Russian national team coach Oleg Znarok had some unkind things to say about Nail Yakupov following Russia’s bronze-medal win over the U.S. on Sunday. Znarok called Yakupov’s absence from the national team “addition by subtraction,” according to Slava Malamud.
Yakupov was not a part of the Russian roster and it was a point of contention. Before the tournament, Znarok said in an interview at the Russian Ice Hockey Federation’s site that Yakupov was not a part of the roster because he was injured.
In an interview with Matchtv.ru, Yakupov disputed that, saying he’d been cleared for play by NHL doctors and was ready to play for the national team.
Malamud reported that Znarok responded by saying Yakupov wasn’t giving the real story and that Yakupov had “multiple injuries.” He suggested that Yakupov was trying to position himself for a trade.
The possible conflict brewing here is interesting, and could mean that Yakupov isn’t named as one of the late additions for the Russian national team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Russia has only three forward spots left to name, which they will do by the June 1 deadline.