A DAMN SHAME

Lowetide
October 16 2013 06:23PM

It looks like some folks are taking this opportunity (the Yak healthy scratching) to take their shots at the young Russian. I say wait just one damn minute! Yak City might be struggling, but he's our guy and we've got his back!

Sometimes people just can't see the truly beautiful because they are focused on the wrong thing. Case in point: an article by Allan Muir today for SI. Muir quotes Russian national scout (and former Oiler) Igor Kravchuk, who had some harsh words for our man Nail:

  • Kravchuk:Obviously, from what I see, his team game is really, really poor. He tries to do a lot of things by himself and he has absolutely no defense and that’s what really concerns [me] as a scout. But if he’s going to listen to what the coach says, if he’s going to change his game, then he’s got a future.”

These are tough words, but there's some iron in them, too. Young Nail has been pressing, trying to stickhandle his way through an obstacle-course opposition often this season. His defensive play includes slow moving feet, a lack of awareness and we haven't seen him haul ass on the back check every shift and that's for sure. I have no issue with Kravchuk's words, he's a scout and was asked a question about Sochi and the Russian Olympic team. If he feels Nail isn't playing well, that's a warning sign for the young Russian. The issue for me comes with Muir's framing of the issue:

  • Muir: Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins isn’t the only hockey authority who’s grown tired of Nail Yakupov’s selfish play.

I take issue with "selfish" in regard to Yakupov. This is a young man learning a new system and finding out (as the other young men on the Oilers are finding out, too) there's a new leader in town and turnovers, bringing the puck back into the defensive zone, crazy passes cross ice to no one, and individual efforts will not be tolerated. Yakupov is balking at the idea, expressing his belief that's he's better deployed as an offensive player. He's not refusing to make changes. 

Wake up call for the player? You bet. Stubborn? Sure. Selfish? I don't see a lot of evidence, in Yakupov's words and manner, and certainly not in Muir's article. And I don't see why we wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt based on his own past.

  • Muir again: Eakins hoped to get his attention by benching him for a pair of recent games. Instead, a petulant Yakupov said, “I don’t really like playing without the puck, skate all the time and do forecheck and hit somebody every shift — I don’t think it’s my game.”

Petulant? It is certainly not the quote we're used to hearing from media savvy youngsters, but I'm not convinced he's being selfish here. I have to say this does not jive with my knowledge of the player. Perhaps Muir has encountered these things in Yakupov--he would certainly have access--but I think we have a right to ask the author for proof. I would also like to suggest that Yakupov--speaking in English--is probably more prone to using words that may not be ideal or politically correct without in fact having an agenda or being selfish. Agree?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The coach:

  • Eakins: "We just thought that he’d gotten to a spot of frustration where the kid’s passion is to score and he was just going to take it all on himself. You can’t do that. I don’t care how good you are, you can’t produce by yourself in this league — you have to use your linemates. It was more of a re-set button for him. He can come back fresh with a new perspective.”

This has been a tough couple of weeks for Nail Yakupov. I would hope that Oiler fans aren't quick to pile on, and would remind them about Yakupov's comments in regarding to playing with "my Captain" and other moments we've seen this year.

Yakupov arrived in this city with a boyish charm and a delightful passion for the game of hockey. Articles like this one are likely to make him more guarded in an effort to survive. And I believe that's a damn shame.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Uks Ya
October 16 2013, 06:33PM
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Hows she goin byyzzz!!

its been awhile....

and too be honest im scared to share my honest opinion, although I wanna see how Yak would preform playin with Perron & gagner or Hall & Nuge before I start bashing!

I don't remember ever seeing Hall or Ebz healthy's after a night of f*#kn the dog!

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#2 mlcslli
October 16 2013, 06:33PM
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Igor sounds like a real AH. If I'm Yak, I'm pissed

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#3 DaveChamp
October 16 2013, 06:34PM
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Yakupov has been struggling, no one will argue against that. But people have to stop trying to paint Russians as these selfish, lazy players. Maybe some are like that, but so are some Canadians. This will be good for the kid's development so long as he learns what team hockey really is.

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#4 hallsyoilerforever5
October 16 2013, 06:34PM
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Yak's been constantly ripped upon. Everybody knows he has to buy in the system to become a better player, but the hate from the media he's getting is just stupid. Is it because he's Russian? He's only a kid. No doubt he'll buy in the system eventually and get better. People need to lay off the guy.

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#5 The Real Scuba Steve
October 16 2013, 06:37PM
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Give the kid a break, Yak will come around this is not Omark or some other failed prospect. He is the real deal, I'm sure if we trade now he will just explode into an offensive stud for another team.

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#6 Butters
October 16 2013, 06:41PM
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"but he's our guy and we've got his back!" Damn Right!

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#7 bwar
October 16 2013, 06:44PM
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TRADE EVERYONE!

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#8 jeanshorts
October 16 2013, 06:48PM
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Didn't even mention Tim Panaccio calling him a "Russian head case"!

https://twitter.com/tpanotchCSN/statuses/390204442488090624

Kid gets sent to his room for two games and he's already been anointed Alexi Yashin 2.0.

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!

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#9 Space Dad
October 16 2013, 06:49PM
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Yak, you've been blessed with unfathomable power! Don't mind the paranoia of the xenophobic masses - these savages are, as ever, fickle mistresses.

Unsheath your churro! Score! and win!

We wait.

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#11 Mikey
October 16 2013, 06:57PM
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I really like how DSF posted Kravchuks comments in another blog, but failed to add the last sentence. "But if he’s going to listen to what the coach says, if he’s going to change his game, then he’s got a future.” With out that last line the quote sounds like the guy doesn't like Yaks game. With that one sentence it shows this guy realizes Yak is still a kid.

Why don't most of you realize this?

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#12 DSF
October 16 2013, 06:59PM
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Mikey wrote:

I really like how DSF posted Kravchuks comments in another blog, but failed to add the last sentence. "But if he’s going to listen to what the coach says, if he’s going to change his game, then he’s got a future.” With out that last line the quote sounds like the guy doesn't like Yaks game. With that one sentence it shows this guy realizes Yak is still a kid.

Why don't most of you realize this?

I posted the entire podcast.

I agree with Kravchuk...if Yak changes his game he has a future.

If he doesn't...not so much.

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#13 Number One Son
October 16 2013, 07:04PM
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Mikey wrote:

I really like how DSF posted Kravchuks comments in another blog, but failed to add the last sentence. "But if he’s going to listen to what the coach says, if he’s going to change his game, then he’s got a future.” With out that last line the quote sounds like the guy doesn't like Yaks game. With that one sentence it shows this guy realizes Yak is still a kid.

Why don't most of you realize this?

Heh, well, you can always count on 'dsf' to abandon the facts when it gets in the way of whatever new anti-Oiler narrative he's pitching at any given time.

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#14 Justin
October 16 2013, 07:05PM
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Perhaps the Oilers are overrated you can't have the worst record overall in the league for the last 7 years. Probably all the Oilers are overrated some more than others.

We do all the fancy calculus but the results are the results.

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#15 Big slick
October 16 2013, 07:06PM
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Unless #1 defenseman is in the deal we wait for Yak to develop. Good offensive year last year. Slow start this year. Why sell low? If Oil wanted to deal him should have done it in the summer. So now we wait. He will bounce. Multi goal game soon.

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#16 Derek
October 16 2013, 07:07PM
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Lowetide,

I read your stuff all the time and enjoy it.

You wrote that being selfish doesn't jive with your knowledge of the player.

Can you elaborate on that. Do you mean you don't think he plays selfish, or from talking to him you don't think he is selfish.

Thanks.

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#17 Quintana
October 16 2013, 07:09PM
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Who are these clowns Muir or krashev? Media crap.....Yak is gonna be elite in the nhl period.whatever you like it or not...

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#18 Alsker
October 16 2013, 07:09PM
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Unreal, so have we now moved from the "kick him while he's down" stage to "beating a dead horse" stage...heres hoping The Yakster figures how to combine his natural instincts and his role in Eakins system quick enough that these Jackas*es columns havent yet been forgotten and they can enjoy the taste of crow.

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#20 David S
October 16 2013, 07:18PM
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FIRE THEM ALL!

#FireThemAll

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#21 Oil Fan in Ottawa
October 16 2013, 07:18PM
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I like Nail :) Props if you like Nail too!

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#22 "THAT GUY"
October 16 2013, 07:19PM
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Big slick wrote:

Unless #1 defenseman is in the deal we wait for Yak to develop. Good offensive year last year. Slow start this year. Why sell low? If Oil wanted to deal him should have done it in the summer. So now we wait. He will bounce. Multi goal game soon.

Yakupov, Hemsky & Justin Shultz for Chara & Lucic??

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#23 Butters
October 16 2013, 07:25PM
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I listened to Bob S.today. He said all the negative perceptions about Yak are BS-well not in so few words.

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#24 Oiler Al
October 16 2013, 07:26PM
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English is not the kids, first language, and I think at times what he meant to say , comes out as something different.His remarks are certainly ingenuous.

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#25 K_Mart
October 16 2013, 07:29PM
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It's rare that players of Yakupov's ability get to where they are without a little opposition along the way. He works too hard, and has too much raw skill to be kept down for long.

Not worried about the kid one bit. He could go 20 games without a goal and I still wouldn't be worried. He'll almost certainly be a star one day. I don't agree with the second time he was scratched, but in the long run, he has too much character to ever let something this insignificant affect his career all that much.

SIDENOTE: Who's DSF? Does this person post on here sometimes? Must've just skipped right by those posts.

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#26 Newj
October 16 2013, 07:33PM
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and the Coppertone model is?

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#27 D'oh-ilers
October 16 2013, 07:39PM
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Steven Stamkos was a healthy scratch for Tampa when he was 19 too. The kid didn't even score as many points as Matt Duchene in his rookie season! What an overrated bum! Tampa should have traded him when they had the chance, but now they're stuck with him. How awful for them.

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#28 OILERSORDEATH
October 16 2013, 07:43PM
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Look at all the $hit the Sedin sister's took in Vancouver! After every year the whole city wanted them traded!! Let's not act as stupid as Canuck fans. Yak will come around not worried at all, he's still very young.

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#30 oilredemption
October 16 2013, 07:45PM
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dsf is the 'D'e'S'ignated 'F'lamer on oilersnation. He says a lot of crude stuff about the oil which is sometimes false and sometimes the brutal truth but for the most part I thinks he does it for the reactions of us die hards.

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#31 oilredemption
October 16 2013, 07:51PM
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As for yak I really don't think anyone wants him gone, I think everyone cheers like hell for the kid and wants to see him excel so they don't want his talent to go to waste, hence the trade rumors. We all know if the oilers don't right this ship it could go ugly very quickly which is why we need to shake things up. Whether it's dealing yak or whatever we need to make an improvement in our areas of weakness.

Yak and dub for miller and myers...anyone? Of course only if we knew miller was gonna sign an extension (could be the next rolly)

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#32 oilers2k10
October 16 2013, 07:53PM
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oilredemption wrote:

As for yak I really don't think anyone wants him gone, I think everyone cheers like hell for the kid and wants to see him excel so they don't want his talent to go to waste, hence the trade rumors. We all know if the oilers don't right this ship it could go ugly very quickly which is why we need to shake things up. Whether it's dealing yak or whatever we need to make an improvement in our areas of weakness.

Yak and dub for miller and myers...anyone? Of course only if we knew miller was gonna sign an extension (could be the next rolly)

Absolutely not.

It's trade proposals like this...

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#33 Rod from Viking
October 16 2013, 07:53PM
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Yakapov isn't going anywhere and when he decides to play Eakins system he will get more ice time. Hemsky will be traded at the deadline and Yak will be a top six right winger for a long time on this team, my only concern is his father is acting like Carl Lindros and I hope Nail's agent convinces him to keep quiet.

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#34 Rod from Viking
October 16 2013, 07:55PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Ann Margret.

Lowetide is that you in the shower?

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#35 Hayek
October 16 2013, 08:01PM
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Funny when a team starts losing (and Oilers have done a lot) that fans start witch hunts. Can't believe all the negative comments on Hall and Yakupov already this year.

These same fans when the team is winning, thinks every player is invincible, and wouldn't trade a Gadzic for a Duchene.

It would be nice if some people were more even keel, so the rest of us wouldn't have to waste time dealing with complete irrationality.

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#37 K_Mart
October 16 2013, 08:10PM
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Hemsky traded at the deadline and Yak in the top six makes too much sense not to happen.

If we are sitting in the 9-11th range Hemsky and our first rounder could fetch quite a bit.(provided Hemsky keeps up his play).

Hemsk HAS outplayed YAK thus far, but he's 30, yak is 20... Think about it. Hemmer is finished as an oiler unless everyone on this roster gets us well above the playoff cut line sans trade(highly unlikely)

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#38 Butters
October 16 2013, 08:12PM
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@LT I wish! I hope Mrs. Lowetide doesn't read this co;umn

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#40 Pouzar99
October 16 2013, 08:16PM
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Yak will be fine. He has outstanding talent and desire. He is not the only bright young Oiler whom Eakins will make into a better player and not the only one who will find himself in the press box once in a while.

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#41 Taylor Gang
October 16 2013, 08:21PM
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Hayek wrote:

Funny when a team starts losing (and Oilers have done a lot) that fans start witch hunts. Can't believe all the negative comments on Hall and Yakupov already this year.

These same fans when the team is winning, thinks every player is invincible, and wouldn't trade a Gadzic for a Duchene.

It would be nice if some people were more even keel, so the rest of us wouldn't have to waste time dealing with complete irrationality.

This

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#43 Oilers Coffey
October 16 2013, 08:43PM
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Yakupov is ours Oilers Nation! He will break his mini slump and Celly all over his critics and haters!

Shame Shame on those doubters!!!

Shame

Shame

Shame

Shame

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#44 madjam
October 16 2013, 09:16PM
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There was doubts about his lack of defence when we drafted him . He needs to expand his game now more than he has . That should not be so difficult for a talent like him .

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#45 vetinari
October 16 2013, 09:23PM
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Oil Fan in Ottawa wrote:

I like Nail :) Props if you like Nail too!

I was going to props this but you were at 64, which is Yak's number, and I didn't want to move it to jinx him!

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#46 Justin
October 16 2013, 09:37PM
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Justin wrote:

Perhaps the Oilers are overrated you can't have the worst record overall in the league for the last 7 years. Probably all the Oilers are overrated some more than others.

We do all the fancy calculus but the results are the results.

5 trashes , I guess some people don't like reality.

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#47 Jeffff
October 16 2013, 09:39PM
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Justin wrote:

5 trashes , I guess some people don't like reality.

Reality is not optional. Well unless you are a liberal

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#48 Dog Train
October 16 2013, 09:39PM
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Yakupov is used to being able to just stick handle through the opposition and score. He's still learning to navigate the NHL waters. Does he have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to team play? You betcha, but he's still basically a rookie and you don't find too many rookies who come into this league without warts. Hall and Eberle certainly deserved their fair share of benchings in their first few seasons but a lack of depth on those teams prevented that from happening.

The difference between Yakupov and some other talented players who's games are rough around the edges? Yakupov is Russian. Last I checked so are Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Fedorov.

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#49 Slanto
October 16 2013, 09:39PM
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Play Yak. Give him a decent go or it may not bode well for us in regards to Slepsyev and Yakimov ever coming over. The Oilers have invested in Russians and I would hate for Edmonton to be seen as a non-viable option to the KHL

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#50 Evilas
October 16 2013, 09:42PM
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"THAT GUY" wrote:

Yakupov, Hemsky & Justin Shultz for Chara & Lucic??

I'd do that deal in second, Bruins wouldn't....they'd want picks and prospects too.

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