Earlier this week the Russian hockey federation announced it would be replacing Dynamo Moscow winger Sergei Soin with perhaps the biggest snub of any Olympic roster, Carolina’s Alexander Semin. The 29-year-old winger was initially held of the 25-man squad giving way to rumors to a possible personal issue with head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov causing his omission.
Pundits and countrymen alike wondered how a player with over 200 NHL goals to his name and the ability to score the most sniper-esque tally’s seemingly at will could be left off the squad in favor of a player who has scored 76 goals in 573 games in the RSL/KHL.
It’s hard to imagine any player on the initial roster not being dumbfounded by the snub of Semin including Soin who had to have wondered how on earth he beat out the likes of the Krasnoyarsk native. Whether or not he knew about not making the roster in advance, Semin has played significantly better since returning from a concussion having scored 12 points in his last 13 games including last nights laser against the Flyers.
Will Bilyaletdinov even entertain the thought of having Semin reunite with his former teammate and BFF Alex Ovechkin, say on the man advantage? Or will Semin be used on the bottom two lines and be forced to back check? Whatever role he will be given it will make Russia’s offense that much stronger. Perhaps being left off the squad initially will give Semin a chip on his shoulder and he just seems to play better when he has something to prove.