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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#201 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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#202 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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#203 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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#204 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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#205 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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#206 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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#207 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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#208 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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#209 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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#210 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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#211 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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#212 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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#213 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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#214 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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#215 Spoils
November 11 2013, 11:56PM
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Hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but if I wanted to steal yak I might plant a rumor, maybe through the agent and then call with an offer just when it starts to get real.

Of course that is ridiculous, but makes me all defensive.

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#216 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 11 2013, 11:57PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

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

Next

I am afraid this is the road we are on now.

Katz was supposed to restore balance to the Forc... er um make this team a desired location and add stability

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#217 Hockey Problems
November 12 2013, 01:16AM
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Yakupov just might have the highest offensive ceiling of all the kids. The setting "must be" right for him to be moved. When all rational thought fails ... Enter Oiler management. Bold moves. Maybe Yak can find himself in Bryz's universe. KLowe, MacT, and coach Eakins need a slap to the head... Enter Igor Larionov.

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#218 Gongshow
November 12 2013, 01:41AM
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I said... "IF"... And smoking is bad for your health.

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#219 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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#220 MessyEH!
November 12 2013, 01:52AM
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Gongshow wrote:

We could get a King's ransom for Hall right about now. If he's the root of the problem. Just sayin ...

Bongshow may be onto something here. I still think 14 is the wonder kid to trade. But would Hall bring in that much more than Eberle.

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#221 Hockey Problems
November 12 2013, 01:53AM
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Gongshow wrote:

We could get a King's ransom for Hall right about now. If he's the root of the problem. Just sayin ...

We would most definitely get the greatest return if we dealt Hall.

Blasphemy, I know.

But this ship needs to be righted.

At any cost ?!?

Shall I consider the panic button officially pushed ?!?

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#222 Bongshow ... I mean... Gongshow
November 12 2013, 02:01AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

Bongshow may be onto something here. I still think 14 is the wonder kid to trade. But would Hall bring in that much more than Eberle.

You need to be on "sumthin" to tolerate the ineptness that is Oil Country.

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#223 Rob Gilgan
November 12 2013, 06:53AM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

Wow - has this ever gotten everyone in a frenzy! The gossip, and catty-ness on here sounds like bunch of junior high school girls. Somehow an obscure and stock comment by an agent to a 2nd tier reporter about Yak has turned into Hall and Ebs being a couple of b!tches that have poisoned the dressing room.

Please. Listen to yourselves.

These unwarranted and unrelenting attacks on junior high school girls must STOP!!!

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#224 Oiler Al
November 12 2013, 08:54AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

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

Next

Oilers need help on D and besides age has nothing to do with it,,, its how mature one is.

The end result is if you want quality you have to give up quality...Eberle and Hall are that.AT the same time you would be forced to change the mix up front.. too many of the same players , playing soft hockey..

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#225 HardBoiledOil
November 12 2013, 08:55AM
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Norm wrote:

Could MacT's 'bold' move be to hand 'He of the 6 rings' his resignation. Is itt just me or is the entire Oiler organization on fire?

the entire organization should be! we should be at least a bit further ahead than 4-13-2 since the rebuild REALLY started in 2010.

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#226 sizzay
November 12 2013, 09:09AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

the Oilers should NEVER use their 1st rounder as a throw in in any deal, especially at the moment when we are picking so high. and especially if you are saying our 2nd line center and high 1st rounder for another 2nd line center...that's just too much and we need to protect our assets and not just give them away!

How do we improve then? We keep drafting high and keep throwing rookies in. It's not always the answer. I'm not saying trade teh 1st for a 35 year old. Gagner and the 1st could get you a Jordan Staal type player. A 6'3 220 2 way centre is what we need. We will not improve until we get someone that can cover our wingers defensive deficiencies rather than expose it.

Yakupov will never be a defensive first guy, that's not why we drafted him. It just goes back to the Oilers having a terrible... TERRIBLE mix of players.

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#227 Zamboni Driver
November 12 2013, 09:13AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

maybe we should trade Yak to Ottawa for Curtis Lazar and perhaps a pick?

That's funny stuff.

Make a three-team trade and see if we can get the Musil kid as well.

Also Harold Snepsts.

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#228 HardBoiledOil
November 12 2013, 09:22AM
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sizzay wrote:

How do we improve then? We keep drafting high and keep throwing rookies in. It's not always the answer. I'm not saying trade teh 1st for a 35 year old. Gagner and the 1st could get you a Jordan Staal type player. A 6'3 220 2 way centre is what we need. We will not improve until we get someone that can cover our wingers defensive deficiencies rather than expose it.

Yakupov will never be a defensive first guy, that's not why we drafted him. It just goes back to the Oilers having a terrible... TERRIBLE mix of players.

but you suggest we always have to overpay to get better, and i say good on the Oilers for not doing it for every trade or teams will never ask for a fair deal, always an over payment. sometimes you have to stand your ground or you will never have any assets or picks left, then what? i was listening to TSN 1260 toady and one of the radio guys was making an off comment about how Anaheim apparently wanted Klefbom for goalie Viktor Fasth but the Oil said no and good on them! i hear you though, we could use a Jordan Staal type for sure at center and say bye bye to Gagner. do i have an answer? not really, you keep searching i guess for a good, FAIR deal that doesn't involve Klefbom or Nurse.

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#229 Oil Can
November 12 2013, 09:29AM
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Keep Yak and teach and utilize his skill, shot and play making ability. Philly was suppose to have interest in Ebbs. So why have we not been trying to move Ebbs and Gagne for Simmonds and Couturier. That solves us of our second line centre problems, with a good young, two way second line centre with size, and a winger with size and at least a little grit. It also gets two under sized forwards off the team. The value to Philly would be mostly with Ebbs, and the Oilers would move some over priced players and free up some pay roll for a more balanced team payroll. If the Oilers have to through in a good prospect (Marincen) or a second pick, then get it done.

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#230 sizzay
November 12 2013, 09:33AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

but you suggest we always have to overpay to get better, and i say good on the Oilers for not doing it for every trade or teams will never ask for a fair deal, always an over payment. sometimes you have to stand your ground or you will never have any assets or picks left, then what? i was listening to TSN 1260 toady and one of the radio guys was making an off comment about how Anaheim apparently wanted Klefbom for goalie Viktor Fasth but the Oil said no and good on them! i hear you though, we could use a Jordan Staal type for sure at center and say bye bye to Gagner. do i have an answer? not really, you keep searching i guess for a good, FAIR deal that doesn't involve Klefbom or Nurse.

I agree on some of your points, for sure. However, the weak spot we are in, the desperation other teams smell means we will have to overpay to improve. It's not what I want, but it's the reality of the situation.

Of course you don't overpay for the sake of overpaying. I also would not have traded Klefbom for Fasth, hell no. However, if Klefbom was required in a package deal to get a Dman like McDonagh or a centre like Staal, then yes I part with him.

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#231 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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#232 ubermiguel
November 12 2013, 09:43AM
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madjam wrote:

We have the fab five and Gagner and Arcobello to surround them . Is this a problem playing a system that demands physicality ?

Is Eakins trying to fit square pegs in a round hole (insert juvenile joke here)? Does he need to build the system around the parts he has?

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#233 sizzay
November 12 2013, 09:45AM
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pkam wrote:

I thought the Smid trade was horrible, until I read your proposal.

Than you are blinded between reality and being a typical Oiler fan that overrates his/her players.

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#234 HardBoiledOil
November 12 2013, 09:59AM
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rob wrote:

yaks plus a 2nd round for Coutourier!

sorry, too much. Couturier only has 3 measly assists this year and no goals in 16 games. even Yak is out producing him at the moment, but you want to throw in a 2nd from our end too?

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#235 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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#236 Towersofdub
November 12 2013, 10:36AM
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@ pkam Considering how some of our 1st overall pics have apparently turned out, maybe it's not that big of a deal to trade next years 1st rounder. Obviously I'm being sarcastic here. It's weird, though that hlf the people are saying our top pics have been busts, but we shouldnt trade next years 1st rounder because it's an overpayment. Absolutely no logic from oilers fans these days.

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#237 pkam
November 12 2013, 10:55AM
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Towersofdub wrote:

@ pkam Considering how some of our 1st overall pics have apparently turned out, maybe it's not that big of a deal to trade next years 1st rounder. Obviously I'm being sarcastic here. It's weird, though that hlf the people are saying our top pics have been busts, but we shouldnt trade next years 1st rounder because it's an overpayment. Absolutely no logic from oilers fans these days.

So far we have 3 1st overall picks. So you don't like how they turn out?

Please tell me anyone drafted in the same year is better than Hall?

Who in the same year is better than RNH? The closest is Landeskog but RNH had the best stats the past 2 years.

Yak is the only one questionable but he hasn't finished one full season yet.

Sam Gagner + 1st rounder (which is likely a top 5 pick) for a 2nd centre is not an overpayment?

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#238 Bongshow
November 12 2013, 11:18AM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

puff puff pass good sir. not puff puff puff until your brain seizes.

Welcome to the Bongshow. Where you can check out, but you can never leave.

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#239 Towersofdub
November 12 2013, 11:24AM
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@ pkam Maybe you missed the part where i said "I'm being sarcastic here". I'm really just having a laugh at the people who say our 1st overall pics are busts, and we should trade them for god knows what, somehow thinking a bust of a first rounder will get them Shea Weber in return. For the record, i think Hall & RNH are legitimate top line NHL players. Yakupov probably won't ever be the kind of player who can go up against the other teams top line regularly and not be a minus player. His best work will be done feasting on the oppositions weaker lines. Personally, i wouldn't trade any of them. I would trade gagner, but i know he has no value on the trade market these days. All I'm saying is people can't complain about how useless edmonton's players are, then expect to get the solution to all the oilers problems in a trade. I was also trying to say, if people think this organization is so bad at drafting players (based on their ascertation that our current crop of 1st overalls are busts) why would they expect anything different in next years draft, and how would trading the useless sam gagner & what would likely be a bust of a draft pick ever be considered overpayment for a proven useful nhl level player? That's all...either the oilers have good players, and have drafted well, and one of those players can be traded for something of need, or they dont have good players, haven't drafted well, and can't trade their way out of irrelevence and mediocrity.

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#240 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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#241 pkam
November 12 2013, 11:47AM
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Hockey Problems wrote:

3 consecutive number 1 picks and still in last place(western conference). I wonder what could have ever went astray. I thought that the Oil should have drafted Seguin over Hall in the first place. He's bigger, stronger, and Hall seems like a primadonna, and that's the absolute last thing this fragile team should be dealing with. A threatened Alpha dog. 4 years into the Hall era and we are worse now than we were when he was drafted. Well played Oilers. Well played, indeed.

So 3 consecutive number 1 picks and still in last place means we draft bad? It can't be something else?

So you believe we will be much better if we drafted Seguin over Hall?

Seguin is bigger and stronger than Hall? Not sure what source you use to come up with that.

So Hall is a primadonna and Seguin is not? Do you know why the Bruins trade Seguin to Dallas? Haven't heard of his partying rumors and the story about his twitter account being hacked and the racist comment?

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#242 Andy7190
November 12 2013, 12:42PM
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@Walter Sobchak

The Flames looked lost their first 18 months under B. Sutter. They didn't play the system and sort of sputtered along partly due to age, and partly due to the fact the team wasn't right for Sutter's style. By the time they started playing his system, any kind of window in the Iginla/Kiprusoff era had slammed shut.

I don't know if Brent Sutter could help the Oilers in their current configuration, but he probably wouldn't hurt. Remember, Brent and Darryl coach different systems. LA is still playing the same way Calgary, and San Jose did under Darryl, where as Brent is more of an East Coast trap/defense coach. Seems to me Iginla never bought in.

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#243 Oil Can
November 12 2013, 12:57PM
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@Towersofdub

Brent Sutter certainly was not the reason why Calgary was not doing so well. Calgary was holding off on a rebuild that was long over due, and everyone except their ownership knew it. So he was stuck with older complacent players, but he had them just outside of the playoffs anyways. The GM and ownership have to be willing to supply the coach with the right players, in order for the coach and team to be successful. Calgary has done worst since Brent Sutter has been gone. Brent Sutter comes with a wealth of coaching experience from coaching in the NHL, WHL, World Juniors and the World championships. Also remember that his brother had never won a cup as a coach or GM also, but the LA Kings are sure looking good since he took over that team.

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#244 Walter Sobchak
November 12 2013, 12:59PM
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Andy7190 wrote:

The Flames looked lost their first 18 months under B. Sutter. They didn't play the system and sort of sputtered along partly due to age, and partly due to the fact the team wasn't right for Sutter's style. By the time they started playing his system, any kind of window in the Iginla/Kiprusoff era had slammed shut.

I don't know if Brent Sutter could help the Oilers in their current configuration, but he probably wouldn't hurt. Remember, Brent and Darryl coach different systems. LA is still playing the same way Calgary, and San Jose did under Darryl, where as Brent is more of an East Coast trap/defense coach. Seems to me Iginla never bought in.

Iginla score 32 & 43 goals under Sutter 86 points and 67 points respectively, I also believe Kipper enjoyed very good years as well.

Sutter didn't have the roster due to management of the cap & player asset management, if you recall two games Sutter had to use 17 players.

Its all speculation but I'm convinced you go with experience as a head coach.

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#245 Andy7190
November 12 2013, 01:08PM
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Oil Can wrote:

Brent Sutter certainly was not the reason why Calgary was not doing so well. Calgary was holding off on a rebuild that was long over due, and everyone except their ownership knew it. So he was stuck with older complacent players, but he had them just outside of the playoffs anyways. The GM and ownership have to be willing to supply the coach with the right players, in order for the coach and team to be successful. Calgary has done worst since Brent Sutter has been gone. Brent Sutter comes with a wealth of coaching experience from coaching in the NHL, WHL, World Juniors and the World championships. Also remember that his brother had never won a cup as a coach or GM also, but the LA Kings are sure looking good since he took over that team.

Calgary has done worse since Sutter has been gone, but not from an effort or style standpoint.

Since Sutter has been turfed, the Flames traded Iginla, Bouwmeester & Tanguay, lost Kiprusoff to retirement and gone all in on a youth movement. Currently playing without Stempniak, Glencross, Stajan and one other vet whose name escapes me (edit: Giordano, no small absence) .

From a work ethic and all-in mentality, I don't think there is any doubt Bob Hartley is the right coach at the right time for that club.

As for Darryl, he coached an entirely different style than Brent, which is partly why they had a pretty poisonous relationship at the end of Darryl's Flames tenure.

As for Brent Sutter, had the Flames lost Kiprusoff 3 years earlier, they'd have had results like the Oilers are having right now. He single handedly kept them in the hunt, and covered a whole lot of deficiencies. If the Oilers had a goalie like that now, they'd probably have at least 5 or six more wins. #34 made Brent Sutter look a whole lot better than he was.

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#246 smiliegirl15
November 12 2013, 03:41PM
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If Yak wants more ice time, then play like you deserve it! There have been too many times we've seen him give up. He is the LAST person who should be giving up the puck.

Robin - hope all of your family is safe and sound in the Phillipines.

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#247 Harlie
November 11 2013, 08:29PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Is it possible that someone from the Rangers or Flyers camp whispered something to Larionov that the Oil were shopping his client?

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#248 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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#249 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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#250 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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