Edmonton Oilers Nail Yakupov, who has dealt with concussion issues and found himself a healthy scratch on a few occasions this season, is hoping he and his teammates can build on their recent but modest success prior to the Olympic break.
The Oilers, still at the bottom of the Pacific Division standings with 47 points, won five of their last seven games prior to the NHL shutting down for Sochi. Yakupov, just 20 years old and the first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, had six points in those games, playing on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, according to Sportsnet.ca.
His goal on Feb. 6 against the New York Rangers, a roaring slap shot late in the third period, counted as the winner for Edmonton.
“It’s great and I’m really proud of it, but it’s in the past,” Yakupov told Sportsnet.ca.
“I’ve got to forget about it, move on and make sure I’m even better for the next game. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and I want to make sure I’m doing my part to succeed, for my coaches, my teammates and the fans.
“Things are going well right now. Everyone had a good break – we’re refreshed, we have a new mentality and we’re excited to play again.”