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'Eat me alive right now': Russian hockey coach's postgame interview is amazing

Jay Busbee
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A coach's postgame press conference after a wrenching loss can go one of two ways. The most common way is for the coach to say how proud he is of his charges, how much he appreciates the fans' support, and how he takes responsibility for the loss on himself.

In Russia, it went the other way.

Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, head coach of the Russian national team, met the press after Russia's devastating 3-1 loss to Finland, a loss that knocked the home team out of medal contention. Bilyaletdinov took a shot at star Alex Ovechkin — one of the few Russian shots all day that was actually delivered with any force — but oh, there was so much more. Let's take a look at some of the individual elements of the transcript, via the Wall Street Journal:

Q: Is this a catastrophe?

A: This has certainly been an unsuccessful appearance. Q: [Inaudible]

A: Let's not play with words. I told you, we were unsuccessful. Call it what you will.

What do we learn from this exchange? That Russian interviews are no less obvious than American ones. Yes, unnamed questioner, we'd say a loss that devastates an entire nation qualifies as a "catastrophe." Perhaps even a "debacle."

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 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.

The "what do you have to say to the fans" query is always a strange one. What's the coach supposed to say? Roll Tide? You can sense Bilyaletdinov getting testy now, and later on, it turns truly weird.

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—

Whoa. WHOA. Eaten ALIVE? That seems a little harsh, even for Russia. We could see it happening in Philadelphia, sure, but Russia? Oh, wait, the question was metaphorical ... albeit a bit sinister, with the "What future, if any ... " lead-in. Let's start over.

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.

Bravo, sir. That's how you handle a ridiculous question. Nick Saban and Bill Belichick salute you. "Eat me alive right now" vaults this interview right into the conversation of best coaching meltdowns of all time.

Plus, we'd imagine that Russian hockey coach meat is pretty gamey and, right about now, filled with bile.


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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