The Washington Capitals are suing Alexander Semin and his agent for breach of contract because the left wing is playing in his native Russia instead of reporting to the National Hockey League team.
Semin, taken in the first round of the 2002 NHL draft, signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in 2003. He played for Washington in 2003-04, then was told to report to the club's minor league affiliate in Portland in September 2004 during the NHL lockout. Instead, Semin went to play for Lada Togliatti in Russia.
The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, asks that Semin be barred from playing for any team other than the Capitals during the 2005-06 season. It seeks damages from Semin's agent, Mark Gandler of International Sports Advisors Company, Inc., to cover the $1,000 („џ823)-per-day fines Semin is subject to for not reporting, and the $2.28 million („џ1.88 million) the Capitals are paying left wing Jeff Friesen this season "to fill Semin's spot." The Capitals traded for Friesen in September.
Gandler did not immediately return a voice mail message left at his office Friday. The lawsuit says Gandler told the Capitals that Semin could not leave Russia because of military obligations. The 21-year-old player had 10 goals and 12 assists in 52 games for Washington in 2003-04, AP reports.