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.