Hey, Nail Yakupov! Can I hang with you the next time you go to a bar in Edmonton? Preferably someplace on Whyte or Jasper Avenues.

Seriously, dude. I’d just hang around in the back somewhere. You wouldn’t even know I was there. I just want to watch.

Sorry, let me rephrase. I just want to watch the reaction when you walk into a bar full of soused or semi-soused girls. It would be so much fun to watch heads swivel, and see girls collectively say “OhmygodthatsNail”. It would be almost as much fun to watch the reaction from guys as they size up the competition, realize that all is lost, and storm off to another bar.

Nail Yakupov is, of course, the latest first-round draft choice of the Edmonton Oilers. By now, you’d think Edmonton hockey fans would be somewhat blasé about having another would-be phenom joining the team. It’s three years in a row that this sad sack outfit has added a young stud to the lineup, so it’s kind of old news. But Yakupov seems to have a little something extra going for him. Maybe because it’s because he’s Russian, or seems to be a free spirit compared to Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But it’s probably because the kid seems to be so willing to communicate with his fans.

At last count, Nail Yakupov has 23,557 followers on Twitter. He has Tweeted 634 times, and from what I’ve seen he likes to respond to pretty much any inquiry from fans, particularly of the female variety. These girls aren’t the least bit shy about asking questions: are you a virgin, how big is your …. well, let’s just say ‘hockey stick’. Many are somewhat more benign, such as: ‘Do u like cheese???!!!’. The reply? Ya.

Nail doesn’t seem to have much interest in following other Tweeters, however. He’s only following 40, including one who describes herself as ‘face it im hot i love hockey more then anything and one day will marry a hockey player’, and another who describes herself as ‘a strange combination of a woman and a child. i am your spirit animal.’

Then there are updates on his day, like these …

* Good morning !!)))) Have a nice , great , wonderful , happy , good day today , for every one 😀 KIDS 🙂

* Camp is great $ I can make food 🙂 Ur fans great ) I love u 🙂 Good night for everyone 🙂

Such a nice boy!

I have no idea if Nail Yakupov is going to be a good hockey player, a great hockey player, or a first-round failure. I do have a pretty good idea that he’s going to be fun to watch. I just hope that he keeps a level head. Going from relative obscurity in Sarnia to being a first-round draft pick for a hockey mad city filled with young people with lots and lots of money is enough to turn anyone’s head. I hope he keeps tweeting until the Oilers feel a public relations disaster coming on and pull the plug. If Nail starts tweeting things like: “Enjoyed a fine meal at Sorrentino’s tonight”, you’ll know they’ve gotten to him.

Enjoy your stay in Edmonton, Nail. And seriously, next time you go out, give me a call.


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