A month and a half later, the KHL enters its 15th anniversary season. “Championship” tells (and shows) how Russian coaches have changed compared to the first years of work in the KHL.

Dmitry Kvartalnov

It seems that the hardships of coaching have affected Dmitry Kvartalnov the most. In 2009, when the specialist took over the leadership of Severstal, his head was decorated with long dark hair. But season after season, they became whiter. Work in Siberia, CSKA, Lokomotiv and Ak Bars did not lead Kvartalnov to win the Gagarin Cup, although it is clear that he did not spare his nerves for the sake of a big goal. Now the 56-year-old mentor is resting – perhaps a longer than usual vacation will allow Kvartalnov to recuperate and restore vigor.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Igor Nikitin

Fixing changes in the appearance of Igor Nikitin, who assisted Kvartalnov for four years, is much more difficult. Some of his new photographs can be distinguished from old ones only by the emblem, which is embroidered on the lapel of his jacket. However, upon closer examination, visible wrinkles, and a rare gray hair, and a much more confident look are striking.

Before
Before
Now
Now


And this is not at all surprising: a native of Ust-Kamenogorsk had to start his coaching career as the head of Jaromir Jagr at Avangard. Later, the specialist managed to work at the Olympic Games and take the Gagarin Cup. The 49-year-old Lokomotiv helmsman enters the new season as one of the most respected representatives of his craft.

Oleg Znarok

One of the most decorated coaches in Russian hockey launched his return to the big game with rhetorical attacks on journalists. After a year of inactivity, 59-year-old Oleg Znarok headed Ak Bars. At the dawn of the KHL, the specialist combined posts in the HC MVD and the Latvian national team. From both teams, he managed to make strong, spirited teams, but he reached his peak in another national team: with the Russian team, Znarok won the Olympics and the World Cup in 2014.

Before
Before
Now
Now





“What are you turning on?” Znarok already runs into journalists and praises Radulov

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov also made a comeback in hockey, but not yet in the coaching profession. The 67-year-old guru became an adviser to the executive director of Ak Bars in the hockey vertical, thanks to which he again appeared in the camera lenses. But in order to distinguish today’s Bilyaletdinov from his copy of 15 years ago, you will need psychic abilities. Although even then there was nothing to turn gray on his head. But the native of Moscow has retained an excellent physique, and his face, it seems, has only freshened up.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Sergei Fedorov

Last season, the three-time Stanley Cup winner made his debut as a head coach – and immediately led his team to the championship. Together with CSKA, Sergei Fedorov saw through the Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the final, where he got a job in 2009 as a player. Since then, his features have changed markedly, but it seems that 52-year-old Fedorov is one of the few coaches in the league who purposefully monitors his personal image: styling his hair, keeping a straight beard and wearing an imposing vest under his jacket – at the KHL fashion show he would not find equals either.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Andrey Nazarov

The ex-tough guy of the NHL clubs did not get to the titles, although he began to coach a year before the formation of the KHL. Sochi, where Andrei Nazarov moved during last season, turned out to be the ninth club in his resume. Since then, Nazarov’s appearance has changed significantly – in contrast to coaching methods. A textbook sign in this sense is the attitude towards Avangard: Nazarov’s clubs fought with Omsk both in the early 10s and early 20s.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Dmitry Ryabykin

Perhaps 48-year-old Nazarov will change his anger to mercy with the transition of 46-year-old Dmitry Ryabykin from assistant to head coach of the Hawks – together these hockey players played for Avangard in the mid-2000s. On the other hand, in the last seasons of his playing career, Nazarov did not feel sorry for his ex-partner at all – Dmitry also had to participate in serial brawls between the “hawks” and the “Vityaz”.

Now, Ryabykin, who has added solidity, faces the most important challenge in life: the team under his leadership is returning to Omsk, from where they will have to fly more often, longer and farther and it is much more difficult to lure players. True, the first 12 matches Dmitry and his wards will have to spend on the road due to the unavailability of the arena under construction in the city.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Viktor Kozlov

The ex-striker with a rich Enkhaelian past has a little more coaching experience, although it is this autumn that the 47-year-old specialist will make a full-fledged debut as the main one. From the end of December 2017 to April 2018, Viktor Kozlov was in charge at Magnitogorsk, and two years before and two after that he worked as an assistant in Magnitogorsk. The last two seasons, Kozlov worked as an assistant to Tom Lyams at Salavat Yulaev and will now try to successfully replace him.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Ilya Vorobyov

Ilya Vorobyov, whom Kozlov helped in Metallurg, began his coaching career with the MHL, but very soon ended up in the adult league. From 2013 to 2015, Vorobyov gained experience behind the back of Mike Keenan, and after his departure he himself headed Magnitogorsk. Under the leadership of Ilya Petrovich, the Urals immediately took the Gagarin Cup, and the next year they remained vice-champions.

Then Vorobyov tried himself in SKA and the national team, but he can hardly take these years into his asset. Now the 47-year-old coach is working again in Magnitogorsk.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Alexey Kudashov

Alexei Kudashov triumphantly ended his playing career the way Danis Zaripov dreams of: in 2012, together with Dynamo Moscow, he won the Gagarin Cup and left the profession. Without a break for rest, Kudashov retrained as a coach. The first seasons he worked in Atlanta, and then in various positions in SKA and the Russian national team. For a short period of time, the ex-striker was even the main one in the national team, but the mentor failed to take her to the World Cup – the tournament was canceled due to the rampant coronavirus. The 51-year-old Kudashov enters the new season at the helm of the Russian Dynamo.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Andrey Skabelka

In the first seasons of the existence of the KHL, the Belarusian specialist worked with the local Gomel, but then he was noticed in the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo, and the coach never left Russia again. However, Skabelka always experienced problems in order to become truly his own somewhere. The coach worked with Sibir for the longest time (three seasons), but Skabelka did not work out with top clubs: he survived two painful resignations during the season at Avangard and Lokomotiv.

Before
Before
Now
Now


Now the 51-year-old ex-striker is in the status of an unemployed man, but in terms of appearance he follows in the footsteps of Bilyaletdinov.

Leave a Reply