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Yakupov on Team Canada: “These guys play dirty”

Dec 24, 2012, 4:19 PM EDT

Nail Yakupov Getty Images

Nail Yakupov has fired the first shot in advance of Russia’s game with Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships.

“I understand that I will have to keep a cool head and ignore provocations. Especially against the Canadians,” Yakupov told Russian media outlet R-Sport. “These guys play dirty. We got used to that, we played a few games in the North America, so our team is ready.”

Yakupov’s referring to November’s Subway Super Series, which pitted his Russian junior team against a series of CHL all-star sides from the Quebec, Ontario and Western leagues.

The Russians were involved in a number of physical, whistle-filled affairs on the trip. The opening game against the QMJHL featured 76 penalty minutes and, in the second game against the OHL, Yakupov was hammered by Plymouth forward Tom Wilson, one of the last cuts from the Canadian team.

Yakupov’s “dirty” comment will draw plenty of attention with Team Canada in the midst of controversy regarding its aggressive play.

Forward Boone Jenner was suspended three games after charging Swedish defenseman Jesper Pettersson in an exhibition game (Pettersson will miss the tourney with a dislocated shoulder and fractured wrist.)

Meanwhile, head coach Steve Spott is visibly concerned with his team’s discipline…or lack thereof.

“We’re taking too many penalties,” Spott said after exhibitions against Sweden and Finland. “That’s an area that we have to continue to improve at because we’re just putting our penalty killers on the ice way too much and there are some elite players that are sitting.”

Russia will take on Canada on Dec. 31, the last game of the group stage.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    They need to avoid taking stpuid penalties like Hamilton did late last game with that slash, but they also need to keep up the physical play. That’s their game. Of course the Russians think that style is dirty. They have since Bobby Clarke and Co. pummelled those Commies right off the ice at the Spectrum.

    Oh and hey Nail: keep your head up, kid.

    • blomfeld - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      What Bobby Clarke did to Kharlamov in ’72 was despicable and had absolutely nothing to do with hockey … same thing again in ’76 with that idiot Van Impe. The Russians at the time were powerless to respond in kind because they weren’t brought up to play the game that way … the “cheap shot” simply wasn’t a part of their vocabulary. The irony however, was that those Russians could have probably played infinitely more “dirtier” had they chosen to do so. Today however, no such reservations apply in the Russian psyche and so the Canadian side had better be prepared if it’s going to go down this path.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM

        Yakupov better be prepared. As his team’s best player he was already a marked man. Now he’s just doubled the size of that bullseye he’s got on him.

        Nothing better than Russia vs. Canada, I’m sure looking forward to it.

      • blomfeld - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:08 AM

        me too ! :) merry Christmas friend …

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM

        And a Merry Christmas to you.

  2. dancloutier39 - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Just another day in the Canada-Russia rivalry.

  3. id4joey - Dec 24, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Maybe he should try curling if hockey is too rough. One thing for sure, Canadians come at you from the front.

  4. trick9 - Dec 24, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Suddenly Canada can’t win this tournaments and year or two after you start seeing more and more of their players suspended for dirty hits. Coincidence? I think not.

    They are so used to winning that they are bad losers now.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 24, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      Coincidence? Most likely. Both the Canadians and Americans have thrown hits like this in just about every tourny in recent memory.

  5. broadstbully33 - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Dirty frenchies

    • kitshky - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:53 PM

      Please don’t tell me this is another ignorant American who thinks Canadians are french…

  6. jaybird22seven - Dec 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Trick9 you know nothing about hockey. You must be a thumb sucking American !!!!!

  7. jason9696 - Dec 24, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Go Russia. I want to hear their National Anthem after they win it all.

  8. icelovinbrotha215 - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Ah. International rivalry. Nothing better.

  9. fortwaynekomets - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    its because that’s the way the game is supposed to be played. PHYSICAL & COMBATIVE. Things the Swedes and Russians hate. Euro-trash hockey IMO.

  10. bigoldorcafromvan - Dec 24, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Yapper (The Drama Queen) thinks that it is rough to play the juniors in Canada now. Wait till he gets into playing at the NHL level if it ever gets back and going……

    • danphipps01 - Dec 25, 2012 at 2:45 AM

      No kidding. If the kid’s whining about the physicality at this level, he’s going to HATE the wake-up call real hockey gives him when he gets to the NHL. Enjoy the bumps, kid, they’re only going to get harder and more frequent in the big league.

  11. ironmike778 - Dec 25, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    Don’t be such a pansy. Shut up and just play hockey.

  12. jaybird22seven - Dec 25, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    That comment coming from a Russian is laughable !!! They are the worst offenders when it comes to being dirty.

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