Dreger: Fleming says he wasn't fired

Darren Dreger
1/10/2009 12:01:51 PM
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A bizarre power struggle continues to unfold in the KHL between Omsk management and head coach Wayne Fleming.

Fleming, who was (according to reportedly fired in-game this week, met with Omsk general manager Anatoli Bardin on Saturday and was told he hadn't been fired even though Bardin asked Fleming not to coach the third period of game on Thursday night.

"I guess they didn't fire me," Fleming said. "But I told him at the time, if I'm not coaching the third period obviously I'm fired."

Fleming says he didn't return for the final period, changed his clothes and left the arena under the assumption his KHL days were over.

Strangely, that's not the case and Fleming was offered little explanation other than management is feeling pressure to show it has a handle on the direction of the team.

Following the meeting with Bardin, Fleming also met with his captains, including former NHL forward Alexander Svitov, who told the veteran coach they want him to stay and they don't want a head coaching change.

Jaromir Jagr is also one of the Omsk's leaders, but he's participating in the KHL's All Star game and didn't take part in the meeting.

Omsk has 14 games remaining in the KHL season and have lost just two of their last ten.

The team is scheduled to play on Wednesday and while Fleming expects he will be back on the bench, based on Thursday's bizarre experience, he's not convinced.

"I'm supposed to meet the captains again tomorrow and will also meet with Bardin again," Fleming added.

Fleming admits he has mixed emotions because of the incident, however overall, looking back at his time in Russia and in the KHL, he has no regrets.

Darren Dreger

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