All newsInterview

Nail Yakupov: "I am ready to play in Russia again"

Pre-season trainingNail Yakupov
HC SKA press-service

- I am having a great time in Saint Petersburg, however I still need to find a flat. There are fantastic facilities here and the group is good - I have met the guys and I already knew some of them beforehand. So far, everything is fine.

- How do you feel?

- I feel fine, I've been training for a long time. There won't be any problems physically.

- Morally, are you ready for your return to Russia?

- I am already here! There's no shock, but I have spent a number of years living abroad. Nevertheless, now I will play in my home country, where I always tried to visit as often as possible. In the summer, I am always in Russia.

- In the future, do you plan to return to the NHL?

- I don't know, right now I am ony thinking about SKA. Now, I need to train well, participate in friendly matches and competitions and get ready for the season. I don't want to look too far ahead.

- Did NHL clubs express interest in you?

- Everything happened, but it doesn't matter.

Nail Yakupov: "I am ready to play in Russia again"

- Why did you choose SKA?

- I wanted to return to Russia and I held negotiations with this club. It's good that I chose SKA and travelled to Saint Petersburg.

- Last season, SKA received your rights.

- There were discussions last summer too.

- Have you spoken to Ilya Vorobyov?

- Only "hello" and "goodbye" so far. We haven't spoken about the SKA roster yet. The strongest players will be on the ice.

- Are you ready for high competition within the team?

- Yes, I am ready for anything, that's why I came here. There is competition in any sport.

- Is it important for you that SKA are going through a period of change?

- It was my choice to join SKA and move back to Russia. For me, this is only a positive event in my life. I was brought up in this country. Yes, things will be different, but I don't think that I will encounter major problems. I have been in Saint Petersburg for a week.

- Out of the current SKA squad, who do you speak to the most?

- Anton Belov - we played together in Edmonton. Our families are friendly with each other too. I know Yaroslav Dyblenko and I played with Nikita Gusev in the Russian national team.

- Have you chosen your SKA number?

- Yes, 65.

- Why 65?

- I chose that number.

- Will SKA struggle without Ilya Kovalchuk?

- All teams have some problems. There's no point in turning back the clock and wondering if things will be tough. Some players chose to continue their careers with different clubs. We have a team here and we'll move on.

- Can Ilya Kovalchuk become an NHL star again?

- I don't think that he's stopped being an NHL star. He's always been a great player and he was brilliant with SKA. Ilya won't have any problems. Ilya is a fantastic player, just like Vyacheslav Voynov.

- Vyacheslav Voynov hasn't yet received permission to compete in the NHL. Does public opinion hold large bearing?

- I don't know any of the details, but I hope that he will be allowed to play in the USA. When he's granted permission to compete in the NHL, public opinion will change.

All news
We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience browsing our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.