MOSCOW, January 21 (R-Sport) - Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin has been selected for Russia’s Olympic hockey team as a late replacement after being left off the initial roster.
The 29-year-old right wing was a notable omission when Russia’s 25-man roster was revealed earlier this month, but he now comes in to replace Dynamo Moscow’s injured two-way forward Sergei Soin.
“With Alexander Semin, we had a preliminary agreement that he could be called into the team,” Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said on the Russian Hockey Federation website. “We’ve already been in contact with him, negotiated, and Alexander will represent the Russian national team at the Olympic Games.”
Semin could now revive his partnership with his former Washington Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin if Bilyaletdinov opts to put them on the same line.
Semin, who has 473 career points in 549 NHL games and 21 in 36 this season, is a more offensive player than the grinder Soin, who federation president and legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak said Tuesday was chosen for “neutralizing the opponent’s leaders.”
Bilyaletdinov described Soin’s absence as “a loss” for Russia. “We’d been counting on him a lot. He was called up to do particular jobs,” he added.
The Olympic hockey tournament will be held in the 12,000-seat Bolshoy Ice Dome from February 12 to 23, with Russia playing its first game against Slovenia on February 13. Also in Russia's pool are the United States and Slovakia.