I expect Yak to dominate this series. He always plays his best game against Canada. His U18 performance two years ago against us in bronze medal game still stands out for me. He just utterly dominated against us and was the best player in that tourney (along with Grig and that other Russian whose name I can't recall).
I so wanted Canada to cream him because of his celebrations but was in awe from his performance and the way he dominated. The guy is a beaut and I can't believe we have him
Russia lost 7 of 8 games that series. The other game being a tie in Red Deer.
Cherepanov was their star that year and the Canadians gunned him down hard. He was removed from that series by game 2 or 3.
My biggest concern is someone like Dumba. You just know he'll be looking to headhunt himself a Yakupov.
Don't think other Canadian players like boone jenner etc... won't remember Yakupovs interview after Russia beat Canada at the WJHC. To think Canada won't be targeting him is being naive IMHO.
I think there is a difference between targeting and head hunting. Every star player has a target on them. Yakupov is no different. Every single game he played in the OHL this season, you can be certain that no one was passing on an opportunity to level him.