Impressions: Guest Speakers

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 Chidlovski

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 ice!
- 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 it!..

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 for worries.

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 a coach...

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 box.

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 innovative style.

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.

"Tarasov and Chernyshev" was originally published in 1969 as a chapter in the "I am watching hockey" book by Boris Mayorov. The article is featured with minor edits due to the specifics of web publishing. The Summit in 1972 is proviliged to feature the artice as a uniques view on legendary coaching duo of Arkady Chernyshev and Anatoly Tarasov by the Soviet national team insider.

Boris Mayorov is one of the legends of the Soviet and international hockey of the 1960s. He won WCs gold in 1963-1968 and Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1968. Mayorov is a member of the Russian Hall of Fame (1963) and IIHF Hall of Fame (1999).

Views expressed by our Guest Speakers are not necessarily those of the Summit in 1972 site.