Nail Yakupov

Oilers’ third-round pick thinks he can be better than Nail Yakupov


You may not know much about Edmonton third-round pick Danil Zharkov, but he wants you to know he thinks he can be better than his potential future teammate and No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov.

Zharkov tells Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal he believes he’s got the talent to be the better of the two Russians Edmonton selected in this year’s draft.

“It’s my goal to be better than Yak. It doesn’t matter if he’s my friend or not,” said the winger after he had been drafted by the club in the third round (91st overall). The Oilers had selected Yakupov with the first pick less than 24 hours earlier.

Well if he’s that good, how is it he wound up going that late? Easy. Zharkov says teams avoided him because he’s Russian.

“In my opinion, I dropped down this year. I think because I’m Russian; the NHL teams are really scared I will go to the KHL, but I’m not going to do that,” he said. “I’m going to try and make the team.

“If not, I’ll go back to Belleville.”

Give the kid this, at least he’s confident in himself but there may be something to what he’s saying. Zharkov was ranked as the No. 32 skater in North America by Central Scouting. Falling all the way to 91st overall means something was up with what teams saw in him. Zharkov’s late season scoring drought likely didn’t help much.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?