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Head coach of Russia`s hockey team says no plans to resign


The head coach of Russia`s national hockey team said on Monday he had no plans to resign despite major defeats the team suffered this year.

The Russian team began the current season with a humiliating 7:3 defeat in a quarter-final clash with Canada at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February.

The alarming trend continued as the team nearly lost the 2010 World Championship semifinals to Germany on Saturday, scoring the victorious goal (3:2) just under two minutes before the third period ended.

On Sunday, the defending double world champions lost 1:2 to the Czech Republic. The Czechs stopped Russia`s winning streak of 27 straight victories and took the title for the first time in five years.

Vyacheslav Bykov said he "did not even think" of submitting his resignation before his contract with the team expires in August 2010.

"Right now we just need to sit down and think it over. The decision is not up to me alone, it is also for the [Russian Hockey] Federation to decide," he said.

Bykov said he saw no major mistakes made by the coaches during the entire tournament.

"Until the final, we did the right thing and made things happen," the head coach said.

Among the main reasons for the defeat, Bykov named poor delivery of opportunities by the Russian team, injuries among Russian players and a flying start by the Czechs, who scored just 20 seconds into the match by firing on an unguarded post.

He also praised Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 35 shots out of 36 during the game. Vokoun was named as one of the Czech Republic`s three best players for the tournament.

"The game took a dramatic turn for us from the very beginning. After letting the first goal in, we had to break the opponent`s defense. But their goalie was brilliant. And, despite being a team of masters, we failed to deliver the opportunities that we had," Bykov said.

The head coach criticized the board of the Continental Hockey League (KHL) for increasing the number of foreign players and coaches to the detriment of young home-grown athletes.

"If there is no understanding between the KHL leadership and the Hockey Federation, if we continue hogging the blanket, there will literally be no hockey in Russia... Without home-grown players, we`ll find ourselves in a dreadful hole very soon," he said.

Both goals into the Russian net were made by Czech players, playing for Russian KHL teams.

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