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Not everyone Russian to play for coach // Toronot Sun
Yushkevich chosen for team
But the Maple Leafs defenceman, who didn't know he was one of the first eight players named to the Russian squad until he was told by reporters yesterday after the Leafs practice, acknowledged the coaching situation remains sticky.
Coach Boris Mikhailov, a holdover from the 1972 Summit Series, has rubbed players the wrong way when he has coached the national team in the past. Also, he has insisted on picking the team for Salt Lake City, spurning the advice of Russian hockey great Slava Fetisov.
"When you represent your country, you don't worry about the coaches (because) it's not our decision," said Yushkevich, who was a member of the Russian team at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano.
"I think Boris Mikhailov is good enough to coach the Olympic team but I know the question is still open. There could be a last-minute change before the Games. The coach in the (Nagano) Olympics (where Russia won silver) was (Vladimir) Yurzinov, and lots of guys want him to be head coach.
"I like him a lot and I want him to be coach too, but that's not my decision."
The other seven players named to the Russian team yesterday by Mikhailov were goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (Tampa Bay Lightning); defencemen Darius Kasparaitis (Pittsburgh Penguins), Sergei Gonchar (Washington Capitals) and Oleg Tverdovsky (Anaheim Mighty Ducks); and forwards Pavel Bure (Florida Panthers), Alexei Kovalev (Pittsburgh) and Alexei Yashin (Ottawa Senators).
A glaring omission was Detroit Red Wings forward Sergei Fedorov, who is not a fan of Mikhailov. Fedorov and Dallas Stars defenceman Sergei Zubov have not yet committed to playing. It's thought Slava Kozlov of the Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks' Alexei Zhamnov won't play for Mikhailov.
One surprise was the early inclusion of Khabibulin, who hasn't played in the NHL since the 1998-99 season.
"He is one of the best goalies in the world and the best Russian goalie right now," Mikhailov said.
Leafs winger Sergei Berezin wasn't on the list but would welcome an opportunity to play.
"I would love to play if they ask me," said Berezin, who was on the
1994 Russian Olympic team but did not play in Nagano. "If not, I'll take