End of the line for Semin Capitals set to part ways with skilled sniper

There is no way of knowing what’s inside Alex Semin as this monumental night of his professional career approaches.

But in many ways, this is an historic confrontation for the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers and a probable farewell for one of hockey’s most confusing and confounding players.

The Capitals were built around a supposed fabulous four, Alexander Ovechkin, Semin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, and this will season will end the run of that group, no matter what happens Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Game 7 may be an entrance on to a new stage or the last game Semin plays for the Caps.

Maybe the last game he plays in the NHL.

His contract is up at the end of June and Washington won’t re-sign him. Others around the NHL, wondering whether the 28-year-old forward is worth the bother or the money, will debate what to do with him. No doubt, the Kontinental Hockey League in his homeland will come calling, overrating and overpricing his considerable talent.

There is no fabulous four anymore with a Capitals team that is less about stars than ever before. As Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke likes to say, the Caps are now built from the back end out.

Semin has just one point in the Eastern Conference semifinal, and his play, under the Dale Hunter earn-your-ice philosophy, has been limited. Ovechkin plays primarily when the Caps are behind or when he’s very enthusiastic in tie games or with a lead. Green has never really recovered from the injuries that set him back and his gambling game has been blown up by coach Hunter. Only Backstrom, flashing the brilliance of old — which is funny to say for a 24-year-old — still performs to all expectations.