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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nail Yakupov is just as cool as we remember him

The Colorado Avalanche are in town tonight and that only means one thing to me. Nail Yakupov is returning to his second home, YakCity. Whenever Colorado plays in Edmonton we tend to get pretty nostalgic. Yakupov to this day is till one of the coolest players to ever play on the Edmonton Oilers, and I miss him. 

Just as the City of Edmonton is remembering about all of our good times with the kid, he goes and drops another line to the media today that really tugs on the ol’ heart strings.

WE LIKE YOU TOO NAIL! I’m glad that Yakupov enjoys returning to this cold, cold city. I’m confident lot of guys in the NHL hate coming to Edmonton but Nail Yakupov is proof that the people of a city can make it great besides what the weather has to say. Either that or he’s just buttering us up so it doesn’t feel as bad when he scores three goals on us tonight. (Don’t worry we’re going to win anyways).

Due to the joyous occasion that is his return, I thought I’d go over some of my favourite Nail Yakupov moments when he was in Edmonton.

Yak Slide

Obviously the Yak slide is first and foremost on my list. When you think of Nail Yakupov, you think of the Yak slide. I’m actually surprised they haven’t added the Yak Slide into the dictionary yet??? Can we talk to somebody about this?

Anyways, the Yak Slide will go down as one of the greatest celebrations in Oilers/hockey/sports history. After getting a goal overturned late in the game, Nail Yakupov steps up to the plate, and bats home the game tying goal. This was in Yak’s rookie year and obviously the kid was excited about it. The fact that people across the league dissed him for the celly still blows my mind to this day. I loved the celly, and I love the Yak. Keep doing you man.

Yak buys dinner for a homeless man

We all have to remember this one as it just happened last year. I hope you all remember this one. In 2015 while Yakupov was driving downtown when a homeless man approached him and asked him for some spare change. Instead of giving him a toonie, or even blowing him off like the average person may do, Yakupove went above and beyond. Nail walked the homeless person to the Sutton Place hotel where he gave him $100 and set him up with likely the best meal this stranger has eaten in a long time.

Yak constantly showed community engagement during his time here, and for that we’ll never forget it.

Yak fights Bogosian

I apologize for how long this video is, but long story short: Yak scores a beauty goal from Hall, the whole Winnipeg team is infuriated with this for some reason… and well everyone loses control at the next Faceoff. At the centre ice draw after he scores, Nail continues to go back and forth with Andrew Ladd. I’m not sure what was said between the two, but Yak ends up two-handing Ladd and then gets speared in return. A few seconds later and we have a good ol’ fashion line brawl.

Keep in mind here that Nail Yakupov is 5’11” and wasn’t backing down from a 6’3″ Andrew Ladd in the faceoff. Yak has spunk and I love it!

Nail Yakupov, ping pong champion

One thing I’ll always remember Nail Yakupov as, is an elite ping pong player. Let us never forget the time that Dallas Eakins removed the ping pong table from the Oilers dressing room as a punishment. It pains me to think how devastated Nail was during this time.

In Elliote Friedman’s 31 thoughts last week we learned that Nail is continuing his ping pong domination with the Colorado Avalanche. You go, Glen Coco.

Yak’s space shirt

No comment needed.

Yak trick shot

Nail Yakupov was an endless creator of good online hockey content. Twitter was so much fun during his time here because he was constantly doing something hilarious and fun. Take this trick shot as an example. Look how happy he was when the water bottle got knocked down!

I could go all night about how I loved Yak. Sure he frustrated us at times on the ice, but at the end of the guy he’s a great guy to have around the community, and in Internet memes. What’s your fav Yakupov memory?



  • ComeAtMeDog

    Yak is a great guy . Too bad he didn’t turn out better for us . Just didn’t have the hockey IQ I guess they say . Glad he hasn’t gone back to KHL and is still trying to play here . Hope he scores and we win 6-1 .

    That yak slide was crazy he was so pumped. God bless him . But it was the fleury slide originally!! Another legend

    • Sorry I mistakenly trashed this comment.

      He’s had flashes of strong play that had to do with how he was used. He led rookies in scoring under Kreuger. Played well with McDavid, and played well with Roy.

      He should’ve been utilized as a pure sniper, and used more like players like Stamkos, than say, Kane.

      The thing about Yak is that he’s super cheap as a contract.

  • OmJo

    I’m sure most will say the slide, so I’ll go a different route… My favourite Yak moment was when he played with McDavid, and the Pouliot-McDavid-Yakupov line was one of the hottest lines in the league for a short little while…

    … never to be heard from again because TMac decided he just didn’t want to play them together.

    Every single time Yakupov plays with good NHL players, he produces like a good NHL player.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      It’s unfortunate that the Dallas Eakin’s era killed a lot of enthusiasm many of the young exciting Oilers had.
      Just remember how much fun and enthusiasm players like Eberle, Yak, Hall, had before he laid down his rule.
      “Chop wood, Carry water”…….the Dallas Detention center probably set this franchise back 3 years.

      • OmJo

        That year and a half of Dallas Eakins was by far the most damaging part of the Decade of Darkness for those players. It got us Connor McDavid but the cost was huge. I still miss Kreuger and Nelson lol.

      • Johnny Zylon

        You got that right. Running Kruger out for Eakins ranks as one of the worst decisions made by the Old Boys on the Bus Club. For sure it prolonged the DoD. Remember they were looking for assistant coaches at the time. In that context Eakins might have been a good assistant coach for Kruger, too bad MacT screwed things up. But hey…..we got McDavid.

  • Oil DAWG

    He needed to be more patient. Work hard on the third or forth line. Chances are he would of had several chances to move up and perhaps become the player we all hoped to see… This year especially!

  • Yak has something that you can’t be taught and that is passion. Skates like the wind both ways just doesn’t think the game like a game . I think he is a little hard to coach as well. I still think if he would of went to Detroit with Datsyuk there he be a hockey player today.

  • ubermiguel

    I love Yak the person. Yak the hockey player makes me all kinds of frustrated. He has all the talent and skill but seems to be missing whatever else it takes to be consistently really good at the NHL level.