We may never know for sure, but its a pretty safe bet Alex Semin would have returned to the lineup tonight against the Winnipeg Jets even if Joel Ward had not forgotten to set his alarm clock.
Unlike Ward, who will not play tonight because he broke a team rule by showing up late for a team meeting Tuesday morning, Semin was benched for the first time since his rookie season on Monday night because of his indifferent play.
In 18 games, he has just four goals and is a minus-3.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, considered Semins closest friend on the team, said Semin was upset by being made a healthy scratch for the first time since his rookie season in he NHL.
Of course he was upset, Ovechkin said. I just told him, Listen, theres nothing you can do. Hes a big boy. Hes not a little kid. Hes not going to cry. Right now hes back on the ice and I hope he plays tonight.
Unless the Capitals plan on recalling a forward from the Bears before tonights game, Semin likely will play tonight on a second line with center Marcus Johansson and left wing Cody Eakin.
I told him, Dont think about it, Ovechkin said. Of course its hard when youre healthy and you feel pretty good about yourself and youre not playing. Its hard, but it was yesterday.
Semin was surprisingly jovial at Tuesdays optional practice and teammates said he came to work Wednesday just as upbeat.
I think hes taking it good, said Nicklas Backstrom, who is expected to center a line with Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer tonight. Hes happy, smiling. I think thats how he has to take it. Stay positive.
Boudreau said his only expectations of Semin tonight is that he be a good player against the Jets, who handed the Caps a 4-1 loss in Winnipeg on Nov. 17.
Ovechkin agreed, saying its important for the 27-year-old Russian to turn a negative into a positive.
What happened happened, Ovechkin said. What can you do? You just have to work harder. He knows it and everybody knows it. Hes one of the leaders on the team and if this situation happened it probably has to be a wakeup call.
I hope if hes going to play hes going to play much better.