Nail Yakupov

Yakupov’s dad: Nail won’t return to Sarnia


The latest chapter of the Nail Yakupov comes courtesy his father, Rail Yakupov.

(Yes, Nail’s dad is named Rail.)

According to Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, the senior Yakupov says his son won’t return to OHL Sarnia — the club currently holding his rights — essentially ignoring a contract that’s at the crux of a transfer card controversy between the IIHF, Hockey Canada and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation.

The senior Yakupov’s quotes appeared in, a Russian online newspaper covering politics and business.

Here’s more, from Chesnokov:

Yesterday, Yahoo!’s Sunaya Sapurji reported that Yakupov is still under contract to Sarnia, which is why Hockey Canada didn’t sign his ITC to play for KHL club Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.

Despite not having an eligible transfer card, Yakupov played two games for Neftekhimik anyway — a move that resulted in his temporary suspension and a fine for the RIHF.

The bad blood now appears to be between the Yakupov camp and Sarnia, though there could be a third party involved. In an interview with Sport-Express, Rail Yakupov said that “someone’s trying to make money” out of the contract fiasco and alluded to “our Russian-speaking acquaintances from North America.”

Once again, the saga continues…

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.