quarterfinals, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdin appeared to accept the blame, according to USA TODAY Sports' Kevin Allen.
Well, at least the Russians are keeping things in perspective.
Following the host nation's stunning 3-1 loss to Finland in the Olympic quarterfinals, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdin appeared to accept the blame, according to USA TODAY Sports' Kevin Allen.
"I take full responsibility for our team's performance."
But the Russian press was out for blood. During a meeting with a throng of reporters from his native land, Bilyaletdin was asked not-at-all leading questions like "is this a catastrophe" and was offered suggestions about how he should have played his lines. Then, the conversation took a turn to the absurd, according to a translation by Anton Troianovski of The Wall Street Journal.
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.
So he's self-deprecating and shouldered all the blame, right? Not so fast. The coach made sure to throw some subtle shade in the direction of Alex Ovechkin.
"Tough to explain the loss, of course, why scored so little. Players who score so many goals for their clubs, like Alex Ovechkin who scored 40 goals for his club [didn't score]… Right now I cannot explain that."
Ordinarily, we look down at coaches throwing their players under the bus. In this case, with conversations about being eaten alive as the alternative, we'll allow it.