Russian ice hockey faces major problems - sports chief

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MOSCOW, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's top sports official said Wednesday that Russian hockey faces major problems unless serious action is taken now.

Speaking in the wake of Russia's disappointing showing at the recent Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Vyacheslav Fetisov, the head of the Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sport, said: "If we cannot change the management system, major problems await us."

"I think that here, our whole current state was revealed during these 12 days. An emotionally-charged victory over Canada, and then total breakdown," said Fetisov, himself a former hockey legend.

On Saturday night, the Russian team lost the bronze-medal game 3-0 to the Czech Republic.

The Russian team, considered a favorite after ousting Canada 2-0 in quarterfinals, saw its gold-medal hopes disappear after losing 4-0 to Finland in the semifinals.

Fetisov said the Russian team has potentially strong players, especially among the younger generation, and that Russia could be a world-beater again given the right approach.

Asked whether the coaching staff would be changed, he said: "If the decision was mine to make, I would announce it to you, but this isn't a question for me."

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