Yakupov a healthy scratch, misses showdown with Ovechkin

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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:

Neftekhimik’s next game is on Wednesday against Ilya Kovalchuk’s SKA St. Petersburg. No word yet if Yakupov will be re-inserted into the lineup.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.