YAKUPOV WANTS MORE ICETIME

Jason Gregor
November 12 2013 01:56PM

 

Nail Yakupov wants more icetime. He wants to help his teammates win. He also feels his head coach doesn't trust him. Yakupov spoke with the media after practice today, and it was clear he was frustrated. As he should be. Losing stinks, and I'd hope every Oiler is frustrated.

Yakupov is usually very quiet and reserved with the media, but today he spoke with conviction and passion.

He was asked about his agent's, Igor Larionov, comments about a possible trade.

"I know where he is coming from, we have to do something. I don't see any trust towards me now. I'm playing lower and lower minutes, and I just want to help my team win every game. I haven't had much chance to to that, and it pretty hard to watch the game from the bench when my teammates are fighting for puck and points, because I know I can do the same thing.

"I don't want to say anything bad, but I just want to say that I want to be here. I love the city. I'd love to play with these players. We have a great staff and the atmosphere in games is great. I want to be part of the Oilers," said Yakupov.

When asked how he felt he's played defensively he responded with this:

"I've played good. I've always played like that. I watch everyone play the same. I don't think that question is for me, it is for the coach. I play good," Yakupov said.

When asked if he asked his agent to go public he responded with a smile, "I don't know, that is a tough question. I can't say anything now. Maybe we will see if something changes in a couple of days."

TRADE

He was asked directly if he has asked for a trade.

"I wasn't asking for a trade. I don't want to say anything bad, but I heard something (trade rumour) in the summer, something at the start of the season and then two weeks ago, but we'll see...who knows. I just want to play. I don't want to play nine or five minutes. I think I can play more and I think I can help my teammates to get points. We need points.

"I'm 20 years old and I think this is a  very important year for me learning to play hockey. Sometimes players who are sitting a lot when they are 19 or 20 years old they stop playing hockey. I just want to play. We will see if that ( lack of icetime) is going to be more and more, and if not we will have to figure out something," said Yakupov.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 

Yakupov is clearly frustrated. He wants to play more, and you can't blame him for that. Was this the best way to go about it? Probably not, but he isn't the first professional player to go public with his frustrations about a lack of playing time.

When Eakins spoke after Yakupov he wasn't upset at all. He said he understood Yakupov's frustration, but he said he has seen Yakupov working hard to improve his game. He also said that he won't change how he coaches because Yakupov went public with his frustrations.

The most interesting thing to me was when Yakupov said he heard trade rumours in the summer. I can't recall any rumours then, but maybe the Oilers were shopping him. 

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when Igor Larionov meets with Craig MacTavish later this week. 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 aeiouY
November 12 2013, 02:01PM
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easy there YAK. We have your back right now.... but with only 4 wins this year the crowd can shift on you fast.

Slow your roll, and play better. All will be forgiven

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#2 BIngBong
November 12 2013, 02:08PM
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What a complete gong-show.

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#3 dmac4532
November 12 2013, 02:10PM
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He is crazy if he thinks he has been playing well. He turns the puck over, flys the d zone with out so much as looking @ Ovi in the slot. This kid needs at least half a season in okc .Not saying he is the only young player that needs to learn to play both sides of the puck but with out a doubt the most glaring example.

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#4 Serious Gord
November 12 2013, 02:13PM
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"I'm 20 years old and I think this is a very important year for me learning to play hockey. Sometimes players who are sitting a lot when they are 19 or 20 years old they stop playing hockey."

Very true. And were I the 20 year old with talent running out my ears, I would want as much ice time as possible. While he obviously had a great abbreviated rookie year in the NHL, perhaps he should have been kept down in the AHL for that season. Hindsight is 20:20.

The question now is:

Should he go down to the AHL for the rest of the year where he can get boatloads of ice time and be able to work on his game removed from the limelight (and get a reminder of what no limelight feels like)?

It is notable the contrast between Hockey and the most difficult sport to play - baseball. In baseball it is very common to send players down to AA and AAA for periods of time to work on their game. Even the very best pitchers (halladay) have had it happen.

There is little shame in it in MLB.

Not so much in the NHL.

And that's a shame...

I wonder how Nail would react to such a move?

My guess is that that would very much depend on how management handles it. Looking back on how Lowe has handled similar situations in the past, I would recommend Nail demand a trade immediately and save himself (and fans) the angst and agony.

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#5 cpetruk
November 12 2013, 02:18PM
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He's right in that everyone is playing the same defensively as he is. I'd stop short of calling it "good".

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#6 Shifty203
November 12 2013, 02:18PM
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dmac4532 wrote:

He is crazy if he thinks he has been playing well. He turns the puck over, flys the d zone with out so much as looking @ Ovi in the slot. This kid needs at least half a season in okc .Not saying he is the only young player that needs to learn to play both sides of the puck but with out a doubt the most glaring example.

This is probably his point. Its not like anyone on the team is actually out playing him, and deserves more ice time. He's probably feeling like he's being picked on.

Now, thats not to say that if he really felt that way he could try working harder and forcing their hand to give him more ice time.

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#7 vickpeterson
November 12 2013, 02:19PM
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"Have you felt a coach not trust you in your hockey career?"

"No, Never."

Gregor and Rishaug is being such a D***s in the presser.

Gregor: "You average 15 minutes a game this year. What do you want, 18?"

Yak: "No, not the past few games" Rishaug corrected him and said he's been averaging about 10 minutes the past few games, and Yak agreed with Rishaug.

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#8 Wanye
November 12 2013, 02:23PM
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I LOVE YAK MAKE HIM HAPPY DAMMIT

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#9 Reg Dunlop
November 12 2013, 02:25PM
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Good thing we didn't flush away that 1st overall pick. Who needs a good teammate when you can have the Russian Rocket pt. 2. Does this further diminish his trade value?

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#10 Rama Lama
November 12 2013, 02:25PM
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dmac4532 wrote:

He is crazy if he thinks he has been playing well. He turns the puck over, flys the d zone with out so much as looking @ Ovi in the slot. This kid needs at least half a season in okc .Not saying he is the only young player that needs to learn to play both sides of the puck but with out a doubt the most glaring example.

I don't think that the Oilers really have any plus+ players on the team right now..........exactly who should he pattern his game after?

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#12 Mark
November 12 2013, 02:31PM
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Woa hold up Yak, we all love the passion and the potential that you have but don't go all Souray on us, we know what happened to him. Are you being used as you should? Probably not. Have you deserved that ice time with your play? Sometimes. I think he sould be sent to the minors for 10 games. Let him play 23 minutes a night in every situation, he should light it up. If he does bring him back up and play him on the second line in an offensive role (if he deserves it). I cant even will myself to write anymore with how bad the team is. Work hard boys and it will turn around look at the flames (yuk i think i just puked in my mouth) LOL.

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#13 Czar
November 12 2013, 02:36PM
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I really like Yak but when will these athletes just shut up and keep the BS out of the media?

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#14 godot10
November 12 2013, 02:38PM
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MacT said Dubnyk and Krueger weren't the problem, and spent all summer looking for a goaltender, and hire a new coach almost immediately thereafter.

Matheson's piece on Jon Cooper the other day said MacT was talking to Jon Cooper about the Oiler's head coaching job full year before he was hired as GM (when Renney was still coach).

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#15 Randaman
November 12 2013, 02:38PM
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First line: Hall, RNH, Yak. Speed on the left, playmaking in the center and a pure shooter on the right. No brainer for me. It's not like Ebs deserves to be there anyway. Its worth a shot considering the chemistry Hall & Yak had at the end of last year.

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#16 number99
November 12 2013, 02:41PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

He said he wants to play more. He's averaging 15 minutes a game. Because he played 11 or 12 minutes for four games doesn't change that. He is upset over four games so he goes public? Not the smartest decision over four games.

Hey JG,

It seems to me that as per Behind the net . com Nail has a TOI of 197.35 min divided by 17 games played = 11.60 min per game.

Correct me if Im wrong.

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#17 JJ
November 12 2013, 02:42PM
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Remember that one interview last year with Osadchenko when Nail was saying how 'You want to out there and win games just because of Krueger'? How likely is it that he'll say the same about Eakins?

I think Dallas has lost the dressing room. Fire this bastard, get him out of Edmonton. He can't get the best out of his players like Krueger did so he should be out. Krueger was NOT the problem, too bad he was let go despite the improvements.

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#18 sizzay
November 12 2013, 02:44PM
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Gregor,

Tell Rishaug to relax. Larionov made the mistake, not Yakupov by going to the media.

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#20 Smokey
November 12 2013, 02:45PM
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I got no issue with anything he said. One thing we can all say, Yak is not a robot and he cares. He wants ice time, and maybe he feels hasn't been given a shot. I also know that what he says sometimes sounds worse then it should, that was apparent today.

He's watched players like Gagner, Hemsky, Hall, Nuge, and Schultz do the same wrong things, and they keep getting ice time. Don't blame him one bit for being frustrated. His comments are validated to a certain extent by seeing the other players not having to be accountable for making the same inexcusable errors every single night. I can't remember the game where Hemsky turned over the puck and Yak was on the ice with him. Wasn't Yak's fault and he sat the rest of the game.

A player can admit he deserves less time, but gets upset he sees veterans continue to get their ice and they are the ones making the same mistakes. If your going to bench Yak, then bench Hemsky next time he coughs up the puck. No accountability on the ice equates to to room that tunes out a coach when he preaches accountability.

From this point on Eakins should coach with an open mind. Play the guys that are going. If Steve MacIntire and Gadzic pot a goal, run them ragged...just joking.

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#21 KenL
November 12 2013, 02:46PM
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Send him to the minors to learn to play better defensive hockey and a better attitude. It might look punitive, but when you call out your coach and GM when they had your back last week and dispelled the trade rumours - you deserved to be punished.

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#22 JJ
November 12 2013, 02:46PM
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Justin Schultz on his assessment of the situation: "It's tough, we gotta get some wins and get back into the playoff race" Sorry buddy, that ship has sailed already. Do the players really think there's a chance at playoffs or do they just have to say that?

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#23 number99
November 12 2013, 02:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Are you only counting ES minutes?

He has averaged 15:28 a game.

Look here

http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?season=20132014&gameType=2&team=EDM&position=S&country=&status=&viewName=summary#

My bad. Thanks!

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#24 Jerkmiov
November 12 2013, 02:49PM
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Those are some aggressive journalists working for the Oilers. Or are they working for their respective organizations? Or Both? Either way, the story is already set and Yak will be run out of town.

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#25 Smokey
November 12 2013, 02:50PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

Good thing we didn't flush away that 1st overall pick. Who needs a good teammate when you can have the Russian Rocket pt. 2. Does this further diminish his trade value?

His trade value is the same...He's a 20 year old potential sniper...This is what game 65 for him.

Remember Jumpin Jo. Ya he sucked for 2 years.

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#26 Kirk Brackenberry
November 12 2013, 02:50PM
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Perhaps Yak is right and there are numerous other oilers playing poorly but come on...this is the absolute worst way to go about this. Stinks of a spoiled brat. Trade the Kid now this is a character flaw and will only get worse.

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#27 Hat Pughes
November 12 2013, 02:51PM
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Oil are in a precarious situation here. Have to give props to DE for taking him aside and having Coaching moments with Yak. DE is showing him he has his back....But

The player has to be onside and commit to being better also. Yak has made numerous egregious errors in the neutral and D zone...and yes the rest of the squad is floundering with turnovers and D Zone coverage.

Question about who should he pattern his play after...Answers "Not anyone on the Oilers currently" or "How about following the System DE is teaching" or "How about Igor Larionov". Convo with MacT and Igor will be interesting - wonder if Larionov will discount the value to 2 Way Play.

There's one more element to PP time that I see brewing. Both RNH and Yak seem to want the same piece of ice to do their best PP work - halfwall on the off wing. Cant have them both out there at the same time.

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#28 Quicksilver ballet
November 12 2013, 02:53PM
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Kinda odd we never heard as much about these Nail Yakupov deficiencies at all last season under Krueger. Usually kids progress when they make it to the NHL.

Singling him out this season while all of Rome is burning (many other players struggling) appears like what a fly by the seat of their pants organization would do.

There's no bloody plan in place. Management is just banking on these kids bailing them all out at some point. Can'em all...POSERS!

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#29 steelymac
November 12 2013, 02:58PM
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As long as Eakins operates under double standards the relationship between Yak and the club will continue to erode until he either demands a trade or leaves for the KHL.There will be comments that he is being a spoiled brat and I would agree with that if he was the only one playing piss poor defensively.Eakins needs a whipping boy and Yak is it,how else can you explain him riding the pine for the rest of the game after the tying goal.You can knock Ralph Kreuger all you want but the morale on and off the ice was a hell of a lot better than it is now not to mention special teams wich last time I checked was an important part of the game.

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#30 OilCanFan
November 12 2013, 03:01PM
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Here is a novel idea, Eakin's should try and "coach" and live up to what he said about accountability. Players are not being held accountable and he is being out coached most games.

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#31 oildrops
November 12 2013, 03:02PM
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a lot of the posts are missing props and trashes I hit a prop that said 7 but it was 17.

Yak is awesome, we just need better a NHL coach.

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#32 oildrops
November 12 2013, 03:02PM
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a lot of the posts are missing props and trashes I hit a prop that said 7 but it was 17.

Yak is awesome, we just need a NHL coach.

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#33 OilCanFan
November 12 2013, 03:02PM
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Having some issues with their site I think...

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#34 Hemmercules
November 12 2013, 03:07PM
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What a spoiled brat. Guy plays half a season in the NHL and suddenly they owe him 25 minutes a night. Then he goes crying to his agent over it. Pretty tough to respect a fellow player when he makes comments and acts the way he does. Time to grow up.

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#35 Cyni
November 12 2013, 03:08PM
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Yak's got leverage. Once his entry-level deal expires, he can de-camp to the KHL for a year years. Then come back and sign for huge bucks with a franchise that isn't a laughingstock. Suk.cs to be you, Oiler fan.

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#36 ijames93
November 12 2013, 03:08PM
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Honestly, i think Yak needs to settle down and let the coaching staff do their jobs. I think if he wants more ice time he needs to show the drive and determination which justifies more ice time

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#37 Smokey
November 12 2013, 03:10PM
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Those making comments about sending Yak to the minors, ya lets compound the problem.

In regards to all these kids play the hell outta then. Move out the pieces you don't want, and begin retooling the rebuild. We have to develop these kids, let them play 20 minutes a night, let them figure it out.

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#38 Poly
November 12 2013, 03:15PM
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This is a dicey situation right now, everyone involved just needs to take a step back and let things settle down.

You cannot make business decisions when emotion is involved, its a sure fire recipe for mistakes.

Yak is young, emotional, and inexperienced. He'll be told to lay low.

Most of Lowe's mistakes seem to be made when he is fired up (Comrie, how many rings he has comment, etc..)so thankfully he is not calling the shots anymore.

Mactavish is a calm operator however. He knows this is the worst time to make a decision, and so he will let it play out. Listen and placate Larionov, spend some time supporting Yak.

Fans will be fans and spout off, media will be media and stir the pot to create a story. Yak, Oilers management, and lord willing Larionov, will just shut up for a few days and let this blow over. Too much emotion.

Win a game and all the hens will disappear for a while.

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#39 Crimson Steel
November 12 2013, 03:17PM
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What ever happened to taking what you get and making the most of it. Play so damn well that the coach has no choice but have you on ice. No one likes a whinny cry baby. The give it to me attitude before I earn it is causing the mess we call Oilers.

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#40 camdog
November 12 2013, 03:20PM
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I think it says mixed messages when a veteran like Smid calls out players like Yakopov for not playing the system and then they quickly trade him. I guess Yaks thinks it worked for Smid so maybe it will work for him...

Although Smid wasn't really the best of d-man at least he knew his role and he did provide some much needed leadership on this team. THis team lacks leadership and Mact trades one of the leaders for magic beans. This doesn't make any sense at all to me!

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#41 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 12 2013, 03:21PM
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Poly wrote:

This is a dicey situation right now, everyone involved just needs to take a step back and let things settle down.

You cannot make business decisions when emotion is involved, its a sure fire recipe for mistakes.

Yak is young, emotional, and inexperienced. He'll be told to lay low.

Most of Lowe's mistakes seem to be made when he is fired up (Comrie, how many rings he has comment, etc..)so thankfully he is not calling the shots anymore.

Mactavish is a calm operator however. He knows this is the worst time to make a decision, and so he will let it play out. Listen and placate Larionov, spend some time supporting Yak.

Fans will be fans and spout off, media will be media and stir the pot to create a story. Yak, Oilers management, and lord willing Larionov, will just shut up for a few days and let this blow over. Too much emotion.

Win a game and all the hens will disappear for a while.

You think Lowe is not calling the shots? I dont think Lowe ever stopped calling the shots,

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#42 Rambelaya
November 12 2013, 03:22PM
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oildrops wrote:

a lot of the posts are missing props and trashes I hit a prop that said 7 but it was 17.

Yak is awesome, we just need a NHL coach.

The page doesn't auto-refresh so the props/trashes are frozen while you read.

But other people are propping/trashing while you read, so when you click, that's the only time it can update with what's happened since you loaded the page.

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#43 NJ
November 12 2013, 03:23PM
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Yak shows more passion, more frustration and more drive than half the oil combined. While his defensive positioning is terrible, the same could be said for Eberle, Gagner and any number of the D men. Bottom line. If you're benching Yak, bench the guys showing less passion and equally bad positioning.

While I don't blame coach per se and appreciate how Eakins handled the press today, I'm tired of the double standard, both the one above and the standard we want Yak to live up to in a rookie year (less than 82 games) where he's played more with 3rd and 4th liners than 1st and 2nd lines.

Unfortunately, the last Oiler who showed that level of frustration got shipped off to Calgary for a sack of hammers.

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#44 CaptainLander
November 12 2013, 03:24PM
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May as well play him a ton, season is already over anyway.

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#45 Blucifer Copperballs
November 12 2013, 03:28PM
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If he wants to talk the talk, make him walk the walk. Eakins should give him the extra minutes against the Stars, and see what happens.

Either he plays well and feels justified, or bombs and stops shooting his mouth off. Either way, the situation gets diffused a little. only problem is it set precident for other players to handle a situation poorly ( like Yak and Igor DID) and expect to be rewarded with more minutes.

Would love to hear what happens behind closed doors on this.

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#46 bwar
November 12 2013, 03:31PM
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How long until all of the articles are about Bryz? Who gives a crap about the other players, Bryz should be holding a press conference daily. I need to know the things that are in his brain.

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#47 Hemmercules
November 12 2013, 03:31PM
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NJ wrote:

Yak shows more passion, more frustration and more drive than half the oil combined. While his defensive positioning is terrible, the same could be said for Eberle, Gagner and any number of the D men. Bottom line. If you're benching Yak, bench the guys showing less passion and equally bad positioning.

While I don't blame coach per se and appreciate how Eakins handled the press today, I'm tired of the double standard, both the one above and the standard we want Yak to live up to in a rookie year (less than 82 games) where he's played more with 3rd and 4th liners than 1st and 2nd lines.

Unfortunately, the last Oiler who showed that level of frustration got shipped off to Calgary for a sack of hammers.

They should hang that sack of hammers from the crossbar next game, probably post a better save percentage than Dubs and Barbie combined.

When asked if he asked his agent to go public he responded with a smile, "I don't know, that is a tough question. I can't say anything now. Maybe we will see if something changes in a couple of days."

That comment really annoyed me, It basically sounds like "yes I told me agent, and if I'm not getting 20 minutes a night after Lari comes here and lays down the law its gonna be trade request time".

The season is done, might as well play the hell out of him now. I just really hate how him and his agent went about this whole thing.

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#48 Spoils
November 12 2013, 03:31PM
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How many people in the NHL can wire a one timer like he did against the Hawks.

I love how he sits there with his stick cocked. Sega 94 style we should be trying to get him 5-10 shots a game.

Bad tactics whether it is him or Igor, but mgt needs to be the adults in the room and finesse some way to make sure this situation doesn't get out of control (for Nail and the team).

It is their job to get the best out of their investment in Nail.

Nothing would be worse than trading him and having him become a 30-50 goal scorer.

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#49 Lochenzo
November 12 2013, 03:32PM
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I love the raw emotion of this kid. When things are going well, you've seen his celebrations. When they are not going well, we get this.

I like that he cares. But he's just 20 years old. The coaches need to make sure that he channels his energy into something productive. Otherwise, one of two things will happen. He'll blow up, resulting in a trade. Or he'll stop caring.

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#50 Tim in Kelowna
November 12 2013, 03:33PM
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This is bad news. He is getting the ice-time he deserves. The play constantly dies on his stick by trying to make the individual play. If I were Eakins I wouldn't give him any more ice time until Yak figured out that he has to use his teammates to help the team. He isn't scoring and he turns the puck over. So why would he get more ice time? Because he's a 1st OA pick? Garbage.

At this rate, with an attitude like that, his value will only decrease. This team needs SO MUCH HELP at SO MANY POSITIONS, I'd be working the phones pretty hard if I were MacT.

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