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Former all-star Sergei Samsonov sent to minors by Blackhawks

CHICAGO - The decline of former NHL rookie of the year Sergei Samsonov continued Wednesday when the Chicago Blackhawks assigned the forward to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

The Blackhawks sent the left-wing to their AHL affiliate after he cleared waivers.

Samsonov has appeared in 23 of Chicago's games without scoring a goal. He has four assists, and a minus-seven plus-minus rating. He was acquired last June from Montreal for Jassen Cullimore and Tony Salmelainen.

Samsonov is under contract for US$3.525 million this season and can become an unrestricted free agent next July 1.

Wednesday's demotion the latest setback for Samsonov in a once promising career.

He was the eighth player selected in the 1997 entry draft by Boston and won the Calder Trophy in the 1997-98 season when he scored 22 goals and added 25 assists in 81 games.

He made the all-star team as a Bruin in 2000-01 when he racked up a career-best 75 points, including 29 goals.

His career started a downward spiral when he signed with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent in the summer of 2006. He had just nine goals and 17 assists in 63 games with Montreal and was a healthy scratch for 18 games in 2006-07. He was in the press box for the last 13 games of the season, after he publicly questioned whether he made the right move in signing with the Canadiens.

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