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Everyone Hates Nail Yakupov (VIDEO)

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January 31, 2013

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Everyone Hates Nail Yakupov (VIDEO)

Last week, Nail Yakupov scored a game tying goal against the L.A Kings, and then he ditched his teammates and slid all the way down the ice celebrating. A lot of people didn’t like it.

Last night, Yakupov scored the OT winner against the Coyotes, and he calmly waved his teammates over as if to say, “don’t worry, I’m not going to knife through you this time.” Yakupov literally did the opposite of what got him in trouble last week, but still, some people didn’t like it. In fact, Ryan Whitney said something to Derek Morris, and Morris promptly filled his face with right hands.

So why does Nail Yakupov command so much hate?

I can understand why people didn’t like Yakupov’s Theo Fleury impression because it looks bad when someone avoids teammates to celebrate on their own. However, I really don’t see anything wrong with what Yakupov did last night. It seems to me like people are looking for a reason to hate on the guy. Here’s another question…

How much of the negative attention that surrounds Yakupov is due to the fact he’s Russian?

What’s the stereotype for Russian hockey players according to many people, including Don Cherry? Russian hockey players are too individualistic, they show up their opponents, they care more about offense than defence, and they aren’t true team players. Some people will also remind you that the Stanley Cup has never been won by a team with a Russian captain.

Personally, I don’t buy into that stuff, but it definitely makes for interesting story-lines. So what’s my verdict?

Yakupov’s famous 90-foot slide put a target on his back, and other players are going to continue to remind him he’s a rookie. There is a certain unwritten code amongst NHLers, and Yakupov ruffled some feathers within his first week in the league.

Yakupov should get used to this type of attention, because NHL defencemen have long-term memories…

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