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On Thursday, May 16, the Russian ice hockey team suffered a devastating defeat in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships from the Americans - 3:8. This was the bitterest defeat for the Russian ice hockey team ever. The media do not rule out that this failure will entail resignation of Zinetula Bilyaletdinov as Russia’s national team head coach.
The head coach explained that errors and poor discipline were the reason for the team’s failure, the Sovetsky Sport newspaper writes.
The series of successful performances of the Russian team in the world tournaments was interrupted at the current IIHF World Championships, the Kommersant newspaper writes. Last time the team had to pack their bags so early was after the quarterfinals in Riga in 2006. During the following seven World Championships the Russians were at least among the four strongest teams. Russians won three World Championships - in 2008, 2009 and 2010. And only once they were defeated as bitterly as on Thursday: in a quarterfinals match of the Vancouver Olympics the Russian team lost with a score 3:7 to the Canadians.
After the devastating defeat with a score 3:8 the issue of who will head the Russian team in Sochi was raised, the Novye Izvestia daily writes. Just a couple of weeks ago there was no doubt that coach Bilyaletdinov under whose leadership the national team brilliantly won last year’s World Championships, will lead the Russian at the Olympics. However, now the Russian Ice Hockey Federation (RIHF) will have to ponder this matter, because at the Olympic Games at home the team will not be forgiven any defeat at all, say nothing of the recent major one.
However, according to Friday reports, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov will remain on the post of head coach of the Russian national team, President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretyak said when the Russian team returned from its unsuccessful tournament in Helsinki.
Tretyak recalled that the contract with Bilyaletdinov is in force until the Olympic Games in Sochi. “He will be training the team for the Games,” said the RIHF head.
Bilyaletdinov himself has refused to talk to reporters.