Upset Russian coach after defeat: ‘Eat me alive’

Russia’s coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov is not sure about his future. (USATSI)

To some, a Russian gold in Olympic hockey would’ve been ample to deem the Video games a hit for the host nation, regardless of the outcome of other sports. If the Olympics had been Vladimir Putin’s baby (they were), then Russia’s hockey workforce, a group he publicly lauded and partially helped finance, was the apple of his eye. He even had a hand in picking the person tasked with explaining the confounding efficiency to the media.

Searing questions were heaped on Russia’s coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov following Wednesday’s beautiful three-1 loss to Finland, and given the aforementioned stress, his answers, while candid, weren’t stunning.

The transcript of one reporter-coach change, per the Wall Avenue Journal:

Q: What future, if any, do you see for your personal work and on your coaching employees? As a result of you recognize, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics.

A: Effectively then, eat me alive proper now –

Q: No, I mean –

A: Eat me, and I won’t be here anymore.

Q: But we have the world championship developing..

A: Properly then, there shall be a unique coach because I will not exist anymore, since you’ll have eaten me.

Q: But you’re staying, aren’t you?

A: Sure, I’ll remain dwelling.

Other questions (How much are you at fault? Was this a disaster?) had been lobbed at the coach, but he was clearly reticent to indulge the feisty media. Gold or bust usually isn’t a stable strategy, however the Russians shall be not noted of the medals ceremony for a third straight Olympics.

“There were nice hopes positioned on us, and we didn’t reside up to them,” Pavel Datsyuk, the Russians’ finest participant throughout the tournament, stated to

Questions relating to the effectiveness of using Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin on the same line together with a curious resolution to start out (and eventually pull) Semyon Varlamov in purpose, were authentic probes, but these solutions would greatest be saved for an additional day.

When Bilyaletdinov was asked whether or not he can be sticking around Sochi, he curtly responded, “No, I might slightly depart.”

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Nichushkin Olympic selection opens rift in Russia

Valeri Nichushkin's inclusion on Russia's Olympic roster made waves among the team's staff. (USATSI)
Valeri Nichushkin’s inclusion on Russia’s Olympic roster made waves among the many group’s staff. (USATSI)

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When the roster for Russia’s 2014 Olympic workforce was introduced, it wasn’t a shock to see a reasonably even cut up amongst players from the NHL and KHL. It was, however, fairly stunning to see that 18-12 months-previous Valeri Nichushkin had made the team.

Apparently that shock would not only extend to followers and critics. Head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov did not sound too proud of the selection former NHLer and Group Russia’s basic supervisor Alexei Yashin made relating to the Dallas Stars rookie.

From R Sport:

When Nichushkin was chosen as the youngest participant on the Russian roster Tuesday, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said it was “an advance cost” that the participant “should justify,” but normal manager Alexei Yashin dismissed that idea in feedback to R-Sport on Wednesday.

“It’s onerous to talk about an advance cost. It’s the mistaken phrase,” mentioned Yashin, who played 850 profession NHL video games. “Nichushkin has earned the decision to the Olympics with his recreation.”

In line with Yashin, Nichushkin is “a very good participant and an emerging star of the NHL” and his rookie season is reminiscent of Canadian stars Sidney Crosby and John Tavares.

By “advance fee,” it appears that evidently Bilyaletdinov means Nichushkin is getting the spot without having performed sufficient to earn it at such a young age.

The strain on Russia to win in Sochi has to be immense. Hockey is anticipated to be the crown jewel of the Sochi video games as the Russians are very prideful a few sport they really feel is as a lot theirs as anyone else’s. So if the top coach and common supervisor aren’t on the same page, that’s getting off to a pretty rocky start.

Russia is in Group A with USA, Slovakia and Slovenia, in order that they’ll have their work lower out for them right out of the gates.

Nichushkin has been good for the Stars this 12 months with 22 factors in 43 video games including nine goals. That mentioned, it’s onerous to say he belongs on the workforce over a extra established player like Alexander Semin. Nichushkin has also never performed in a men’s national team occasion except for the World Junior Championship and World Beneath-18 Championship final year.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound forward did star in the KHL playoffs last 12 months, serving to get Traktor Chelyabinsk to the Gagarin Cup finals. He had nine factors in 25 postseason contests as a 17-year-previous enjoying a excessive degree of pro hockey.

It is in all probability not a lot of a shock that Bilyaletdinov is nervous about the choice Yashin made. In any case, it is going to be the top coach as probably the most seen Russian official, opening Bilyaletdinov up for the bulk of the scrutiny.

Russia has not medaled on the Olympics since taking bronze in 2002. Their embarrassing loss to Canada in 2010 nonetheless stings and because the host of the video games, they will want to give the nation one thing to cheer about. Yashin is actually taking a threat right here with Nichushkin and he higher easy things over together with his coach soon, too.

Gotta love Olympic hockey drama.

(h/t ProHockeyTalk)

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