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Top prospect Nail Yakupov takes head shot from Isles prospect

Mar 11, 2012, 10:53 AM EDT

The consensus top prospect for this summer’s NHL Draft is having a rough season. Nail Yakupov has already missed time this season thanks to a knee injury and now he’s got a likely head injury to add to the list.

Yakupov took an illegal check to the head during his junior game in Ontario last night and was knocked out of the game from the hit. Yakupov was crushed illegally by Isles prospect Mike Halmo as he was cutting through the zone. Check out the video here.

With Yakupov’s two injuries just this year, the question now comes up as to how this will affect his draft stock in June, if at all. With the Columbus Blue Jackets in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 overall pick at the moment, seeing Yakupov take a hit like this on top of having a knee issue earlier in the year could give them pause when it comes time to pick.

As it is, Marc-Antoine Godin of La Presse in Montreal reports that three NHL executives he’s spoken to have told him the Blue Jackets are open to shopping the top overall pick should they get it and this news came down before Yakupov was hurt last night. With the Jackets out of the playoffs, let the postseason jockeying begin.

  1. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I can’t imagine this hit will impact his value but sure it raises an eyebrow or two…. I am willing to bet next time he cuts through the middle of the ice he will have his head up!

    Better to learn this in juniors than the NHL

  2. mydadyourmom - Mar 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    You shouldn’t skate with your head in your laces.

  3. jagrbomb18 - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    To me it didn’t seem to matter if his head was up or down, that dude halmo was going for the head no matter…just my opinion though

    • bcisleman - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      He most certainly did NOT. Yakupov lowered his head without looking just before the hit…otherwise there would have been no head shot.

  4. barkar942 - Mar 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    If Shanny looked at this hit, I believe he would rule that the injured player made a significant move lowering his head and changing the point of impact from his chest to his head just before the point of impact. I believe there was a game early in the season that had a no suspension call from Shanny with a hit on , I believe,an Anaheim player that did the same kind of reaching for the puck which significantly changed the point of impact.

    • bcisleman - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Dead on. Agree totally.

  5. odj810 - Mar 11, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    head should be up for sure but his head was absolutely targeted.

    • bcisleman - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      NO it was NOT. It wasn’t just that his head was down. Its that he lowered it immediately before the hit when there was no way for Halmo to avoid contact.

      • odj810 - Mar 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        so your denying he took an elbow straight to the head?

      • odj810 - Mar 12, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        yea i completely disagree after watching the hit over and over. he put himself in a vulnerable position but the only thing the other player touched was his head with his elbow. thats a dirty player anyway you look at it.

    • bcisleman - Mar 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      If NY doesn’t lower his head immediately before the hit, Halmo hits him shoulder to body which is what he intended.

  6. bcisleman - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Just to amend what was said in the article, it’s my understanding that no hit is deemed illegal until the OHL has fully reviewed it and made a report.

  7. takingbovadasmoney - Mar 11, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Maybe he will keep his head up now.

  8. east96st - Mar 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    One thing we can be certain of, whatever the WRONG move is regarding drafting, trading, or passing Yakupov by is, the Jackets will make it.

  9. bcjim - Mar 11, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    How exactly is “he had his head down” justification for annhiliating someone? Checking is fine, separating a player from the puck is fine, giving the maximum hit you can deliver to an unsuspecting player is wrong. Period.

    A moment of innattention should not endanger your career or long term health.

    Players need to make the hit that is appropriate, not the one that causes the most maiming.

    • bcisleman - Mar 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      LOOK at the hit. Nail lowers his head IMMEDIATELY before contact. No way for Halmo to avoid it.

      • bcjim - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:25 PM

        Possibly, but my my comment was intended more as a general comment on the “well he should keep his head up” gibberish.

  10. 12is3times4 - Mar 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    What, 13 comments and no “hitting the Nail on the head” puns? You’re slipping, people…

    • bcjim - Mar 11, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      Thanks for hammering that point home.

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