Bykov: Gusev could strengthen absolutely any team in the KHL. Dynamo is very lucky

One of the best hockey players of the last decade and the hero of the victorious 2018 Olympics Nikita Gusev changed his club registration this off-season. The forward moved to Dynamo Moscow. The former coach of the Russian national team and two-time Olympic champion Vyacheslav Bykov, in an exclusive interview with Sovetsky Sport, assessed the forward’s move, estimated the chances of the blue-and-whites to compete for the Gagarin Cup in the new season and said whether Gusev should try again abroad.

– Gusev moved to Dynamo Moscow. How good is it for him? Will he be able to fit into the white-blue system?

– I think Nikita is a very talented player. He is able to strengthen and integrate into any hockey team of our league, because smart and technical players quickly find a common language and improve the quality of partners through their skills. I will not be surprised if Nikita becomes one of the leaders of Dynamo. In principle, this is a strong team that takes high places in the regular season and fights for the Gagarin Cup. They have experienced players that Nikita can bond with. You can wish him good luck in the new club. Let it also manifest itself effectively and interestingly.

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– Can you call his transition so far the main signing of the off-season in Russia?

– To be honest, I haven’t followed transfers much this off-season, but there really aren’t many such iconic and high-level players who would move from one club to another. Perhaps this is one of the surprises. It’s hard to imagine why he left SKA, but you can be glad that they found a strong specialist for Dynamo. As I said, for any team he would be a great buff. Muscovites deserve credit for being able to sign such a powerful hockey player.

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– Dynamo have signed Gusev for one season. What do you think it is related to? Does management not believe they can become a long-term leader?

I don’t think they don’t believe in him. The fact that the contract with Nikita is signed for only one year is a big motivation. I think she will show the best side of her. He will be charged for showing the result here and now. I don’t see any problem with this.

– At one time, Dmitry Yashkin set the tone for the Dynamo game. After his departure, such a bright player did not appear in the club. Can Gusev become the long-awaited replacement for the Czech?

– Yashkin will be able to replace Gusev – hockey will show, as they say. It’s hard to tell here. It depends on so many factors: with which partners, how the player will be used. Therefore, comparing two good players is an ignoble thing. Each has its own qualities and strengths. All are very strong. One has his strengths, the other has his. We will have to see how it will be in practice.

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– Will Muscovites finally be able to seriously qualify for the Gagarin Cup together with Gusev?

– If Dynamo strengthens the team in this way, their task is appropriate. As a result, fight for the Cup. But the playoffs are still a long way off, we will have to discuss them more closely.

– Nikita is now 30 years old, do you think he has a chance to return abroad after the end of the contract with Dynamo? Should he still try to play in the NHL?

– Nikita’s return abroad depends on him. Nikita has already played in the NHL – in New Jersey and Florida. He himself has decided to come back, let’s see if he himself would like to try again. But thirty years is the maximum life for a hockey player. This is both experience and knowledge.


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