In a move that surprises absolutely no one, Alex Ovechkin, the world’s best scorer, has been named to the Russian Olympic team. The Capitals Captain is also a goodwill ambassador for the Sochi games, though he’s not sure what that means either.

Not on the Russian roster are Alex Semin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The latter is a Caps prospect who delayed his NHL career for two seasons in hopes of making the Olympic team for Sochi.

We don’t have official word from the IIHF on the roster yet, but here it is per Dmitry Chesnokov, which he has confirmed:

(Updated with the IIHF version)

Goalkeepers:
Sergei Bobrovski, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Alexander Yeryomenko, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
Defencemen:
Anton Belov, Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Yevgeni Medvedev, Ak Bars Kazan (RUS)
Nikita Nikitin, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Ilya Nikulin, Ak Bars Kazan (RUS)
Fyodor Tyutin, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Vyacheslav Voinov, Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Alexei Yemelin, Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Forwards:
Artyom Anisimov, Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Denis Kokarev, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
Ilya Kovalchuk, SKA St. Petersburg (RUS)
Nikolai Kulyomin, Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Yevgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas Stars (NHL)
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (NHL)
Andrei Popov, Avangard Omsk (RUS)
Alexander Radulov, CSKA Moscow (RUS)
Sergei Soin, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (NHL)
Alexei Tereshchenko, Ak Bars Kazan (RUS)
Viktor Tikhonov, SKA St. Petersburg (RUS)

We’ll have more soon.

Press release from the Capitals:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 7, 2014

Alex Ovechkin Named to Russian Olympic Team

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will represent Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Team Russia announced the team’s 25-man roster today.

Ovechkin, 28, will be making his third Olympic appearance. The 6’3”, 235-pound forward earned all-tournament honors at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in four games at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. The son of a two-time women’s basketball gold medalist with the USSR, Ovechkin has represented Russia in three World Junior Championships (2003, 2004, 2005), nine World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and the World Cup of Hockey (2004). In his two previous Winter Olympics appearances, Ovechkin has registered nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 12 games.

The Moscow native scored his 400th NHL goal on Dec. 20 against Carolina to become the sixth fastest player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Ovechkin has collected 43 points (31 goals, 12 assists) and 32 penalty minutes in 40 games this season. He ranks first in the NHL in goals (31), power-play goals (12) and shots (225), second in power-play points (23), tied for ninth in game-winning goals (4) and 12th in points (43). Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin leads all players in goals, points, power-play goals, power-play points and game-winning goals.

Ovechkin joins Capitals teammates Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden) and John Carlson (United States) in representing their respective countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Co-worker, on the reason Semin did not make the team: “Emphysema.”

  • P.H. Beats

    So hopefully this means Kuzy will be a Cap soon? How soon might we expect to see him?

  • Ben Reed

    Middling.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    If he flies commercial, tomorrow night.

  • Jesse Morgan

    So if he does show up, are we expecting a complete media basket case devolving into a Chad Johnson or T.O. media flameout?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    NOOOOOO :(((((((

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Ovechkin was right. “He has a better chance in the NHL” Nichuskin, Tarasenko, Anisimov! So sad :(((

  • Jack Conness

    I say we all pitch in and pay for his flight. The sooner the better. Who’s with me?

  • Freedoooom

    Currently as it stands Semin as 19 goals in 75 games with the Hurricanes.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • PKLords76

    Did I miss something or are there only 24 players on the Russian Team roster?

  • Jake Ettawakapow
  • RL

    You’re ignoring assists… He has 62 points in 75 games.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Here’s Chesnokov’s article on Puck Daddy: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/meet-russia-olympic-hockey-team-sochi-2014-got-173441406–nhl.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    I didn’t even think about Nail. Poor guy is getting screwed in EDM and it cost him a sweater in Sochi.

  • David

    While this year he’s started slow, blown away that Alex Semin is not better than ANY of those KHL forwards

  • Red

    Semin! Noooooooooo!

  • RL

    There were rumors that it would be an intentional 50/50 split. Not quite, but.. Oh, Russia.

  • RL

    Ouch for Kuznetsov.

  • Freedoooom

    And? His linemates stopped scoring goals, he stopped getting a lot of points.

  • RL

    Don’t think you understand the role he’s been asked to play in Carolina… He was brought in as a playmaker for Eric Staal.

  • JH

    These KHL scrubs guarantee Russia finishes no higher than bronze. I was happy with letting Semin go from the Caps on a cost/benefit basis – but leaving him off the Russian team is stupid. Prediction: Sweden wins gold; Putin goes apoplectic.

  • dylan wheatley

    these idiots

  • Yo8

    Remember the last time Sasha was snubbed?! And then what happened when he was invited back to the team? Two world Championships and if I’m correct best Russian player in both.

    I’m so angry right now.

  • yv

    While team Canada has more questions about players not selected, the absence of A. Semin is just amusing and perplexing. Looks like HC Bill. really wants to have shutdown line and don’t want to play Sasha in third-forth lines. Ovi-Datsyuk/Malkin-Semin line could be a game-changer

    On another note, this announcement is an interesting end of the story about choices players making in their careers. Kuzya’s teammate in gold-winning WJC Russian team V. Tarasenko and his former Traktor teammate 18yr- old V. Nichushkin, despite big pressure to stay in Russia, elected to be drafted in NHL and quickly signed with SLB and Dallas, respectively. Now, they have been selected to represent Russia in Olympics. While we all know Kuzya’ story,

  • swhirly

    Kuzya is going to blow something up. His motherland screwed him over, big time.

  • Shea Angus

    They spelt Kulemin’s name wrong! Lol

  • holtbysaidno

    Do you think GMGM booked a seat on that flight once the decision to put Urbom on waivers went through?

  • Anon

    No, Kulemin’s name is spelled differently here so that people pronounce it right. Same reason Voinov is spelled Voynov here

  • Matt Root

    I really don’t think Kuzya can be categorized as a snub. His up and down (often down) plus multiple injuries kind of sealed his fate. I’m disappointed with Sasha not going and agree he was snubbed.

    Ideal world, Kuzya rests and heals up and joins the Caps this year just to get some NHL time and to stop toying with our emotions.

  • Freedoooom

    “He’s capable of scoring 40-plus goals,” Rutherford said. “Given the proper opportunity, and playing on a line with Eric (Staal), we believe he can do it again.”

  • Marky Narc

    IS KICKSTAЯTEЯ TIME NOW!

  • RL

    Not sure what you’re trying to argue here… Could he score more? Sure. But he was brought to Carolina to elevate Eric Staal’s game. He did, check the numbers. He’s a much better passer than Staal, so that resulted in more As than Gs. By all accounts, everyone at Carolina was thrilled with his performance. He’s been asked to shoot more, and he has been. During the pre-season, he injured his wrist and came back earlier than he should have because of Carolina’s injury woes, at a time where the entire Carolina offense was shooting blanks. He then suffered a concussion that took him out for 10+ games. Since coming back, he’s routinely led in SOG and scored some pivotal goals that have put Carolina back in the playoff picture, despite being shuffled around on different lines. Is he an Ovechkin or a Malkin? No, but Team Russia doesn’t have 25 of those. Semin is a consistent point producer. He has proven international experience, including two 3-point gold medal WC finals. By some accounts, he was the best player in the 2012 WC final. You can make arguments that Semin hasn’t lived up to his potential, but the fact remains that he has more talent and experience than the KHL forwards who are going to Sochi instead of him. That’s not a snub based on Semin’s shortcomings; that’s a political decision likely to bite Russia in the ass.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    That’s a really stupid restriction. Semin is now in the top 3 for Olympic snubs.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    So is Ovechkin.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    No Semin is a joke. I would’ve taken him over many of the other forwards, especially on big ice.

  • DarkStranger

    No kidding. What’s even more baffling to me is that they chose Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto Maple Leafs) over Semin who is doing WORSE than Semin in both goals and assists, even during a down year for Semin. As far as their career bodies of work are concerned, Kulemin has had one year with 30+ goals, with that year being the one and only year he topped 20 goals. Semin has had at least 3 years of topping 30 goals and at least 3 other years of topping 20 goals. I can understand choosing the kids (Nichushkin & Tarasenko) over Semin but not choosing Kulemin.

  • johnnymorte

    There are 4 Blue Jackets on this roster. Belov? Anisimov? Kulemin? Do they want to make it past the qualifiers? Jeez…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I agree. I think it was a personal thing rather than a talent thing. Real unfortunate.

  • Fedor

    Blue Jackets have the most Russians of any NHL team. Anisimov is a good 2nd line center in the NHL and realistically third best (behind Malkin and Datsyuk) in the nation. Belov was arguably KHL’s best D-man a year ago and Kulemin brings the toughness and discipline that Bill admires.

  • Fedor

    Incorrect. Right pronounciation would be Kuliomin. Kulyomin is his name in accordance to IIHF regulations on Romanization.

  • Fedor

    Semin doesn’t make a stylistical sense. He’s worse than Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Kovy and Radulov. Third line will be checkers/defensive forwards and first will be young powerforwards and Anisimov. Or vice versa on 3/4. Semin doesn’t fit Bill’s style like he didn’t fit Hunter’s.

  • billy

    Yak and Erat should hang out and commiserate.

  • RL

    The style that won them the 2012 WC gold doesn’t make sense? What style was he playing when he put up 3 points under Bill in the gold medal final?

  • Fedor

    Kovalchuk wasn’t at 2012 WC. Bill decided he needs just 4 top-6 wingers. Arguable? Sure. But not outrageous.

  • RL

    Personal how? Did I miss some drama? I remember Semin being pretty complimentary of Bill after the 2012 WCs.

  • RL

    How Bill would look at the embarrassing 2013 WC exit without Semin and the sparkling 2012 WC with Semin and pick the former is a mystery to me… That Ovi-Datsyuk-Semin line was lights out the last time they played together.

  • RL

    Kovalchuk was at the 2013 WC, played great, and Russia still tanked. Why would you ignore the formula that worked for you two years ago? What did Semin do differently for Russia between 2012 WC and now that said, “Hey, I should not only break up that lights-out line, but drop one of them from the roster completely?” There’s no sense to that. Any smart coach keeps his options open. Just assuming it’s “going to work out” with 4 top-6 wingers is arrogant and foolish, especially after last year’s embarrassment.

  • Fedor

    The formula that was two years ago was four star forwards, and Bill stuck to it.

    Is Semin better than Kovalchuk right now? Nope. If Bill left Kovy off the roster instead, the criticism would be much, much louder. I agree with what one Russian journalist said about the snub: “You never know what you’re getting with Semin. He may play, he may not play [...] He may let all the cockroaches he has in his head [~ "rats in the attic"] out.”

  • Fedor

    They should swap teams.

  • RL

    No, but Kovalchuk wasn’t enough to bring home a medal last year, which suggests that he might want to bring the guys that won him the gold two years before? There are also many Russian journalists who find the exclusion baffling. Who cares about his NHL numbers? He put up a stellar performance in his last major tournament for Russia, after a so-so season. Where’s the inconsistency? What did he do to shake the faith since?

  • Fedor

    So you’re saying club play shouldn’t matter while choosing the Olympic team? Tell that to Nichushkin who has never played for the National Team before.

    You need to choose the best players right now. Two years is a long time, too.

  • RL

    No, I’m saying that club play should matter if there’s a correlation between club play and international play. With some players, there is. With Semin, there isn’t. He had a pretty “eh” season, then put up 5 points in 3 games to seal the gold for Russia. After being traded to Carolina, he proceeded to put up 44 points in just 44 games (compared to 54 in 77 games in his last Capitals season). He didn’t get worse after the 2012 WC; he got better. Yes, he’s had an injury plagued first-half, but post-concussion, he has 8 points in his last 7 games. He made some very decisive goal-scoring/goal-creating plays when the scouts were in the stands. Is he better than Ovi, Malkin, Kovalchuk, etc? No. He’s better than whoever you’ve got on your 4th line. Deliberately having a line of “filler-filler-filler” when you can have “very good forward-filler-filler” is ridiculous. What happens if the line pairings that Bill has prophesied to carry him to gold don’t pan out, like they didn’t last year? Why wouldn’t you have the dude who helped win your last medal on the bench?

  • Fedor

    Lines in 2013 WJC != Lines at Olympics.

    Ultimately, Bill thinks that Kokarev – Soin – Tikhonov/Popov will contain Stamkos – Crosby – Kunitz better than Kokarev – Soin – Semin. I’m not saying I agree, but I can see his point.

    Also, having Semin when his center is Sergei Soin is kinda useless.

  • RL

    I’m assuming you mean WC, not WJC, but if you’re saying “WC performance doesn’t matter,” how else do you judge international aptitude between Olympics? I take it back, by the way: there is a correlation between Semin’s club play and international play. He had another substandard year in 2007-08… then had 13 points in 9 games in the 2008 WC, again winning the gold. Look, I understand strategy. I understand tactics. But if you look at your WC performance and see, hey, in the last three WCs this guy played, we won the gold twice (and placed 2nd the other time), you’d have to be an idiot not to take him at all. Would he put up amazing numbers with Soin? Probably not. Would he be available if someone got injured and/or the 1st/2nd/3rd lines weren’t working out? YES. I’m not saying he’s stupid for not putting him on the top line – I’m saying that he’s stupid for not putting him on any line. Unless this is a political “let’s show off our home league!” thing, as was rumored, in which case the stupidity isn’t entirely his. As an aside, wasn’t Semin on the line that Carolina put against Crosby’s when they forced the Penguins to OT recently? IIRC, Crosby was contained for the first two periods of that game.

  • Fedor

    If someone gets injured before the tournament, they can call him up as a replacement player.
    You overvalue the WC. They don’t mean a lot and Russia should be winning them easily with every year. Bad performance against Drew LeBlanc, Aaron Palushaj and Tim Stapleton doesn’t mean a lot when you face Crosby, Stamkos and Nash. Or Backstrom, Zetterberg and Steen. Or Kane, Parise and Kesler.

  • RL

    Can they call him up if someone gets injured DURING the Olympics? Isn’t Feb. 12 the cutoff? You certainly can’t call him up if your lines don’t work out. Should be winning them every year, but aren’t. I realize there weren’t direct Russia/Sweden, Russia/USA, Russia/Canada matchups in the 2012 WC playoff round, but Russia beat teams that eliminated Backstrom, Zetterberg, Alfredsson, Sharp, Tavares, Getzlaf, Keith, etc. In 2008, with Semin AND Kovalchuk, they beat a pretty good Canadian team with a lot of the guys who went on to win in Vancouver. Pat Kane and Parise were also both in that tournament. Does the WC mean everything? No, but it does offer information about international performance, and Semin has passed that test with flying colors regardless of his club play (which, again, was better last season than it was the one before). I’m sorry, but not taking him at all, even just as a back-up fourth-liner, is stupid. The filler-filler-filler line is not going to be better without him, and Bill won’t be able to reassemble the Ovi-Datsyuk-Semin line that won him his last medal if his dream lines don’t work out (as dream lines often don’t). That’s either arrogance, or a lack of foresight/contingency planning.

  • Ethan Pelino

    Does anybody have any clue on when Kuzya is coming over to Washington? We need is offensive skills on NHL ice ASAP!

  • ישראלJohannSchumacherIDF<3

    Will I’ve read that Semin will play anyway because some other player is injured =( And now they’ve got a second injured player, can’t understand why they don’t let Kuznetsov play =(