2012 NHL DRAFT
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It appears Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov
, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, will miss the team's remaining three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury.
On Saturday, Yakupov required stitches to his mouth after an open-ice hit by Owen Sound Attack captain Michael Halmo 11:20 into the second period of a 4-0 victory. Halmo was given a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct on the play.
According to Sportnet's Sam Cosentino, who spoke to Sting general manager/coach Jacques Beaulieu on Monday afternoon, Yakupov will miss the team's final three regular-season games -- against Saginaw on Wednesday, London on Friday and Plymouth on Saturday.
Yakupov will be re-evaluated prior to the start of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
The OHL playoffs are scheduled to begin March 22. Sarnia has clinched a playoff spot and currently is fourth in the OHL.
Back in February, Yakupov told NHL.com how excited he was to have an opportunity to assist his team when it matters most -- in the OHL playoffs.
"The playoffs are important for everyone," Yakupov told NHL.com. "I never played in the playoffs, so I want to try to see what it's like for me. Everybody wants to play more and play at a high end. Performing in big games is better for your hockey career."
Yakupov, who has 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games this season, was leveled by Halmo while cutting across the ice in the Attack's zone. The 5-foot-10.5, 189-pound forward, who went down immediately, tried to regain his footing before falling to one knee near the players' bench.
After being treated by the team trainer and doctor, Yakupov got up under his own power and went to the dressing room.
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