at The Summit in 1972
This column features
stories and unique views on the
Summit'72 and international hockey
submitted by our visitors.
Tarasov and Chernyshev
by Boris Mayorov,
Team USSR and Spartak Moscow
translated by Arthur
During the game, Chernyshev either sits or stands
in one place. He almost doesn’t talk –
once in a while, he makes a short statement to a
player that just changed his shift. Tarasov can’t
spend more than a second in one place. He walks
along the bench and alsways has something to say
to every player on the roster. The better things
are going for our team, the louder our second coach
gets. His calls to the players on the ice can be
heard not only by us but it seems to me that fans
in the top rows can hear them as well. I even think
Tarasov knows it. Anyway, he is not afraid of the
crowds. By the way, when he conducts his training
sessions in CSKA or national team and has audience
in the stands, he loves to use a loudspeaker to
instruct the players. Although we can hear him pretty
well without it.
Here are some of his phrases that I wrote down
in my notebook during the USSR vs. Canada Game.
- Fight for every square santimeter on the
- Faster! More moves! Outmove them!
One of the Canadians bumps into Zinger (Russian
goaltender – note by The
Summit in 1972).
- What? Are you gonna let them kill Zinger?
- Don’t let them slow down the tempo!
We ain’t have lazy ones on our team!
- Nothing to be done slow!
- Don’t fail in bravery to them!
In the end of the period, Mishakov had a chance
to score, but missed the shot. It happened in the
other end of the ice. Tarasov yells at Mishakov:
- Zhenka, what was that? Friendly shot? Aren’t
we Russians getting too friendly here?
And that goes on till the end of the period.
There is a press-conference after the game where
coaches answer the questions from the journalists.
Chernyshev and Tarasov take turns to go to the press
conferences. Tonight, it’s Tarasov’s
turn. Reporters know that and there are no empty
seats in the room. First of all, Tarasov builds
his speech the way that his phrases are ready to
make headlines for the papers. One always expects
some original trick from him. Instead of answering
questions, he might suddenly start to ask the reporters
or begin arguing with them. Journalists just love
You can’t find more different pesonalities
than Tarasov and Chernyshev. I can’t imagine
Chernyshev talking loud as well as I can’t
imagine Tarasov talking soft. I’ve never seen
Chernyshev out of balance, losing his temper. Even
in the moments when we were losing a game. I haven’t
seen Tarasov relaxed even when there were no reasons
It’s hard to locate Chernyshev among the
players during the game – he stands by the
board and wears grayish colors as if he wants not
to be seen. Tarasov can’t spend more than
5 seconds in one place. His loud remarks and wide
gestures are like magnets for the TV and film cameras.
He usually wears a bright Red Army jersey with “T”
instead of a number on the back.
At the training sessions, Chernyshev is usually
off the ice, by the board. Tarasov’s place
is right in the middle of the ice. Before the practice
or game starts, Chernyshev always talks first, brief
and clear, delivering a plan for the game overall
and individually to each player. Tarasov always
adds something. His speech is always filled with
emotions and pep-talks like “don’t shame
us”, “give all you can”, “be
extremely loyal to the team”
We all know that before making an important decision,
they argue a lot but NEVER in front of us, players.
In front of us, they support each other...
I am looking at them during these games in Stockholm
and think whom would I like to be like when I become
I’ve always been fascinated with Chernyshev’s
cool and balance. I am totally lacking it. How many
times I was losing temper and it turned so costly
for our team! Penatlies, disqualification... Now,
after years of playing, I am more calmed down. Still,
I would like to take Chernyshev’s coolness
and self-control shown even in the hardest games
we had to play. His confidence is catchy, soon the
whole team gets confident even in the moments when
everything seems to be wrong and lost. His coaching
thinking is always sharp and clear. It really helps
in the clutch games.
Through its hockey history, Team USSR won nine
world championships. And in all of these victories,
Chernyshev was a head coach. I am sure that Chernyshev’s
personal character played the main part in it.
Tarasov’s passionate approach is not always
helpful for the team. Sometimes, he goes overboard,
he can humiliate a player, he can be unfair in his
remarks. Veterans are used to this. It not as painful
for as for younger players. It makes them , especially
in most important games, more nervous, sometimes
it breaks them. Later, the player will understand
that the coach didn’t really mean it, that
he wished the best to the player and team. But it
will come later. Now, in the passion of the game,
it might really hurt because he as rookie tries
his best and no one really told him what wrong did
he do. He can’t really reply to the coach.
The team discipline is like in the army.
It seems to me that no one paid as hard for Tarasov’s
loss of temper, as his CSKA in the last championship.
It was the last game of the tournament. CSKA vs.
Spartak. In order to win gold medals, CSKA needed
a win. A tie would have made our Spartak the champions.
By the 9th minute of the third period, we led 2:1.
All of a sudden, Petrov scores the second goal.
The officials said “No goal”. What happened
was that the scoreboard in the stadium got broken
but control timer of the officials showed that the
first half of the third period is over. The referee’s
call was not heard trough the crowds’ cheering.
I can see this emotional tornado going inside Tarasov.
You were so close and all of a sudden someone wanted
to take the goal away from you. I couldn’t
imagine what I would have done had I been in Tarasov’s
shoes. Probably, I would have broken my stick over
the board. Tarasov’s temper pushed him on
something else. He pulled the team out of the ice
and held the players for 35 minutes out of the game.
I’ve been playing elite hockey for 13 years
and I know if the official said no goal he would
NEVER change his decision. I’ve never seen
it in the history of hockey. Tarasov is more experiensed
than me. He knew it better than me. It was clear
that the boycott would have led nowhere.
It wasn’t a silly goal that they scored.
We were tired and barely held defense against CSKA.
All we were dreaming about was to hold on to the
score. The Red Army found their game and, besides,
we were shorthanded – Kuzmin was in the penalty
Had Tarasov been more rational, with his knowledge
and experience, he would have realized that it was
the time. That we were done. But his emotions took
over and it saved us. We got a chance to rest a
bit during these 35 minutes. As for CSKA, they were
not up to resting. They caught Tarasov’s mood
and got "overburned". By the time the
game continued, their advantage was over. Our penalty
was over and they got two minutes penalty for Tarasov’s
fit. Tarasov knew that it was going to happen…
The game was over. The last tem minutes we dominated
the game and even scored the third goal...
But Tarasov has one quality that makes him superior
to any coach. He is a very creative person. He constantly
searches for something new. It might seem strange.
Why would he bother himself and the others? He has
a great team, great players. Only recently, we at
Spartak began to "pinch" CSKA here and
there. Before, the championship results were prewritten
– the CSKA team was much stronger. They have
the best youth program and their scouting is virtually
unlimited. Tarasov has everything - fame, medals
and honors, army colonel’s rank… He
could have just enjoyed it and lived without headaches.
But it’s not Tarasov’s way.
He is always looking for something new. New “assembly
line” style in training sessions, new “five
in offense – five in defense” formulas,
new half-back position on the ice. Sometimes he
finds what he’s looking for. Sometimes not.
He is full with new ideas, propagates them in his
books, argues with his opponents. He is not an idealist,
not a Don Quixote fighting with the windmills. All
his ideas are down to earth based on real life.
He has a tremendous talent for everything new in
the air. There are no “I can’t do it”
or “It is impossible” for him.
Soviet hockey has many followers and students.
CSKA is a leader not just because they have all
these medals. In many ways, CSKA owes Tarasov’s
Likewise, Chernyshev is completely opposite to
his first assistant coach Tarasov. I can’t
say that he is completely conservative. But in his
methods, he is very cautious. His gentlemanlike
appearance makes him look like a classical Englishman.
If, while selecting players for the national team,
there is a choice to be made between a young promising
player and a proven hockey veteran who might not
be as outstanding as he used to be but still is
reliable, Chernyshev will vote for a veteran player.
No wonder his current line up of Moscow Dynamo
is not much different stylewise from the Krylov-Kuzin-Uvarov
line that starred 15 years ago. No wonder, young
players are placed on a long waiting list before
seeing their names on the main roster.
The most amazing and unique about this that Chernyshev
and Tarasov being so different not only get along
but compliment each other, help each other and lead
our national team to the glorious victories. Isn’t
it strange? Or maybe it’s not strange at all.
Maybe, it’s the right way to select coaches
for the teams. Let them complete each other. Maybe,
the truth lays in these long discussions between
two different styles and characters.