MOSCOW, January 15 (R-Sport) – Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin didn’t make into the Olympic roster because his performances this season simply weren't good enough, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said Wednesday.
Semin's absence from the 25-man roster announced last week has provoked intense debate in Russia. The 29-year-old right wing started the season slowly and missed almost a month with concussion in but has earned nine points in 11 games since returning to fitness.
“We knew that this decision will surprise a lot of people,” Bilyaletdinov said. “But we watched a lot of games. I saw him several times. We came to the opinion that for now he doesn’t make it onto the roster. He didn’t play as we expected, that’s why we made this decision.”
Semin was a part of the 2010 Russian Olympic team that achieved the country's worst ever result, suffering a 7-3 defeat to Canada in the quarterfinal. He also won two world championship gold medals in 2008 and 2012, registering doubles in both finals.
Dallas Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin is one of the players picked ahead of Semin.
“The national team needs a guy with such energy and desire,” Bilyaletdinov said. “I don’t know yet how I will use him, but I have some thoughts. He plays very well in the first line, not always stable.”
Earlier in the day, it was announced that Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk will be Russia’s captain at the February 7-23 Games.