With his international transfer card controversy all cleared up, Nail Yakupov was ready to rejoin his KHL club for Monday night’s big game against Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow.
Just one problem — Yakupov’s coach wasn’t ready.
Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk bench boss Vladimir Golubovich didn’t dress Yakupov for the game, which Dynamo won 5-1. The decision, while curious, was apparently more upsetting to fans than the first overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s a pity that I can’t play against Dynamo,” Yakupov told Soviet Sport. “To play with Ovechkin would be great! But no worries — that’s hockey. I’ve got no hard feelings toward the coaches.”
Yakupov is the youngest player on the Neftekhimik roster and has only appeared in two games thus far, going scoreless with a minus-1 rating and seven shots on goal while averaging 12:28 TOI.
While it’s not unusual for such a young, inexperienced player to be dropped from the lineup, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector points out it’s one of the fears people had with Yakupov going to the KHL rather than the OHL:
NYT reports that Nail Yakupov was a healthy scratch last night in KHL. That was Oil’s fear, compared to starring in Sarnia.
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.