He goes where the money is
PITTSBURGH (AP) The question comes up often in Nail Yakupov's meetings with NHL scouts and general managers. And even though the 18-year-old Russian is still learning English, he can't help but tense up the second he hears the letters ''KHL.''
The player projected to be the likely No. 1 pick when the NHL Draft gets underway in Pittsburgh on Friday understands why he's continually asked how committed he is to playing in North America.
''In the draft they don't want to wonder if some player is going to KHL,'' Yakupov said. ''They just want to (us to) play in NHL and work hard.''
Yakupov is growing tired of repeating himself, but skepticism is part of the territory now that the once fertile pipeline between Russia and the NHL has started to dry up. The bigtime paydays - not to mention shorter schedule - of the Kontinental Hockey League has many Russian stars opting to stay home rather than lace up their skates halfway around the world.
All Yakupov can do is shrug his shoulders and stress - again and again - that he prefers the Stanley Cup to Gagarin Cup, the one awarded to KHL champions.
''I say just what I feel inside and I say I want to play in the NHL,'' Yakupov said. ''It's not my deal what teams think, if they don't trust me or not. I want to play in NHL.''
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06-22-2012, 11:33 AM #1
Top NHL pick could be Russian Nail Yakupov
06-22-2012, 05:18 PM #2
Im thinking pens are going to go with defense this year, caint wait to see the draft