Two-time Olympic champion Boris Mikhailov analyzes the situation around Russian hockey and his native army club - especially for the Cheka-OGPU and

The regular season of the Continental Hockey League (KHL) ends on February 26. Boris Mikhailov openly shared his thoughts on the eve of the start of the matches for the Gagarin Cup.

“It’s their own fault that the boys are raring to go to the NHL”

- Your friend on the USSR national team, Boris Mayorov, recently told our editors that it is the agents who are the main culprits for the unfavorable situation in domestic hockey. They say they brazenly lure young talents to foreign clubs, of course, we are talking about the overseas NHL. Is it possible, in your opinion, to stop the hockey brain drain?

- You can’t stop it, but you can pause it. Understand, it’s not just about cunning agents. First of all, devastation in our heads, feelings, flaws in family upbringing, and within the hockey team too.

Parents, having barely crossed the threshold of our Tseskov hockey school with their child, declare: their goal is to place their child in the NHL. They didn’t even bother to go with the child to the CSKA museum to find out who forged the fame of the famous club. Their children do not know the names and surnames of the current players of the adult army team, those who are now playing in the KHL. That is, they are not interested in the history of the club at all. But immediately dreams and conversations, often unfounded and unconfirmed, about the NHL...

Of course, in the age of the Internet, children's brains are often turned in only one direction - the NHL. To put it mildly, stupid parents unwittingly guide their children towards dubious values. Further, the result is formed by the mentioned agents and the rogues associated with them. “Mountains of gold” promise. The fragile child's psyche absorbs all this.

If the parents still see the prospects for the children here, then they may not go anywhere, they will progress here and delight the fans. The graduation of 16-17-year-old boys from the sports school is approaching. Not everyone is suitable, to be honest, for a youth team, much less an adult one. This contingent is looking to the West, nothing can be done about it.

- Yes, but 13-14-year-old teenagers, not just young men, often leave for North America. Is it possible to somehow reduce the drain of “hockey brains”, say, at the legislative level, including? After all, you are a member of the executive committee of the hockey federation.

- Wait, don’t be in such a hurry. Work in this direction is underway. Moscow wasn’t built right away either, right?


- What can you say about your CSKA? Why do you think such a deep decline occurred? Are you really completely exhausted after two consecutive victories in the Gagarin Cup?

- Well, someone may have been satisfied that the army team secured, as they say, sixth or seventh place in the conference, ensuring their participation in the playoffs. Me - absolutely not. Everyone is very upset - fans, players, coaches, club management. Rosneft bosses in charge of financial matters. Members of the board of trustees are unhappy.

Overall, I’ll say frankly, a deafening failure, the performance in the regular season was depressing. Perhaps someone will have softer formulations, but this is my opinion. Psychological and physical declines are obvious. And in just one year, such a regression happened. The head coach and his staff are responsible for all these issues. Probably, later the experts will give us answers to the questions that arose during the season.

Where did such uneven matches come from, for example, and why did the stability in the game of defense and attack disappear? Last season, for example, the leading masters of CSKA were invariably among the top twenty scorers of the championship, now there is no one even close. Maybe they started preparing for the season late? These and many other questions remain to be answered.

- How will you react if, let’s imagine, the army team suddenly changes in the playoff matches and begins to “take out” everyone, as in previous years? Do you think this is possible?

- In their hearts, they want to pleasantly surprise their many fans. There are hopes for a successful game in the playoffs, but they are illusory. In my opinion, something supernatural must happen for CSKA to eclipse everyone and everything now. At one time, the famous coach Anatoly Vladimirovich Tarasov told us, then still novice players of the army team: “It’s not enough to want, you still need to be able.” Can the current army team pleasantly surprise you in the playoffs? They must answer themselves - with a game, of course. I personally have deep doubts about a successful performance.

- Now on the eve of the playoffs, the topic of refereeing is especially painful. Its level, according to some hockey experts, noticeably lags behind the skill of the players. Which cannot but affect the entertainment value of matches and the development of the popular game as a whole...

- Yes, this is not a “sick” topic. References to bad arbitration, as a rule, come from people who are weak in the hockey sense, losing. Who is to blame for their failures? Of course, judges, rivals, but not themselves. This is the lot, I repeat, of the weak.

During the matches, did you count the number of mistakes made by the hockey players themselves?

Comrade? Was there a defect in the transmissions, was the inability to complete the attack recorded? And the judges are the same people as all the participants in the hockey action. Yes, they are wrong. The main thing is not to make any effective mistakes, thereby not influencing the result of the match. Of course, there are mistakes, but, in my opinion, there is no discernible bias.


- A serious dispute has flared up: how many foreign players can our clubs invite to join them - three, five? Will the KHL championship look brighter with them, or will the quantity be small, what will change?

- I am for three foreign players in each team. Why? If, let’s say, all the foreign players invited to Russia were up to the level of the cool Boucher from Avangard, then, yes, it would be worth thinking: shouldn’t we open the gate wider for foreigners? Basically, average players come to us, and why invite them here? Let our young, home-grown hockey personnel hone their skills. Basically, this is what happens; there are a lot of capable young people in the clubs, sometimes very young players.

- Russian hockey can’t get into the international arena now. Is isolation very harmful, in your opinion?

- Of course, it has a negative impact. The organization of our hockey business is not bad, but still the level of the KHL championship is falling somewhat, according to my observations. Because there is no, as before, mutual exchange between the hockey federations of Sweden, Finland, North America, and Russia. And such an exchange is a kind of guarantee of development, do you understand?

We actually cannot put together a full-fledged team of hockey players from our league, we just don’t know what level they are at relative to the opponents I mentioned. And whether our “stars” performing overseas would be able to more or less adequately resist the Canadians and Americans is also a question. Well, over time, a lot will return to normal, I believe.

- Let's return to purely internal problems. Don't you get the impression that some KHL championship teams in the final matches of the regular season chose convenient opponents for the opening round of the playoffs and played giveaways? For example, St. Petersburg SKA and Cherepovets Severstal played a somewhat strange match. The St. Petersburg team lost 0:3 at home, the pucks flew into their goal comically, without proper sportsmanship.

- I wouldn’t say that the teams were driven by “negotiations”. I noticed, however, that some masters were not operating at their full potential on the site. But maybe this is a misleading impression?

Interviewed by Alexey Matveev