The injury to Sergei Soin may not open the Olympic door for Russian snub Alex Semin (above). (Jay LaPrete/AP)
By Allan Muir
Just three weeks out from the Sochi Olympics, Team Russia suddenly has a job opening.
The club learned today that Sergei Soin, probably the most surprising inclusion on Russia's roster, has suffered a knee injury and will miss the Games.
While that opens up a roster spot, don't assume it will be filled by a high-profile snub, such as the Hurricanes' Alexander Semin or the Oilers' Nail Yakupov. Soin, a star forward with the KHL's Moscow Dynamo, was expected to fill a defensive role with the host team.
"He will be able to help out when we are shorthanded and will help to limit the offensive play of our opponents," Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said earlier this month on the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia's official website at the time of Soin's selection.
So, who fills the spot? A replacement is expected to be named soon, but it might not be coming from North America. Alexander Svitov, who washed out in the NHL after being taken third overall by the Lightning in 2001, might be one option.
SOCHI ROSTERS: All 12 teams by group