ULTIMATE RESPECT TO THE YAK

Nail Yakupov has impressed the socks right off my feet this season. Seriously, they are gone. I have no idea where their ultimate destination will be but they were last seen heading to the horizon at an incredible speed.

YEAR ONE IN THE CAN

Look at the stats for yak at the end of his first season. Leads the team in goals after pumping 11 past the poor tendys in the final 14 games. And even more impressively he did it with little help. With most of his teammates hit a wall doing about 2 km/h with a dozen games left the kid just kept scoring and scoring and scoring.

And celebrating like a King.

As Willis and Stauffer pointed out earlier today:

Is Yakupov riding a hot streak or has he continued to iterate like Skynet and is getting smarter by the day? It will take a few more seasons to be sure but his late season surge has certainly given us excellent fuel for our annual "This is why the Oilers will dominate" line of thinking that plagues us all each off season.

THE BIG FOUR IN YEAR ONE 

Look at the rookie seasons of the big four. Only the Princely Nuge posted a better PPG than Hall/Yakupov who somehow tied in their inaugural campaigns. But Yakupov gets the GPG title, when he accustomed himself to the NHL pace of play he found a second gear that saw him blow past basically everyone – both on the OIlers and in the Calder Trophy scoring race. His compete level gained steam as the season ran out of gas and the goals poured in.

Yakupov is going to be a massive – if not the biggest – piece of the team next year I’d wager and he has been arguably the highlight this year too. If there are 3 highlights to the 2013 Lockout Shortened Disaster they have to be Yak sliding across Rexall Ice and showing the three regal fingers in the air like he just don’t care after his hatty. The third highlight was the absolute obliteration of the Flames 8-2. Oh Flames. How screwed are you guys this offseason?

IT’S ALL BRAND NEW TO ME

In his first year as an Oiler Yakupov has done some really interesting things I have never seen despite my 24/7 obsession with the Oilers since I was old enough to work the remote control. Firstly this business of kissing the Oilers crest when he scores is intoxicating. Long a play for footballers around the world it shows some real panache and respect for the logo. Think you would have seen Robbie Schremp planting one on his jersey post goal?

Please.

Secondly we love Yak’s cellys despite the flack he has taken from commentators and opposing players alike. His glass smashing antics aren’t coming from a place of cockiness or showboating. Instead it seems to be pure joy – joy to be playing in the best league in the world. Joy to be able to smash into the glass at 100 mph and know the fans are smashing back from the other side. Joy to be potting goals for the Edmonton Oilers.

That everyone should be chucking up threes.

Finally one of 64’s first moves as a man on Kay-Z’s payroll was to bring his Mom and Sisters to town to live.That’s not exactly something we have seen around these parts during the past generation is it? Right out of the gate the kid has made Edmonton his family home.

Crazy.

Nail Yakupov is a legend in the making. There is no other possible outcome.

Big ups to @JustinBruyere for the brilliant instagram treatment on the opening pic of this article.

  • book¡e

    The second coming of Datsyuk!. Find a stud center to play between Hall and Yak and you will have the makings of one of the strongest lines in the NHL…

    Keep RNH and Eberle together , perhaps with
    Pajaarvi on the left side, or another stud left winger with some wheels and grit. [ Pajarrvi has great wheels and size, but lacks grit and not the best hockey hands around the net.

    As much as I like Gagner , I think he has to be on the trading block. Hemsky, this experiment was over 4 years ago.

    Everybody else.. see ya!., Including Snorcoff and Smyth,, who’s kidding who here.. They are not part of the solution here.. only standing in the way for bigger, faster, grittier players.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Thank God (or Allah, Yahweh, Baha’i, Jehovah, Shiva …. plus anyone I may have missed) for Yak.

    He was one of the few rays of sunshine in an otherwise cold, dark last-for-f’ing-ever winter / hockey season.

    It is really nice to see a player who does wear his heart on his sleeve and – more importantly – to whom the game means something. It was very cool to see him mature throughout the year and get more comfortable on the ice, stand up for himself (because heaven knows most of these other pantywaists who bill themselves as “veterans, surely won’t) and show some moxie out there.

    The best part of Oil Change was Yak asking one of the training staff if he could step foot on Rexall ice and then pausing before he actually did, to look at the banners and retired numbers with awe and respect that could not be feigned.

    Let him celebrate all he wants. We need about a dozen more guys with passion for the game. The kid is a part of the solution here … no question.

    • The Soup Fascist

      By the way ….. and way off topic ….. Henrik Sedin stepping off the bench and twirling back to the dressing room after one shift is the definition of bush-league.

      It makes a travesty of the game and the definition of an “iron man”. The individual and team should be embarassed.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Having sedin in the lineup was a favour to Katz to help with the gate. Got a problem with it ? Take it up with Katz – were I a nucks fan I wouldn’t want any of the top line guys playing in an utterly meaningless game either.

        • Right.. cause a team that habitually has sat at the bottom of the standings but still manages to sell out every night needs “help with the gate”. Get real.

          It wasn’t a favor to Katz.. it was 100% for Sedin’s sake to maintain his supposed “iron man streak”.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Really? Please tell me how concessions were up by Sedin playing? The building was going to be full anyway. Do you SERIOUSLY think some Dad said, “hey son, look – good old #33 is dressed for the other team. I am now going to spring for a LARGE popcorn”.

            Give it up, please. A simple – Sorry Racki, you are correct – will suffice.

  • The Soup Fascist

    How difficult will it be to get Nicushkin to play here or in NHL after just getting a trade to Moscow for $10M . That’s something to Yak about seeing as tonite we might win the Lottery Draft .

  • The Soup Fascist

    If this is what they mean by “the Russian factor” then I think we need more of it. I think if we are going to draft Nischkinen, we would have to be in talks with him first to see if he wants to play here on this team.

    I really like how Yak brought his family here, that is just class. Not since Smyth has a player been so instantly ready to embrace this city.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Maybe Nishkinen will go undrafted as he tells people he is not willing to play here, so we use a late round pick on him for his rights, then in a few years he decides, you know what, maybe I will go play for that team for a while, and we end up with him and someone else at the draft.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I would ask if you were serious, but ……

    So I will just assume you are mistaken. No favour to Katz. Whether Sedin is in the lineup or not doesn’t change the sell out streak. Plus watching Danielle and Henrietta cycle the puck for 60 seconds sells ZERO tickets.

    You are entitled to your opinion but I still consider it a classless move to extend a sham of a streak. I don’t want the Canucks doing the Oil any favours at any rate.