The man behind one of the biggest failures in Russian hockey history is now out of a job.
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov — aka “Coach Bil” — has been relieved of his duties as national team head coach, according to IIHF.com. The decision comes just weeks after Bilyaletdinov led Russia to a disappointing fifth-place finish at the Sochi Winter Games, recording just two regulation wins (against Slovenia and Norway.)
More, from the IIHF:
The coach told media after the meeting that he is ready to leave and the federation’s President Vladislav Tretiak confirmed that a new coach will be searched after the failure in Sochi, although no names were announced yet.
Bilyaletdinov was named head coach of the Russian national team in June 2011 to follow after Vyacheslav Bykov. He led Russia to a gold medal in his first big event at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki and Stockholm.
However, the team failed to repeat the success at the 2013 Worlds and in Sochi 2014.
Bilyaletdinov’s coaching acumen recently came under fire in a piece from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in which Pens center Evgeni Malkin was reportedly frustrated with many of the strategical and personnel decisions made in Sochi.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: