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сентября 1999 года.
Devils: Robinson, Fetisov working well together
By Rich Chere
It could have been a clash of enormous egos, destined to fail.
When the Devils announced on May 26 that Larry Robinson would return to his former position as assistant coach and that Viacheslav Fetisov would continue in the same capacity, there were many who wondered whether they could coexist. Or would there be fireworks between two of the greatest defensemen who ever played the game?
As they head into the final five days of training camp, Robinson and Fetisov have avoided stepping on each other's toes. And the Devils can only benefit from two of the game's sharpest hockey minds.
"I think Slava is a little more offensive-minded and I'm a little more defensive-minded. If you're dealing with egos, you might have a problem. I don't think Slava or m0.yself have egos," Robinson said.
"We have a lot of pride, but we have the most respect for each other," Fetisov said. "I don't think egos should be bigger than the team itself. Larry and I have different philosophies, but I think it only benefits the team. I'm happy he's here. I have a great relationship with Larry."
In fact, Fetisov may have had more differences of opinion with head coach Robbie Ftorek last year than he has had with Robinson.
"Slava and I had problems last year, but problems can be worked out," Ftorek said. "We have great conversations, although sometimes they can be heated."
After a difficult transition last year from player to coach, Fetisov was looking forward to his second season with Ftorek when Robinson was added to the mix after four seasons as Los Angeles Kings coach.
There was immediate speculation that Fetisov might look for another job, but he claims he never considered that.
"I'm so happy here," he said. "This is one of the best organizations in hockey right now. I've learned a lot. I'm happy and my family is happy. I think more is better, especially f this team with the young players we have. We might have some different philosophies, but we have to find the right solutions."
Robinson had left the Devils after their Stanley Cup championship in 1995 to coach the Kings. Four seasons behind the bench in L.A. took its toll, and he jumped at the chance to become an assistant coach again.
"It's not like I don't want to be a head coach," Robinson said. "If the right situation came along, I still might entertain the thought. If it's not the right situation, it becomes a great strain on your life. Those were four tough years. All it took was talking to friends and family about how much I aged.
"The thing I enjoy most about being a coach is being around the guys, the camaraderie, the fact that you can pass on things you've learned to make things better for players."
So far, Robinson has handled the team's penalty-killing while Fetisov has concentrated on the power play. Both seem happy.
Fetisov said he has finally resolved that he is no longer a player.
"I find it's much easier this year. I like it now," he said. "I played in a tournament in Moscow in August. I played in one game and scored three goals. They asked me to play another game and I said no. I didn't want it to suck me back in."
"As far as I'm concerned, it's been a very smooth transition for me. Ultimately, Robbie has the last say. He's the boss," the Hall of Famer said. "This is a unique situation. I have the utmost respect for Slava. I've often said I would have loved to have been the coach when he was in his early 20s. He's a real war horse."
That can be said of both.
Страничка Вячеслава Фетисова
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