YAKUPOV: LAST IN, FIRST OUT?

Robin Brownlee
November 11 2013 07:41PM

Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said just last week he isn’t trying to trade Nail Yakupov, but agent Igor Larionov has tongues wagging across the NHL today, saying his client is open to a trade. Anywhere is fine.

Two Tweets from the Twitter account of ESPN Magazine senior hockey writer Craig Custance are again fuelling speculation that the struggling Yakupov could be on the move out Edmonton just 65 games into his NHL career with the Oilers, who picked him first overall in 2012. Just after 6 p.m. Edmonton time, the following:

A couple of hours prior to that, just before 5 p.m., Custance posted:

So, according to Custance, a seasoned scribe not prone to passing along baseless hearsay or making things up, and in direct quotes, Yakupov is open to and OK with being traded by the Oilers and Larionov plans to swing into town for a sit-down with MacTavish and maybe coach Dallas Eakins to discuss how his client is being used. That about cover it?

Is that trouble with a capital T or entitlement with a capital E?

EARLY SPLIT OR HISSY FIT?

It's completely understandable why Yakupov wouldn't be anything close to happy right now. Aside from the Oilers being off to a horrid 4-13-2 start, Yakupov has struggled mightily through the first 17 games of his sophomore season.

After finishing his rookie season like a house on fire with five goals in his last two games and totals of 17-14-31 in 48 games, Yakupov has scored just 2-2-4 in 17 games this season. He's been a healthy scratch. He's been moved up and down the line-up by Eakins. He's got every reason to be frustrated.

Is that all this is? I'm not sure. Players struggling during a difficult stretch or through a frustrating set of circumstances – diminished ice time, offensive droughts -- will often vent to their agents. Sometimes, it's a one-off. Then, the puck goes in the net, as it did in Chicago Sunday. Ice time increases. The team starts to win again. Cooler heads prevail. It's not often the crux of those conversations is passed on to media types.

Now, this from Larionov about Yakupov, the third and last of three first overall picks over the past four seasons after Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Wasn't it, like, just six or eight weeks ago that Oiler fans and some media types were thinking out loud about how Yakupov's next contract might stack up to those inked by Hall, RNH and Jordan Eberle?

This, just after MacTavish went out of his way to stifle speculation the Oilers were shopping the talented 20-year-old Russian winger: "When we drafted Nail it was because we believed he’d be a dynamic, electric, exciting player and that hasn’t changed. We were not expecting him to become all that in the first 70 games of his career," he said.

"We very much believe Nail will evolve to become that dynamic, electric player — become one of the most entertaining guys in the game. I told that to Igor. And I told that to Yak. Development is very rarely a straight line. It has ups and downs."

SO, WHAT NEXT?

So, what to make of this? Whatever conclusion you draw, it's difficult for me to believe Larionov didn't know exactly what he was saying. I'm guessing he said it with the blessing of his client. Leverage? Sending a message? Or is something already broken that can't be fixed? I don't know.

While "open to a trade" doesn’t necessarily equate to "I want to be traded," it's just a degree or two short. Demanding a trade now, given how poorly he's played, would be the epitome of entitlement -- blaming everybody else but himself for the situation Yakupov finds himself in.

Whatever the case, and despite what MacTavish said last week, I'm guessing what Larionov said today will get MacT's cell phone ringing just as surely as it has people talking already. Stay tuned.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Mark-LW
November 11 2013, 08:47PM
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Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1h @HockeyOrDie @mc79hockey To be clear, when I said pretty unhappy, was referring to Larionov. Said he wants answers.

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#52 Tayranchula
November 11 2013, 08:48PM
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I think if there was one of the young players to trade it would be Yak. Not cause I dont like him its cause I dont think he will have the best career compaired to Hall Eberle or Nuge. They should try and get a 3 (All roster players) for 1 type deal if it involves Yaks

Im just spit balling but Simmonds, Coburn, B.Schenn for Yak and probably something else like N.Schultz or Jones

Ya the Oilers are probably getting rid of the best player in the trade but they have him covered with Hall Nuge Eberle etc.. plus they gain players that can actually help this team where they need it the most.

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#53 oilbaron
November 11 2013, 08:49PM
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e n wrote:

who's ederle?

Hahaha sorry, stupid auto correct on my iPad. EBerle

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#54 nrXic
November 11 2013, 08:50PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Then he should be in the AHL learning his trade. The NHL is for big boys. His play has been terrible therefore he hasn't earned further opportunities.

Just like how we did with Nuge last year. Sent him down when he struggled, Coach Nelson whipped him into shape for this year. Right? :)

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#55 prudham's
November 11 2013, 08:52PM
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If it does come to a trade after this develops more, the biggest significance of Larionov's comment is that the trade value of the Oilers asset will be diminished.

At the very least, I would assume that agents should be mindful of this, and be very tentative, and at worst, I feel that an NHL club could have a legitimate grievance with his interfering in this way, especially if it has not been discussed exhaustively in private first.

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#56 Hockey Problems
November 11 2013, 08:55PM
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I think I need an Oiler intervention. This is starting to hurt.

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#57 DSF
November 11 2013, 08:56PM
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The demonization of Yakupov has already begun:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/11/nail-yakupovs-agent-open-to-a-trade-from-edmonton-oilers-were-willing-to-make-a-move-any-team/

No mention of the fact that Hall, Eberle Gagner, Schultz et al also need to work like hell on their defensive games.

Hall -8

Gagner -9 (in only 6GP)

J. Schultz -10 (in only 14GP)

Petry -11

Hopkins -12

Hemsky -12

Yakupov -14

Looks like we're blaming the new kid.

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#58 OilCam
November 11 2013, 08:57PM
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Is this the same guy that said I don't go into the corners or forcheck same guy who bailed on Stamkos first goal? We need players that are willing to do anything(just traded one) for the team. Just not sure if he is one of those players.

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#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 08:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Craig Custance is about as reputable as you can get.

Suggesting this is "simply made up" is not only foolish but also slanderous.

I would imagine the crap hit the whirlybird when:

"He gave the Oilers the lead last night and was rewarded with 31 seconds of ice time over the final 11:05 of the period."

The number of "reputable" people in sports media to misquote, mishear, misunderstand, rely on bad intel, take out of context, etc. is pretty damn large.

Print and correct later.

We've been down this road a million times.

If you have decided to turn your skepticism device off on sports reporting, I congratulate your credulity and would like to introduce you to some nice entry level positions in foreign dictatorships.

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#60 lenny
November 11 2013, 09:00PM
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BleedOil4Life wrote:

he will not be dealt

How do you know that? I am afraid he might be. Do you know why? What does Smid, Hemsky, Omark, Yakupov have in common? Thats right, they are NOT Canadians and because of that he can be only playing 10 min a game and Eberle 20min with almost the same result but Eberle played every game and nobody said anything. In every game Yakupov is getting benched in the middle of 3 period and maybe sooner, how is he suppose to score? When? Is he in the slump? Maybe! Are they picking on him? FOR SURE! So please don't be sure that bigots might trade him for one and only reason- HE IS FROM RUSSIA! Please let me remind you, he is NOT ethnic russian but Tatar but for bigots it doesn't meter because they are stupid.

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#61 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:03PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

The number of "reputable" people in sports media to misquote, mishear, misunderstand, rely on bad intel, take out of context, etc. is pretty damn large.

Print and correct later.

We've been down this road a million times.

If you have decided to turn your skepticism device off on sports reporting, I congratulate your credulity and would like to introduce you to some nice entry level positions in foreign dictatorships.

One would assume you will wear this scarlet letter when you are once again proven to be a windbag.

Custance has far more credibility than you do.

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#62 Reality Check to the head
November 11 2013, 09:06PM
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there is one problem with having the number one pick 3 years in a row. There is real pressure to ensure you get the best player...not exactly the one we need in the organization. I think the oilers felt they had to draft Yak, but may have preferred to have Grags or a big Dman with pic number 2 or below as deemed as an organizational need.

Just a thought.

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#63 Numenius
November 11 2013, 09:06PM
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I'm sure Hall doesn't have difficulties getting along with Yak. They've played well together in the past and Hall doesn't have the personality to be threatened by him.

If Yak does a problem with someone, I'd guess Eberle. When I try to imagine them hanging out, I imagine complete disconnect.

If that's right, one of them may have to go.

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#64 fig pucker
November 11 2013, 09:07PM
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this is exactly why you don't draft russians before the third round. if he doesn't get the money or ice time he wants (not deserves) he's taking his toys and going home, trade him and never use another high draft pick on a russian.

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#65 Loyal Oil
November 11 2013, 09:10PM
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Kevin Lowe is the author of this complete mess. If the #1's start leaving town these last eight years are a complete waste. Why don't the MSM media types or even the ON writers unequivocally call for his termination/resignation? Why doesn't Willis write a piece comparing Lowe's playoff success rate since being the big boss (GM/POHO) against his peers? K Lowe was a great Oiler player. He has failed as GM/POHO. He and McT need to go and actual NHL management needs to be brought in. Taking the BOTB pics out of the dressing room wasn't the problem, they need to be cleared out of the boardroom.

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#66 lenny
November 11 2013, 09:10PM
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fig pucker wrote:

this is exactly why you don't draft russians before the third round. if he doesn't get the money or ice time he wants (not deserves) he's taking his toys and going home, trade him and never use another high draft pick on a russian.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A STUPID BIGOT!

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#67 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 09:11PM
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@DSF

hahahahahahahaha

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#68 Racki
November 11 2013, 09:12PM
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I like Yakupov, but I've been pushing for a trade for a bit now just because he's a redundant part amongst the other top guns. I think he's a hell of a weapon though that likely IS being misused (at least on the PP), but I would hope that he could be moved for a defensive piece that can really help this team if he can't be convinced to play to his best here (whilst being given a chance to play to his best).

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#69 6 ring circus
November 11 2013, 09:13PM
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IF Larionov wants him traded and the Oiler's don't comply,the big threat here is clear. A return to Russia and the KHL.

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#70 Eddie Shore
November 11 2013, 09:13PM
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Yakupov is not free from blame regarding his defensive play. I will concede he has not always been put in a position to succeed this year. However, the one thing he can control is his effort and it has not been great a lot of nights.

If his response to being challenged to play better is asking for a trade, then farewell young Nail.

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#71 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2013, 09:14PM
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DSF wrote:

The demonization of Yakupov has already begun:

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/11/nail-yakupovs-agent-open-to-a-trade-from-edmonton-oilers-were-willing-to-make-a-move-any-team/

No mention of the fact that Hall, Eberle Gagner, Schultz et al also need to work like hell on their defensive games.

Hall -8

Gagner -9 (in only 6GP)

J. Schultz -10 (in only 14GP)

Petry -11

Hopkins -12

Hemsky -12

Yakupov -14

Looks like we're blaming the new kid.

The demonization of Yakupov? This from the Staples item you linked to:

"Right now, the kid has plenty of learning to do to make it as an NHL player. He’s going to have to sweat, struggle, change his way, fail, fight his way back from failure.

So, yes, the Oilers need to use Yakupov to best effect, but they also need a player willing to work to learn defensive hockey at the NHL level, and not demand trades when he’s struggling and down.

If Yakupov is willing to work like hell on his defensive game, I imagine the Oilers won’t be unhappy with him at all.

If he’s not, the Oilers should move him as soon as possible, and the same goes for any other player on the team."

Again, the "same goes" (referencing working like hell on the defensive game) for ANY other player on the team. You missed that or where you just picking and choosing to suit your position, as usual?

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#72 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:14PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

hahahahahahahaha

Excellent riposte.

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#73 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 09:16PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

IF Larionov wants him traded and the Oiler's don't comply,the big threat here is clear. A return to Russia and the KHL.

I think that threat is greatly overblown.

It's my understanding that as part of a deal on Sochi and the ending of the lockout the khl would honor nhl contractual commitments by players. Thus nail could refuse to play but there is no way the khl will let him play there.

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#74 James
November 11 2013, 09:17PM
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@Numenius

Switch culprits and you may be onto something. Hall not the type to feel threatened by someone else? I disagree. Eberle isn't the leader Hall is, I would bet he follows whatever his good buddy Hallsy says more than the reverse.

Considering some people mentioned Hall snapping at Yak before he was injured after a shot on goal that got whistled down, I'd not lay the blame at Eberle just yet.

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#75 BleedOil4Life
November 11 2013, 09:19PM
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@lenny

Bigots?? wow thats a little bit harsh dont you think??

i agree that in the chicago game he should have been back out as soon as he was ready. He has struggled in almost every game he has played. His play on the ovechkin goal was one of the dumbest plays i have seen in awhile and he deserved to be benched. He is struggling to play the nhl game...you look at chicago, detroit, st louis, pitts....why do they win??? They play a 2 way game!

to say that he isnt being played because he is russian...thats just plain stupid....he isnt playing because he is struggling on all aspects of his game.

he deserves more ice against dallas and will get it...they are all stuggling with this new system but will learn together and become a better team. he will get the mins as long as he keeps playing with the fire he had in chicago.....we cannot fire the coach and do this over and over...the players are the ones that need to step up..plain and simple

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#76 6 ring circus
November 11 2013, 09:21PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I think that threat is greatly overblown.

It's my understanding that as part of a deal on Sochi and the ending of the lockout the khl would honor nhl contractual commitments by players. Thus nail could refuse to play but there is no way the khl will let him play there.

I am referring to his ELC,the Yakopov camp has the option of going to play in the KHL once his contract is up at the end of next season, if they want out and the Oiler's do not trade him.

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#77 BleedOil4Life
November 11 2013, 09:22PM
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@Numenius

we now are talking about when they hang out?

oh man....this is getting pathetic

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#78 Robert
November 11 2013, 09:22PM
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The team is deliberately not passing to Yakupov unless they have to. Seems odd that is why this story has legs to me

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#79 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:24PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The demonization of Yakupov? This from the Staples item you linked to:

"Right now, the kid has plenty of learning to do to make it as an NHL player. He’s going to have to sweat, struggle, change his way, fail, fight his way back from failure.

So, yes, the Oilers need to use Yakupov to best effect, but they also need a player willing to work to learn defensive hockey at the NHL level, and not demand trades when he’s struggling and down.

If Yakupov is willing to work like hell on his defensive game, I imagine the Oilers won’t be unhappy with him at all.

If he’s not, the Oilers should move him as soon as possible, and the same goes for any other player on the team."

Again, the "same goes" (referencing working like hell on the defensive game) for ANY other player on the team. You missed that or where you just picking and choosing to suit your position, as usual?

There are several assumptions in Staples blog that don't pass the smell test.

Is Yakupov refusing to work on his defensive game?

Evidence?

Does the evidence support the notion that other players like "Gagner, Eberle, Hall and Schultz are "sweating, struggling to change their ways to fight their way back from failure"

I can't see it, can you?

If not, "the Oilers should move them as soon as possible".

I agree that Staples suggested that should happen but his inference is that Yakupov is not doing that while the others are.

There is no evidence to support that.

If players are benched due to poor defensive play, half the Oilers roster would be eating popcorn on a nightly basis.

Take another look at Phillip Larsens defensive play last game...yikes.

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#80 Gongshow
November 11 2013, 09:24PM
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Hold onto Yak til next year and try and trade him and our first pick for 2015 #1 overall, and presto... Conner McDavid... Welcome to the Gongshow, I mean ... Oil Country !!!

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#81 fig pucker
November 11 2013, 09:24PM
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lenny wrote:

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A STUPID BIGOT!

exactly how is this bigoted, most gm share exactly these concerns with using high draft picks on russian players. it's not a knock on their skill or race but a legitimate concern, just ask nashville or tsn who wrote an articale about how hard teams are going to have to work to keep these young russians in north america, is a russian a big risk with a first overall pick, your damn right it is.

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#82 #ThereGoesTheOilers
November 11 2013, 09:26PM
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At this point, as long as we get someone substantial back and the player leaving isn't named Hall or Nugent-Hopkins, I really don't care who gets traded.

I wish I wasn't so disillusioned, but there it is. To say this past month has been disappointing is a gross understatment.

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#83 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 09:26PM
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DSF wrote:

Excellent riposte.

What's there to challenge here?

Did you hear that Iginla is a Bruin (last year)?

Did you hear that Hemsky cleaned out his locker?

Did you hear that aliens are invading?

BTW… reporters acting as mouthpieces for malcontent actors in sports is hardly new territory.

Reporters running with kinda-sorta-twitter-confirmed stories is hardly new territory.

As my post above noted… we've already been down this road with the same player TWICE in the last month.

This isn't about the "reputation" of an individual reporter. It's about a business that thrives on printing things that make you pay attention.

That is important context to the incredulous.

The credulous apparently wake up everyday after a lovely swim across Lethe.

We'd all be wise to take this Yakupov story as it has developed over the last month very seriously AND with a giant aircraft carrier's worth of salt.

If saying this is somehow off-the-grid, then you all need to give your heads a shake.

ps. Heatley signs with Oilers!… no wait. forget that.

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#84 thepeetso
November 11 2013, 09:27PM
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Robert wrote:

The team is deliberately not passing to Yakupov unless they have to. Seems odd that is why this story has legs to me

Maybe just maybe, its because he's handling the puck like its a grenade so far this season.

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#85 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2013, 09:28PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Yakupov is not free from blame regarding his defensive play. I will concede he has not always been put in a position to succeed this year. However, the one thing he can control is his effort and it has not been great a lot of nights.

If his response to being challenged to play better is asking for a trade, then farewell young Nail.

I thought Yakupov played one of his better games in Chicago and I was puzzled why he played so little after his goal.

That said, it's a quantum (and ridiculous) leap to think the Oilers would draft a player first overall and then set out to screw him over for no reason in his second season after a very good rookie campaign. And this "because he's Russian" bit is just a reach.

Yakupov hasn't been good enough. He has lots of company in that regard, but when he's told what's expected of him defensively and he essentially says he's not really into putting that much energy into that part of the game, is he doing anything to win the confidence of the coach? I think not.

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#86 Jason
November 11 2013, 09:28PM
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I would trade Yakupov to Philly for Sean Couturier

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#87 lenny
November 11 2013, 09:30PM
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BleedOil4Life wrote:

Bigots?? wow thats a little bit harsh dont you think??

i agree that in the chicago game he should have been back out as soon as he was ready. He has struggled in almost every game he has played. His play on the ovechkin goal was one of the dumbest plays i have seen in awhile and he deserved to be benched. He is struggling to play the nhl game...you look at chicago, detroit, st louis, pitts....why do they win??? They play a 2 way game!

to say that he isnt being played because he is russian...thats just plain stupid....he isnt playing because he is struggling on all aspects of his game.

he deserves more ice against dallas and will get it...they are all stuggling with this new system but will learn together and become a better team. he will get the mins as long as he keeps playing with the fire he had in chicago.....we cannot fire the coach and do this over and over...the players are the ones that need to step up..plain and simple

You just said yourself ...they are all straggling.. right? So please tell me who else is being benched for 2 games and play only 10 min a game with no power play time? Maybe I an missing something here and you are all nice people who know hockey better then me? I played hockey since 1963 and fan if Oilers since 1982.

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#88 BigBurgers
November 11 2013, 09:31PM
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I have it on good authority that the oilers dressing room is more toxic than we realize. A good buddy of mine works close with the team. It's no secret that Hall was upset that he was passed over for captain. He and eberle have been un-officially running the show for a while now. Hall is like Ethan Moreau, doesn't hesitate to pick his favourites and makes things miserable for those who arent buddy-buddy with him or go party at the Rack after. Ebs isn't a leader, he's more of Hall's henchman, so to speak. Even then, he's just as bad and just as guilty as Hall in terms of setting cliques. Anyhow, yaks didn't go out to party and mack on girls with the boys, so hall and friends started shunning him. It's a classic case of school-yard bullying. Yak needs to get out of this poison atmosphere ASAP.

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#89 nrXic
November 11 2013, 09:31PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I want to see if people see the situation the same way I do, because I could be completely wrong and I'm open to that.

This year, Yak seemed to be a different player to me. Something changed in his game and it was very obvious to me, and I want to see if anyone else saw the same.

Late last year, he demonstrated a scary (for the opponents) forecheck. He kept his feet moving and attacked the opponent causing a rushed pass or a turnover. He was even hitting more last year, finishing his checks and at least bumping into guys. He was more assertive away from the puck, attacking the puck carrier and getting involved in the play.

This year, he's been far more hesitant and reactive without the puck. He skates up to the player and tries to anticipate the play, with the opponent ultimately passing it off untouched. In cases, it looks like he's watching the play as if he was a spectator. Some people see him struggling defensively, I see him struggling away from the puck in any zone where the opponents have the puck.

I don't know if I want to spend $170 on Center Ice and spend hours of combing over footage to prove my point, so I'm wondering if anyone agrees or disagrees with this. I really think he isn't himself as a player and he needs to find that player that was focused and aggressive late last year.

I'm just mentioning this so our criticism is a bit more constructive and understandable.

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#90 nick
November 11 2013, 09:35PM
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This whole circus is getting so embarrassing it is amazing. Neither MacT or Lowe have any idea how to run an organization. They are wrecking the rebuild and it is worse than anything the Islanders pulled off in their disgraceful period. First they let go Smid now wrecking Yakupov. People need to start staying away from Rexall and Maybe Katz will pay attention then. Signed an Ex Oiler support and to embarrassed to watch this disaster

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#91 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:36PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

What's there to challenge here?

Did you hear that Iginla is a Bruin (last year)?

Did you hear that Hemsky cleaned out his locker?

Did you hear that aliens are invading?

BTW… reporters acting as mouthpieces for malcontent actors in sports is hardly new territory.

Reporters running with kinda-sorta-twitter-confirmed stories is hardly new territory.

As my post above noted… we've already been down this road with the same player TWICE in the last month.

This isn't about the "reputation" of an individual reporter. It's about a business that thrives on printing things that make you pay attention.

That is important context to the incredulous.

The credulous apparently wake up everyday after a lovely swim across Lethe.

We'd all be wise to take this Yakupov story as it has developed over the last month very seriously AND with a giant aircraft carrier's worth of salt.

If saying this is somehow off-the-grid, then you all need to give your heads a shake.

ps. Heatley signs with Oilers!… no wait. forget that.

You mean some reporters get things wrong sometimes...therefore all reporters get all things wrong all the time.

Time for a brush up on those logic lessons Sparky.

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#92 ubermiguel
November 11 2013, 09:38PM
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BigBurgers wrote:

I have it on good authority that the oilers dressing room is more toxic than we realize. A good buddy of mine works close with the team. It's no secret that Hall was upset that he was passed over for captain. He and eberle have been un-officially running the show for a while now. Hall is like Ethan Moreau, doesn't hesitate to pick his favourites and makes things miserable for those who arent buddy-buddy with him or go party at the Rack after. Ebs isn't a leader, he's more of Hall's henchman, so to speak. Even then, he's just as bad and just as guilty as Hall in terms of setting cliques. Anyhow, yaks didn't go out to party and mack on girls with the boys, so hall and friends started shunning him. It's a classic case of school-yard bullying. Yak needs to get out of this poison atmosphere ASAP.

Or get the poison out of the room and build the team around a guy who doesn't waste his time partying and focuses on hockey.

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#93 RbabsYEG
November 11 2013, 09:38PM
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James wrote:

Too many cligues in the locker room? Something isn't right here, and it's not necessarily Yak, though his agent may not be doing him any favours by speaking out. There may be other people to consider here, there doesn't seem to be the comraderie with Yak as there is with the rest of the kids. You can see it in the games, some of them avoid him.

I have been thinking about this too. You never see hall, Ebs, RNH, Schultz include yak in twitter talk. Those guys hang out and you never see yak in the pics. Sad. If they are the leaders we hope they are, they should include him more. Ebs and hall have been given a huge leash and their sense of entitlement appears from the outside at least to be huge.

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#94 nick
November 11 2013, 09:40PM
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BigBurgers wrote:

I have it on good authority that the oilers dressing room is more toxic than we realize. A good buddy of mine works close with the team. It's no secret that Hall was upset that he was passed over for captain. He and eberle have been un-officially running the show for a while now. Hall is like Ethan Moreau, doesn't hesitate to pick his favourites and makes things miserable for those who arent buddy-buddy with him or go party at the Rack after. Ebs isn't a leader, he's more of Hall's henchman, so to speak. Even then, he's just as bad and just as guilty as Hall in terms of setting cliques. Anyhow, yaks didn't go out to party and mack on girls with the boys, so hall and friends started shunning him. It's a classic case of school-yard bullying. Yak needs to get out of this poison atmosphere ASAP.

I have heard that also from credible sources, the dressing room is a mess because of the young guys. Hall and Eberle are the bad influence and Ference is a big Eakins butt kisser that is why he got the Captaincy. Not a leader that will sort the kids out so it gets worse. Bad coaching and bad locker room equals a last place team

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#95 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 09:42PM
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DSF wrote:

You mean some reporters get things wrong sometimes...therefore all reporters get all things wrong all the time.

Time for a brush up on those logic lessons Sparky.

Odd that I never said anything like that… wait, it's you… so, not odd at all.

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#96 Numenius
November 11 2013, 09:42PM
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James wrote:

Switch culprits and you may be onto something. Hall not the type to feel threatened by someone else? I disagree. Eberle isn't the leader Hall is, I would bet he follows whatever his good buddy Hallsy says more than the reverse.

Considering some people mentioned Hall snapping at Yak before he was injured after a shot on goal that got whistled down, I'd not lay the blame at Eberle just yet.

I hadn't heard that.

That could change things.

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#97 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 09:44PM
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nrXic wrote:

I want to see if people see the situation the same way I do, because I could be completely wrong and I'm open to that.

This year, Yak seemed to be a different player to me. Something changed in his game and it was very obvious to me, and I want to see if anyone else saw the same.

Late last year, he demonstrated a scary (for the opponents) forecheck. He kept his feet moving and attacked the opponent causing a rushed pass or a turnover. He was even hitting more last year, finishing his checks and at least bumping into guys. He was more assertive away from the puck, attacking the puck carrier and getting involved in the play.

This year, he's been far more hesitant and reactive without the puck. He skates up to the player and tries to anticipate the play, with the opponent ultimately passing it off untouched. In cases, it looks like he's watching the play as if he was a spectator. Some people see him struggling defensively, I see him struggling away from the puck in any zone where the opponents have the puck.

I don't know if I want to spend $170 on Center Ice and spend hours of combing over footage to prove my point, so I'm wondering if anyone agrees or disagrees with this. I really think he isn't himself as a player and he needs to find that player that was focused and aggressive late last year.

I'm just mentioning this so our criticism is a bit more constructive and understandable.

Your anedotal observations are the same as mine. We have seen flashes of fire - as robin noted in the Chicago game above - but nowhere near as often and as consistently as last year.

To me he looks to have the royal jelly - the talent and the attitude to be a super-elite HOF player. But like a high-strung thoroughbred he can be put off his game if he isn't handled properly. He is hardly unique in this - ovechkin, willy mays, babe Ruth are just three examples of brittle stars.

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#98 fig pucker
November 11 2013, 09:44PM
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lenny wrote:

You just said yourself ...they are all straggling.. right? So please tell me who else is being benched for 2 games and play only 10 min a game with no power play time? Maybe I an missing something here and you are all nice people who know hockey better then me? I played hockey since 1963 and fan if Oilers since 1982.

the only problem with your argument lenny is that yaks isn't the only russsian on the team (belov), and he seems to be getting on just fine. maybe this is a yakupov problem and not a bigoted everybody is out to get the russian kid problem?

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#99 Jed
November 11 2013, 09:45PM
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Jason wrote:

I would trade Yakupov to Philly for Sean Couturier

What are you trying to do build a real team.

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#100 BigBurgers
November 11 2013, 09:45PM
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RbabsYEG wrote:

I have been thinking about this too. You never see hall, Ebs, RNH, Schultz include yak in twitter talk. Those guys hang out and you never see yak in the pics. Sad. If they are the leaders we hope they are, they should include him more. Ebs and hall have been given a huge leash and their sense of entitlement appears from the outside at least to be huge.

Agreed. While Hall and Eberle are talented players, their sense of entitlement is probably amazingly large for being part of the worst team in the league. Anyone who's seen them cruising around on Whyte after games can attest to this. Guess they can't afford to be late to the party. Ever since the core veterans of years past left, Hall and Eberle have likely been constantly told by higher-ups that the team belongs to them. Guess they took that advice in strides. It's no secret that they're shunning Yak.

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