THE YAKUPOV SELECTION

Lowetide
January 13 2014 01:53PM

 

The Edmonton Oilers selection of Nail Yakupov No. 1 overall in the 2012 NHL Entry draft remains a story 18 months later. For one reason or another, the Yak City pick hasn't settled in like the Hall and Nuge drafts. The story got a little publicity this morning, and one wonders if we'll be dealing with it for years. 

OCTOBER 2013—CONFIRMED

Bob McKenzie confirmed a well known Edmonton rumor in October, tweeting out that the "majority of Edmonton scouts wanted Murray, and the decision to take Yakupov came from a higher authority. 

The story came up this morning when I was on the air at TSN 1260, and I wanted to mention it today. The push from media came courtesy Eric Duhatschek

  • Lots of people in Edmonton believe that owner Darryl Katz had some significant input into the decision to draft Nail Yakupov first overall in 2012 rather than opt for the safer choice, defenceman Ryan Murray, who would have filled a greater organizational need. With every passing day, that decision looks more and more suspect. Murray was limited to 23 games with the Everett Silvertips last year because of major knee surgery, but even as an NHL rookie, has looked good on the Columbus defence, playing a lot with James Wisniewski and providing the defensive presence on that pair. What if Murray turns out to be Alex Pietrangelo good – and they left him on the table to draft another offensive player, of which they had plenty already? How do you assess blame there? Or maybe they already have, since the GM that called Yakupov’s name, Steve Tambellini, is no longer running the show.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I find the conversation surprising. Although there's no doubt Nail Yakupov has struggled this season, Mr. Duhatschek's story is the first time "blame" has been mentioned. Presumptive? Certainly, but it's out there now, and should Nail Yakupov not deliver on promise, the scouting staff would appear to be free and clear. 

I'd still bet on Yakupov. All day. 

In a period where Oilers owner Daryl Katz is taking some heat for his team's won-loss record, perhaps fans need to be reminded that (reportedly) his draft day decisions are very likely to deliver. It remains very risky to take defensemen at #1 overall, and 45 NHL games don't change that at all. 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Frankie
January 13 2014, 02:26PM
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Murray DID NOT have a knee injury he had shoulder surgery, just like Taylor Hall and RNH. And he WILL be the better player.

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#2 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 05:42PM
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IS EVERYONE KIDDING ME HERE???

YAKUPOV IS THE NEXT OVECHKIN/KOVALCHUK!!!!

HE IS YOUNG AND EAKINS DOESNT HAVE A FREAKIN CLUE HOW TO USE THIS GUY BECAUSE HEA NEVER COACHED ANYONE AS TALENTED AS YAKUPOV!!

IF YAK GOT TAYLOR HALL ICE TIME--- MAN WATCH OUT THIS DUDE WOULD BE TOP 5 IN THE NHL SCORING RACE!!

ITS A SHAME THE OILERS DONT USE HIM PROPERLY!

IF HE GETS TRADED - I WILL NEVER WATCH ANOTHER OILER GAME AGAIN, NOR WILL YOU SEE ME ON THIS MSG BOARD AGAIN BECAUSE HE WILL WIN THE ART ROSS AT LEAST 2WICE BEFORE THE AGE OF 30!!

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#3 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 06:22PM
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MAYBE DALLAS EAKINS IS A RACIST??

YAK IS A DARK HAIRED - DARK EYED RUSSIAN MUSLIM!

TAYLOR, PERRON, NUGE ETC BLONDE HAIRED BLUE EYED GOOD OLE CANADIAN KIDS GET THE ICE TIME...

DARE SOMEBODY SAY IT--- THERE YOU GO... EVERONE THINKING IT!!! NOW ITS BEEN SAID.

EVANDER KANE AND WAYNE SIMMONDS BETTER WATCH OUT THEY DONT GET TRADED TO EDM.. THEY MAY BE HEALTHY SCRATCHES EVERY SECOND GAME OR ONLY PLAY 4 MINUTES A GAME LIKE YAKUPOV.

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#4 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 06:52PM
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Zarny wrote:

Nuge has dark hair, Yak isn't Muslim and Muslim isn't a race.

Just when you think it can't be done someone like you comes along and sets the stupid bar just a little bit higher.

LOOK HERE ZARNEY - IF THATS EVEN YOUR REAL NAME!!

IVE MET NUGE. I KNOW YAK - CHECK YOUR FACTS!!

AND YOU MAY NOT KNOW ANY BETTER!! PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOUR SELF BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY VERY MIS INFORMED.

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#5 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 07:02PM
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YAK CITY IS THE GREATEST THIS TO HAPPEN TO THE EDMONTON OILERS SINCE WAYNE GRETZKY!!

MARK MY WORDS

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#6 Ricky's Jalapeno Chips
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
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I supported picking Yakupov at the time, but can't help but wonder how trading down and taking Griffin Reinhart would have have worked out.

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#7 S cottV
January 13 2014, 02:48PM
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Taking another small skill winger - who is quirky with no idea how to really play the game, was the wrong move.

If the story is true, at least the hockey people knew it.

Geez - maybe it was Katz's son, hanging around the room - that convinced dad to put his foot down.

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#8 Fresh Mess
January 13 2014, 03:59PM
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I don't find the conversation surprising at all.

The Oilers made another colossal blunder in taking Fail. Murray clearly would have been the better choice. Some of us advocated trading that pick. Now they have added another coach killer who will be an ongoing problem.

Edmonton Oilers daycare. Spaces available.

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#9 Fresh Mess
January 13 2014, 04:04PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

As much as I love Yak, you can't help but wonder why the scouts liked Murray more.

I mean, between Hall and Seguin, Hall is clearly the superior player.

Nugent-Hopkins doesn't really have anyone in his draft class that is on his level.

They were bang on with these choices, so I wonder why Yakupov wasn't the popular choice amongst the scouts

because he's a cancer.

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#10 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 06:57PM
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@Zarny

Idiot

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#11 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 07:19PM
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I think ZARNY hates YAKUPOV even more now that he's a Muslim.

ZARNY you shouldn't hate because of someones color or religion. It is 2014 after all!

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#12 Impartial Oilers Fan
January 13 2014, 03:01PM
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@Lowetide

I don't understand why fans and bloggers like Lowetide or mc79hockey defend Yakupov and go out of their way to pump his tires.

I find it troubling when even the Russian Olympic team didn't take Yakupov, yet they took apparently inferior KHL players (I guess based on experience), but they also took Valeri Nichushkin (18 years old, so there goes the experience theory). Plus, they can't have any anti Russian bias like great YakCity fan clubs says is the only thing critics have against him.

So if the Russian team and Eakins are seeing the same deficiencies in his game, why is it that fans and bloggers don't give any credence to the theory that maybe, just maybe, he's not as good as hoped? I believe that's a fair question and look forward to the responses that are logical, not just the ones that scream YakCity and say he can shoot a puck real hard.

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#13 **
January 13 2014, 04:47PM
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The goal in the GIF was not. The ball had crossed the line before the striker kicked it towards the net.

I like Yakupov's game, but the Oilers didn't need him, nor did they needed Murray, they need to use that pick to bring a veteran piece.

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#14 S cottV
January 13 2014, 05:13PM
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etownman wrote:

Yak all the way baby! That one timer from a 20 yr old is a natural scorer! They don't come along often & when 6'5" Yakimov signs & makes the Oilers it'll be Yak from Yak.....& don't look back!

Sounds like 4 more years out of the playoffs.

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#15 Oiler Al
January 13 2014, 02:35PM
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Someone on the coaching staff needs to teach this kid how to play positional hockey. He is totally lost out there, particularly without the puck. Even with the puck he is terrible, in that he isnt using other players on the ice, and trys to be a one man show. Maybe watching Hall to much.

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#16 S cottV
January 13 2014, 04:01PM
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We have to eventually surpass teams like Anaheim, Los Angelas, San Jose and Vancouver for a playoff spot.

The only way we do it - is if guys like Yak were playing on those teams....

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#17 S cottV
January 13 2014, 04:56PM
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They should have traded the pick to someone desperate for scoring and willing to give up a substance piece - like a proven top 3 d man and a draft pick.

Murray probably too risky as a young d man to take a chance on and Galchenyuk too soft for what is really needed in 2C.

With a fairly soft RNH in 1C, you need to follow him up with a Backes-like tank in 2C, particularly in the Pacific division.

Now the Oilers are stuck trying to teach this quirky, small winger how to play the game and I dont think he will ever fully get it. A top team would not even be able to justify him in the line up because he would have to play top 6. Could you imagine Yak being coached by nuts and bolts guys like Sutter or Torts?

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#18 Zarny
January 13 2014, 02:14PM
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T__Bone88 wrote:

Deciding that the Oilers should taken Murray based upon how Yakupov and the team is playing today is very short sighted. Sure Murray has looked good this year but a lot of rookies played good in their rookie year only to slump the next year and play average the years after. There is a lot of should of/could of, but the Oilers took the best player as of draft day and within a few years Yakupov will become an elite player. I am sure that the Oilers will draft Ekblad this draft who will become the franchise defenseman they need.

The Oilers likely won't get a chance to draft Ekblad I'm afraid.

Ekblad is going 1st or 2nd overall. The Oilers will leapfrog the Flames and possibly a couple of other teams over the rest of the season so it's more likely they pick 3-7th unless they win the lottery.

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#19 bazmagoo
January 13 2014, 04:33PM
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To the guys who think the Oilers will leap frog other teams - can I buy some of what you are smoking?

Yes the Oilers have more raw talent than many of the teams above them, but they are saddled with an ineffective coach who isn't capable at the NHL level. MacT made some good moves this off season, but the coaching change wasn't one of them. I disliked Krueger, but he deserved a full season behind the bench.

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#20 He Who Knows
January 13 2014, 02:25PM
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I like Yak and believe that his ceiling is quite high, but I would have liked to see the Oilers trade that pick down to #3 with Montreal. The Oilers would have gotten a player and Galchenyuk, who would have been the perfect fit. The Oilers probably thought the injury that Alex sustained in junior was too big of a risk. I guess the jury will be out on this for awhile. #Lowemustgo

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#21 Micbilly99
January 13 2014, 02:08PM
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Stop blaming everyone for picking the kid, start teaching the talented kid how to play in the NHL. It's called COACHING, and it's high time someone starts doing it.

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#22 admiralmark
January 13 2014, 04:38PM
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I think it is a big question mark at this juncture. A lot of it has to do with it being hard to get a read on Yak's mental make up. His interviews are not at all enlightening. I don't blame him for his lack of English. But sometimes i feel he is doing himself a disservice by not having a translator and/or not learning the language so as to get across how he's feeling. Perhaps there is better communication going on between team and player. But from a fans perspective I would be incredibly concerned about this pick. To my eye he looks about a half season away from jumping over to the KHL.

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#23 pkam
January 13 2014, 04:25PM
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Zarny wrote:

Their first 20 games means they won't likely leapfrog many but they will finish ahead of Calgary and Buffalo for sure and they probably only have to be a few games above 0.500 the rest of the way to catch Florida, NYI and Winnipeg.

Even if they draft 3rd Ekblad is off the board.

Even if Calgary and Sabres drafted before us, we still have a good chance.

Everyone knows Sabres is loaded with defense prospects so they probably will go for a center.

We all know Calgary is very weak down the middle so they may also choose a center than defense as well.

With Samuel Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Draisaitl 3 potential 1st line center in the top 4, I am not totally convinced that Ekblad will be gone in the 1st and 2nd.

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#24 Zarny
January 13 2014, 05:28PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

To the guys who think the Oilers will leap frog other teams - can I buy some of what you are smoking?

Yes the Oilers have more raw talent than many of the teams above them, but they are saddled with an ineffective coach who isn't capable at the NHL level. MacT made some good moves this off season, but the coaching change wasn't one of them. I disliked Krueger, but he deserved a full season behind the bench.

$220/ounce.

Krueger did absolutely nothing in response to a 10 game losing streak last year and coached the team to 26th in a shortened season where they were falling at the end.

The first 20 games certainly mean the Oilers won't leapfrog many teams.

However, from games 21-43 the Oilers were 9-11-3 with 21 pts. Only 26th over that span but also within 2 pts of a playoff spot. The Oil were better than Cgy, Buf, NYI and Min over that stretch and within 2 pts of Dallas, Ottawa, Winnipeg, NJ, Phoenix, Toronto and Nashville.

Eakins wasn't the problem with the Oilers. Starting the season with both the 1C and 2C on IR was the problem. A 4th line with no NHL experience was the problem. Half the D with no NHL experience was the problem. Dubnyk letting in beachballs from the blueline was the problem. All the kids you are relying on averaging 120 games experience was the problem.

The first 20 games has caused a lot of fans to completely lose touch with reality.

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#25 pelhem grenville
January 13 2014, 05:52PM
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64 is 9-8-17 -28 in 45 games...some say ah give him a chance ...others say he's had bad coaching ...he was a NUMBER ONE PICK OVERALL!!!

when will he make an end to this mediocrity...

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#26 Max
January 13 2014, 06:59PM
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Yak should have been sent to the minors rather than immediately be put on the team - time to be a bit more mature and to learn some more English. For all you Yak lovers, did you not SEE what he did against the Pens?? He circled the net TWICE, puck hogging, making NO EFFORT to pass to a team-mate or shoot. Doesn't that tell us all something. He reminds me of a Russian version of O'mark, puck hog/prima donna.

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#27 Josh Oiler
January 13 2014, 07:32PM
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John Kirsch wrote:

The fact of the matter is that Yak shouldn't be playing in the NHL right now. Whether or not he is a bust or not is to be determined- it is too early to tell.

Everyone who gives a rat --- about the Oilers is simply frustrated with ownership down about the player personal moves over the last decade, hence the "venting".

Besides being a Oilers fan I follow The NY Jets and sadly I can see a lot of the systemic issues and utter dysfunctionality that again comes from the top down year in and year out form both orgs. I feel bad for the fans who in the end JUST want a competitive team with a chance to compete against the Pacific's best year in and year out.

Oilers should go and recruit player personal and management people from winning organizations much like successful NFL organizations have done.

Yak City lead the Oilers in goals last year.. In his rookie season playing decent minutes.

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#28 D
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
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I was and continue to be ecstatic that the Oilers drafted Yakupov.

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#29 Slanto
January 13 2014, 02:12PM
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Two words...... YAK CITY

That is all.

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#30 Taylor Gang
January 13 2014, 02:41PM
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As much as I love Yak, you can't help but wonder why the scouts liked Murray more.

I mean, between Hall and Seguin, Hall is clearly the superior player.

Nugent-Hopkins doesn't really have anyone in his draft class that is on his level.

They were bang on with these choices, so I wonder why Yakupov wasn't the popular choice amongst the scouts

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#31 tileguy
January 13 2014, 03:04PM
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Ottawa looking to trade youth for veteran.

21-year-old defenseman Fredrik Claesson(6' 200lbs), who’s drawing rave reviews this season and a pick for Hemsky.

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#32 Micbilly99
January 13 2014, 03:09PM
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@Everyday I'm Byfuglien

Like these two will ever see the NHL. When Yakupov was or was not take is not relevant.

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#33 Tikkanese
January 13 2014, 02:02PM
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Sure Murray would have addressed an organizational need better but I'm confident that Yakupov will be by far the best of that draft class in years to come. Drafting defense and goalies for that matter 1st overall rarely works out.

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#34 HOFFFF
January 13 2014, 02:10PM
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.....and what if Murray's knee failed again or in the future. Why is this even being discussed? Hindsight Heroes. Yak will be great.

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#35 Taylor Gang
January 13 2014, 02:37PM
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Zarny wrote:

The Oilers likely won't get a chance to draft Ekblad I'm afraid.

Ekblad is going 1st or 2nd overall. The Oilers will leapfrog the Flames and possibly a couple of other teams over the rest of the season so it's more likely they pick 3-7th unless they win the lottery.

I wouldn't hold your breath on Edmonton leap frogging teams...

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#36 bazmagoo
January 13 2014, 02:40PM
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Yak will prove everyone wrong!

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#37 Lawndemon
January 13 2014, 03:24PM
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Should I be upset with the fact that the Oiler brass were debating between Yakupov and Murray when Galchenyuk was the best option from a "need" perspective? How good would he look playing 2C right now?

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#38 JDP
January 13 2014, 02:02PM
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If you believe that "BOB" knows everything.

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#39 BC BOY
January 13 2014, 02:05PM
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But I could see Nurse being better then Murray so I'm still happy with the Yakupov selection

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#40 G-Unit
January 13 2014, 02:16PM
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JDP wrote:

If you believe that "BOB" knows everything.

Many media types cover up their conjecture by using unnamed sources. I find it highly unlikely that anyone within in a professional organization would tip their hands to the media, pointing a finger at their boss. I don't necessarily doubt the opinion of Bob, but I think he "knows" the validity no more than most people. If it came from the other Bob in town I would never doubt the sources. He keeps telling us how plugged in he is, so it must be so.

With 8 hours of Oiler talk on the radio everyday they need content for the airwaves. Whether it is fan discontent with (insert player name here) or trade rumors. Their call-in shows are full of clowns with stupid trade ideas and they paint us all with that brush.

How many players have you and I run out of town? zero. We get blamed with running (insert names here) out of town, but I have never had the pull to chase Comrie, Brewer, Arnott, etc from Edmonton.

If I had that kind of sway old Rubber Boots would have had a can tied to his ass after bungling the Pronger trade so badly.

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#41 Everyday I'm Byfuglien
January 13 2014, 03:03PM
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I'd take Yakupov every single time. The fact that he's already opened the door to Russian players like Yakimov and Slepyshev is valuable in itself.

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#42 Eulers
January 13 2014, 04:30PM
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"I'd still bet on Yakupov. All day."

THIS. All day long! Kudos to Katz for smacking some sense into his management team. Maybe be the best thing he did.

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#43 Mac962
January 13 2014, 05:45PM
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Josh Oiler wrote:

IS EVERYONE KIDDING ME HERE???

YAKUPOV IS THE NEXT OVECHKIN/KOVALCHUK!!!!

HE IS YOUNG AND EAKINS DOESNT HAVE A FREAKIN CLUE HOW TO USE THIS GUY BECAUSE HEA NEVER COACHED ANYONE AS TALENTED AS YAKUPOV!!

IF YAK GOT TAYLOR HALL ICE TIME--- MAN WATCH OUT THIS DUDE WOULD BE TOP 5 IN THE NHL SCORING RACE!!

ITS A SHAME THE OILERS DONT USE HIM PROPERLY!

IF HE GETS TRADED - I WILL NEVER WATCH ANOTHER OILER GAME AGAIN, NOR WILL YOU SEE ME ON THIS MSG BOARD AGAIN BECAUSE HE WILL WIN THE ART ROSS AT LEAST 2WICE BEFORE THE AGE OF 30!!

Dont let the door hit you in the Labia on the way out.

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#44 Zarny
January 13 2014, 07:33PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

‘Krueger did absolutely nothing in response to a 10 game losing streak last year and coached the team to 26th in a shortened season where they were falling at the end.’

How is having a depleted & injured team and in a playoff position Krueger’s fault? Honest question?

How is that the coach’s fault?

That was Tambellini failing to act instead Tambellini reacted far too late for Krueger to do anything about it.

I respectfully disagree that Eakins isn’t the problem.

Krueger did more with arguable a worse team.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Matt-Henderson/The-Krueger-Line/191/57162

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/01/13/ralph-kruegers-oilers-vs-dallas-eakins-oilers/

LMAO...a depleted and injured team in a playoff position?

None of the top players were injured last year: Hall (45), Eberle (48), Gagner (48), Yakupov (48), Schutlz (48) were available almost every game and Nuge only missed 8 games.

The Oilers have been injured far more this year than during Krueger's tenure. And at least the 4th line and the D had some NHL experience last year.

How is that Eakin's fault? Honest question.

From the hockeybuzz article:

"Under Krueger Dubnyk had a .920sv% and a GAA of 2.57...Under Eakins Dubnyk’s performance has fallen off the face of the Earth with a .894sv% and GAA of 3.36".

Dubnyk pretty much accounts for the differences alone. Is that Eakins' fault?

I don't think Krueger did a bad job; but he wasn't that great. And he literally did nothing during the losing streak. Changed nothing. Just a stunned look on his face. Which yes, Eakins has sometimes too.

Because the reality is you can't coach around the holes on this team.

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#45 Zarny
January 13 2014, 07:42PM
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Josh Oiler wrote:

LOOK HERE ZARNEY - IF THATS EVEN YOUR REAL NAME!!

IVE MET NUGE. I KNOW YAK - CHECK YOUR FACTS!!

AND YOU MAY NOT KNOW ANY BETTER!! PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOUR SELF BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY VERY MIS INFORMED.

Well how about that...Yak's a muslim. Didn't know.

Doesn't change the fact a religion isn't a race.

If Yak being a muslim did factor into Eakin's decision he'd be a bigot not a racist.

As for Nuge...google his pic dumass.

Oh and the caps lock is to the left.

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#46 Zarny
January 13 2014, 08:39PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Is Dubynk having an off yea? Maybe, but then explain Briz save %?

Both goalies are awful or is that also a coincidence?

RNH was hurt last year! So was Eberle having almost his entire finger ripped off by Yakupov's wrist shot!

Not to mention Tambellini had to bring in Smithson because two centers were injuried!

Krueger defense was also abysmal, which tells me ether Eakins defensive sytem is out to lunch or Dubnyk is having a bad year.

The last 6 words...Dubnyk is having a bad year. You hit the nail on the head.

Explain Bryz? He had a 2.79 GAA and 0.900 SV% in Phi last year. He's just not that good. Par for the course.

I said Nuge missed 8 games last year. Hall missed 3 and their 3rd line C Horcoff missed 16. Eberle played every game. So did Gagner, Yak and Schultz.

This year Nuge missed 2, Hall 7, Perron 4, Eberle 1, Schultz 8, Yak 3 and their 2nd line C Gagner has missed 13 while playing 10 with an injured jaw. So injuries have been worse this year.

I agree the defense was garbage both years. The depth on both rosters is atrocious.

The difference between last year and this year however, is not coaching. Dubnyk lost 4-5 games on his own to start the year. That isn't coaching. That's folding under pressure. If the Oilers go 8-10-2 over the first 20 games they are basically where they were last year with more key injuries.

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#47 T__Bone88
January 13 2014, 02:10PM
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Deciding that the Oilers should taken Murray based upon how Yakupov and the team is playing today is very short sighted. Sure Murray has looked good this year but a lot of rookies played good in their rookie year only to slump the next year and play average the years after. There is a lot of should of/could of, but the Oilers took the best player as of draft day and within a few years Yakupov will become an elite player. I am sure that the Oilers will draft Ekblad this draft who will become the franchise defenseman they need.

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#48 RexHolez
January 13 2014, 03:14PM
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If Katz made the decision to pick Yack..... Congrats!! You bought and pay the bills and picking yak was the right decision!! How's Murray doing anyways??? Better Katz making the decisions than Lowe!

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#49 Bryzarro World
January 13 2014, 03:34PM
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I wanted Galchenyuk...

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#50 Zarny
January 13 2014, 06:40PM
Trash it!
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Josh Oiler wrote:

MAYBE DALLAS EAKINS IS A RACIST??

YAK IS A DARK HAIRED - DARK EYED RUSSIAN MUSLIM!

TAYLOR, PERRON, NUGE ETC BLONDE HAIRED BLUE EYED GOOD OLE CANADIAN KIDS GET THE ICE TIME...

DARE SOMEBODY SAY IT--- THERE YOU GO... EVERONE THINKING IT!!! NOW ITS BEEN SAID.

EVANDER KANE AND WAYNE SIMMONDS BETTER WATCH OUT THEY DONT GET TRADED TO EDM.. THEY MAY BE HEALTHY SCRATCHES EVERY SECOND GAME OR ONLY PLAY 4 MINUTES A GAME LIKE YAKUPOV.

Nuge has dark hair, Yak isn't Muslim and Muslim isn't a race.

Just when you think it can't be done someone like you comes along and sets the stupid bar just a little bit higher.

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