Posts Tagged ‘Nail Yakupov’

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Peter Chiarelli shined the NHL’s spotlight back on the Edmonton Oilers Friday, making a pair of significant moves days before the puck drops for the regular season.

First, he orchestrated the trade that sent 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov in exchange for a conditional third-round pick and prospect Zach Pochiro, a move Chiarelli believes could benefit the 23-year-old.

“We decided Nail deserved a fresh start … We told him he’s a good kid but it just didn’t work out here,” Chiarelli told media Saturday.

Shortly after trading Yakupov, Chiarelli added another piece to their developing blue line as the Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Kris Russell to a one-year contract.

Chiarelli said Russell’s “speed and puck retrieval” are two of his strongest assets, and can see the veteran on either side of a defensive pairing.

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For Nail Yakupov, it wasn’t a case of if he’d be traded, but where he’d be dealt.

The Edmonton Oilers shipped the former first overall pick to the St. Louis Blues on Friday, a team Yakupov was surprised to find out was in the mix for his services.

“I think it’s a good thing for me,” Yakupov said. “I was expecting something. I didn’t expect it was going to be St. Louis.”

For Yakupov – who hasn’t eclipsed the 17-goal mark he reached in his rookie campaign – he feels a change of scenery could be just what he needs, especially leaving a team that seldom won hockey games.

“This is first time I’ve played on (a) really, really good team,” Yakupov said, according to Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think it’s awesome, I don’t know what winning is.”

The forward added, “It’s going to be a great move for me and I get to play with one of the best teams in the league. I’m looking forward to it.”

Yakupov has amassed 50 goals and 111 points in 252 career games.

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Nail Yakupov‘s agent acknowledges the Edmonton Oilers tried to trade his client before the deadline at his request, and more than a handful of teams were involved.

NHL legend Igor Larionov, who represents the forward, confirmed Monday on Sportsnet 590 The FAN that both the Oilers and Yakupov’s camp made an effort to find the 22-year-old a new team.

Larionov said he talked to “maybe six or seven teams” about Yakupov before Feb. 29, after receiving permission from the club to do so.

The agent spent “a lot of time” with general manager Peter Chiarelli and also spoke to head coach Todd McLellan, at which point the agent and the Oilers brain trust tried to see what was available.

Larionov said having five head coaches in four years is “too much” for Yakupov and that his client needs to play with a skilled center.

“Nail loves the city of Edmonton, he loves the fans, and obviously he would like to stay there, but I guess at some point he needs a fresh start … to move on,” the agent added.

Larionov said he hopes there will be more opportunities to find his client “the right spot” at June’s NHL draft in Buffalo, N.Y.

Yakupov has one more year remaining on his contract after this season at a cap hit of $2.5 million, and he’s a pending restricted free agent in 2017-18.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this week sparked outrage – OK, more outrage than usual – when he suggested that the U.S. ban all Muslims from entering the country, including Muslim Americans that are, like, vacationing overseas.

“What I’m doing is I’m calling very simply for a shutdown of Muslims entering the United States — and here’s a key — until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” he reiterated this week.

Nazem Kadri, the Toronto Maple Leafs center and a practicing Muslim, has figured out what’s going on with Trump … and he thinks the real estate magnate is delusional.

Sean FitzGerald of the Toronto Star caught up with Kadri about Trump’s comments, and Kadri said:

“I think he’s hurting his own campaign, to be honest,” Kadri said. “I mean, I think he’s pretty delusional. But his opinion’s his opinion.”

“It’s unfortunate that this is what it’s come to,” Kadri said. “But I mean, that being said, I’m lucky to live in a country like Canada, where people of political stature don’t say those kinds of things to make people feel out of place.”

(Kudos, by the way, to Sean FitzGerald for wading into political waters in a hockey locker room, and specifically asking about a Republican candidate in a sport whose athletes generally lean right. At least fiscally.)

All of this just underscores how important diversity is in hockey, and particularly in the NHL.

Kadri was born to Lebanese parents in Ontario. Growing up, he didn’t have any Muslim or Middle Eastern role models in the NHL, and understands the role he plays in being one. Now you have Kadri, and you have Nail Yakupov (a Muslim, though not devout), and you have at least some representation.

Which is important, as Naveed Bahadur, a social worker who helps run a ball hockey league in Toronto, told Al Jazeera when that network did a story on Kadri in 2014:

“Unlike other communities, they don’t realize sport is important for children’s development. It keeps their brains active, develops teamwork  and these things are very important.”

All it takes is one player that makes a kid feel included to get that kid involved. Especially when that player also isn’t afraid to stand up for that heritage against  a demagogue like Donald Trump.

While the Edmonton Oilers may be one of the less fortunate teams in the NHL, that hasn’t stopped forward Nail Yakupov from giving to others who are in need.

According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, Yakupov showed his charitable side when he assisted a hungry, homeless man in downtown Edmonton last weekend.

The event took place when Yakupov was driving and a man between the age of 55 and 60 approached his car asking for money.

He asked if he could have money for a coffee, and I got out and took him there (hotel). I asked “are you hungry?” He said “yeah.” I don’t like it if they are going to drink with the money. I asked if he was doing that, and he said no, he wasn’t drinking.

Yakupov gave the man $100 and told him to order whatever he wanted. The man then asked the Oilers forward for money for a room so he could shower.

Unfortunately, the hotel was booked so Yakupov gave the man his last $35 hoping he would find somewhere to stay.

This kind gesture wasn’t Yakupov’s first good deed outside the rink. The 21-year-old has also looked into giving back to the local hospital.

This year I’ve looked into seeing if there is something I can do at the hospital, like something for a family if there is some cancer. Or build good rooms in the hospital. Give some money for medicine for a family for a whole year. I don’t know, just to help. It’s no big deal.

Yakupov is currently riding a four-game point streak and has 11 goals and 26 points in 69 games.