Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (R) and Russia's Nail Yakupov play during the first period of their bronze medal game at the 2013 IIHF U20 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia, Jan. 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
Team Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Team Russia's Nail Yakupov will have different stories to tell when they hook up in Edmonton, whenever that might be.
One is a young star with the Oilers and the other should be one in the near future.
And chances are, they will meet again one day with everything on the line for their respective countries.
But on Saturday, for Nugent-Hopkins and Canada, there was only the crushing feeling that comes with a loss. For Yakupov and Russia, a bronze medal didn’t seem so bad after all.
Nugent-Hopkins had no problem leaving the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City to make his only appearance for Canada at the world junior championship. It was his choice to do so.
“Any time you represent Canada, no matter what happens, it was a great experience,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who played for the mens’ team last spring. “It’s something I will look back to fondly. We came here with one goal in my mind, but I will n