EDMONTON -- Nail Yakupov's love of hockey runs deep.
Growing up in Russia, the Edmonton Oilers forward developed a passion for the sport and was encouraged to express it.
He still does, which makes him a popular figure in the organization.
"It comes from my home, my town and my family," Yakupov said. "My dad, my uncle and my mom, they told me you have to have fun playing hockey. You're going to get older, but you can't think about hockey as just your job. Yes, it's your job and they pay you, but you have to have fun doing it.
"You have to smile every day because you look at those guys that play 20 years in the NHL, they're always smiling because they're having fun. You can't focus on this like it's just a job."