Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички
Fetisov in full control
Viacheslav Fetisov isn't getting any help from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. But he's not complaining.
It took a lot of arm twisting and political will to finally get his dream job: head coach and general manager of Russia's Olympic team for Salt Lake City.
The old guard hasn't taken it well. Russian hockey officials have left Fetisov mostly on his own with the difficult task of selecting and preparing the team.
"We're not working together but at least they're not in my way anymore," Fetisov said of the Russian Federation. "No help from them at all. But I didn't expect any."
The 43-year-old doesn't hide his enthusiasm of assembling a gold-medal contender for the Winter Olympics.
"It's very challenging and I can't wait," he said during a conference call Thursday.
Fetisov, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Monday, has been the Russian players' choice all along. They didn't want to play for the old guard. Not surprisingly, Fetisov shouldn't have to difficult a time in fielding a team.
"I spoke to lots of the guys and I got a great response," said the New Jersey Devils assistant coach.
Eight have already been named to the team: goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (Tampa), defencemen Darius Kasparaitis (Pittsburgh), Sergei Gonchar (Washington), Oleg Tverdovsky (Anaheim), Dmitry Yushkevich (Toronto) and forwards Alexei Kovalev (Pittsburgh), Pavel Bure (Florida) and Alexei Yashin (N.Y. Islanders).
The biggest difference from 1998 in Nagano, when Russia won silver, should be in goal this time around. Khabibulin is a huge upgrade on Mikhail Shtalenkov.
"He's probably one of the best goalies in the league right now," Fetisov said of Khabibulin, who has been strong for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season.
"He's building confidence. It's a great addition to our team and I think he'll do well."
There may be a few surprises added to the team before the Dec. 22 deadline for all countries to submit 23-man rosters. Like 18-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk, for example, the first overall pick by the Atlanta Thrashers last June.
"I spoke to Ilya Kovalchuk last night," said Fetisov. "I like the kid. He really wants to play. He wants to challenge himself. I like his character."
Russia will be among the favourites along with Canada, Sweden and the defending champion Czechs. That's not to say the host U.S. and pesky Finns won't be good either.
"I expect it to be the greatest tournament ever," said Fetisov.
Страничка Вячеслава Фетисова
на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"