Well Done Yak, Well Done

Jason Strudwick
March 16 2014 10:18PM

Nail Yakupov

Since March 13th’s game against the Blues, as a group the Oilers have been much more engaged. Twice the Blues surrounded Taylor Hall and there were none of his Oiler teammates to be found. In my last entry I detailed the reasons this is unacceptable on any closely knit team.

The night after the Blues, the Oilers went into Detroit. Detroit is not a team close to the Blues physically but there was one chance for the Oilers to prove they had learned a lesson the night before.

Again Hall was involved in the play. He was skating up the ice and got involved with Justin Abdelkader. The two were going at it and Hall took a good run at Adelkader. Not surprisingly it was Oilers’ team captain, Andrew Ference, who quickly skated in to his young teammate’s aid. He is a veteran and understands the importance of supporting his teammates between (and after) the whistles.

23-Hendricks-2

Sunday it was Matt Hendricks who stirred the emotional pot on the ice. He had a huge hit behind the net on ‘Canes dman Brett Bellemore. Clean hit but a hard one. The type of hit D hate. It doesn’t hurt but it looks big.

Bellemore’s partner Ron Hainsey came back to Hendricks to support his team mate. Their gloves came off quickly. Bellemore also got involved with his hitter and it was two Canes versus Hendricks.

The play was moving away from that area. It took a moment for the players on the ice to notice what was going on. Yakupov was visibly looking in another direction. Once his head rotated in that direction of the two vs. one he DID NOT HESITATE. He went flying in there like Jimmy SuperFly Snuka and took down a Cane.

I LOVED IT.

He did not think, he simply reacted. ‘One of my teammates is in trouble and I am going to go in there to help out.’ Perfect. That is the response you expect from a team that is playing hard for each other. A team that supports one another.

This issue is not a small detail for a hockey team. Show me a team that does not stand up for each other and I will show you an unsuccessful team.

So the question is what happened since the Blues game to bring on this very clear reaction?

Dallas Eakins 12

I have no doubt there was a discussion. It may have been head coach Eakins, one of the assistants or the older players. I suggest it would have been some combination of the three.

They would have said that you never want a teammate to feel he is on an island, on or off the ice. If he doesn’t feel like he is getting support within the dressing room or on the ice why is he going to help you when you need it? They would have said it is very dangerous to team unity. What Yak did sunday was not overlooked by me. Well done.

The Hendricks Jolt

23-Hendricks-1

Matt Hendricks has been exactly what I had hoped he could be for the Edmonton Oilers. He has brought life to this team both on and off the ice, something that has been lacking.

He has proven to be a player that is connected emotionally to the games. His style of play drags his teammates into the game. They get charged up by his hits and chirping. It is contagious.

Then you have a situation described above against the Canes. The players realize that it is OK to get a little dirty. Everyone will live.

Since his arrival the Oilers’ record is nine wins, seven losses and four overtime losses. There is no doubt that Scrivens has had a bigger impact but that doesn’t minimize the Hendricks contribution.

He plays all-out every night. He finishes every hit. Some may be a little late or in the grey area of the rule book. His teammates don’t mind but I know the opponents do. Great. The opposing team needs to feel uncomfortable.

27-Gordon-2

He and Gordon have a nice little chemistry going. They are similar players that play the game in straight lines. They are good at cycling in the offensive zone. The two of them and whoever is with them have had many good games working the puck low and generating momentum for the next line. Something that makes life easier for the top two lines of the Oilers. After a good shift in the offensive zone the ice feels like it is tilted in the Oilers favour.

I liked it when Perron was the other winger on the line. He adds scoring ability to the line. He can also play an aggressive, solid defensively style of game that compliments the line. In my opinion that line could play against any line and hold their own.

A third line of Gordon, Hendricks and whoever is a line that a team making the playoffs is happy with. A fourth line of the same is ultimately how Stanley Cup winners look. That is the challenge for MacT.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
Avatar
#1 Al Low
March 16 2014, 10:27PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
225
cheers

Darren Dreger can suck it. Yak's had a tough year but I don't think anybody should question his desire to win and be a team player. And he showed that today. There's a reason Oiler fans love Yak and he's going to prove his worth despite Coach Eakins. He's a part of the solution here in Edmonton. I just hope MacT and 6Rings see that. Also, props to Matt Hendricks. He reminds me of some of the hard nosed players we had when in the lineup in 2006. I know I'm not alone when I say it's refreshing to have him in our lineup.

Avatar
#2 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 16 2014, 10:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
128
cheers

Yak's got that edge that Ebs and Nuge seem to lack. Hall has a similar edge, but both players need to bring it all together now.

Avatar
#3 Mason Storm
March 16 2014, 10:32PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
106
cheers

@Al Low

Dreger has been annoying me more and more lately. I used to listen to what he had to say because it seemed like he knew what he was talking about. Now it seems like he just gives his personal opinion on a player or trade rumors more then using any actual insider knowledge.

Avatar
#4 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
March 16 2014, 11:00PM
Trash it!
15
trashes
Cheers
72
cheers

Also, I think Yak needs to switch to 10. I know he said he wouldn't out of respect for Horcs, but 64 hasn't been getting it done.

Avatar
#5 Manfly
March 16 2014, 11:00PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
68
cheers

it's refreshing to read this about a guy like Hendricks, who, along with Joensuu and Gazdic, has been mercilessly dumped on since he's gotten here on sites like Copper n Poo.

Avatar
#6 Cold Hard Truth
March 16 2014, 11:34PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
49
cheers

It's good to see they made Hendricks an assistant captain.

Avatar
#7 Andrew
March 17 2014, 01:06AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
40
cheers

Part of Yak's problems this year have been on him for sure. The main issue is Eakins. Yak couldn't have run into a worse coach to work with him to develop his talent and team game to NHL expectations. Eakins is a total bone-head and my biggest fear is Mact is afraid to change him out for fear of criticism and keeps him hear to save face. I can see the Oil start moving the talented creative players out for Eakin clones. Yak has cimply not had the right coaching. Eakins turned Yak into his own personal speed-bag and a lightning rod for the media to feed on.

Eakins is the wrong coach. He reminds me of Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle in style. Oh wait where did Eakins get his coaching style?

Avatar
#8 Cold Hard Truth
March 16 2014, 11:36PM
Trash it!
48
trashes
Cheers
36
cheers

Trade Eberle, #1 pick and a D prospect for a #1 dman and a 2nd line centreman.

Avatar
#9 toprightcorner
March 16 2014, 11:30PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
32
cheers

Can't wait for the day that Gordon and Hendricks are tje pillars of the fourth line, that would be a team that all of us patient fans deserve to see!

Good on Yak, I find the more he is engaged physically the better his all around game is. If more of the team played that way, Yak would do that much more consistently.

Avatar
#10 toprightcorner
March 16 2014, 11:26PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
31
cheers

If Yak is Jimmy Superfly Snuka, does that make Hendricks Ricky Steamboat??

Avatar
#11 Oilers Coffey
March 17 2014, 03:37AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
29
cheers

I literally spit my mouthful of water out after reading this:

Yakupov was visibly looking in another direction. Once his head rotated in that direction of the two vs. one he DID NOT HESITATE. He went flying in there like Jimmy SuperFly Snuka and took down a Cane.

I LOVED IT.

Great read Jason!

Avatar
#12 -30-
March 17 2014, 06:54AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
26
cheers

Dreger is doing what "Shauger" (smirk) does on occassion, ie, stir the pot. His voice was so full of emotion. Great acting Darren.

Mainstream media have deviated from reporting the news over the past few years. It's more about stirring the pot and being sensational to get hits or views.

I know that because I've sat in on many, many editorial meetings and have seen the decline of reporting.

Yak is showing the kind of heart that Hall has and that supposed keepers like Eberle don't have.

Give the guy a few years to develop and you're going to have a mean, talented and smart buzz saw with an unbelievable shot.

-30-

Avatar
#13 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 04:54AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

The EDM NHL team has been so long without real hockey that they react like this to a guy who plays the game the way any average journeyman does (Hendricks).

Yak gets it. Wake up you cat-synonyms! Stop playing like you have a carton of eggs to take home to mom! Play like your family is on the line! This IS your family! You are NOT special! You are nothing without your family! Your skill alone will not suffice! This IS your family!

This is your family.

*starts to punch some hanging meat in a freezer*

This is your family.

Avatar
#14 spliff
March 17 2014, 12:19AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

Looks like the Oilers finally have some good veterans to show the young-ins the way. It's about time, because its something that Tambo for some reason could never do well.

Good job MacT.

Avatar
#15 mesa
March 17 2014, 10:46AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

the thing i love about Matt hendricks is he not playing for a new contact to pump his value.unlike Bryan Bickel last year .everybody was in love with his game and people want to throw money on him.i take hendricks over him anytime.

Avatar
#16 Craig1981
March 16 2014, 11:11PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Yak's got that edge that Ebs and Nuge seem to lack. Hall has a similar edge, but both players need to bring it all together now.

Agreed. After this game I looked at the roster and thought RNH and Ebs won't ever bring an edge. That's OK since there are lots of players don't (Datsyuk). But they do need some that do.

Think they need a blue line with more than just Ference or Frazer with some edge.

Avatar
#17 A-Mc
March 17 2014, 10:15AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

I screamed "HULK SMASH" when Hendricks flattened that guy.

Avatar
#18 michael
March 17 2014, 10:27AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

Yak is slowly becoming the player you thought he was at the draft.His scoring will come as the team stabilizes its zone play.Look at the other night in St Louis.He was picking up minuss for being on the ice. Twice RNH lost his man and twice Yak paid for it on the minus side.

Yaks overall play has improved nicely. The scoresheet is not the only place where you can have an impact.That play proved as much.Showing up for your teammates is huge.It is in my opinion a major plus for Yak.Like the night he and Gazdic went after the Dallas players.

I want Hall in the penalty box a little more towards the end of this season. I want Hall to throw a few more elbows and get a few more facewash penalties. He needs to start pushing back more to establish more respect in the league.Ditto for EBS and RNH.

Matt Hendricks has done everything that he has been asked to do since arriving to Edmonton. Many of the pundits blasted him as bum because of his 4 year contract . Well that sure as cow poop was a load that did not stick to the wall. He has played with intensity and sureness. What more can you ask of the guy.

Add Pitlick to that line next year and it should be a solid line.

What has Gazdic done except become the enforcer that we need.

Smyth is the hard question. He has done it all and looked good this year with reduced minutes.10 goals playing 4th line minutes an the occasional PP. If its me I resign him for next season. At a lower price.Say 1.2 million.

Matt Hendricks is a glue guy.He may be Krazy Glue. But I'll take 6 of him in my bottom 6 everyday of the week.

Bring on the Preds

Avatar
#19 sizedoesmatter
March 17 2014, 05:41AM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

like i said before more windshield less bug. a lot of complaints about Eakins he is not ruining Yak he is trying to turn him into a all around player.this team needed a complete turn around to compete with the rest of the league. It takes time. more Struds !

Avatar
#20 admiralmark
March 17 2014, 12:57AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Struds you will never Blog at Copper n Blue. Far to positive a perspective. And that a good thing. Could use a little more of that around here.

I also have noticed a slightly different team. To my eye they are playing with a bit more emotion for the most part. There is a near full team effort. Their shortcomings are still prevalent in terms of personnel but that can't be helped right now. Its during these times that the GM is able to get a true read on the players he has and what the team needs are.

In terms of Yak I can't help thinking how different this season would of been if MacT had picked up Grabovski to play with him? I wonder if having a fellow Ruskie on his line might of helped him just a little bit?

Avatar
#21 bwar
March 17 2014, 06:19AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

I just want to props this entire post. Its refreshing to hear from a guy who's actually been there and has a much better understanding of what a team is and the little things players can do to make a big difference. Superfly!

Avatar
#22 DrDave
March 17 2014, 10:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

That was Yak's highlight of the year IMO. Good on you Nail, be the Hammer more often!!

Avatar
#23 NsxZero
March 17 2014, 12:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

@Rod from Viking

But now that Messier is on board shouldn't players be eating Lays? Can't eat just one...

Avatar
#24 Harlie
March 16 2014, 11:49PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Loved this line " they would have said you never want a played feel like he is on an island, on or off the ice" . That line applies to every aspect of life , every single day. Nice work J!

And who doesn't live Ysk showing the heat and Hensricks leading with his nose? One for all and all for..

Avatar
#26 The Real Scuba Steve
March 17 2014, 09:13AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Funny this always happens we start getting good at a tail end of a losing season.

Avatar
#27 wintoon
March 17 2014, 06:12AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

In watching the Oilers play and seeing their results over the last 10-15 games, would it be fair to say we have seen an uptick in their level of game? By eye, they seem to be playing better and more consistently. Is it possible they may have turned a corner. Not the corner but a corner.

Avatar
#28 Oiler Al
March 17 2014, 06:29AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

Good write up on a well deserved player. This guy brought more jam to the team then Gadzic, Joensus,Fraser combined.

People complain about his contract..nonsense, worth every penny of it. You want to talk about a bad contract, lets talk Gagner.

Guys like Hendricks and Gordon, are real NHL players. They are not the elite, but they bring it every every shift, something that guys like Eberle, RHN, Gagner and Hemsky dont have.

Avatar
#30 pelhem grenville
March 17 2014, 09:04AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
bwar wrote:

Someone with a lot less heart.

...oh man is that fair?

less heart? how 'bout just different player!

Avatar
#31 Will
March 17 2014, 01:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

Why is everyone advocating for Gordon and Hendricks to be on our fourth line? Don't we want a third line that can match up against top competition and shut them down by winning the draw, then grinding the other team on the forcheck and cycle? Isn't that what a third line does?

Avatar
#32 Doctor Smashy
March 17 2014, 09:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
Al Low wrote:

Darren Dreger can suck it. Yak's had a tough year but I don't think anybody should question his desire to win and be a team player. And he showed that today. There's a reason Oiler fans love Yak and he's going to prove his worth despite Coach Eakins. He's a part of the solution here in Edmonton. I just hope MacT and 6Rings see that. Also, props to Matt Hendricks. He reminds me of some of the hard nosed players we had when in the lineup in 2006. I know I'm not alone when I say it's refreshing to have him in our lineup.

You had me at "Darren Dreger can suck it...". He can suck it indeed.....

Avatar
#33 The Soup Fascist
March 17 2014, 11:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers
Rod from Viking wrote:

Yes but don't forget he got Kadri to eat carrots instead of Lays for a snack.

But you must admit Ron Wilson is a vastly superior hockey man, afterall he DID invent the game.

Avatar
#34 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 10:21AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Manfly wrote:

and i don't know why some are still against having some sandpaper on this team, after watching this team be physically shoved around and not giving it back and backing down for years now.

No one is against it. Some would prefer that this 'sandpaper' be able to play hockey first, though.

Avatar
#35 Rod from Viking
March 17 2014, 11:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers
Andrew wrote:

Part of Yak's problems this year have been on him for sure. The main issue is Eakins. Yak couldn't have run into a worse coach to work with him to develop his talent and team game to NHL expectations. Eakins is a total bone-head and my biggest fear is Mact is afraid to change him out for fear of criticism and keeps him hear to save face. I can see the Oil start moving the talented creative players out for Eakin clones. Yak has cimply not had the right coaching. Eakins turned Yak into his own personal speed-bag and a lightning rod for the media to feed on.

Eakins is the wrong coach. He reminds me of Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle in style. Oh wait where did Eakins get his coaching style?

Yes but don't forget he got Kadri to eat carrots instead of Lays for a snack.

Avatar
#36 Serious Gord
March 17 2014, 02:16PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

The manic depressive behavior on this site is something to behold.

Are they playing better of late? Yes.

But could they play any worse than they were?

Since the Olympics they are 4-5, and 5 of the teams they played are not in the top sixteen. Thus they are miles away from contending for a playoff spot next year if this is as good as they can be.

And is yak playing better. Well he better shouldn't he? He's 20, not 35. That he and the rest of the youth wing of the team have on balance regressed this year is reason for very serious concern. They could soon become the lost generation if they don't start playing to their prodigious potential.

I'm being neither manic nor depressive - just realistic. This team should be doing far better than it is - yet it isn't. And the cause(s) of that failure needs to be addressed.

Avatar
#37 chuckcouples
March 17 2014, 05:22PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
8
cheers

Does anyone else think that the reason nobody came to Hall's defence is that most of Hall's teammates don't like him?

Avatar
#38 mesa
March 17 2014, 12:43AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

i like it when the media(sounds funny with struds) start to look at the positive side on the player when he is struggling specially to a high end rookie like yak.They are kids given the keys to the team and were not ready. i hope the beatdown in st.lious was a good lesson.

Avatar
#39 Dan
March 17 2014, 09:41AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers
The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Funny this always happens we start getting good at a tail end of a losing season.

Then In the off season guys like stauffer start saying how much better we'll be, predicting our coach to win Jack Adams award, proclaiming competing for a playoff spot and we all get excited again. I think Rome was built in less time then this team is getting back to respectability. If that ever happens

Avatar
#40 Andrew
March 17 2014, 06:01PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

Just read Lowetides article regarding douchebag-level comments made by Dreger and that ultimate hanger-on Matheson. The integrity level of Dregers bombastic characterizations of Yakupov is what I would expect from eastern media who have no respect for any Oiler player. But Mathesons below the belt comments are shocking.

Why are these self-appointed high foreheads not getting on RNH and Justin Shultz who both are horrible on offence an D and play with no balls whatsoever. Yak doesn't need me defending him but he is a 20 yr old kid playing hockey in the best league in the world. He is playing for a coaching staff that is inept in the extreme and have mind-effed just about every young player on the team.

Matty needs to take that big smoking turd out of his mouth so he can see past the haze.

Avatar
#41 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
March 17 2014, 07:12AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

If Yaks can develop into the 70 pts guy he should become and some nice character as a bonus would be great! Four things are needed going forward: a legit 1/2 D pairing, new assistant coaches, a big physical power fwd (a kid could be traded?) and more character on the roster. This will inevitably produce a few positives: less goals against (we lose too many by one goal), more goals for and the 20 pts extra that will result that can get us in the playoffs

Avatar
#42 Rob...
March 17 2014, 03:21PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

@Serious Gord

I haven't seen anyone planning a parade route. I also see a lot of posts suggesting many of the young Oilers need to take notice of what Yak did.

On a slightly related note, if you are or were married, I would love to have been a fly on the wall the first time you were asked 'Honey, does this dress make me look fat?'. I have no doubt you would have knocked that answer out of the park.

Avatar
#43 Al Low
March 17 2014, 08:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Struds, you mentioned Perron on the wing with Gordon and Hendricks. What do you think about somebody like Pitlick taking that spot next year. I'm surprised nobody talks about him but I was impressed with him in his games with the Oil this year. As a rookie. I think he'd be put in a position to succeed playing with these two guys next year.

Avatar
#44 bwar
March 17 2014, 08:51AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
oilfanincalgary wrote:

Who lost the "A" to Hendricks?

Someone with a lot less heart.

Avatar
#45 Rod from Viking
March 17 2014, 12:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
The Soup Fascist wrote:

But you must admit Ron Wilson is a vastly superior hockey man, afterall he DID invent the game.

Agree, and after thinking about it Buggs Bunny probably could have got Kadri to eat carrots as well.

Avatar
#46 Casey
March 17 2014, 03:52PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Anyone think matt Hendricks should play on the 2nd line for a game?

Avatar
#47 Rod from Viking
March 17 2014, 05:13PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
Serious Gord wrote:

I'm talking about fixing this nightmare of a team - not getting laid.

Which one will take longer to happen? A little more positive energy will do wonders with both situations.(just saying).

Avatar
#48 freelancer
March 17 2014, 08:59AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

It's interesting to look at the standings right now. We're four points out of being in 25th. Considering the bit of the resurgence that we've come across lately, is it impossible to think we can't push past the Panthers, Flames, and Islanders?

In the last couple years I may have leaned towards the better draft pick at this point. Now it's all about pride. Give the fans something to cheer about, put on a good show. And for God's sake BEAT THE FLAMES!

Avatar
#49 Dan
March 17 2014, 09:44AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Manfly wrote:

and that's fine by me! if we don't trade our 1st rounder, and i hope we don't, it'll be a top 5 pick and could be the last one if this team ever goes on a permanent upswing. with Ekblad, Draisaitl, Bennett, Reinhart and Dal Colle all available and the top of the line talent wise, one of these guys would fit the bill for our future.

Haha, yup. This team is just 1 18 year old kid away from taking that giant leap ahead and winning cups year after year!

Avatar
#50 Toni
March 17 2014, 01:53PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Now that Yak showed he has grit, he needs to be traded as he does not fit in with J. Shultz , Eberle, Garnier which are the world superstars.

Comments are closed for this article.