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Semin left off Olympic team because he ‘didn’t play as we expected,’ says coach

Jan 15, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT


Alex Semin was one of the surprise omissions from the Russian Olympic team but, to hear head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov explain it, the Carolina forward’s play simply wasn’t up to par this season.

“We knew that this decision will surprise a lot of people,” Bilyaletdinov said, per R-Sport. “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, 29, is having a down season after scoring 44 points in 44 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign. He has just six goals and 18 points through 34 contests, missing extensive time with a concussion — but he has played well of late, scoring nine points in his last 12 games.

The interesting wrinkle here, though, is that Semin was one of Bilyaletdinov’s biggest supporters following Russia’s told medal win at the 2012 World Hockey Championships.

“This is really super. The dicipline is perfect,” Semin said, per RIA. “In Bilyaletdinov’s team the most important thing to play strictly in defense, to lose the puck less and to play more in the zone.

“To play at a hundred percent always.”

The gold was Russia’s first since 2009, and Semin played a big role for the Russians after falling out of favor in Washington, averaging just 16:47 TOI per game.

  1. 950003cups - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Blasphemy! Olympic players are picked according to last years performance and favors. This years performance is irrelevant, even if you have a broken leg. Just ask Brian Burke.

  2. polegojim - Jan 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Excellent logic and reasoning – no gimmees.

    Too many times, guys get to All Star games, Pro Bowls etc… on past reputation.

    The invitations should be based on current performance.

  3. csilojohnson - Jan 15, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Fan voting is usually the cause of players making pro bowls/all star because of past success or celebrity.
    Irrelevent here. Still think Russia will regret that decision. Of course i know nothing about 3/4 of their roster.

  4. hazlydose - Jan 15, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Russia went with the same idea that America did with a solid two-way bottom six. Semin getting left of for the same reasons Ryan did.

  5. hockeydon10 - Jan 15, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Still surprising. That’s saying he’s a worse player than some of the KHL guys they picked. Oh well.

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