Nail Yakupov vs. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins an interesting sub-plot

Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looks on during practice at the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey...

Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looks on during practice at the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa December 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

Chris Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

UFA, RUSSIA - Nail Yakupov finally materialized to clean up his comments about Canadians being dirty hockey players.

As Canada was grinding out a 2-1 win over the Americans Sunday, the Russian captain and first pick in last summer's NHL draft met with a group of Canadian and then Russian reporters and was asked about the controversial comment attributed to him. His translated quote that stirred the pot was: "I understand that I will have to keep a cool head and ignore provocations. Especially against the Canadians. These guys play dirty. We got used to that, we played a few games in the North America, so our team is ready."

As the unbeaten Canadians and Russians prepared to meet with a bye into the semifinal at stake in their final preliminary round game Monday, Yakupov brushed off the controversy with the always reliable "lost in translation," explanation.


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