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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Down and Out Puck Bosses: Vasilyev Quits, Tikhonov Irate

Vladimir Vasilyev resigned his post as coach for Russia's national hockey team after a disappointing season Monday, as another retired head coach gave a scorching review of the nation's military, an omnipotent force within Russian hockey.


Vasilyev coached the national squad for an unproductive year. He felt enormous pressure to step aside after Team Russia, led by a dozen U.S. National Hockey League players, failed to gain a medal at last month's World Championships in Vienna.


But it was Vasilyev's consultant at the competition, the legendary Viktor Tikhonov, who came out swinging during an emotional press-conference Monday at the Aerostar Hotel.


His rage was directed at Alexander Baranovsky, chief of Red Army sports. "For two years running I was under constant attacks by Baranovsky," said the former CSKA and Soviet coach.


Baranovsky cited recent poor form by CSKA, the once-powerful Red Army hockey club, mishandling of finances, and Tikhonov's age as reasons for his removal. Tikhonov's official release from both national and club duties was signed by Defense Minister Pavel Grachev in April, but Tikhonov says he cannot blame Grachev for his misfortunes.


"I've tried to set up an interview with the defense minister for several weeks now, but he's been a very busy man these days," he said. "I want to give him my side of the story because I know he hasn't seen the full picture."


If talks are ever held, Tikhonov would have to account for the fate, as yet unexplained, of millions of dollars received by CSKA as transfer payments for players sent to the NHL.


Tikhonov has acknowledged that money is missing, but hinted the loss was caused by mafia infiltration of the club.


Last September, the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation modified its regulations on transfer fees from North America. Whereas earlier CSKA received a large chunk of the NHL's money, today the league must divide its profits evenly among all clubs.