Nail Yakupov: Puck Daddy’s 2012 NHL Draft FAQ

The 2012 NHL Draft is upon us. Many hockey fans know these prospects well. Others are aware there's a guy named "Nail" and some other dudes among the top picks. Please allow Puck Daddy's 2012 NHL Draft FAQ to fill in the gaps.

Who is this person?

Nail Yakupov, right wing and a native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia.

How do you say ...?

Nah-eel Ya-ku-poff

So wait … it's not pronounced "Nail", as in "Fail For"?

Nope, sorry.

Can we just all agree to call him "Nail" anyway?

Sure, because he's down with it, according to the Edmonton Sun: "He's cool with it being pronounced Nail, and he expects he'll end up being called that throughout his hockey career."

OK, so Jeff Marek can say "Nail hammered on the boards" on Sportsnet, and we can all giggle?


And if he's drafted some dreg of the NHL, we can still go with "Nail Gets Screwed"?

No, sorry, then it reverts back to "Nah-eel."

Damn. OK, so where did he play?

Yakupov played for the OHL Sarnia Sting for two seasons after a year in Russian junior. He scored 170 points in 107 games, which is decent, we suppose.

What does he do to make scouts drool on their wrinkled suits?

The consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Yakupov has drawn comparisons to Pavel Bure for his speed, shot and for the overall outstanding qualities in his game. And who's making such lofty comparisons? Scotty Bowman, no less. He's a fierce competitor on the ice and an engaging personality away from the rink. Did we mention his blazing speed?

What does he do to make scouts pop antacids?

The "Russian Factor" is the primary one, but it probably doesn't apply to a first overall choice with two years in the OHL. Beyond that, it's probably just headaches over how much this kid is going to earn now and down the road.

Is he on Twitter?

Sorta? He has one cyber-squatted, uh, "reserved" for him @NailYakupov. There hasn't been a tweet yet and he has close to 2,200 followers. UPDATE: Huzzah, he is on Twitter at @nail10_1993.

Celebrity he most resembles?

The love child of that werewolf from "Twilight" and Zach Parise.

Three Questions with Puck Daddy's own Dmitry Chesnokov with Yakupov (full interview here):

1. Being first overall must mean something to you?

"Being at the NHL draft already means a lot. And of course being the first overall pick is an honor. It would be great, of course. But still, someone who is picked in the sixth round, for example, will still get the same chance as you. Both will be given an opportunity to show what you've got. When you're drafted, you're given a chance. And then it's up to you what you do with that chance. Only time will tell."

2. Do you think that fact that you are Russian will hurt you? There is the so-called "Russian Factor" present at the draft.

"I don't think it will hurt me. I honestly don't think it matters. As far as someone being afraid that Russian players will leave, that's why we are playing here. And it's not even my first year, but my second one already. You also have an agent who talks to scouts. As for me personally, if I am given a chance to try myself in the NHL, I will certainly try myself in the NHL. Yes, if you are playing in the KHL, then teams are afraid when they pick you. But if not, like I, I would rather try to play in the NHL. It is never too late to go back to Russia. But I can't control what someone may be afraid of. I will just do the best that I personally can, whatever depends on me, to be the best player, to be the number one draft pick."

3. Did you have a favorite NHL team growing up?

"I really liked some player. Pavel Bure was my favorite. I still remember him play. As for teams, I really like watching Vancouver, Pittsburgh and Detroit play. But I just like any hockey. I watch hockey at home regardless of what teams are playing."

Where will he be drafted?

That would be No. 1 overall. Even if the Oilers move the pick, the trading partner will be moving up to snag him.

Obligatory YouTube

Nail Yakupov, shooting on Canada at World Juniors. Awesome:

That's quite the interview. Would you say he ... 'nailed it'?

You're going to make us Yakupov.