Vyacheslav Bykov: Bringing youth into squad artificially? We would not make it out of the group!

Head coach of the Russian national team Vyacheslav Bykov has summed up the team’s performance at the 2011 World Hockey Championship during the interview after the 3rd place game lost to the Czech Republic (4:7).

«Why did the Russian team fail at the tournament? Is it because the players weren’t in their best form?»

«I don’t think so. From the physical point of view, we have prepared them properly. However, we failed in team play. I can’t explain why. We used to be successful at it, but this time we weren’t.»

«Didn’t you regret after the last game that you didn’t include Tarasenko earlier?»

«No. Still he did perform well against the Czechs. This is the future of our national team. We are glad we took him to Slovakia. He had an opportunity to try himself at this level. Now it all depends on his progress. Before the last matches he looked very shy, while we needed players able to get a result. Look at the young Canadians or Finns – they are making the game at their clubs. We don’t have that. We only have Tarasenko and Kuznetsov – and that’s all. But where are the others? Should we have brought them artificially into the team? Then we would not make it past the group stage!»

«Some changes are always required after such failures. What will be your first steps?»

«It’s hard to tell. This time we have collected our best players from the NHL and the KHL. Creating ‘artificial’ places for youth is very difficult. Even if we wanted to take them, they have to be up to the standard of our today’s players.»

«Don’t you think that your combining of jobs at the national team and at Salavat Yulaev has hindered you? After all, you have joined the national team five days before the tournament.»

«We trusted the experienced coach Valery Bragin, as well as the prospective young Andrei Nazarov who has already proved himself. Moreover, all training processes have been going under our control.

We have the best players in terms of quality – Datsyuk, Malkin, Bryzgalov – who did not play in Bratislava. That’s all we have. We are looking forward to a new wave of young stars to start knocking into the national team’s doors. You can’t make it artificially. I just don’t see any cardinal decisions that would change anything now.»

«Can you admit you have made a mistake picking Yevgeni Nabokov? As a result you couldn’t replace Konstantin Barulin with Vasili Koshechkin even in the game against the Czechs, as the latter had no playing practice.»

«I’ve already said that we could not count on Ilya Bryzgalov while he was still in the play-offs. We had to pick other goaltenders. If we did not take Nabokov and Bryzgalov went further with the Coyotes, we would remain with Barulin, Koshechkin, and Ivan Kasutin,» stated Bykov according to Sovetsky Sport.

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