Cannibalism came up during the postgame grilling of Russia's hockey coach
Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, the 58-year-old head coach of the Russian hockey team, faced a crowd of stunned Russian journalists after Finland eliminated his squad from the men's hockey tournament here with a 3-1 win in the quarterfinals.
A news conference with Bilyaletdinov, followed by a brief impromptu session surrounded by roughly 20 reporters, offered evidence of how much the loss shocked Russia. Excerpts of the exchanges between the coach and Russian journalists are below:
At a news conference at Sochi's Bolshoy Ice Dome shortly after Russia's loss to Finland:
Q: Is this a catastrophe?
A: This has certainly been an unsuccessful appearance.
A: Let's not play with words. I told you, we were unsuccessful. Call it what you will.
Q: Mr. Bilyaletdinov, in what way, exactly, do you see yourself at fault for what happened? What would you have done differently if you could turn back the clock? Maybe you should have played [Alexander] Ovechkin and [Evgeni] Malkin on separate lines?…Did you want to try this, and if so, why didn't you?
A: I don't want to talk about this now. I'm at fault for everything. I didn't fulfill the task before me.
Q: What do you have to say to the fans? 12,000 came to this match and many more watched on television.
A: I apologize to the fans for this result. We were unsuccessful, and the expectations were totally different.
In a scrum with Russian reporters after the news conference:
Q: You said that the analysis will come later. But what mistakes can you talk about now?
A: There were individual mistakes. That's why we couldn't affect the result even though we had twice as many chances as the opponents. We just couldn't score.
Q: What future, if any, do you see for your own work and for your coaching staff? Because, you know, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics—
A: Well then, eat me alive right now—
Q: No, I mean—
A: Eat me, and I won't be here anymore.
Q: But we have the world championship coming up!
A: Well then, there will be a different coach because I won't exist any more, since you will have eaten me.
Q: But you're staying, aren't you?
A: Yes, I will remain living.
Sent from my iPhone