Will Nail Yakupov don a Russian jersey again after these comments? (Photo credit: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald)
On Saturday, the Russian media outlets Sports.ru, Kulichki Hockey, and SportLook posted some blockbuster quotes from the NHL’s top draft-prospect Nail Yakupov at the NHL Combine in Toronto. Yakupov downplayed his Russian image and refused to be compared to Nikolai Zherdev (a notorious NHL bust who was drafted 4th in 2003). There hasn’t been a lot of talk about this in North America yet, but I would still like to clarify some points now.
Some things: they’re easy to hate. Cancer. James Mitchner novels. The Fanny Pack Family and their adorable moppets blocking the wrong side of the Metro escalators. Other things, it’s tougher. Like puppies. Or Canadians.
The Low Down: Seriously, it’s kinda hard to lay the h8 against our drunken, fur-trapping in-laws to the north, no? Geez, they’re just so gosh-darned cute, what with their doughnuts and whale-blubber lamps and huge land mass and commitment to human rights and all? Ah-DOR-able. Eh? But then there’s the Edmonton Oilers (4-2-2, 2nd in Northwest Division). For them we’ll make an exception.
The Legacy: If you’re under the age of 25, go stand in the corner and Google “Oilers 80′s.” Of course, that was then; the era of Sather and Gretzky and the rest winning the cup five times are long gone. These days the Oilers don’t so much strike fear in the hearts of opponents as they do sadness. So far this season, Edmonton is alone at the bottom of goals per game (1.7) of all NHL teams. And, until Tuesday at least, it looked like they couldn’t win a game in their own division. Of course, not all is bitter tears for the Oilers.
Apparently, Ovi wants you to have a new desktop wallpaper every other day now. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Braden Holtby smiles while holding the puck commemorating his first career shutout. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Entering tonight’s game with the Edmonton Oilers, the big story on everyone’s mind was that Alex Ovechkin’s main running-mate for the past four seasons, Nicklas Backstrom, would be sidelined for the first time in his career due to a fractured left thumb he re-aggravated Monday against the Lightning. As Backstrom’s impressive consecutive games streak ended at 341, the big unknown was if it would have a negative effect on the Capitals suddenly surging offense.
Despite their impressive play of late, the Capitals’ last eight victories have been by only a one goal margin.