Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vlad Růžička offered KHL coaching position

After losing in the quarterfinal round of the KHL playoffs this year,'s Václav Jáchim is reporting that Avangard Omsk is looking for a new coach, and they have offered the position to current Slavia Praha coach and general manager Vladimír Růžička. "It's true, I got an offer on Tuesday," he is quoted as saying. 

The report is interesting, since the KHL club has not officially relieved current coach Raimo Summanen of his duties. However, it has been reported that Summanen had butted heads with several players on the team, including Jaromír Jágr. After the disappointing playoff loss, club general manager Anatoli Bardin said that he had not made a decision regarding the future of the team's coaching situation, but he would quickly.

Could Vladimír Růžička (left) and Jaromír Jágr be re-united in
Omsk? Photo: Petr Horník, Právo.
The attempt to hire Růžička, who was known as "Rosy" during his NHL playing days, may be a ploy to keep Jágr in the Siberian city. Jágr's contract with Omsk is now finished, and it has been widely speculated that he is going elsewhere, or possibly even retiring. His clashes with Summanen only heightened this speculation. One of the most interesting scenarios, which was mentioned by his father, Jaromír Jágr Sr., has the younger Jágr returning to play for hometown Vagnerplast Kladno, while simultaneously taking over the duties of club president from his father. Růžička coached Jágr at the 2005 World Championships, and they were teammates in the 1998 Winter Olympics. Both tournaments were won by the Czechs.

Though it seems clear that the offer has been made to Růžička, and he is considering it, he still has some reservations about leaving Slavia."You know me, leaving Slavia is difficult to imagine. It's hard, very hard. Years of building something here, something to try. I'm involved with the whole sports program, the youth, the first team. Everything."

Though he played in the Litvínov system growing up and also played one year for Dukla Trenčin before going to the NHL, he returned to the Czech Republic in 1994 and played six years with Slavia before taking over as coach in 2000. Under his command, Slavia has won national championships in 2003 and 2008. 

Růžička played five seasons in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. He was on the roster during Edmonton's 1990 Stanley Cup victory, but he didn't play in enough games to qualify for his name on the Cup.

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