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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#51 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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#52 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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#53 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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#54 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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#55 DrunkGuyTy
October 17 2013, 06:17AM
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@MattL

What does that have to do with being Russian?

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#56 Oiler Al
October 17 2013, 08:34AM
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Yak, time to be a man and suck it up. Get on the third line, learn how to play the other side of the puck.. didn't hurt Datsyuk, he didn't start on the top six.

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#57 Oil Fan in Ottawa
October 17 2013, 08:47AM
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Did I set a record with 123 props? haha

I'm glad there's a lot of support for Yakcity! He's a good kid with a wealth of talent!

Yakcity bitch!

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#58 Harry
October 17 2013, 11:47AM
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@stevegregson02 wrote:

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.

You aee in serious denial man. And for proof just look at whats going on in Cokorado and Calgary

We need something to change the dynamic of this team and I think a trade is just what the doctor ordered

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#60 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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#61 Newj
October 16 2013, 07:33PM
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and the Coppertone model is?

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#63 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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#64 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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#65 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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#67 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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#69 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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#70 RJ
October 16 2013, 11:58PM
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I have been on the road for two weeks so I haven't been able to watch any games. But if you want to trade hemsky, and want to get a decent return, he needs top 6 minutes, which means yak goes to the third line. It means different responsibilities for yak which could (in the long run) make him a more well-rounded player. But it also means moving yak out of his comfort zone while the oilers build up hemsky's trade value. It's a challenge obviously.

He got to the nhl by playing one way, and now they are asking him to change that and move away (at least for now) from what made him successful. So he's having a bit of a tough time with that. Big deal. He still hasn't broke 80 games in the nhl so maybe patience is in order? What am i missing?

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#71 RJ
October 16 2013, 11:58PM
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I have been on the road for two weeks so I haven't been able to watch any games. But if you want to trade hemsky, and want to get a decent return, he needs top 6 minutes, which means yak goes to the third line. It means different responsibilities for yak which could (in the long run) make him a more well-rounded player. But it also means moving yak out of his comfort zone while the oilers build up hemsky's trade value. It's a challenge obviously.

He got to the nhl by playing one way, and now they are asking him to change that and move away (at least for now) from what made him successful. So he's having a bit of a tough time with that. Big deal. He still hasn't broke 80 games in the nhl so maybe patience is in order? What am i missing?

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#72 Old School G
October 17 2013, 07:24AM
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michael wrote:

Pie in the sky. Lets trade for number 1 dman. What kind of koolaid are people drinking. Get your head out of your butts because there is not a single GM in the league who is going to give up a Nuber 1 dman for Yakupov or Eberle or whomever else the pundits wish to put forth as trade bait.

MacT is not GM because he is a dumbass. Neither are the 29 other GMs.

Name me the number 1 dman who you think a GM will give up for a Yakupov or an Eberle. Pietrangelo? Doughty?Weber? Fat chance.

Pipe dream are filled with the stuff of imagination. You can wish all you want but that is not going to make it happen. Ever.

This team has been moving forward in a rebuild mode for the past 4 years and the fan base is neither stupid or immature. There is a level of hockey intelligence that is here in Edmonton that understands what is needed to win a championship.

MacT has had a short time to mold this team. We are further ahead today then when we had Mr Dithers as GM. While we all cried for Monahan and Nichushkin this year MacT did the smart thing and drafted Nurse. A kid with the skills to be a true Number 1 dman in several years. Not today. Not this week and not this year. You don't truly know that you got a stud until he goes out and performs on the ice in the kind of situations that are demanded of a number 1.

We'll have to wait. Be patient. Bide our time. Enjoy the process. Rome was not built overnight.

But we need to dream right now! Just to reuse some information that I came across last night. I agree with what you're saying but this Zidlicky trade proves that top end D men can be acquired without giving up one of our young guns. This trade makes a lot of sense to me as a comparable and the Oilers are a team that could pull it off current day.

In 2012 Zidlicky was traded from Minnesota to New Jersey for:

Kurtis Foster - he played for us once right? D Nick Palmieri - 24 Year Old Prospect RW Stephane Vielleux - depth energy forward LW 2nd Round Pick of that Draft, conditional 3rd Round Pick of the Next Year's Draft.

Add in whichever players/prospects you want but the Oilers can and should be able to afford giving up similar type players and prospects for a top pairing D man, it's been seven years, remember what Pronger did for us?

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#73 Rama Lama
October 17 2013, 09:42AM
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Yaks is a trenmendous asset and one day will be a good hockey player. As a fan I desparetely want him to have sustained success..

The comments from Kravchuck should be considered by Yakupov as he seems genunie in his criticsm. He wants Yaks to be a good player, and in the best league in the world you have to learn how to play with other players. Yaks is a soloist who plays a team game..........when he learns how to use his team mates effectively, look out!

Any player who passes up a scoring opportunity or play when it is there......to rag the puck around and do nothing with it except to dangle, will soon have no teammates backing him up. I hope for Yaks sake he figures this out now.

Eakins was right in benching him so that he can gain a fresh prespective on this matter.

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#74 RJ
October 17 2013, 10:41AM
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The Edmonton Oilers are easily the best worst team iv ever seen in my life.

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#75 God
October 17 2013, 04:46PM
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The kid kissed his Oiler's crest in front of 16,000 strong. He's got heart. He's got talent to burn. He needs to learn to use his teammates more, no surprises there. He is NOT selfish. Whoever things that has never been a young man before.

Grow up.

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#76 RMGS
October 17 2013, 09:03AM
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"He knows what he is, and is going to have to learn what he can be. That's a gap in experience, in knowledge.

Not a gap in character."

LT, this sums things up perfectly.

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#77 RomZ
October 17 2013, 09:20AM
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Number One Son wrote:

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.

Doesn't DSF stand for Disregards Solid Facts?

Anyway on topic, Yak is still figuring things out for himself, I expect he will turn things around

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#78 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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#79 OttawaOilFan
October 17 2013, 11:29AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

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

But what about white puppies??? Is he cool with them?

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#80 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 17 2013, 01:29PM
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OttawaOilFan wrote:

But what about white puppies??? Is he cool with them?

they are so hated we cant even speak of it

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#81 Wax Man Riley
October 17 2013, 04:56PM
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Old School G wrote:

But we need to dream right now! Just to reuse some information that I came across last night. I agree with what you're saying but this Zidlicky trade proves that top end D men can be acquired without giving up one of our young guns. This trade makes a lot of sense to me as a comparable and the Oilers are a team that could pull it off current day.

In 2012 Zidlicky was traded from Minnesota to New Jersey for:

Kurtis Foster - he played for us once right? D Nick Palmieri - 24 Year Old Prospect RW Stephane Vielleux - depth energy forward LW 2nd Round Pick of that Draft, conditional 3rd Round Pick of the Next Year's Draft.

Add in whichever players/prospects you want but the Oilers can and should be able to afford giving up similar type players and prospects for a top pairing D man, it's been seven years, remember what Pronger did for us?

Pronger was had for Brewer, Woywitka(??) and Doug Lynch I believe.

Exactly..... who???

Ol' 6-rings was on fire that day. Best trade ever made by my books.

Actually, that '06, 6-rings was on fire with Rolli, Spacek, Pecca, Pronger, etc....

What in the ef happened??

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#82 MattL
October 17 2013, 05:34PM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

What does that have to do with being Russian?

Nothing, I just felt like any criticism of him was based on the Russian stereotype of being lazy and selfish, but I think maybe we're seeing a glimpse that at this point in his career, regardless of nationality, it might be true for him. I assume he'll grow out of it like most young players.

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