Vitaly Davydov's absence from the 1972 Summit Series is a bit of a mystery.
Davydov was one of the best players in Soviet hockey history in the years prior to 1972. However a controversial coaching change seems to have prevented Davydov's participation in the series.
The Russians dumped the "father of Soviet hockey" as their national team head coach a few months prior to the Summit Series. Out was Anatoly Tarasov, in was former superstar Vsevolod Bobrov. The move did not go over smoothly, especially with older Russian players who were fierce Tarasov loyalist.
Another Tarasov supporter was Anatoli Firsov - the great forward. Both Firsov and Davydov had been officially listed as injured for the series, but it was later learned that Firsov wasn't injured, but instead did not play to protest the outing of Tarasov as coach. This story has been well documented over the years, most notably for North American fans in Lawrence Martin's book "The Red Machine."
Davydov's absence is not as clear. There are no sources that explain Davydov's situation nearly as well. Many say that he was a Tarasov supporter, but all fall short of claiming he was boycotting because of the change in coaches.
Vitali Davydov ---------------Did Not Play------------------
Born: April 1, 1939 in Moscow