Nail Yakupov

Central Scouting supports “Fail For Nail” listing Yakupov first overall

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‘Tis the season for draft rankings to come out and while we saw ISS’ list yesterday, the big kahuna of lists comes from Central Scouting and theirs were released today. Sitting atop Central Scouting’s prospect list for the 2012 NHL Draft was none other than Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov.

Yakupov’s talents are already inspiring fans of losing teams to want their teams to keep losing to land the best shot at getting Yakupov in the draft set to be in Pittsburgh in June. “Fail For Nail” is our own fun version of “Suck For Luck” in the NFL. Yakupov topping Central Scouting’s list differs from the ISS rankings that had QMJHL Quebec Remparts star forward Mikhail Grigorenko as their top prospect.

Whether you want your team to “Fail For Nail” or go “Stinko For Grigorenko” is purely up to you, but the bulk of the buzz centers around Yakupov.

Also hitting the top of Central Scouting’s list is WHL Everett Silvertips top defenseman Ryan Murray. Murray is the top defensive prospect in the draft and a kid that’s likely to shine when he turns pro. He’s been hyped up since he was 16 playing for Everett and the high opinions of him grow.

Elsewhere, defenseman Jacob Trouba is the top prospect from the USNTDP while the top prospect from the USHL is the fantastically named Zemgus Girgensons. We’re rooting for him based on name alone.

If you’re looking for goalie prospects to keep an eye on, P.K. Subban’s brother Malcolm Subban is one of the top prospects out of the OHL while Andrey Makarov is worth watching out of the WHL.

This is all gibberish to most of you for now, but when next June rolls around and we throw a pop quiz at you, you should all have these names down by then. The spelling bee for Zemgus Girgensons alone will be half your grade. Be ready.

(Photo courtesy: Sarnia Sting)

Kings place Ehrhoff on waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Nick Bonino #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Christian Ehrhoff #10 of the Los Angeles Kings head for the piuck during the first period at Staples Center on December 5, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Kings have placed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

A veteran of almost 800 NHL games, Ehrhoff has not fit well with Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in August. The 33-year-old has just 11 points in 40 games and is a team-worst minus-10. Though he had two assists in last night’s 9-2 win over the Bruins, he also took a careless tripping penalty in the first period that led to a Boston goal.

In a related story, the Kings are rumored to be looking for help on the back end. In fact, they were reportedly quite interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.

According to Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider, 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Gravel is “on the verge of a recall” from AHL Ontario.

The Kings play Thursday in Brooklyn.

Report: Kadri’s throat-slashing gesture being reviewed by NHL

Nazem Kadri
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Nazem Kadri‘s throat-slashing gesture is under review by the NHL, according to TSN.ca.

The Maple Leafs forward made the gesture while sitting on Toronto’s bench last night in Calgary, moments after he was laid out by Flames captain Mark Giordano.

The NHL first started cracking down on the throat-slashing gesture in 2000. Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

Fix coming? Blues activate Schwartz after 49-game absence

Jaden Schwartz
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After Tuesday’s loss to the Jets — the Blues’ fourth in their last six games — head coach Ken Hitchcock said his club has “got to play harder than this” and “got to compete at a lot higher level than this.”

He then added “it’s up to us to fix it.”

Well, help is on the way.

On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.

The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).

The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made

‘Very upset’ Jokinen blasts NHL’s handling of Abdelkader-Barkov hit

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You can add Jussi Jokinen to the list of Florida Panthers livid with Justin Abdelkader‘s hit on Aleksander Barkov.

“I’m very upset,” Jokinen said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t know if I’m too emotional because that’s my best friend on the team. It looked really dangerous.”

Barkov was knocked woozy by a big Abdelkader check during Detroit’s 3-0 win over the Panthers on Monday. The hit forced the young Finn from the game, and also forced him to miss yesterday’s contest in Buffalo.

Abdelkader wasn’t fined or suspended for the hit and, according to the Sun-Sentinel, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety didn’t contact him at all.

It’s also worth pointing out that Abdelkader wasn’t penalized at the time of the incident.

But that didn’t stop Nick Bjugstad and head coach Gerard Gallant from calling the hit “cheap,” with Gallant suggesting Abdelkader left his feet to make the hit, and caught Barkov in the jaw.

Jokinen put the onus on the league to wipe out checks of this nature.

“There are too many hits like that an no suspensions,” he explained. “Fans want to watch Barkov, not those guys. The league has to do a better job of taking those hits out of the game.”

Florida and Detroit next play on Mar. 19, in case you’re wondering.