coach, they don't have huge ego's and contracts they're still waiting to make it big and they are happy with any role they're given.

With Hunter's departure it brings back the discussion of Alexander Ovechkin being a coach killer. He was pretty instrumental in tuning out Bruce Broudreau and getting him axed. Since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005 the Capitals have undergone 3 coaching changes, Dale Hunter being the shortest after only staying for half a season. Every coach that's tried to alter Ovechkin's game seems to find his way out of Washington one way or another. If the Capitals go through too many more coaching changes it could be time for Washington to ship Ovechkin out of town!

Whatever the reason or motivation behind Dale Hunter leaving the Capitals, he did it in a very admirable and classy way. Stepping down politely and not pointing fingers or passing blame on anyone, and if we can take the man at his word; he just wants to be with his family!

Tomas Vokoun leaving:
The final bullet shot at the Capitals on Monday was Tomas Vokoun saying he will not be returning as the Capitals goalie next season, and after the way Brayden Holtby played who would come back?
"I wasn't planning on being back here anyways. So for me, a situation like that, I'm happy for him. For me, it was never my intention to be here more than a year."
There are talks that Vokoun will head over to the KHL to join the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to help them rebuild after the horrific plane crash that killed the whole team in Russian. His best friend Josef Vasicek was one of the players who died in the plane crash. There is no official deal done that will send Vokoun over to the Lokomotiv, but if he can't find work in the NHL he may be gone.

Monday was a pretty tough day for the Capitals; losing 1 player, possibly losing another and losing a coach. All decisions were made right after the Capitals elimination from the playoffs, some were probably made a little too quickly but right now the Capitals are in a tail spin.
Who knows who else they may lose once July 1 comes around!

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