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 Team 1260.
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#1 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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 Crooked
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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 Reality Check
October 16 2013, 09:59PM
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You dont often get a combination of talent and passion like the Yak. The Oiler faithful have been notorious for running talented, but flawed players out of town.

I think the wanting of a winner by the fanbase is so large, that the pressure on all of these players to perform is incredible. The fact we are talking about a major trade, at this point in the season is major overreaction. Seasons can be broken down into segments...and this segment has not gone well, so far.

The oilers have the talent, it takes awhile to come together, especially under their 15th or 91st coach in 5 years.

I love the way Perron and Hemsky are playing. Perron was a major steal. Too many other players seem to be trying to put their team on their back and win the game in a single shift.

Give everyone a break, its a long season. I am hating the losing as much as anyone, but take a deep breath, look around and realize, you are just sitting in your livingroom, local waterhole or entertainment complex on Game day 6,7,8 or whatever and get stop you finger from wavering over the panic button, because nothing good comes from panicking.

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#11 @stevegregson02
October 16 2013, 10:24PM
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The smartest thing MacT and co could do at the momentis tell the entire fan base to take a breath. Seriously, the fact that the Oilers are openly shopping for a goalie right now is ridiculous. The goaltending has been brutal, down right terrible, but are we going to judge a season on 4 bad games by dubnyk and Eakins turning to a backup that hasnt played well either? Come on Lowetide, its not the time to sell anything, not that you were saying sell Yakupov. Trading for a goalie now is not going to be the answer for the Oil as the price for anyone with a better career save% than dubnyk will be stupid high. Lets put this into perspective. It's been 7 bad games, but the fancy stats say this team is already much improved in creating and limiting scoring chances despite Eakins questionable system. This has been done without RNH for a few games and Sam Gagner for all of them. Eakins essentially plays only 3 lines, and the 4th line instead of being made up of servicible NHL players has a face puncher, a coaches son (we all know how good they are) and a Mike Brown.... This teams problem have PRIMARILY been goaltending, but this is something that SHOULD turn around. Trading a player that broke STEVEN STAMKOS'S rookie scoring record in Sarnia and led the OILERS in goal scoring last year after 5 bad games and two - albiet questionable - healthy scratches would be boarder line Dave Nonis. IF im MacT I realize two things. First of all your going to get David Clarkson'd and over pay out the ying yang for a better goalie right now (remember that supposed offer for Schneider). You wait, you come out and state that you have confidence in Dubnyk and the team and you hold your cards until christmas. The Second thing is, you realize the league is different this year with the new wild card/divisional alignment. There is less conference play, less 4 point games. A bad start (by my eye) doesn't look as bad as it could be in the past playoff format. Let's see how this team looks healthy (after 20 games) and when Eakins figures out that playing your top forwards 25 minutes a night is going to have diminishing returns on there offensive outputs in the third period. This team finally has offensive depth. This team has 2 new D men, one still learning the North American game. Im usually a pessimist, but I say wait. Patience Oilersnation. Things are going to get better. Especially when Yakupov starts to click with RNH and those red lights start going off like crazy.

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#12 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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#14 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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#16 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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#17 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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#18 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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#19 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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#20 OIL or NOTHING
October 16 2013, 11:48PM
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I've REALLY hated how Yak has played this year.

I WILL give him the benefit of the doubt. Last year I seen how good of a player he is, we all did.

He is OUR player and as fans we need to have his back.

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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 MattL
October 16 2013, 11:48PM
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I thought the unfair Russian stereotype was in full effect, until Sept. 21st (video still up on the Oilers website, go have a look) Yak scored pre-season on a beauty pass from Jujhar Khaira, and skated right by Khaira over to the boards to hot dog his easy one-timer, didn't acknowledge the nice pass at all from the kid who was going back to junior.

That didn't bother anyone else?

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#27 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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#28 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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#29 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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#30 @Oilanderp
October 16 2013, 10:13PM
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I like Yakupov

Is very good at hockey

We win first we win.

http://twentytwowords.com/2012/06/13/hockey-player-knows-just-enough-english-to-give-a-perfect-post-game-interview/

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#31 boxman
October 16 2013, 10:31PM
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If I wanted to trade Hemsky I would put him in great positions to succeed. Yaks time is coming after Ales is showcased. Oilers are due to explode!!

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#32 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 17 2013, 06:27AM
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book¡e wrote:

Why does Yakupov hate Smid?

only reasonable conclusion is yakupov hates white people... and puppies... and babies.. white babies..

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#33 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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#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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#36 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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#37 bwar
October 16 2013, 06:44PM
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TRADE EVERYONE!

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#38 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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#41 Murray
October 16 2013, 10:41PM
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LT It can't be lost on you that most of the trolls on this site aren't even close to being legitimate Oiler fans. Hence the negativity. Notice they hide behind anonymous sobriquets when they vent their collective spleens.

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#42 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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#43 David S
October 16 2013, 07:18PM
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FIRE THEM ALL!

#FireThemAll

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#44 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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#45 etownman
October 16 2013, 10:48PM
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As Alex Trebek would say 'Suck it long & suck it hard'! Yak will be an Oiler, get used to it!

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#46 Racki
October 16 2013, 10:53PM
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I mentioned I'd like to see the Oilers move some assets (maybe even Yakupov) to land a rock on the blue line.. still stand by that. However, it has nothing to do with this supposed selfish Yakupov. I have nothing against him, and think he's going to be a great player. I do think that he's hanging on to the puck far too long, and could stand to play the team-defense game a bit more, but I don't consider it a problem. It should be something that is easy to fix.

Much of the media likes to dump on Oilers, never mind Russian Oilers any chance they can get. As far as Kravchuk's comments... well... his comments and what he is "seeing" are probably heavily biased by Nail's recent comments. And really, I didn't like them either. We can try and spin them all they want, but I don't think it was the right thing to say at all. I'm willing to let it all slide partly on the basis that it could just be "lost in translation" and partly because he's young. Again, it should be easily rectifiable.

I will say too, previous interviews with Yak haven't given me the impression that he's a hot dog or solo player or anything like that. Maybe the heat of the moment had him upset and saying things he now regrets.. I don't know. But again, not too worried about it.

Lastly, anytime someone talks about trading a player, even if it's a good solid trade addressing a need, we're "running the player out of town"... it isn't that at all. I love Nail Yakupov here and would be content to see him stay.. but there are important needs on this team (for me, I say a #1D), and that stuff won't fix itself by sending N. Schultz and a broken forward the other way.

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#47 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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#48 Goilers
October 16 2013, 10:50PM
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Despite only having 3 points I think we've played quite well. The goaltending will improve, likely significantly based on past performance, and the team defence will as well as they get comfortable with the systems. A few less turnovers, a few more timely saves, and a lot more Yak city and we won't know what to complain about.

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#49 DrunkGuyTy
October 17 2013, 06:17AM
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@MattL

What does that have to do with being Russian?

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#50 Jay
October 17 2013, 11:20AM
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According to Nick Kypreos, the Oilers organization has deemed Yakupov an "expendable young player". Ya, right. Kyper... One to many blows to the head me thinks !

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