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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#101 Oilfan
November 11 2013, 09:47PM
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To: The article writers and regular contributors.

The Edmonton Oilers are not very good, theres only so much rage press people can take.

The team I am much more interested in is the Edmonton Oilkings, who are very good.

The Oilkings franchise seems to be an absolute factory for great NHL prospects, practically everyone on the team is highly touted.

Id really like to see some analysis on the Oilkings, how they play, their systems, personel, and which NHL teams drafted some of the players on the current Oilkings. This is Oil Nation after all! I think that there is a huge portion of reporting that is being missed on this site with regards to the WHL.

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#102 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:48PM
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fig pucker wrote:

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?

It will be interesting to see if Belov re-signs with the team.

He'll be a UFA at the end of the season.

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#103 lenny
November 11 2013, 09:49PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

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.

Is it a reach? Really? Did MacT drafted him? Did Dallas Eakins drafted him? Would they drafted him if they were there at the time?

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#104 Jeffff
November 11 2013, 09:50PM
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Losing game sucks for the locker room , compound that with sub par goaltending. These guys walk into a game thinking they can't win. They have no faith in goaltending. This kills a team that is why they made a move for a goaltender. If they start winning a few the cloud will lift for awhile.

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#105 DSF
November 11 2013, 09:52PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

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

Give it a rest.

You cited a laundry list of erroneous media reports to support your ridiculous thesis that the media can't be trusted because they've been wrong in the past.

Now, you're just sad.

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#106 James
November 11 2013, 09:52PM
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@RbabsYEG

Hall has never rubbed me the right way for some reason I couldn't pinpoint. He's an amazing player, but his off ice persona doesn't gel with me. I think it would have ended up being a big mistake making him captain. Not saying Ference is the best choice, but if Hall has the entitled attitude he appears to have, it could have been really bad. Worse than it seems to be now, and that's saying something.

I did notice the lack of twitter convos with Yak too. I saw Gagner interact with him on twitter, but he's really the only person that I've noticed tweet Yak. Yak seemed to enjoy Sam by listening to him speak about him, but I didn't notice the same references to others.

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#107 6 ring circus
November 11 2013, 09:53PM
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What a Sh*t Show this Oiler's team and organization has turned into,I hope Katz and K Lowe are happy how they ruined this franchise.What a bunch of idiot's.

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#108 lenny
November 11 2013, 09:54PM
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fig pucker wrote:

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?

Well you forgot Grebeshkov and Bryzgalov. I bet you have nothing bad to say about them do you?

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#109 Walter Sobchak
November 11 2013, 09:55PM
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@Robin Brownlee

from what I've read in tweets from the Oilers, from Stauffer, from Dallas Eakins himself.

Yakupov work ethic is not the issue, his commitment to learning is not the issue!

This can all be found on the Oilers web site.

So where is the disconnect?

My guess is some of it's lost in translation, but by my eye.....

We do have a report out of Russia with Nails dad no less stating before the season started that something was rotten in the orginization.

The fact the rest of the players are not held to the same accountability as Yakupov does scream being singled out!! Player biasis.

When a player like Yakupov sits on the bench watching, Hall, Eberle, Schultz Jr, Petry , and now Gagner making game costing turnovers and defensive gaffs how exactly would you take that as a player??

I would be PIssed off too, when a Hall of Fame like Mr Larionov watches the same thing happening it gets him pissed off as well.

I guess MacTavish, Eakins, and Lowe must know more then a Player like Larionov.

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#110 morgie
November 11 2013, 09:55PM
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lenny wrote:

Is it a reach? Really? Did MacT drafted him? Did Dallas Eakins drafted him? Would they drafted him if they were there at the time?

Apparently Katz drafted Yak, scouts wanted Murray

Karma is a bitch I guess

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#111 Hockey fan 1976
November 11 2013, 09:57PM
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What a freaking joke!!! And how pathetic that some fans here already turned on Yuk for wanting out of this mess if in fact is true. Do you blame him? Am surprised it hasn't happened sooner the way he's been handled in Edmonton. 4th line? Scratched several times while Schultz blows the big one on defence day in and day out before he was injured. When was the last time god almighty Hall or Ebs got sat for stinking so bad defensively which has happened more than once (hence their great record ). This organization is a joke, and I hope Yuk leaves and becomes an All-star at a time that actually knows how to develop talent. Done with the Oilers and all the geniuses here that think Yuk is the problem. BRUTAL MICKEY MOUSE OPERATION!!!

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#112 Numenius
November 11 2013, 09:58PM
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BigBurgers wrote:

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.

If this is true, my enthusiasm for this team will take a big hit.

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#113 Bloodsweatandoil
November 11 2013, 10:03PM
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Just my opinion.....I think a lot of the in-house crap does boil down to bringing in the new guy and making him captain via a rookie coach who does not know his club yet. If Hall, Gagner, Smid even or any Oiler that was here before Ference was named captain, would we be looking at a more positive culture and results?

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#114 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 10:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Give it a rest.

You cited a laundry list of erroneous media reports to support your ridiculous thesis that the media can't be trusted because they've been wrong in the past.

Now, you're just sad.

If that's what I said, it shouldn't be too hard to find me saying that.

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#115 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 10:05PM
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fig pucker wrote:

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.

Full Definition of BIGOT

: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

I could find more definitions on the internet to appease you.

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#116 DSF
November 11 2013, 10:05PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

If that's what I said, it shouldn't be too hard to find me saying that.

It was easy.

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#117 ubermiguel
November 11 2013, 10:06PM
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All this talk of a locker room that looks like it's being run by junior high school girls gets me thinking: maybe Larionov coming here is a good thing. When Igor Larionov flies halfway across the world to tell Lowe, Katz and MacT to get their $#!% together that's got to carry some weight.

Lowetide had a nice article on "The Professor" almost exactly a year ago here.

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#118 RbabsYEG
November 11 2013, 10:07PM
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BigBurgers wrote:

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.

He is also a huge threat to their ice time. He should be a first line pp guy. It's in their interest to get rid of him. For their own reason. Not the teams.

Yak will get traded. I hope he does and he does well. Sad to say, but it's how I feel. All his stuff on the oiler auction goes higher than anyone else on the team. He's a fan favorite.

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#119 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 10:08PM
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James wrote:

Hall has never rubbed me the right way for some reason I couldn't pinpoint. He's an amazing player, but his off ice persona doesn't gel with me. I think it would have ended up being a big mistake making him captain. Not saying Ference is the best choice, but if Hall has the entitled attitude he appears to have, it could have been really bad. Worse than it seems to be now, and that's saying something.

I did notice the lack of twitter convos with Yak too. I saw Gagner interact with him on twitter, but he's really the only person that I've noticed tweet Yak. Yak seemed to enjoy Sam by listening to him speak about him, but I didn't notice the same references to others.

This whole thread seriously reeks of man-drama. This is worse than high-school gossip. I feel like I don't like you because of your personality blah blah blah. Seriously talk about the game, it is a game after all. No one should care about off-ice personality, russian heritage etc. Unless you are trying to actually do something positive like get a bigot who has an affinity for pigs to not be a bigot...if that was possible.

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#120 lenny
November 11 2013, 10:09PM
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morgie wrote:

Apparently Katz drafted Yak, scouts wanted Murray

Karma is a bitch I guess

And you know that exactly how? I guess Katz called you personally and informed you of his decision! Now I am mad at him because he did not call me!

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#121 LOIL99
November 11 2013, 10:09PM
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I assume that Yak will have trouble fitting into many NHL dressing rooms. He is a devout religious guy that doesnt drink or chase girls. Thats pretty much the anti typical young NHL player.

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#122 Hockey fan 1976
November 11 2013, 10:11PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

All this talk of a locker room that looks like it's being run by junior high school girls gets me thinking: maybe Larionov coming here is a good thing. When Igor Larionov flies halfway across the world to tell Lowe, Katz and MacT to get their $#!% together that's got to carry some weight.

Lowetide had a nice article on "The Professor" almost exactly a year ago here.

I hope when he gets here and meets with these clowns and demands a trade immediately to another team and while he's at it maybe give them a piece of his mind on how to properly manage a hockey team and a potential all-star.

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#123 ubermiguel
November 11 2013, 10:13PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

I assume that Yak will have trouble fitting into many NHL dressing rooms. He is a devout religious guy that doesnt drink or chase girls. Thats pretty much the anti typical young NHL player.

Could be worse; he could be a lineman for the Miami Dolphins.

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#124 OilCanFan
November 11 2013, 10:15PM
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Hockey fan 1976 wrote:

I hope when he gets here and meets with these clowns and demands a trade immediately to another team and while he's at it maybe give them a piece of his mind on how to properly manage a hockey team and a potential all-star.

You think the entitled management would really listen to someone who who doesn't have 6 rings?

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#125 Cold Hard Truth
November 11 2013, 10:16PM
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5 stages of realizing the Oilers suck:

1) Denial: "It's still early. They're much better than their results have shown!"

2) Anger: "$*#*@* Dubnyk!"

3) Bargaining: "You think we could package Hemsky and a 1st for Weber?"

4) Depression: "...something inside of me died after watching the game."

5) Acceptance: "Well, maybe next year."

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#126 James
November 11 2013, 10:18PM
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@Stack Pad Save

I guess you can feel how you want, but off ice antics matter. Just ask Tyler Seguin. You don't even have to go that far, just ask Bryz. People were worried about him being a headcase when he signed here. Bad attitudes catch, and we have enough issues on this team as it is without people feeling like they aren't part of the team.

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#127 6 ring circus
November 11 2013, 10:18PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

All this talk of a locker room that looks like it's being run by junior high school girls gets me thinking: maybe Larionov coming here is a good thing. When Igor Larionov flies halfway across the world to tell Lowe, Katz and MacT to get their $#!% together that's got to carry some weight.

Lowetide had a nice article on "The Professor" almost exactly a year ago here.

I would love to have Larinov call in a favor and show up with Scotty Bowman,Stan Bowman and Norm Maciver, maybe they could talk to Katz and leave Maciver behind, he would be a great president of hockey operations,he's been working as the assistant Gm in Chicago the past few years and apprenticing under the Bowmans,now that's a group that knows a thing or two about building a winner,they forget more in a day than Kevin Lowe knows in all his time in management.

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#128 RJ
November 11 2013, 10:18PM
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I think I commented on this over the summer but I'll repeat what I said; if you are going to get any value for trading Hemsky, you are going to need to give him top 6 minutes to give him a chance to showcase what he can do. Give him all the favourable zone-starts. Then he has a chance to increase his value from a contender looking to add. But to do this you have to drop yak or eberle down, and since eberle is farther along, today, yak would be demoted. This would require him to play a different role until hemsky is traded, but learning to play defensive minutes as a young player is not a bad thing. Then when hemsky is gone yak can move back up, having focused on developing the defensive side of his game. Larionov should appreciate that value. He was a great two-way player. Of course, this would mean that MacT has a definite plan in place.

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#129 Rod from Viking
November 11 2013, 10:18PM
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lenny wrote:

Is it a reach? Really? Did MacT drafted him? Did Dallas Eakins drafted him? Would they drafted him if they were there at the time?

Remember, Katz drafted him, his kid thought it would be cool, everyone else wanted Ryan Murray.

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#130 morgie
November 11 2013, 10:19PM
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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.

Demonization that's rich

Yes they're all porous, Yak being the worst, taking short cuts many times ending in goals

No sympathy here, heck messier was sent to the minors in his career, yet Yak can't handle fourth line duties , too bad so sad, give me a break

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#131 BleedOil4Life
November 11 2013, 10:19PM
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@BigBurgers

I love how people have the "inside scoop" And this buddy of yours wont be pissed that you are posting info like this??

people in this city never cease to amaze me

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#132 fig pucker
November 11 2013, 10:19PM
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lenny wrote:

Well you forgot Grebeshkov and Bryzgalov. I bet you have nothing bad to say about them do you?

grebs, i'm not happy with (his play), belov as a whole has been a very pleasant surprise, brysgalov we'll see how he plays. i have no problem with russian players (skill wise), i have a problem when a high draft pick is used on one that decides he wants a trade or to go to the khl leaving the team that drafted him in the hurt locker, because they get little or nothing in return for their draft pick. that's my problem.

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#133 mlcselli
November 11 2013, 10:20PM
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I think it might be time Katz to step in and do some damage control. It's public knowledge that Katz is the guy that wanted Yak drafted here and he got his way. If Yak expresses himself to Katz and points his finger at any management (Eakins coaching decisions),then I think that heads roll. With that said, it would be a shame to let a player have that much control.

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#134 RJ
November 11 2013, 10:21PM
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@RJ

The only other thing I'd add is if you're an agent, it's your job to make an effort to keep your player happy, even if you know your guy should have sat. Make a show of sticking up for him and fighting for him. If an agent won't do that, then why would the player keep him around?

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#135 oilabroad
November 11 2013, 10:22PM
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We needed to balance the roster, one of them had to go, might as well be the one who isnt fitting in... it does concern me however all the s**t I hear about Hall, I dont even live in the country and rumors about his performance off the ice are everywhere... MacT better make this trade count, it will be our last first over all for many... never mind

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#136 Rod from Viking
November 11 2013, 10:23PM
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Watching the HHOF inductions tonight, what a classy bunch getting in, these people new a few things about winning. I don't think I will ever see another Oiler get in during my lifetime unless Kevin Lowe gets in as a builder(lol)

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#137 morgie
November 11 2013, 10:23PM
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lenny wrote:

And you know that exactly how? I guess Katz called you personally and informed you of his decision! Now I am mad at him because he did not call me!

you gotta know the right people Lenny :), don't get jealous now

Bob Mackenzie did touch on this as well a month or so ago, saying executive management picked Yak which Lowetide picked up on

an inside source I know revealed Katz was the executive

believe what you want, I care not

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#138 YFC Prez
November 11 2013, 10:25PM
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Lowe needs to bugger off already. I'm sure this is all his fault

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#139 BleedOil4Life
November 11 2013, 10:25PM
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@lenny

Have you ever thought that maybe its because he is not really trying to buy in to the new system like the others??

The others get more ice because they have been playing in the nhl longer....yakupov has struggled so bad so thats why he does not play. I hope that with how he snapped in chicago he now is awake and starts to play better both ways.

oh and "playing hockey since 1963 and watching since 82' doesnt mean anything in any aspect....we are talking about the nhl.

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#140 Numenius
November 11 2013, 10:26PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

This whole thread seriously reeks of man-drama. This is worse than high-school gossip. I feel like I don't like you because of your personality blah blah blah. Seriously talk about the game, it is a game after all. No one should care about off-ice personality, russian heritage etc. Unless you are trying to actually do something positive like get a bigot who has an affinity for pigs to not be a bigot...if that was possible.

I agree the discussion can degenerate in that direction.

I'm interested in it, though, because these things can directly affect the team and how they perform.

I don't care if Hall is a prick off the ice if he's not poisonous in the room with the guys. If he is, though, that's significant and deserves attention. Ignoring it is burying your head in the sand.

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#141 sizzler
November 11 2013, 10:26PM
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Igor is a smart man and he realizes that best thing for his client is to play top line or get out of this mess. And he is trying to make that happen.

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#142 Rob Gilgan
November 11 2013, 10:26PM
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@ubermiguel

"All this talk of a locker room that looks like it's being run by junior high school girls gets me thinking:"

Now don't be running down junior high girls - many a fine bake sale has filled student council coffers at the hands of these wondrous babes. I don't see anything in the disastrous start to this season, the stultifying lack of energy or interest by the players, the ineptitude of the coaching staff or the absence of management to suggest the club's being run by junior high girls.

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#143 nrXic
November 11 2013, 10:27PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

This whole thread seriously reeks of man-drama. This is worse than high-school gossip. I feel like I don't like you because of your personality blah blah blah. Seriously talk about the game, it is a game after all. No one should care about off-ice personality, russian heritage etc. Unless you are trying to actually do something positive like get a bigot who has an affinity for pigs to not be a bigot...if that was possible.

If there's anything that the Seguin situation taught us, is that off-ice demeanor and attitude means something to on-ice performance, at least in the eyes of a Stanley Cup winning team.

If a Stanley Cup winning team sees it that way, I think it would be wise to treat it with a similar level of care.

There's professionalism, and there's the High School "favour my friends" atmosphere that has brought down companies like Yahoo! for example. It's a toxic environment that can destroy any business/team/endeavour.

I understand that you'd like to talk about the game and not this other stuff, but when you look at winning teams and organizations, feeling complete unity as a team is a big part of the game (and a big part of winning).

Teams can collapse in on themselves when faced with adversary. But what is troubling here is that there seemed to be a divide that exists independent of team success. That's a huge problem.

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#144 Robin Brownlee
November 11 2013, 10:27PM
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Next chapter in this Yakupov bit is likely to unfold Wednesday. I expect that will be the day Larionov will be in Edmonton.

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#145 Rob Gilgan
November 11 2013, 10:32PM
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sizzler wrote:

Igor is a smart man and he realizes that best thing for his client is to play top line or get out of this mess. And he is trying to make that happen.

Precisely. Igor's allegiance is appropriately with his client and he has to be thinking he's taken a world class talent and placed him with a bumbling, disorganized uncommitted team. No question he wants better for Yak and he's absolutely correct for getting out here and getting this straightened out.

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#146 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 11 2013, 10:36PM
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pssst Katz. Hire Larionov. Do it. Don't think about it just do it. Trust me

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#147 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 11 2013, 10:36PM
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DSF wrote:

It was easy.

It's always the easiest things that get left undone.

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#148 Oiler Al
November 11 2013, 10:40PM
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lenny wrote:

And you know that exactly how? I guess Katz called you personally and informed you of his decision! Now I am mad at him because he did not call me!

For what its worth, and I wasn't there first hand, but this is not the first time I hear that Katz vetoed the Murray deal for Yak.

I know he's the owner but what is he and his two Brillo boys doing at the draft table anyway....

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#149 DCC
November 11 2013, 10:43PM
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What has happened to the Yakupov who oozed unbridled enthusiasm, the ear to ear grin, the deliriously happy goal celebration?

There is something putrid, something insidious and rotten at the core of this organization. It's quite alarming.

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#150 lenny
November 11 2013, 10:43PM
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fig pucker wrote:

grebs, i'm not happy with (his play), belov as a whole has been a very pleasant surprise, brysgalov we'll see how he plays. i have no problem with russian players (skill wise), i have a problem when a high draft pick is used on one that decides he wants a trade or to go to the khl leaving the team that drafted him in the hurt locker, because they get little or nothing in return for their draft pick. that's my problem.

I don't think this is your only problem! Belov was a pleasant surprise ah? You expected something bad did you, after all he is pure russian.

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