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Russian coach comes under fire following quarterfinal loss

Feb 19, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT

The daggers were out following Russia’s 3-1 loss to Finland on Wednesday, many pointed in the direction of head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.

“Coach Bil” came under heavy fire during the postgame media availability — attended by PHT’s Jason Brough — and it proved to be as dramatic a scene as what transpired on the ice:

In terms of game specifics, two things immediately jumped out. One, Bilyaletdinov referenced Alexander Ovechkin‘s lack of goalscoring — Ovi scored 77 seconds into the tournament-opening game against Slovenia, then failed to score again — and reportedly did so without prompting.

Two, according to’s Dan Rosen, Bilyaletdinov had to be told by Evgeni Malkin to pull Sergei Bobrovsky at the end of the game for an extra attacker.

Bilyaletdinov shouldered the majority of the blame for the loss, saying “I’m at fault for everything” while apologizing repeatedly for the early exit. Speaking of exits, Coach Bil’s ended up being difficult…

  1. kegmen7 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Well I hear Siberia is beautiful this time of year….

  2. patthehockeyfan - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Now, Putin has his scapegoat.

  3. stepanup - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    Feel bad for the guy. It comes down to the players on the ice. It’s not like there’s a shortage of skill players, or a system that needs to be implemented to take advantage of their offensive talent.

    • alexnewca - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      If the coach doesn’t use the players correctly, there’s only so much that can be done. Ovechkin no longer plays leftwing, yet that’s what he played all tournament long. Malkin was used on the PP in the wrong way as well, just to name a couple of examples.

  4. blomfeld - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    DEAR GOD …

    With all kidding aside, hopefully Ovi will now do the ‘sensible’ thing and stay in his hotel room until he gets the call for the airport shuttle. And when that call comes it would be prudent for him to send a ‘look-a-like’ decoy ahead, just to be sure that the coast is clear. He should also refrain from ordering any room service during the interim and he should keep the drapes closed in his room at all times. Take care Ovi and God speed …

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Here we go again with the Ovi drama. And, stop invoking God, blom.

      • hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Perhaps it is YOUR comments that need tweaking…yesterday with me and DB, today with Blomfield and Ovi, and your original point is that maybe commenters need to keep their comments to be based on what the article was about? You’re not even addressing the articles, you’re addressing the commenters.

        No big deal, no offense, but there’s a lot of hypocrisy in your comments.

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Right, hockey412. No argument.

        Give me credit, though. At least on this article, I didn’t write that Dustin Brown is a DB.

        This James Bond drama thing that blom is fabricating regarding Ovechkin – yeah, I know, I went after him. It’s just too ridiculous. Yes, he’s entitled; but, to use his phrase, ‘with all kidding aside,’ Oy!

        BTW, I did cover DB, Kunitz and Ovi in my comments on the article about Sweden’s win. I figured somebody had to get them in.

    • hockey412 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Hopefully they don’t redirect his plane to Kiev.

  5. bucrightoff - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    They looked disinterested and the players pretty much seemed to decide when they were going on the ice. I mean 1:30 left, down 3-1 and out comes a line of Semin, Kulemin and Anisimov? If that was the coaches decision, thats horrific. If its the players deciding when they go on, its still horrific. Too many egos and not enough team play. Coach has to take a lot of the blame for that.

  6. mt10425 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Try to find him tomorrow…or ever again.

  7. girouxsalem89 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    “We are sad to report that Russian Coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov tragically fell in front of two speeding cars then shot himself in the back of the head. It was a very sad accident.”

    • pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      There’s only slightly more pressure coaching the Montreal Canadiens than there is coaching the Russian Olympic team.

      • c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        yeah right. first of all id like to see the reading on your coaching pressure-o-meter to confirm. secondly, michel therein doesn’t coach in a place government by a group “formerly known as the kgb”.

    • cofran2004 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Stop that… I laughed out loud. I’m at work, I can’t be doing that.

    • blomfeld - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      that’s funny friend ! :)

  8. buckeye044 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Euro coaches in all the games seemed to hesitate pulling the goalie. I wonder if that is something they don’t do much of in European leagues.

    • c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      no. didn’t he pay for russia back in the day, even on the 1980 team? when i was reading a story about that game, it was mentioned that despite being down by 1 goal for 10 minutes, the russians never pulled the goalie because “they just don’t do that”.

      its kid of ridiculous, and its even more ridiculous that Malkin or anybody had to basically convince him to get him out of the net.

  9. pastabelly - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Would it ever be too much for the Russians just to come out and say that they were beaten by a better team today? The result shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially since the Russians played yesterday and the Finns had a couple of days off. As far as systems go, the Finns, who also don’t play together all year long, seem to have one that works for them. The rotation of the puck and accountability of defensemen was off the charts. They looked like they’ve played together for a long time. Give them credit.

    • c9castine - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      of course it would be. you saw what happened after they lost to US on a clear no goal. called conspiracy theory on their own home ice.

  10. vm113 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    I’ve talked about Russia’s lack of coaching before this years games started. The previous two Olympics there coaching staff did very little coaching. Their team was nothing more than a collection of individual stars. I thought the Russians would have figured it out by now. I thought they were going to get a guy to insert discipline and structure and teach the players to play as a TEAM. Boy was i wrong. Why are they so behind over there? This coach of theirs looked like a dumb ass behind the bench. Honestly it was like seeing a mannequin. I seem him do nothing to inspire his team. I seen no emotion, no heart, and it translates to the players. They have more talent in their first line than the whole Fin squad put together, but they lost to a team that played as a TEAM. How many times are they going to allow to to happen before they finally figure it out? It’s not freaking rocket science! Pathetic! Pathetic display for you country.

  11. holographicribs - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Gosh, what a shame. A team full of lazy KHL primadonnas couldn’t even qualify for a medal on home ice in front of their dictator.

    *plays tiny violin*

  12. wingsdjy - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I’d love to hear what was going through his head when he made the starting goalie decision

    • barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 2:23 AM

      Probably something like “I wonder how the borscht will be at the food court after the game, and where did I leave my Preparation H”?
      Varley then stuck his head in Coach’s office and said “Can I play tonight, Coach”?
      Coach says “What? Oh yeah, sure. I wonder what is being served for dessert”?

  13. billsboy88 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Seriously, Putin had the police shoot at him

  14. rockthered1286 - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I’m just confused why it’s all on Ovi and not at all on Malkin who has shown he can be just as prolific of a scorer and did not score a single goal in the Olympics, correct?

    • vm113 - Feb 19, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Malkin was trying. Malking was back checking. Malkin was fighting for loose pucks. Malkin was driving to the net. Malkin was digging in the corners. Malkin was trying to make plays. Ovie didn’t do any of that. Ovie stood there waiting for Malkin to get him the puck. Ovie never thought about creating offense, or setting his teammates up. Ovie shot the puck no matter how bad quality the shot was. Ovie made Malkin work his tail off. Malkin chased the puck while Ovie stood around waiting for it. You could literally see how PISSED Geno was playing with Ovie. Ovie made nobody around him better, he made them worse. I feel for Malkin.

      • barkar942 - Feb 20, 2014 at 1:57 AM

        Ovie no play with de fence.

      • rockthered1286 - Feb 20, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        I’d COMPLETELY beg to differ on this. I think he carries this stigma and people see what they want to see. You don’t see Ovechkin running point on the PP (not always, but a handful of times). You don’t see his 2 assists. You don’t see the hard hits. You see a snapped stick on a wide open shot at net and consider it a bad shot. You see Malkin without the puck and blame Ovechkin for not getting it to him. It’s a cop out to blame Ovechkin for everything. There’s absolutely no way I can believe that without Ovechkin on this team they would have thrived or at least done better than the results in Sochi 2014. Like I said, people see what they want to see solely based on his past. And unless I hear Malkin come out and blame Ovechkin or call him out, there’s no way you can convince me Geno was pissed because he just looked like it. That’s a bold assumption.

  15. savoirlaire - Feb 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    So I guess that whole “the hockey gold medal is the only one that matters to Russia, if they win only the hockey gold the games will be considered a success” idea didn’t quite pan out for them, huh? Cry me a Volga river of tears…

    I understand Bilyaletdinov is going to be Putin’s guest at a biathlon event later today. But the biathlon competitions are over, is that what you said, Zinetula? Not for you, they’re not…

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