After Bykov and Zakharkin have been dismissed, Life.ru interviewed legendary Victor Tikhonov, a Russian version of Iron Mike. :-)
As coach he won (Wikipedia):
Tikhonov was known for his dictatorial coaching style. He exercised nearly absolute control over his players' lives. His teams practiced for 10 to 11 months a year, and were confined to barracks throughout that time.
- 13 straight Soviet titles (1978–1989)
- World Championship gold in 1978–1979, 1981–1983,1986,1989,1990.
- Olympics gold of 1984,1988,1992.
- 1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup.
An offer you can't refuse (Soviet style)
"The next coach will be Zinetula Bilyaletdinov," said Viktor Tikhonov. "I proposed his candidacy last year. He is actually Dynamo's alumni, but I know him well. He was in the national team for 6 years." [Tikhonov coached CSKA Moscow, before that Riga's Dynamo - tj]You can listen to audio interview in Russian with Tikhonov here ( http://www.lifesports.ru/news/59567 )
Did anyone actually started negotiations with Bilyaletdinov?
Tikhonov: Yes, the negotiations have already started. Even if one of the leaders of the [Russian Hockey] Federation will oppose to it, the issue will be resolved at the government level.
Just like how it happened to me. I was called [to the top] and offered to move to Moscow [from Riga] and I refused first time. When they called me second time they simply told me 'do not refuse this time [or else]'."
Ovechkin about Bilyaletdinov (excerpt from his interview he gave in 2008):
Who of your coaches had the toughest monstrous workout program?
Krikunov. Maybe another one was Bilyaletdinov. What I saw in America, their workout regimens were not even close. That's why I never had any problems in Washington's pre-season training camp.
Wikipedia (English and Russian versions) about Coach Bill:
Zinetula "Bill" Khaidarovich Bilyaletdinov is a former Russian ice hockey player of Tatar roots, who competed for the USSR.
In 1973-1988 he competed for HC Dynamo Moscow.
In 1993—1997 worked for Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Chicago Black Hawks. One of the first Russian coaches who worked in the NHL.
In 1997—2000, 2002—2004 was a Head Coach of HC Dynamo Moscow.
In 2001-2002 coached Hockey Club Lugano in Switzerland.
Won the Russian Championship in season 2005-06 and consequtive European Champions Cup-2007, as well as the history's first KHL Gagarin Cup as a head coach for Ak Bars Kazan.
Also Life.ru somehow interviewed Sasha (no details when and how it happened):
Alexander Semin calmly reacted to the sacking of national team coaches Vyacheslav Bykov and Igor Zakharkin.
"Frankly I don't care," said 27-year-old forward. "My job is to play hockey, not to discuss the fate of the dismissed coaches and my attitude to what has happened."
More clue on 'an offer you can't refuse' from Sobesednik.ru:
One of the main reasons Bykov and Zakharkin have failed was coaching of KHL's hockey club at the same time as the national team. As a result of two part-time jobs the preparation for the tournament was crumpled.(Source: http://www.sobesednik.ru/sport/izgnanie-bykova-i-zakharkina):
But looking at the candidates for coaching the national team one can say that this problem will remain. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov is working with HC "Ak Bars" for seven years and he won't leave voluntarily. Oleg Znarok is cherished in Dynamo, and Milos Rzhiga was just appointed as a head coach of the St. Petersburg SKA. And that's it, the list of Bykov's real successors ends...
"Why was he fired then?" would ask a sports fan, who doesn't follow hockey closely. Indeed, why change one part-time Coach to another? But it is obvious that the last word was left to the one whose name was used by Bykov immediately after the failure of the 2011 World Cup.
It would seem that support of the main fan was supposed to guarantee Bykov and Zakharkin peaceful future. But he decided to go other way firing Coaches by the means of RHF.
The Ak Bars management, of course, can resist and will not release the most successful coach in their history. But then they will get the answer from the top; paraphrasing the words from a famous movie, "if you won't let him go, we'll turn off the oil."
So the name of the new head coach of team of Russia is in fact very clear already. The only question is how soon in Tatarstan [where Ak Bars is - tj] they will understand the seriousness of the situation ...
You can ask who is the person sobesednik.ru is even afraid to mention? My guess is: Vladimir Putin.