If any of you remember this thread that asserted that Russia may ice a weakened team: http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=182697 It all came true, after a series of declinations.... Russia ends up with a seriously weakened team. I am REALLY sad about Samsonov. He is our 2nd biggest loss for these Olympics at this point. First, Malakhov declined - No biggie, he sucks, he's old, and is now retired. Second, Zubov declined - Sad ofcourse, he would have been our best defensemen. Yet, since we never had him on the team to start with and it was something new that he would be playing, we never lost him. I just told myself, he is old, this is the last time he is good enough anyways, it dosen't matter. Third, Federov declined - It was a loss no doubt. He finally started producing. Yet the role he would have played on the team at this point, a defensive one, could easily be taken over by Brylin or Viktor Kozlov. A loss, but a replaceable one. Fourth, Mogilny declined - It would have been a nice cinderella story if he returned to the team. I could have seen him making it, but not having him is no big loss and I wasn't troubled. Fifth, Samsonov declined - This is the one that really hit me. Why? You aren't 37.... you're 27!!! We really could have used him. Sure his place is now taken by the 3rd best out of Korolyuk/Morozov/Kharitonov/Afinogenov... yet its not the same. Samsonov is a really good player, and doing very well. Outscoring Afinogenov this year and Korolyuk + Morozov when they were in the NHL. He is a genuine NHL first liner... Afinogenov... a questionable 2nd liner. I really suspect "I've accumalted many injuries over the course of the season and am very tired, and I need some time for recover. I think I will have to skip these Olympics" is the real reason. Even Zhamnov, much older and much more injured wants to go. Samsonov said nobody called him, he just got a message from Nemchinov. May that message have been that he isnt going to make the team... or was it such a last minute question of whether he wanted to play that Samsonov was insulted? Seriously, this one hurts more than anyone inside. We could have used Sammy. He has a 75 point season in the NHL... although Korolyuk never played a full season in the NHL his best was only 37 points, Morozov was only good enough for 50 points when he was younger, and Afinogenov 's best is 40. This guy was a head above these 3, yet alone Kharitonov, and will be missed. Please oh please, no more, let us keep Kovalev. Somehow, just somehow, can't we get Samsonov back as well? With latest developments being what they are, my new team looks a little like this: Ovechkin-Datsyuk-Kovalev Kovalchuk-Yashin-Korolyuk Kharitonov-Malkin-Sushinsky Frolov-Brylin-Afinogenov Extra: Viktor Kozlov A. Markov-Gonchar Volchenkov-Zhitnik Tverdosvky-D. Markov Extra: Tyutin Khabibulin Sokolov Nabokov (even though there is indication Bryzgalov will take this spot) Injury reserve: Zvinovjev(center), Morozov (wing), Kasparitis (defence) who go to the Olympics but dont dress unless there is an injury. Honorible mention to Zhamnov who is willing to play as always, Kulyash who is a young offensive dynamo and is the future of Russian offensive defencemen, and Zherdev, Grigorenko, Semin, Perezhogin, Barulin, Koshechkin, Bryzgalov, Babchuk, Kalinin, Vyshedkevich, Vorobiev, (possibly Radulov, Salubov, and Voloshenko), and the rest of the kids that will contend for the 2010 roster. Zubov, Federov, Samsonov and to a lesser extend Mogilny all deserve to go work at the salt mines... trully scum.