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02-25-2013, 01:59 AM
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Anatoli Tarasov !!!

Awards and Achievements:
Hockey Hall of Fame (1974)
IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame (1997)

3 x Olympic Gold Medalist (1964, 1968, 1972)

7 x World Championship Gold Medalist (1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971)
3 x World Championship Silver Medalist (1958, 1959, 1972)
World Championship Bronze Medalist (1961)

16 x Soviet League Championship (1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975)

Coaching Record:

Coaching Philosophy:
To me, a top class hockey player should be an all-round physically developed athlete with speed and strength plus. Such a player has an explosive starting reaction and a will that is as strong as iron. His bag of technical tricks should be big and varied, enabling him to perform his role in the line-up and make lightning decisions in tactics at any and every moment of the game. And all these qualities in modern hockey are absolutely out of the question if the sportsman lacks a high culture of the game: I have in mind tactical intuition, precision work with his partners, perfect orientation, a feeling of the game, the ability to see, understand, and even anticipate the actions of the closest and furthermost opponents and partners. And what is most important, all these qualities must be retained and put into use in the toughest moments of the game, when the pitch of a game is at its highest, when the emotions of players are as taut as bow strings.
Originally Posted by Anatoli Tarasov
I don’t think it’s possible to play a defensive game against a strong team and win, except perhaps once, by sheer luck. Because, when you play a defensive game, you forfeit the main thing – initiative. And it is initiative that most often decides who will win.
Originally Posted by Anatoli Tarasov
We must try to avoid solo actions and keep it a team effort. In teamwork we are the best.
Originally Posted by Anatoli Tarasov
We have to hunt in groups. One player body checks, the other takes the puck away.
Originally Posted by Anatoli Tarasov
It is important for an athlete to always look at himself with impartial assessment, to look at himself, not with admiration, but with the stern eyes of a critic.
Originally Posted by Road to Olympus
The second conclusion I made then was that the centre forward had to be the best player on the team.


There is simply no place in the game for cowards, squeamish or weak-willed people - there is simply no reason for such people to come out on the ice.


He defines courage as industriousness. Never being lazy on the ice. Patience and "constancy."


Together, with Arkadi Chernishov we give ratings to each player after every game.


Hockey is not a game of speed or courage, but of minds.


He goes into a section about stars. Basically they have to selfless and be willing to fit into the team concept. Having players that are better than the others is fine, as long as they buy in.


The essence of our teamwork? Passing!


He focuses a lot on how he believes stick-handling is the most important aspect of hockey.


Arkadi Cherishov has an easier nature than mine. He is more soft-spoken, he is more prone to forgive a person. But I have a reputation for being more than harsh.


for our creative type of hockey, powerhouse hockey is out of the question. I prefer to see our boys strong and smart at the same time, even sly, in the good sense of the word.


He really doesn't believe in puck-carrying when leaving the defensive zone. He mentions that he wants no more than two strides before a defenseman whips a pass up to another player who already has a head of steam.


The number of passes in the offensive zone must be constantly increased.


An attack should be built up rationally.


Sometimes I have been asked if pressing [ed. note: his system] is a defensive or offensive system...Does this answer lie only in the difference of level of their technique and skills? I believe the answer lies in the following: one team employs attacking pressing, while the other resorts to defensive pressing.
Originally Posted by Ice Hockey in the Future
Reasonable employment of all players at all stages of the game - and in attack and defense, and in the fight for the puck in the neutral zone, and in the assault on the "enemy" gate, and dedicated and competent protection of its own - will characterize hockey future.


I have already said that the fundamental difference between the tactics of pressure in our execution is that Canadians engage in this tactical idea with three players, and we - five players. Two of their athletes aspire to join the combat, the first - going for a military clash, the second - trying to pick up the puck and if the partner is missed, correct his mistake. Third - works for the insurance, covering, usually free next board to rival could prokinut puck, throw it out of the zone.


And the defenders? Defenders, lying on long positions only contemplate this fight attackers, they fear. And if the action forwards sometimes seem wasteful, it is the right impression Canadians attacking play at times risky, because they worry about their rear.


But is there any guarantee that the founders of the world hockey will also base their actions and in the seventies? Hardly! I strongly believe that the desire to retain the area to keep it, the desire to experience, test the strength of our defense force them to follow a set of forwards all the players to play with personal care, covering all possible moves.


With TALO be, we have to find new ways to succeed, to change something, something strengthened. In particular, I believe, we will strengthen our front-speed maneuver the attackers. Their functions will be included as a compulsory and a maneuver that would allow them at least for a moment to be free from the defender and get the puck.


I have no doubt that by the time our leadership team, including the national team, will move to the "system".

Originally Posted by The Red Machine
He was exacting, passionate, a personality unlike other Russians…


In Tarasov the Russians had their ice doctor, their hockey Buddha. Anatole Tarasov, his mind an inferno, was half-wisdom, half-bluster – a quack to some, a genius to others. A theatrical man, built like a pear, he roared and brooded among his players, impulsively setting them to all kinds of strange training regiments.

His deep-thinking, creative approach to the game found a would-be imitator in North America with the mid-seventies antics of Pheladelphia coach Freddie Shero. “The Fog”, as he was labelled, studied Tarasov and fell into his own seeming trances, once sending his players at practice to skate for as long as possible on one leg. With help from gangland warfare, as well as Tarasovian teachings, Shero’s Flyers captured two Stanley Cups.


Tarasov stressed athleticism, all round physical excellence in preparing the hockey player: weightlifting, dry-land training in other sports, relentless conditioning. He was trying to create his own Sparta. His gladiators would be the best-conditioned, the most technically superior, and, in keeping with the collective philosophy, they were to have a quality that gave rise in the West to the notion that they were automatons, robots – they were to be even-tempered, emotional yet unemotional. The individual personality was supposed to merge into the personality of the whole, the mass. Tarasov desired quiet courage, imperturbable efficiency. He would achieve it, he vowed, by stepping up the intensity of training so that the athleticism of a player would be perfected, so that his character would be “tempered from day to day like steel is tempered.”


Speed on defence was always a higher priority in the Tarasov school than bodychecking. Unlike in Canada, where the custom was to change forward lines and defensive pairings reparately, the Soviets liked to play in five-man units. The idea was that a player should not only have an intimate feel for the moves that his forward partners, but his defencemen as well.


So after innumerable hours over a model ice rink, Tarasov and Boris Kulagin, then his assistant on the Central Army team, came up with an altogether new concept – a one-two-two formation. There would be one deep defenceman as a backstop, two helter-skelter rovers, traversing all over the ice as the occasion necessitated, and two forward wingers whose responsibility was only to attack and score.


Arkadyev simply announced one day that the Central Army soccer team would change to a three-three-four formation. But the team members, consistently winning under their normal set-up, saw no reason for such an overhaul. Their resistance soon prompted the esteemed coach to drop the plan.

Mindful of this, Tarasov tried to usher in the new system slowly. He too was dealing with an Army club that was consistently winning with its traditional style.
Originally Posted by Hockey's 100
The "father of Soviet hockey", Tarasov demonstrated to the North Americans that European creativity could be used to advantage in the NHL. His teams were among the first to persuade both Canadian and American fans that the best hockey was not necessarily played on this side of the Atlantic.
Originally Posted by Encyclopedia Britannica
When Tarasov began coaching in the early 1940s, Canada was the premier team in international hockey. Tarasov studied the highly physical Canadian style of play and combined it with the finesse of Russian hockey, creating a unique blend of skill and aggressiveness. In addition, Tarasov developed what became known as “the great Soviet hockey machine,” a system of early recruitment and training of young athletes. His methods proved highly effective as his teams dominated competition, winning 18 national titles and 11 European championships.

Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
In 1958, Tarasov took the reins of the USSR nationals for the first time, and his team gave up the gold at two World Championships and the 1960 Olympics. The veterans of the Central Red Army temporarily ousted him and once again Arkady Chernyshev came to the helm of the national squad. He didn't win either. But before the 1963 World Championship, Chernyshev and Tarasov appeared as a duo to lead the national squad. They went on to sweep every championship for the next 10 years, topping that winning streak off with the 1972 Olympic title.

Tarasov was very ambitious, perhaps even too ambitious for a model Soviet citizen. Hockey, previously a curiosity from overseas, offered him the chance to express himself 100%. With no precedent to follow for the development of the game in the Soviet Union, hockey in Tarasov's hands became the clay out of which he molded whatever came to mind. He rigorously copied the methods of the best coaches in soccer and other sports and, some would say, even drew upon some of the lesser qualities of politicians. Tarasov could act and he could charm people - whoever and whenever necessary. He also knew how to leave a person speechless, and how to compel a person to think profoundly.

He squeezed every ounce of energy and performance out of his players. Even the slightest hint of self-importance was dealt with immediately. According to Tarasov, egoism on the ice was the gravest of all sins. In the end, Tarasov must be given credit for his work in creating a phenomenon in Soviet hockey unparalleled elsewhere - superstar forward lines. The members of those lines interacted with one another apparently without the slightest effort, as if they had no need to see each other and could function purely on instinct.

By the end of the 1960s, many of the Soviet leaders had had their fill of Tarasov, complaining that he'd built a state within a state and crowned himself king in an autocratic USSR. To make matters worse, he led his Central Red Army team off the ice in 1969 during a decisive game against Spartak - and in the presence of leading statesmen. For 40 minutes, they tried to talk Tarasov into sending his players back out on the ice, but he objected to the referee's disallowing a goal scored by his team. He did lead the team back onto the ice but lost the game, and Tarasov was subsequently stripped of his Merited Coach title. He handed the reins of the Central Red Army over to second coach Boris Kulagin, who quickly established himself as the main coach and began rejuvenating the lineup.

In subsequent games, however, Tarasov began sitting closer and closer to the Army bench. And in the final match to determine the Soviet entry at the European Championship, with the Central Army losing 5-3 to Spartak and the whole country watching at home, Tarasov could no longer contain himself. He went over to the bench and in a fit of temper began running the show. The Central Red Army suddenly came back to life and whipped Spartak 8-5. To add insult to injury, Tarasov gave Kulagin a public tongue-lashing for "bringing such a glorious team to ruin by senselessly reshuffling the lineup."

Tarasov and Chernyshev left the national team in the winter of 1972, half a year before the Summit Series. Tarasov worked with the Central Army club for another two years, but after losing the championship in 1974, he stepped aside to make way for Konstantin Loktev. He ended his career behind the bench before exhausting a coach's best years. After that, he conducted hockey competitions for young amateurs throughout the country. He did some teaching and became a hockey observer for the leading newspapers.
Originally Posted by The Summit in 72
Whenever I think about Anatoly TARASOV, the words of my professor in Theater Arts University in Moscow come into my mind:
"Arthur, get ready for the time when you'll become a theater director and no one will like you."

In a way, it's true for the coaches in the elite hockey of the Soviet times. Their success was measured not by who personally liked or personally disliked them. On Tarasov's level, it was mostly about his winning track, gold medals at the Olympics, World and National Championships. Looking back from nowadays to his time in hockey, one can be easily appalled by his coaching methods. He was a dictator. Hockey players were treated like chess pieces in the game that Tarasov played. Whether one played for the Team USSR or the Red Army club, he demanded total dedication to HIS hockey and HIS team. Things like personal matters, being tired, impossible training or game tasks simply had never been accepted by Tarasov. He was ruthless on his road to success. Some players were psychologically broken by his methods. Some managed to become champions.

Tarasov was a legendary coach. In a way, he was the "father" of the Soviet hockey. Together with the other legendary coach, Arkady Chernyshev from Dynamo Moscow, Anatoly Tarasov laid down the foundation of what now is branded as the "Soviet hockey school". Although most experts refer to Tarasov's innovations in the theory of the game, he wasn't exactly a typical scholar. He was rather a practical coach who relied more on his instincts than on what was written in the books. He was definitely very innovative but, as descibed by one of the famous Soviet journalists of that time, Tarasov didn't read much and mostly listened to the radio. It's interesting that the "father" of the Soviet hockey got his Ph.D. in Education with only a high school diploma for his educational background.

Both Tarasov and Chernyshev retired from coaching the national team after the Soviet squad won the gold at Olympics in Sapporo in 1972. It was Vsevolod Bobrov and Boris Kulagin that led the Team USSR at the 1972 Summit, but most of the players were still graduates of Tarasov's hockey universities. Whether one likes or doesn't like Tarasov's approach to hockey, it doesn't seem to be fair to underestimate the role of one of the greatest Soviet coaches while paying tribute to the impressive performance of the Soviet team in September 1972.
Originally Posted by A September to Remember
Anatoli Vladimirovitch Tarasov is regarded as the architect of the Soviet Union's hockey power. Yet he alienated the Soviet hockey higher-ups enough to land him in hot water several times, including for the 1972 Summit Series.

Tarasov was a product of Soviet hockey himself. He was a workmanlike winger who was overshadowed by the flashy Vsevolod Bobrov. Tarasov lacked Bobrov's natural skill, but made up for with an incredible understanding of the game and a willingness to experiment.

The two would continue their mostly friendly rivalry for years off the ice as well. Both became successful head coaches. Tarasov coached his country's national team to nine straight world amateur championships and three consecutive Olympic titles before he retired after his team's gold win at Sapporo in 1972. He was the undisputed king of Soviet hockey until he was abruptly unseated shortly after the 1972 Olympic win and shortly before the 1972 Summit Series showdown with the Canadians. He was replaced by Bobrov.

But why?

According to Lawrence Martin's book The Red Machine, the final straw between Tarasov and the political bosses he answered to. Tarasov, with a history of insubordination if he felt it was beneficial for the team, clashed with the head of the Soviet Sports Committee, a fellow named Mr. Pavlov, over money accepted from the Japanese. The Japanese offered Soviet players $200 a piece to play 2 exhibition games prior to the Olympics. This of course was very unacceptable in the Communist world. Pavlov, who was closely monitored by the Kremlin, was furious.

Following the Olympics Tarasov, and his national team assistant coach Arkady Chernyshov, asked for time off to rest from the rigors of coaching. Pavlov agreed, but gave them both a permanent break. In essence they were fired from the national team. Tarasov was replaced by the skating legend Bobrov behind the bench.

Initially it looked like a bad move for the Soviets. Bobrov led them to the silver medal in the World Championships. For most nations that would be a major accomplishment but that marked the first time the Soviets had finished without the gold in a decade. To make matters worse key players Anatoli Firsov and Vitaly Davydov protested by not playing for the national team.

Bobrov ultimately wouldn't last long. He relaxed the stringent and rigid game Tarasov had preached and was so successful with. The players quickly grew to appreciate the freedom and responsibility, and it showed in the performance at the 1972 Summit Series. However the political bosses would favour a young up and coming coach named Viktor Tikhonov

He disappeared from hockey after his dismissal. He continued to coach the Red Army club team until 1974 and supervised the Soviet Gold Puck tournament for boys. More than 1,000,000 youngsters were registered for the various youth competitions.

Tarasov also travelled the world attending seminars and making personal appearances. In 1987 he served as a coaching consultant to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks during training camp.
Originally Posted by
Anatoly Tarasov is widely regarded as the father of modern Russian ice hockey (Russian ice hockey also describes the sport as played in the Soviet Union, or USSR, until 1989). Tarasov began coaching in the Russian club leagues in the late 1940s, at the conclusion of his successful playing career. As a young man Tarasov had also been a well regarded soccer player as well as a proficient bandy player, a game with some similarities to field hockey. Tarasov first attracted the attention of the leadership of the national Soviet ice hockey program through his success as the coach of the Moscow club team CSKA in the early 1950s. Tarasov became the national team coach in 1958, a position he held until 1972; he continued to coach CSKA until his retirement in 1974.

In the early 1950s, Canada was recognized as the dominant world ice hockey power. Canadian teams comprised of second- and third-tier ice hockey talent had regularly won both world championships and Olympic gold medals both before and after the Second World War (1938–1945). During this period, the team sent to represent Canada at a world championship was the men's senior amateur championship team from the previous season. National Hockey League professionals were prohibited from participating in these events due to the strict rules in that era concerning the division between amateur and professional international sports.

The first inkling that USSR teams had moved to a position where Canadian hockey dominance could be successfully challenged was at the World Championships in 1954, when the Soviet national team won a decisive victory over the Canadian representatives. By the time Tarasov assumed control of national team in 1958, the foundation had been established for a powerful international Soviet hockey presence. The political leadership of the Soviet Union had determined that ice hockey success would be a primary objective of the national sport program.

Tarasov was one of the first hockey coaches to appreciate the importance of the comprehensive physical condition of his players to achieve team success. In the 1950s, the standard fitness program for North American ice hockey players was to "skate their way into shape" at a preseason training camp in September, in advance of the October start to the professional season; little or no attention was paid by athletes or coaches to the concept of year-round fitness. Tarasov believed that dry-land training, the general expression for all physical training conducted away from the playing surface, was the most important part of his program. Tarasov incorporated various forms of aerobic and anaerobic exercises into the team practices through out the entire year. The players were provided specialized weight training programs, customized for the individual, and there was formal practice time devoted to sports such as soccer and handball, because Tarasov believed that the cross-training benefits of these sports were ideally suited to the development of hockey excellence.

Tarasov also furthered the interest of his own club, CSKA, throughout this period. CSKA had strong ties to the Soviet Red Army. Through Tarasov's active recruitment of hockey players who would first be drafted into the army, high-quality hockey talent was directed by the Red Army to the CSKA. Tarasov won a further 16 national championships with CSKA during his coaching career.

Between 1958 and 1972, the methods of Tarasov paid remarkable dividends to Soviet hockey. The national team won Olympic ice hockey gold medals in 1964 and 1968, in addition to the nine world championships captured during that period; Tarasov was deposed as national team coach when the Soviets failed to win gold at the 1972 Olympics. The hallmark of Tarasov-coached teams were the speed and the skating ability of the players, combined with a precision passing style that valued the creation of quality scoring opportunities, as opposed to simply taking as many shots as possible at the opposing goal. Tarasov's methods are proof that the sincerest form of flattery is by imitation; his revolutionary approaches to hockey training in the 1950s are now standard procedure today throughout the entire ice hockey world.

The coaching influence of Tarasov became evident in a different direction when his coaching career ended in 1974. His daughter, Tatiana Tarasova, is regarded as one of the most successful Russian figure skating coaches in the history of that sport. Tarasova has coached skaters who have won a total of eight Olympic gold medals in various figure skating disciplines.

Trasov's coaching brilliance has been recognized throughout the world of ice hockey. He was inducted into both the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame (1977) and the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame (1974). Tarasov was also named a Master of Sport, the Soviet Union's highest athletic honor.

Originally Posted by Vladislav Tretiak
I trusted Tarasov, trusted his every word, even when he criticized me for letting the pucks in my net during practice. There was a method to his madness. My coach didn’t want me to be indifferent to being scored on. He wanted me to feel that each puck in my net was a personal defeat.


Tarasov’s demands never seemed unreasonable to me, however, because I understood, then as now, that Tarasov had only one goal: to make Soviet hockey the best in the world.

Anatoly Tarasov was a very well-organizaed person. He knew his purpose in life and didn’t like lazy people. I owe very much to that man.


I can honestly say that there wasn’t one practice to which Tarasov came without new ideas. He amazed all of us every day. One day he had a new exercise, the next an innovative idea, and the next a stunning combination to remove the effectiveness of our opponents.


I will never forget Tarasov’s lessons. Now, looking back after many years, I clearly understand that he was not only teaching us hockey, he was teaching us life.


He taught us to be noble and proud of how hard we worked.
Originally Posted by Anatoli Tarasov: The Father of Soviet Hockey
An outstanding Soviet coach, Anatoly Tarasov, is widely known as the father of Russian ice-hockey. His innovative methods of coaching established the Soviet Union as the dominant force in international competitions. He led this country’s national squad to the victories at three Olympic Games and nine world championships.

Our colleague Carl Watts, who happened to be a rink announcer at many hockey tournaments, says:

“I got acquainted with Anatoly Tarasov many-many years ago. He was the Head coach of the Soviet Army team, and I was doing the rink announcing. I was told later by people who sat beside him that he asked, “Why did you invite an American to do the announcing on the ice?” And they said, “Anatoly, this is our guy.” “Introduce me to him.” So they introduced me to Anatoly Tarasov. He was a great man, he was a great coach. One of the seasons when he was head coach of the Soviet Army team, the season lasted for forty games. The Army team won every game. You could bet on the Army team. Everybody betted on what score they would beat the other team. And I remember when he had the work-outs with the players, after a work-out they could barely make it to the dressing room, because he took everything he could out of his players. Yes, he was hard-tempered, he maybe used some foul language, but nobody heard it. Anyway, when he was on the ice, he was a commander. He was the best coach I think that we had in the Soviet hockey period. When somebody speaks about the greatest hockey coach we had in the history of this country, naturally, everyone will say Anatoly Tarasov”.

Those who knew Tarasov describe him as a remarkable personality and a born leader. Beginning as a successful bandy player in the 1930s, he soon developed an interest in coaching. After the Second World War, Anatoly Tarasov – together with his brother Yuri – began playing the “Canadian” hockey, at that time a newly-adopted sport in Russia. As an on-ice coach of the Soviet Army team, he won 100 games, scoring 106 goals. That speedy and dangerous sport became his life-time passion. “For me hockey is always new, everlasting and unique,” Tarasov wrote in one of his books. He imparted much of his enthusiasm and fervor to his trainees. For nearly thirty years he coached the stellar Soviet Army team, whose players made up the backbone of the Soviet national squad. Under his supervision the Soviet Army Club won the USSR champion’s title 18 times. Together with another coaching legend, Arkady Chernyshev, Tarasov founded the world-famous Soviet hockey school. He developed his own system, based on skating skills, speed, and precision passing – the system he polished for years and that yielded remarkable dividends, witness brilliant victories of the Soviet national team in many international tournaments.

Tarasov’s training methods are regarded by many as ruthless. A tireless worker and a maximalist by nature, he made his players exert themselves to full capacity, always setting them for victory. Having won the reputation of a ‘tough coach’, Anatoly Tarasov, nevertheless, was able to mould unique personalities and make star players. During his career he coached dozens of world-class masters, many of whom became world and Olympic champions. One of them, the legendary Valery Kharlamov, recalled: “It was very interesting to play for Tarasov. It was very hard. You always felt stiff with him. But it was worth it.” “I love my guys very much,” Anatoly Tarasov said. “That’s why I demand so much from them, as no one else would do.” For one, Tarasov insisted that his trainees continued their education. “It’s easier to work with educated people,” he would say. The great coach was convinced that a hockey player had to be a versatile athlete, so his off-ice training program included long-distance running, soccer, swimming, and weight-lifting. He had the same requirements for both the beginners and experienced players – tough discipline and total dedication to hockey and to the team he was in charge of. And that was the team of like-minded persons, according to Yevgeny Mishakov, one of Tarasov’s ex-trainees. Tarasov never wasted words. When he was angry, he could be deliberately polite, addressing his players in a quiet ‘chilly’ manner. At such moments they knew: Tarasov is enraged. For Anatoly Tarasov hockey was not just a game. He believed sports must bring aesthetic pleasure. He compared good hockey players with gifted actors, and the profession of a coach, he said, was akin to that of a conductor of an orchestra, where all the musicians bend to his will.

A tough instructor on the ice-rink, Anatoly Tarasov was also strict to his two daughters, especially to Tatyana, now a famous figure-skating coach, who inherited from her father love of sports and strong character. He taught her to swim in a very simple way, as she recalled. When the girl was five, he just threw her out of the boat. Anatoly’s wife, Nina, whom he met when he was a student of the Higher School of Coaches in Moscow prior to the Second World War, was his life company until his death in 1995. She staunchly shared with her celebrated husband the bitterness of defeats and the joy of victories.

After retiring from big sports in the 1970s, Anatoly Tarasov organized and conducted competitions for young amateur players, raising future hockey stars. He was one of the first Russians to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. His outstanding legacy is still studied by hockey schools in Europe and overseas. One of the divisions of the Continental Hockey League bears the name of Anatoly Tarasov, the architect of Soviet ice-hockey. In May of 2008, after a break of 15 years, Russia’s national ice-hockey team won the World Championship in Canada, reviving the traditions of the great Tarasov, who taught his players to win.
Originally Posted by The History of Russian Hockey
When Anatoli Tarasov became a coach, he changed Russian hockey forever. He masterminded creating his own version of hockey – a game of speed, endurance and winning. He was the master of the team and his players were like chess pieces. When the USSR entered its first team into the World Championship in 1954, they won. Likewise, the Soviet team finished first at the 1956 Olympics. Once Tarasov took over the national team’s reigns, the “CCCP” team won gold at the World Championships in Stockholm in 1963. That was just the beginning of nine consecutive World Championship victories, through to 1971. During that timespan, the Soviet Union also won eight European Championships and three consecutive Olympic gold medals (1964, 1968, 1972). The Soviet hockey program was recognized as the premier in the world and earned the nickname “The Big Red Machine.” Tarasov also coached the Central Sports Club of the Army (CSKA), to seventeen league championships from 1947 to 1974. Tarasov’s colleague – Arkady Chernyshev also played an influential role in the development of Soviet hockey.

Originally Posted by The New York Times - June 23rd, 1995
Anatoly Tarasov, the fiery and inspirational coach who led the former Soviet Union to become a dominant world power in international hockey, died in Moscow. He was 76.

A Russian news agency said he died after a long illness.

In a letter to Mr. Tarasov’s family, Russian President Boris Yeltsin called Mr. Tarasov a “living legend and an example to Russian athletes.” Yeltsin said his death was an “irreparable loss for national hockey, for Russian sports, for many people to whom he was more than a coach, more than a teacher.”

Mr. Tarasov was widely regarded as a coaching genius. He helped introduce the Canadian version of hockey into the Soviet Union in 1946 and, eight years later, his team won the international amateur hockey championship. He adapted the Russian version of hockey, which at that time resembled outdoor soccer on ice, to the style that is played indoors on smaller rinks. He then defeated the Canadians and Americans at their own game.

Still, he often regarded the play in the National Hockey League as “primitive.” When the prevailing Canadian style would be for a skater to plow his way by a defensive player, Mr. Tarasov’s team would try to finesse and find a way to pass the puck and skate around him.

Before he dropped the puck for a face-off in a practice once, he used his stick against the face of one player and shoved an elbow into another’s chin. “We do these things,” he explained later, “so our players get used to the tactics of the Canadians.”

He was widely known as the “father of Russian hockey” and coached the Central Army club for 29 years. Under his leadership the Soviet team won every world championship from 1962 to 1971. His teams won the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympics, plus 11 European championships.

Mr. Tarasov, who retired after the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, explained the Soviet’s loss to the United States “Miracle on Ice” team in 1980 at Lake Placid, N.Y., by saying, “We let you win every 20 years to have good relations between our countries.”

Both Canadian and American hockey coaches attempted to copy his highly successful methods, and many of them saw him as a composite of the American football coaches Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi. Mr. Tarasov was the first European coach to have his portrait in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

He also wrote more than two dozen books on tactics and strategy. In 1987, the last-place Vancouver Canucks hired him as a consultant. Mr. Tarasov virtually mesmerized N.H.L. coaches with his intricate maneuvers and dazzling skating and passing. His brand of hockey became a chess game on ice.

“Even though there is a limit on how fast a hockey player can skate,” he said, “there is no limit to creative endeavors and progress.”

A visiting American coach asked him in 1974 to reveal his coaching secrets. “Do you think we have secrets?” he replied. “Today’s secret is tomorrow’s common knowledge. All you have to do is look. There is no secret in hockey. There is imagination, hard work, discipline and dedication to achieving whatever the goal is. But there are no secrets, none at all.”

He said a hockey player “must have the wisdom of a chess player, the accuracy of a sniper and the rhythm of a musician.” But more important, he said, “He must be a superb athlete.”

Originally Posted by seventieslord
Tarasov's importance as a coach goes far beyond that. He built up the Soviet Union's hockey program from the ground up. His innovations, his tactics, and his training took it from nothing, to almost at our level, in 30 years. Tikhonov, IMO, doesn't compare - he maintained the Russian program, I don't think it got any better. I don't think he "made" any players, either. They appear to hate him and lack respect for him. Some hated Tarasov, but they all respected him. He was a teacher and a father figure. No one in history was more trusted universally by his players.

Last edited by Dreakmur: 05-22-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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