Nail Yakupov added some more fuel to the Canada-Russia hockey rivalry when he reportedly claimed on Monday that the Canadians “play dirty.” Some, like Don Cherry took exception to those remarks and Team Russia subsequently announced that Yakupov wouldn’t be addressing the media again until today.
Meanwhile, Russia and Canada have both won their first three contests of the 2013 World Junior Championship and will battle each other for the top spot in Group B on Monday.
So, as we approach that game and after nearly a week of silence, what does Yakupov have to say about the upcoming match? Nothing that’s likely to draw much criticism.
“Everyone’s going to be watching this match. It’ll be interesting and fun,” Yakupov said, according to R-Sport. “I think the whole world will be watching this match.”
Yakupov added that Russia will “play calmly” in the key contest.
And as for his original remarks?
“I said a different thing,” Yakupov said, according to the Edmonton Journal. When asked to tell the media what he actually did say, he added, “I forgot. I don’t know.”
He’ll be playing against his future Edmonton Oilers teammate and fellow first-overall draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Monday. Nugent-Hopkins leads the tournament with eight points in three games while Yakupov has a goal and three assists in three contests with Russia.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.