Two weeks ago in New Jersey, Bruce Boudreau sent a stern warning to struggling winger Alexander Semin when he benched him for more than half the game.

On Monday, the Capitals' coach delivered an ultimatum that reverberated throughout Washington's dressing room. Semin, for the first time in the Boudreau era, was a healthy scratch.

"It was shocking," center Nicklas Backstrom said of looking at a dry-erase board without No. 28 on it. "I don't think there's a lot to talk [to him] about. He knows [why] himself."