Oilers winger Nail Yakupov knows what it’s like coming to North America from Russia and not comprehending the language or understanding the new and different world. So when Bogdan Yakimov came over to Canada from Russia, Yakupov was there for him.
“Obviously, I’ve been with ‘Big Bo’ for two months here,” Yakupov said. “I’ve probably seen him five times each week the whole time and he asks me questions about the league, about the training, about life and about everything… I try to help him because he’s my exact copy of when I got here in my first year in Canada when I played for Sarnia. It was the same thing with no English, a different world and the same way with how I used my teammate Alex Galchenyuk.”
Yakimov was taken 83rd overall in 2013. This is really his first experience in Canada and it’s been nice to have Yakupov around to help him adjust. Yakupov is just 20-years-old, but he’s taken on a kind of veteran leadership with players like Yakimov, 19, and fellow Russian Vladimir Tkachev, 18.
“I think it’s good for him and I’m glad we have some Russians and guys like ’95, ’95 guys. I’m trying to help them. I’m trying to be a little (bit of a) dad you know. It’s good, especially with Bogdan because we lived in the same city (in Russia). We’ve known each other for a while. I will be 100% available for him with any questions via phone, text, conversation or anything and everything.”