Dynamo fell from grace in the year of its centenary

In yesterday’s interview with Soviet Sport, the legendary veteran Vitaly Davydov revealed the key problem of the current Dynamo. The club’s shameful performances are the result of the actions of two characters. General director Alexei Sopin and coach Alexei Kudashov.

The activities of the two namesakes are the purest embodiment of inefficiency, incompetence, dishonesty. Building a good team requires skillful work in a number of ways. But Sopin and Kudashov do not want to perform some types of work, others are unable to do it due to lack of professionalism.

Finally, the general manager and coach are changing priorities for the second consecutive season. They work for themselves, not for the good of the club. At the same time, in the event of a conflict of interest, it is Dynamo’s interests that are sacrificed.

The result, as they say in some quarters, is on the face. A deafening defeat for a team that spent 2.5 times less on wages than Dynamo.

Vitaly Semenovich professionally and accurately described how Torpedo surpassed Muscovites in their hockey model attitude, professionalism and efficiency. I would like to add one important thing to Davydov’s theses. The fact that Dynamo did so poorly in the playoffs is no accident at all. The prerequisites for this failure have been accruing for a whole year. Sopin and Kudashov systematically, throughout the season, performed actions, “thanks” to which Dynamo’s prospects were dug deeper and deeper.

In the wake of Davydov’s speech, I propose to fix the most painful mistakes of the coach and the general director.

Kudashov had two years, but he never made a good team

When Vitaliy Semenovich says that in the playoffs “the negative aspects of the coaching staff were highlighted”, this is an objective verdict that is not subject to appeal. Indeed, he underlines the Olympian of the three cards: the difference between Larionov-coach and Kudashov-coach is even greater than between Larionov-player and Kudashov-player. Mentor Torpedo surpassed his rival Dynamo in the main components of coaching skills. Namely, both in the work of the intellectual staff and in diligence.

Larionov not only developed an effective tactical model, but also successfully introduced it into the team’s daily hard work. Kudashov did neither. His team wasn’t ready for the playoffs. No effective scheme in attack. No intelligible majority: The special teams have remained silent at key moments in key games in the series. No understanding of who is running where and what he is doing on the ice. This is exactly what Davydov is talking about, by the way.

Photo source: HC Dynamo (Moscow)

The most outrageous thing is that artless primitive hockey was combined with failures in those components in which Dynamo, in theory, could be stronger than the opponent. Namely – in physics and in character. There are obvious shortcomings of the coaching staff in these aspects. Kudashov failed physical training for the playoffs, in every match closer to the 45th-50th minute, his players simply stopped keeping up with the Torpedo team. In the decisive moments of the match, the blue-and-whites primitively pressed against the goal, were rejected. The cowardice of the team was also unpleasantly surprised: no power moves, no selfless attempts to lie under the puck (and if this was done, then illiterate), no desire to intimidate opponents. Nobody worked on the mood of the team. Although, in a good way, not only the coach should have done it, but also the general director. But more on that later.

Rotating forwards in the playoffs also proved ineffective. For one simple reason: because this had to be done throughout the season. However, Kudashov did not raise hungry young players, he did not play enough of them at the KHL level. A combat reserve was not created, ready to replace the wounded. The attack had no leader.

Avtozavodtsy in the event won three overtimes in a row. In the decisive moments of the matches they did what they wanted on the ice, rang the goal frame and literally tore the opponent to pieces. For long stretches, Dynamo looked even worse than last year’s series with eventual champion CSKA.

Photo source: HC Dynamo (Moscow)

And this gray decay is the main diagnosis of Kudashov’s work.

The coach had two seasons – enough time to create. However, instead of development, degradation is observed. Last spring, with a creak, in seven matches, the starless and penniless Severstal were surpassed. Now, exactly the same starless, penniless opponent has butchered the Dynamo team as if they made it to the playoffs straight from the VHL.

Not the slightest chance for progress, not the slightest prospects with a figure like Kudashov is not visible. In key components – whether working on a winning tactical model or developing your youth – he demonstrates complete incompetence.

Sopin squandered the budget on overrated players and worked against the interests of Dynamo

The general manager should also be just as gravely responsible for the failure. His actions have become a very significant contributor to the collapse of the current Dynamo. Throughout the season, the question most often arose of who Sopin really works. On the native club – or on agents whose clients received inflated contracts and often served a number on the ice.

The general manager disposed of the salary budget in such an inefficient and wasteful way that even the loyal blue-and-white fans were shocked. It was Sopin who unloaded 65 million to American Will, who played at an acceptable level in only one of six matches of the playoff series. Three goals and more or less negative: is this how a highly paid striker from the first link should play? The Swede Lilja, on which Sopin spent more than 50 million, looked even worse. And another American, defender Mennell, who rushed headlong into the attack to the detriment of the team and played ineffectively in the majority – was he worth his money? Despite the fact that Sergeev, a much more useful defender, was easily released in Yaroslavl, and in Lokomotiv he is among the best.

Photo source: HC Dynamo (Moscow)

Under Sopin there were many strange signings and transfers. Surnames will not be listed now. Everyone already knows very well which players all season caused sincere bewilderment of fans and veterans.

And, of course, Vitaly Davydov rightly assessed Sopin’s gross mistake, which extended the contracts with the players until the playoffs. Always with inflated amounts, always in accordance with agency requirements. As a result, both strikers lost the incentive to prove themselves in relegation games and failed in the series with Torpedo.

Conjuncture and prejudice are literally inseparable from Sopin’s work. There is information that he wants to extend the contracts with the legionnaires – and on the same inflated conditions as before. If this is true, then this step alone is an iron reason to part with the general manager for inadequacy.

And by the way, Kudashov’s confession that during the playoffs “the opinion of many players has changed” is very telling evidence of blatant incompetence. Talk about how the connection between the coach and the general manager failed. The mind has changed, you see. And who recruited these hockey players? Who trusted them? Who was playing? What have you been doing all season, why haven’t you taught, haven’t you educated? Why did Sopin retire from psychological work with players? Why didn’t he ask anything to those to whom he gave such high salaries? Kudashov and Sopin were obliged to enter the playoffs with a team eager to fight and able to win. Instead, there is lack of will, lack of training and little desire to play with an opponent who was mainly equipped with non-names from the VHL.

What is the future of Dynamo?

Such an attitude to the matter, of course, cannot be forgiven.

By the way, appreciate the delicate moment. Last year, Shipachev dared to directly call a knockout in the second round a disgrace. There is no one in the club today who would tell the bitter truth and apologize to the fans. Neither the players, nor the coach, nor the general manager did this. They pretend everything is fine. That the first shift crash is supposedly a “moment of work”, which you can “try to fix”.

And this is the greyness. This is decay. This is an unforgivable degradation for a brand like Dynamo. All this is transmitted to the players and upsets the fans a lot.

And we still don’t focus on the cynicism with which Kudashov’s staff demanded new contracts from themselves even before the start of the playoffs.

Photo source: HC Dynamo (Moscow)

Neither the coach nor the general director categorically wants to be responsible for the result. And they will not admit their mistakes.

Therefore, if Dynamo wants to develop and move forward, there is only one way out. Immediate dismissal of all those who failed the anniversary season. Also improvement of management liaison staff in the club. It is necessary to change those who cannot work effectively. And those who try to work for themselves.

With Kudashov and Sopin, Dynamo has no future. The club will be doomed to spend big money for nothing – in terms of expenses it will be at the level of Lokomotiv and CSKA, and in terms of results it will be at the level of Minsk and Nizhnekamsk.

This is both painful and embarrassing. And this is unacceptable in the current situation, when people are already wondering about the legitimacy of spending more on hockey.


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