Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov has gone minus-54 this offseason.
Yakupov, the first overall selection at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has ditched the No. 64 he wore for his first two seasons in the NHL in favor of Shawn Horcoff’s old No. 10, per the Edmonton Sun.
Yakupov grew up wearing 10, but it was not available in his first season with the Oilers, taken by then captain Shawn Horcoff.
“Yeah, I’ve always played with the No. 10, it’s my favourite number,” said Yakupov, making a stop at the Oilers hockey school in St. Albert on Tuesday. “Horc said I could wear No. 10, so I’ll take it. If I have a chance to change it I will.
“I don’t want to say too much about it, it’s not like I think changing the number is going to change my game or something, it’s just a number. There may be a different number on my jersey, but the last name is going to be the same.”
The 20-year-old Russian, who experienced the dictionary definition of a sophomore slump last season, scored just 24 points in 63 games and occasionally sat as a healthy scratch, leading to friction with head coach Dallas Eakins. Yakupov also struggled with various injuries, finished a ghastly minus-33 (hence that killer lede) and, as is too often the case with slumping Russian players, got tagged as enigmatic/mercurial/aloof.
This was, of course, before he switched to No. 10. Everything should be great now!
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.