Sunday, April 24, 2005

Barry Smith to coach Metallurg Magnitogorsk (updated)

Red Wings associate coach Barry Smith was named head coach of Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian Superleague on Saturday. He is the first NHL coach to make the move to the lucrative Russian market, where oil lords pay top dollar for competitive hockey franchises. It is doubtful that the contract includes an escape clause where he could return to the Wings in the event that the 2005-2006 NHL season takes place. And Barry is no stranger to European hockey. Barry coached in Sweden from 1981-1984, and in Norway from 1984-1986. He also served as a European prospects scout for the Sabres, and had a one-season stay in Italy to coach the Alleghe team and Italian National Team. In the summer of 1996, Smith was chosen to be assistant coach for Team Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey, and, later that season, became head coach of Malmo of the Swedish Elite League, only to return back to Detroit in time for their successful playoff run of 1997. And finally, Smith served as assistant coach for Sweden's national team at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. What an international resume! As for Barry's experience with coaching Russian players, he helped form the Russian Five (Vladimir Konstantinov, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov), and has plenty of experience coaching the other Russian Red Wings. That leaves a hole at the associate coaching spot on the Wings, assuming that head coach Dave Lewis and assistant coach Joey Kocur return. Possible in-house candidates include Pat Verbeek, Doug Brown, Jason Woolley, Igor Larionov, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, or even Brendan Shanahan. Basically any aging Red Wing or alumnus. Update: (27. Apr 05 - Matt) The Detroit News says today that Barry Smith actually turned down the offer from Metallurg Magnitogorsk and will stay with the Wings instead. Smith said yesterday that
"It's a good organization, nice people, and they did a good job of pursuing. But in the end, I want to be part of the Red Wings."
He was offered the job after holding a seminar for them earlier in the summer and said he "didnt expect it [the offer]." I'd like to know where that rumor started. I imagine Reuters got their story from one of the Russian sports rags, which are not known for their accuracy. It's a relief to know Smith will be staying afterall. It's hard to imagine the Wings without him there on the bench. Update #2: (27. Apr 05 - Matt) Apparently, the rumor came from the official site of Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The team issued a press release on the 23rd (Saturday) stating that they had reached an agreement in principle with Barry Smith and that a contract would be signed soon. However, Smith backed out. To make it worse, it looks like Soviet Sport found that out and published it before anyone told Metallurg. The Metallurg site points out that despite a good relationship with Igor Larionov in Voskresensk (which I'm assuming is a city nearby), Smith decided against signing due to the small chance of the 2005-2006 NHL season being canceled. It's funny to read the comments made by the fans about the whole thing. Typical grumbling hockey fans! If you're like me and can't read Russian, use BabelFish to translate. The results are hilariously bad but you can get the gist.


Post a Comment

Bookmark this post On the Wings

Search this site

<< Home

[Powered by Blogger]