Nail Yakupov

Eakins on Yakupov: ‘The kid is so much fun to watch play’


During Edmonton’s 5-2 win over Vancouver last night in preseason action, forward Nail Yakupov scored late in the third to put the game on ice at 4-2. With a rip of a wrist shot he beat Eddie Lack and then holstered his stick as if he were an Old West gunman.

It’s all part of the package with Yakupov and Oilers coach Dallas Eakins enjoys every bit of what he brings to the game as Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal shared.

“The kid is so much fun to watch play,” he said. “When he gets the puck everybody leans forward… to see what he’s going to do.”

Yakupov’s flashy play and exuberance found ways to rub some folks the wrong way last season. His celebration after scoring to miraculously tie up a game against the Kings last season saw him recreate Theo Fleury’s knee-slide celebration. It was so much that even Don Cherry said he “acted like an idiot” by doing that.

All in all, however, it’s almost refreshing to see a player enjoy doing what he does as much as he does. As for Yakupov’s goal last night, have a look at it here.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.