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11-18-2012, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Yakushev72 View Post
Of course his career will go on, but he is smart enough to know that he will be expected to be the difference between Gold or less, and if it should end up being less, his hockey reputation will be diminished. Call it the Yakupov factor. Everybody on the Russian side expected Yakupov to take the team on his shoulders and be the difference between winning or losing the SSS. Russian won, but with far less contribution from Yakupov than was expected. On the HF Boards, Yakupov has gotten nothing but criticism despite Russia's having won.

Take a look back at the posts on threads related to Canada and the 2013 WJC to get a measure of the expectations of fandom. How many assert that Canada will win based on the presence of Nugent-Hopkins? I think you'll find that to be a predominant theme. He is aware that if Canada loses, there will be more than a few who blame him for an unexpected result. I hope he does go, because I have never seen him play, but I'll be surprised if he does, "elite athlete" or not, because there are a number of good reasons not to.
Canadian fans and media don't generally throw their players under the bus when they lose. There might be other reasons for RNH not going, but I doubt that being blamed would even cross his mind. I remember Bragin marvelling last year at how TSN concentrated on the positives for Canada after the loss to Russia -- specifically how well they played in the third -- rather than the negatives.

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