November 3, 2012
Oiler notes: Nail Yakupov lighting up the KHL
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
By early indications, the Edmonton Oilers made a good choice in selecting Nail Yakupov with the first overall pick in this summer's NHL Entry Draft.
Now, if the NHL and its players association would only figure out how to split $3.3-billion pie, then Oilers fans can finally get a good look at the young star.
Unfortunately for the time being, fans can only take solace in the fact Yakupov is lighting things up in the KHL with 10 goals and four assists in 14 games so far this season with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.
Yakupov, 19, scored a pair of goals Wednesday in a 4-2 win over Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, which put him third in team scoring.
Neftekhimik is currently eighth in the KHL East division standings, having won 13 of their 22 games so far this season.
Yakupov will be returning to North America this week as he takes part in the Canada-Russia Subway Series starting Monday in Quebec against a team of QMJHL All-stars.
The Russian junior team will play six games throughout the county against teams made up from the three CHL leagues.
The series wraps up with two games against the WHL All-stars, Nov. 14th in Vancouver and 15th in Victoria.
Elsewhere in Europe, Ales Hemsky continues his strong play with CSOB Pojistovna Pardubice, taking over the team scoring lead with seven goals and nine assists in 14 games this season.
On Friday, Hemsky scored a goal an added an assists in a 9-6 loss to HC Kladno -- a game devoid of any defence.
Both Tomas Plekanec and Pavel Patera scored hat tricks for HC Kladno in the contest.
Pardubice is currently eighth in the Czech Extraliga standings.
While Hemsky's team sits in the middle of the standings, Ladislav Smid's club is not faring very well.
Smid's Bili Tygri Liberec team currently sits 13th in the 14-team league.
On Friday the Oilers defenceman was on the wrong end of an 8-1 loss to HC Skoda Plzen.
Smid did pick up an assist in the contest, on a goal by Wayne Simmonds, who was the victim of racist taunts by opposition fans earlier in the week.
In 14 games this season, Smid has a goal and seven assists.
Over in Austria, Sam Gagner is adjusting to his new surroundings well.
The Oilers centre has three goals and a pair of assists in six games with Klagenfurter HC. He scored a goal in Friday's 6-3 loss to Moser Medical Graz 99.
Oilers defenceman Corey Potter is also in Austria, playing for the Vienna Capitals. In eight league games with the Capitals, Potter has two assists.
Lennart Petrell has yet to collect an assist this season in Helsinki, however, the Oilers forward does have eight goals in 13 games for his hometown club.