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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#151 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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#152 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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#153 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 11 2013, 11:11PM
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Is Katz auditioning to be the NHL's Jerry Jones?

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#154 TDSM31
November 12 2013, 12:21AM
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Hockey fan 1976 wrote:

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!!!

Yep. The Flint Tropics are a better run organization than the Oilers. Fire KLowe and bring in Jackie Moon.

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#155 Hockey Problems
November 12 2013, 09:48AM
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MacT... Your move. I don't really care if it's BOLD or not. Right now I want the SMART move ! Time to earn your money bud.

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#156 Rama Lama
November 12 2013, 10:45AM
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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.

Could not agree with you more..........it seems to me he looks very confused as to where he needs to be on the ice.

It's almost like the player regressed into a junior hockey player in stead of progressing. He is not the only player to struggle defensively but for some reason he gets singled out a little more. I have seen RNH, Hall, Schultz, and Eberle all make mistakes that they simply did not make last year.

On the positive side everyone is a little more fit than they were last year.

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#157 madjam
November 11 2013, 08:38PM
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Trouble in Oilerville . First Smid and now perhaps Yak . Who will follow next ? Uninspiring New Gm and New Coach driving away viable NHL talents while retainng some that should have been gone . Loaded once again with AHL talents trying to perform at NHL level -it's not working obviously . Maybe they should be relieved first before entire team revolts any further ? Situational crisis needs Lowe and Katz to step in and restore players confidence in the team ? My question is who is going to replace them if such be the case ? Kreuger would settle things down in the interim .

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#158 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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#159 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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#160 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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#161 Rob Gilgan
November 11 2013, 10:56PM
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Contrast Dallas Eakins coaching philosophy with Mike Babcock:

http://oilersnation.com/2013/11/5/tuesday-tidbitslearn-from-detroit

I think Babcock's approach would coax wins out of this talented group, where Eakins is trying to force things and meeting no success.

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#162 Taylor Gang
November 11 2013, 11:36PM
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Okay... As interesting as this may be, how can this possibly be true? I don't know about you guys but I'm just a fan who is reading this off my iPhone when I have the time. How on earth can you possibly know this acidity is real? There is some evidence to support that but what "insider" info are we looking at to back this up? How come General Mackenzie and Lieutenant Dreger haven't shed any light on this situation yet? This conspiracy smells as fishy as its contents...

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#163 _I_Got_Nothing
November 12 2013, 10:38AM
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@Dog Train

Guys like Gagner and Eberle have earned a little more rope than a player that has less than 80 NHL games under his belt. Like it or not, your time in the league does grant you a few more perks.

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#164 Virtual_Xi
November 12 2013, 11:20AM
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@Hockey Problems

umm...hall a primadonna? do you follow sports at all good sir? Seguin is the posterboy for primadonna. maybe a change of scenery will smarten him up in DAL...at least Hall's twitter hasn't gotten "hacked".

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#165 OilDieHard
November 12 2013, 12:12PM
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Andy7190 wrote:

People are making comments about Yakupov not wanting, or playing well with 4th line minutes. The problem as I see it is essentially the same as Monahan with Calgary. Feaster (Burke) told Bob Hartley if Monahan was going to stay with the big club, he had to play top six minutes. Because Monahan isn't a bottom 6 pick. Neither is Yakupov - he is much too talented, and much too high a pedigree player for the checking line. Yakupov should be either in the top six in EDM or the top three on the farm. He isn't going to develop otherwise.

Flames did the same thing with Max Reinhart, if he couldn't crack the top six, down he went. We'll see how the Flames rebuild goes, but I do think there is something to their theory on this.

MacT failed to get rid of Hemsky like he did Horcoff after throwing both under the bus. with Hemsky gone, it would have opened up a RW spot for Nail to play behind Eberle.

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#166 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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#167 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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#168 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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#169 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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#170 MessyEH!
November 12 2013, 01:49AM
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Please let our newest crazy russian goalie have a mask with lisa Simpson's likeness on it.

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#171 michael
November 12 2013, 07:27AM
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Why not trade Yak? We have a plethora of forwards who are of the same mold. Why not use Yak to acquire what we need to improve this team.

Buffalo has a truckload of picks and they have got Tyler Meyers.

TBay has an injured Stamko's. Would a swap for J Drouin be palatable?

Would St Louis be willing to part with Shattenkirk?

The Rangers would give their eye teeth for a sniper of Yak's quality. Especially if Nash's coconut is going to be an issue.

The Flyers. Simmonds and a pick or 3.

The Isles. Griffin Rheinhart. Strome. Picks.

The possibilities are out there. Whether you want help now or in the future. Just saying it would not be the end of the world. Heck our play off hopes are a wash once again. I'll be stunned if were not picking top 5 once again.

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#172 madjam
November 12 2013, 09:39AM
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We have the fab five and Gagner and Arcobello to surround them . Is this a problem playing a system that demands physicality ?

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#173 Ryan2
November 12 2013, 11:24AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Could not agree with you more..........it seems to me he looks very confused as to where he needs to be on the ice.

It's almost like the player regressed into a junior hockey player in stead of progressing. He is not the only player to struggle defensively but for some reason he gets singled out a little more. I have seen RNH, Hall, Schultz, and Eberle all make mistakes that they simply did not make last year.

On the positive side everyone is a little more fit than they were last year.

I agree 100% with this - the whole team seems confused and hesitant, especially in their own end. This comes down to systems and ineffective coaching. Like I have been posting all year, while Kruger may not have been the long term answer, he is a better coach than Eakins is proving to be.......

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#174 Walter Sobchak
November 12 2013, 12:13PM
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Towersofdub wrote:

@ Oil Can - why do you think Brent Sutter is the solution to this teams problem? How did his last NHL job go?

IIRC - Brent Sutter got a team full of cast offs to the Eastern conference final twice.

He then left there to be closer to home for family reasons, where again taking a team full of players well past there due date to 2nd in the North division, while not in the playoffs still better then the Oilers and better then expected.

He's won at every level he's coached and he's also a career coach, not someone who coached for four years and was given an NHL job......after winning SFA.

Brent Sutter should have been hired prior to Kruger.

That's the long & short of it.

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#175 Greasy Goal
November 11 2013, 08:20PM
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I can't see a deal being constructed here. MacT said he isn't going to move him and he's still yet to play a full 82 game season. A deal now would be fruitless. These guys need to work out their differences in the locker room(if as I read there are any) because it's a long road to the top. they cannot turn coat whenever something doesn't go their way.

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#176 DSF
November 11 2013, 08:39PM
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Big Cap wrote:

@ DSF

Do you have any insight on how Pavel Bure and his development was handled his first couple of years in Vancouver?

Im curious to know if they allowed him to be strictly an offensive specialist, or expected a complete player within the first few seasons. What about line mates? Was it new guys each night, or constant line mates.

I realize Bure shot his career out of a cannon with big offensive numbers right ff the bat, but obviously Yak seems most comparable to him with size, skill, and country.

Look forward to your take...

Sorry, I was in Edmonton at the time and not tuned in to the Bure situation.

It seems in retrospect that the issues involved were more about money than anything else.

Bure was a beauty right out of the chute.

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#177 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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#178 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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#179 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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#180 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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#181 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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#182 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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#183 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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#184 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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#185 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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#186 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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#187 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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#188 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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#189 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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#190 john
November 12 2013, 03:53AM
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The problem is the coach, I see the players are not having fun there. The power plays are not clicking, they scores and they are happy, look at last few years they were among the top in NHL. Even strength they are not playing well also. These are young men not kids so Eakins are treating them like kids. Motivate them not punish them for mistakes by benching. So many coaches and new players coming in, they need to jell as a team and play for each other. Eakins are driving these players out of town.

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#191 Zamboni Driver
November 12 2013, 09:25AM
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@OilDieHard

Damn.

Seriously? We have HIM too?

I wonder if the Oilers 'scouts' have a travel budget?

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#192 sizzay
November 12 2013, 10:01AM
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rob wrote:

yaks plus a 2nd round for Coutourier!

lol. no.

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#193 Smokey
November 12 2013, 10:19AM
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nrXic wrote:

I mentioned this earlier, ie. trade the problem away, but I'm going to eat my words a bit, here.

With the right management, these situations can be solved with a solution where you can retain your talent, build friendships & team comradery, and heighten the level of professionalism within your whole organization (rather than with just a few 'troublemakers').

This would be the ideal situation, but do we have the right management to make it happen? Do we have a management that even sees it as an issue?

What is clear is that the Edmonton Media doesn't see it as an issue worth reporting. This is discouraging because then Oilers management will passively deal with the issue by trading a player like Yakupov away, without addressing a core issue with the team.

Part of it is not airing dirty laundry in a newspaper piece and I completely get that. But hey, after having a new coach every year, near last place finishes (with another on the way, if things don't turn around), I say it's fair game.

There's something screwed up about this team. Maybe being an Oilers fan in Calgary is taking its toll on me, but I say the Edmonton media should air out anything rotten so they fix it. "Disunity in the Locker Room" is hard to convey without throwing people under the bus, I understand that, but man, maybe that'll get them to smarten up.

Also, my apologies for posting so much on this issue. I could very well be making a big deal out of something that is less significant in reality.

But there's something screwed up about this team and I abhor the idea of sending away a #1 draft pick for nearly nothing after he's played less than a full season. I just know a divided team will never succeed in any capacity, and that management should fix it instead of brushing it under a carpet.

The Yakupov issue is indicative of a complete mess from the top. Larionov is a turd too, but there is disconnect between some players and management. We have seen this over and over again.

The media has been tip-towing I have found around the Oiler management. Its time they call a spade a spade, and write opinion pieces on the ineptitude of the Oiler management.

Richaug this morning talked about the Yakupov and Bryzgalov and Smid gong show. But what about the management just not having the ability to build a winner...That's the heart of the issue, concentrate on that. Talking about the peripherals keeps them in good graces, and gets their questions answered. Sports guys want their job to be easy, I get that. But easy is not what the fans want.

The writers in the blogosphere are taking over because these writers don't hold these guys to account. I don't want sidestepping, I want feet held to a fire.

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#194 Towersofdub
November 12 2013, 10:30AM
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If Gagner is as useless a player as people on this message board suggest he is, what can anyone possibly expect to get in return for him? How many GM's are likely to be phoning up MacT saying "We'll trade you whatever you want for Sam Gagner"...the guy sucks. He sucks in Edmonton, and he'll suck every where else. If he could actually win a faceoff here and there, maybe he'd be a useful second line center, as long as he was always going up against a non-offensive line, and wasn't required to defend. Unfortunately, until Mike Milbury starts running an NHL team again, edmonton is stuck with Gags. However, this article is about Yakupov. Opinion is probably split evenly on his useful/uselessness. Maybe some benevolent GM out there see him as just being in the wrong place, but recognizes his ability, and quite happily sends a top pairing D-man to edmonton for him. Does it seem likely to anyone here? What team would ever willingly give up one of the 3 most coveted positions on a team for an unproven kid with less than 70 games to his name. Is it likely that Nail Yakupov is going to command a starting goalie, a top pairing defenseman, or a big physical scoring center? Whatever GM make that deal should be fired, and there's really no other trade worth making. And...absolutely no way will Yak be traded to philly for Wayne Simmonds, so forget that idea too. It just isn't happening. I know...a buddy who is close to the oilers told me.

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#195 Oil Can
November 12 2013, 11:05AM
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@Rama Lama

Although I really think that Ebbs, Gagne Shultz should be moved for bigger, more responsible players. (I believe Yak has a lot more offensive up side) I do totally agree with you that the common theme seems to be that the entire team is lost with the new coaching schemes (or lack of) As much as I hate to think of another coaching change, it might take a coaching change and moving a few key players to get this team to the next level. (Brent Sutter anyone?)

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#196 Hangin@Bangin
November 12 2013, 11:28AM
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Trading Yakupov would seem outlandish to most functioning organizations. But to the Oilers this would be a new route to take as a team that constantly seeks young superstars is now willing to swap them on a whim for any chance of possibly attaining another 1st overall pick in the hopes that the next will be slightly better than his predeccesor. Instead of addressing obvious issues (i.e total lack of sanity within ownership and management alike) they will continue to find new ways to scapegoat their mediocrity and rely on a fan base that has become so accustomed to failure that they will continue to support this floundering organziation until all the present day staff is long retired to there Boca Raton villas only to leave this disaster in the hands of the next brainwashed trust that will relish on the fact the team had success 2 + decades ago. For the proud "city of champions" it's sad that people are still willing to fund this trainwreck. One can only hope that eventually common sense and pride will bring fans to stop attending and hopelessly praying for success in the not so *distant future.

* = Never

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#197 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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#198 BleedOil4Life
November 11 2013, 11:05PM
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@lenny

Different coach....again maybe the attitudes of the others were better.

its so sad that we have gotten to this point of arguing on website.

CAN WE JUST PUT SOME WINS TOGETHER AND HAVE EVERYONE PLAY AS A TEAM!!?!?!?!

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#199 Bleak Winter
November 11 2013, 11:37PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Ok, guys, here's the only scenario that makes sense to me......

Somehow, Darry Katz has got himself mixed up with the Russian mafia. They forced him to install Eakins(one of their operatives) as coach. As part of a match fixing scheme, they are forcing Eakins to make his inane line combinations, and knowing how explosive Yak is, are having Eakins break his spirit, all the while making millions betting against the Oilers.

Having Sam Gagner take the crucial draw in the d-zone in the last minute against Chicago was the final tipoff that blew the cover off this thing - no one who knows anything about hockey would be that stupid.....obviously Eakins is not a real coach....

I put it all together watching the Bourne Supremacy last night - has anyone noticed that Jason Bourne has more than passing resemblance with Taylor Hall? Coincidence? I think not.

I think you may have something there.

In fact, I think we've been too hard on the Oilers this season as fans. If you step back from expecting anything from the Oilers you'd expect to see in a hockey team like wins, progress towards achieving wins, or even icing a competitive roster... you can see this is still a fantastically entertaining organization, if measured strictly in a "soap opera" sense.

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#200 Taylor Gang
November 11 2013, 11:40PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

You want to break up the clan, Eberle or Hall to Nashville for Seth Jones.

Sure, trade a very young player for an even younger player.

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