King of Russia
A Year in the Russian Super League
Publication Date: September 30, 2008
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A revealing look inside the Russian Super League by its first Canadian coach.
Until now no Canadian had penetrated the coaching ranks of Russian hockey, but the year after the NHL lockout, Dave King became head coach of the Metallurg Magnitogorsk. From the beginning, King, Canada’s long-time national coach and former coach of both the Flames and Blue Jackets, realized he was in for an adventure. His first meeting with team officials in a Vienna hotel lobby included six fast-talking Russians and the “bag-man” — assistant general manager Oleg Kuprianov, who always carried a little black bag full of U.S. one hundred dollar bills.
The mission seemed simple enough: keep the old Soviet style combination play on offence, but improve the team’s defensive play — and win a Russian Super League Championship. Yet, as King’s diary of his time in Russia reveals, coaching an elite Russian team is anything but simple. King of Russia details the world of Russian hockey from the inside, intimately acquainting us with the lives of key players, owners, managers, and fans, while granting us a unique perspective on life in an industrial town in the new Russia. And introducing us to Evgeni Malkin, Magnitogorsk’s star and the NHL’s newest phenomenon.
Dave King was coach of Canada’s national team for nine years, during which he coached the team to three Olympic games and a silver medal at Albertville in 1992. He has also been the coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets, as well as the assistant coach for the Montreal Canadiens. He had taken a job with the top team in Finland, Helsinki IFK, before Magnitogorsk began to court him.
Eric Duhatschek was the winner of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for “distinguished contributions to hockey writing” in 2001. In 2000, after twenty years of writing about the NHL and the Calgary Flames, he joined globeandmail.com, where he writes a five-times-a-week NHL column. A frequent contributor to Hockey Night in Canada’s Satellite Hot Stove segment, he has covered four Winter Olympics, nineteen Stanley Cup finals, every Canada Cup and World Cup since 1981, plus two world championships. Most recently, he was appointed as the newest member of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s annual Selection Committee.