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June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

FEATURES

THE ASSIST OF A LIFETIME

IN OCTOBER OF LAST YEAR, FORMER MAPLE LEAFS EQUIPMENT manager Scott McKay was like a lot of guys in his 40s in that he was experiencing lower back pain. But after a series of ultrasounds and X-rays didn’t properly diagnose the problem, he went for an examination with Leafs doctor Noah Forman. That’s when his entire world changed and he joined a club nobody wants membership in. “I remember the exact place I was when I was told I had cancer,” says McKay, 41. “You’ve seen the cartoons where the walls close in around you? That’s exactly what I felt. I was absolutely crushed.” From that moment on, McKay began an incredibly difficult journey that included a month of daily radiation treatments as well as chemotherapy. He is still continuing his…

DEPARTMENTS

‘YAKS’ DOESN’T TALK BACK

THE NAME STAMPED ON HIS STICK SAYS it all: ‘Yaksss.’ Not Yakupov, not even ‘Yaks.’ The triple-S is a perfect example of Nail Yakupov’s youthful exuberance, but most importantly for Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger, his rookie winger came into the league willing to learn. “He’s a big, exciting project,” Krueger said. “We left him alone for the first 10 or 12 games, but then we brought in video. Nail’s been very coachable.” As Krueger noted, Russian teams don’t dump the puck in as often as NHL squads. Instead, players circle back and regroup if an entry point is unavailable. Yakupov, who played in the Kontinental League during the lockout, was still in that mindset when he returned to North America, but he embraced change. “Video helps a lot,” Yakupov said. “We…

DEPARTMENTS

Jersey HOUND

Charity hockey games bring an intrinsic good in their fundraising efforts, but it’s even better when they inspire some sartorial excellence. The New Jersey Devils recently helped host a benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims with local alum facing off against retired Russian stars. The visitors wore awesome CCCP throwbacks from the Soviet’s first World Championship title in 1954. Presciently, the double-headed eagle logo on the deep ‘V’ even looks like a medal hanging from this rare blue-and-white national jersey.…

DEPARTMENTS

IMMEDIATE IMPACT

BRANDON SAAD HAD NO CALDER TROPHY aspirations when the season started. “I just thought about making the team this year, to be honest,” he said. In fact, when the Blackhawks opened the season in Los Angeles, Saad watched from the Staples Center press box while Daniel Carcillo skated on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. But when Carcillo hurt his knee in that game, Saad slid into that role and never looked back. Saad had 10 goals and 27 points in 46 games and led NHL rookies with a plus-17. He is a finalist for the Calder along with Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher and Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau. “He’s had a real nice year for us,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “He came into the NHL maybe under the radar when he…