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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.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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