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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#251 camdog
November 13 2013, 10:49AM
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pkam wrote:

Can Eakins bench the whole team, or even half the team? Only if he can and he didn't then your argument is valid.

Everyone is jumping on Eakins regarding Gagner. Gagner only played 6 games so far and with a broken jaw. Yak at least got 17 minutes average for 13 games before his ice time was cut. How is Eakins not fair to Yak?

Sam is a veteran of 420 NHL games. How how many more seasons do we give him before we know what we got?

I guess Mact has promised him that he wouldn't trade him this season and I think the no trade clause kicks in for next season. So I guess that's 2 more years?

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#252 2004Z06
November 13 2013, 10:56AM
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@pkam

My argument is valid based on what this coach was preaching earlier this year.

"Can the coach bench the whole team, or even half the team?"

Really? I need to explain how this works?

The Oilers have played 19 games this year. Yak was benched for 2, Smyth for 1.

That leaves 16 other opportunities to sit a player. None of those opportunities were utilized.

Gagner is a horrible centerman, always has been. His plus/minus, face off % , fore-checking ability and defensive play are atrocious and not improving over the last 6 years.

I like his effort and he certainly has some offensive upside, but he is and always has been better off on the wing. Injury or no injury.

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#253 Rob...
November 13 2013, 11:14AM
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Maybe I've missed it, but Yak has made some nice plays to pass to Ryan Smyth lately only to see him unable to take the pass or otherwise squander the opportunity.

How much of Yak's frustration is related to doing his damnest to resist his urge to try to deke 3 players to take the puck to the net, but passing to the open man just isn't an option with who he's currently forced to play with?

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#254 2004Z06
November 13 2013, 11:16AM
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** wrote:

Terry Jones: "It’s almost impossible to not interpret this as a player with the worst plus-minus in the NHL — whose defensive play is one of the biggest reasons the team is off to such a shameful start — showing an almost unprecedented sense of entitlement."

Then the response from Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey dot com:

"It turns out you can check this in like three minutes. Overall, the Oilers are 30th in 5v5 GA/60. When Yakupov isn’t on the ice, they rise all the way up to 29th in the NHL. Just like the 1995 New Jersey Devils!

Also of note: when Sam Gagner’s on the ice at 5v5, the Oilers are allowing a smooth 5.77 GA/60 at 5v5. RNH is getting hammered to the tune of 4.28 5v5 GA/60. There are a lot of culprits here. Singling a guy out unfairly doesn’t really do much to build your case that he has a perverse case of entitlement."

Terry Jone's comment is just an example of the double standard and bias against non canadian players that some media have.

Great post!

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#255 Rob...
November 13 2013, 11:40AM
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camdog wrote:

Terry Jones is an old grump, he isn't somebody to use as an example for anything.

As to Yaks being singled out, well he singled himself out when he went to the media, this he did on his own.

So because he's an old grump he can't be criticized? Brownlee is criticized all the time...

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#256 Hockey Problems
November 13 2013, 11:41AM
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camdog wrote:

Terry Jones is an old grump, he isn't somebody to use as an example for anything.

As to Yaks being singled out, well he singled himself out when he went to the media, this he did on his own.

His agent went to the media. Yak has to deal with the fallout

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#257 rob
November 13 2013, 12:03PM
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Now that Yak has spoke out,how long before others start doing the same?I see bad things coming if Mact does not start doing something fast,everyone has been patient and now it is time for bold!

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#258 camdog
November 13 2013, 12:13PM
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Hockey Problems wrote:

His agent went to the media. Yak has to deal with the fallout

I agree with you this is more of Igor Larinov, throwing his own player into the fire. What purpose this serves nobody knows.

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#259 Rdubb
November 14 2013, 02:45AM
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pkam wrote:

If you think Eakins should bench everyone not defensively responsible enough, that is your opinion. I do not agree for 2 reasons.

First, if you bench one player every game, pretty soon benching doesn't send the message anymore and you lose one of your option to motivate or discipline your player.

Second, you don't bench your top point producers unless he is a real defensive disaster. Benching your top point producers send a message to the whole team that I don't care if you can help the team win, if you are not doing what I ask of you, you are not playing for me. I think this is referred to as overcoaching.

If you think Gagner is horrible centerman and Eakins should figure that out after 6 games. I don't know why 4 coaches, some with extensive NHL experience, haven't and some of them are even after over an NHL season. I just know that I am not more knowledgeable than any of these 5 coaches.

I feel that the reason that these 5 other coaches didn't play Gagner on the wing is because they didn't really have anyone else to put there, or did they? After reading Gregor's reply I went back and looked @ the roster for the past 5 seasons and that the Oilers really never any other options at Centre, & if I am not mistaken, Sam was put there out of a need, maybe you can answer that one better than I, but that is how I see it. Now, after a handful of games of watching Gagner & Arcobello @ Centre, Eakins should have a better idea of who is better suited for that position, & from the games I have seen both live & on TV, Arcobello is by far a clear cut favorite, much higher fo%, & if I am not mistaken again, I do believe his corsi #'s are much better than Sam's when both play Centre. So why not give it a try, do something to jump start this struggling offense, who knows, maybe Sam will bust out because he'll no longer have as much defensive responsibility and can worry more his playmaking skills. Hall took one for the team when the needed it, and now Sam must, if he is really a team leader?

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