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

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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.