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SKA St. Petersburg Fires Coach Jalonen, Appoints Bykov

Published: April 5, 2014 (Issue # 1804)



  • Former Russian national team coach and Olympic gold medalist Vyacheslav Bykov has been announced as the new head coach for SKA St. Petersburg hockey club.
    Photo: ska.ru

SKA St. Petersburg hockey club fired Finnish head coach Jukka Jalonen on Friday after a disappointing playoff run, replacing him with former Russian national team coach and Olympic gold medalist Vyacheslav Bykov.

SKA is among the best-funded teams in the KHL and boasts former New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk, but was eliminated by eighth-seeded Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last week in the Western Conference semifinals.

Jalonen, general manager Alexei Kasatonov and the entire coaching staff have been fired "in connection with unsatisfactory results," SKA said in a website statement. "Vyacheslav Bykov has been named as the new head coach of SKA."

SKA has experienced years of playoff disappointment, never having reached the Gagarin Cup finals despite years as one of the league's strongest regular season teams, and Bykov said his priority would be to play "victorious" hockey.

"I know a lot of the guys and I'm aware that they really wanted to perform a lot better," he said of SKA's poor form in recent season, in comments on the SKA website.

Bykov's contract is for two years with an option for a further year's extension, he said.

Jalonen's departure comes six days after SKA president Alexander Medvedev, who doubles as KHL president, said it was "obvious that the team played below its capabilities" in the playoffs when asked about Jalonen's future.

Jalonen, 51, is best known for taking Finland to Winter Olympic bronze in 2010 and the world championship gold medal a year later. He joined SKA in December 2012, replacing Czech Milos Riha, and took SKA to a second-place finish in the 2013-14 KHL regular season.

Bykov, 53, has not worked as a coach since winning the KHL Gagarin Cup with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in 2011. As Russian national coach from 2006 to 2011, he won the 2009 world championship but saw his team lose in the Olympic quarterfinals the following year.

Bykov won Olympic gold twice as a player with the Soviet team of 1988 and the Unified Team in 1992.

Last week, Russian Hockey Federation president Vladislav Tretiak called for KHL general managers to place more trust in Russian coaches instead of having a "preference for foreigners."

Bykov was a contender to replace Zinetula Bilyaletdinov as head coach of the Russian national team following the Sochi Olympic quarterfinal elimination in February, but the Russian Hockey Federation opted for Dynamo Moscow coach Oleg Znarok instead.





 


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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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