Nail Yakupov was a healthy scratch on Saturday night, and it appears some members of the family took it harder than others.

Eronko is certainly a credible source, and it’s important to know this is out there. Having said that, it’s also important to keep in mind that the player hasn’t reacted in this way and that Dads have overreacted in the past. Yakupov DID express himself yesterday (via Joanne Ireland)

  • Yakupov: “I wasn’t happy about it last night. You can say a million words about getting better but coach says I’m not playing, so I’m not playing. I’m not happy about it. I just want to play every game."
  • More Yakupov: “I’m not going to change but maybe play better without the puck, or forecheck more, but I love playing with the puck. I really don’t like skating all the time, and forechecking, and hitting somebody every shift. I don’t think it’s my game.”


This is a power struggle, youth v experience, old v young, and it will end with Yakupov playing more of a team game and working within a team structure.

How do I know this? History. History tells us that if the inmates are running the show you don’t have much. Dallas Eakins is no doubt fighting a lot of headstrong youth these days, but that’s his job and he can’t and won’t back down.

Play the system. Do the job. Nail Yakupov won’t win this battle, but he’ll come out the other side a better man.


A very good statement from the agent. Someone needs to talk to Daddy Yakupov, but I understand him. 🙂

  • paul wodehouse

    …crikey the kid’s got it, I do believe…

    play the way the coach says to play and you’ll get ALL you want…Dad needs to shut the bloody hell up …p.s. if that’s an invitation to “pull my finger” by Scarlet Lowtide

    I’m all in…

  • Wax Man Riley

    This does seem like a little bit of an over reaction, from almost everyone. This was a simple coaching decision to make an example of a prominent but still young player in the lineup. Yak deserved to be sat and has not played well enough within the system to warrent more ice time. Yes, he’s on the third line and not paired up with top end talent, but someone struggling to learn the system doesn’t get top minutes. Last year he may have been the top goal scorer but he hasn’t earned the trust of his new coach. So, that’s why when he’s in the lineup he’s on the third line. I don’t think Yak’s gonna pout and he really shouldn’t. He can obviously leave that to his Dad and the Russian media to do that for him. There shouldn’t be a lot of pressure on Yak to be “the guy”, cause the Oil already have Hall, Ebs and the Nuge for that. However, I’m sure Yak wants a spot on that Russian Olympic team and he wanted a strong start to the season to be in the conversation. So, that’s where some of the pressure is coming from for him. Not to mention, I’m sure he puts more pressure on himself than anyone else does. Yak just needs to focus on his game and keep it simple. I think everyone needs to remember it’s only 4 games in with a new system and coach. Yak won’t be the only player sat for poor play this year.

    • Craig1981

      I had never considered the Olympics. This is also a reason to have faith in Yak.

      As for Yak not returning to Sarnia. Pretty easy decision if you ask me. Play for the Sting and earn 200 a month. Or head to my home town and make 100’s of thousands a month. Your a real meathead if you think it was for any other reason.
      Besides, the kid was too good for the CHL.

      • Easy decision? Break a contract you signed cause things arent going your way? He knew the rules when he decided to come over. To good for the CHL? What if he decides hes too good for the Oilers, will you be glued to a grainy khl feed watching him slam his stick on the ice after every missed shot or slide across the ice in an empty arena after he scores a goal to tie a meaningless game?

        • Alsker

          You mean the contract the IIHF ruled was illegal. Or the one the CHL disputed, not Sarnia. Why did Sarnia not dispute it? Because, they knew it was what the kid intended to do. Personally, after last season, or lack of season. I surprised more Russians are not splitting.

          Now I ask you. What if you were his family?
          Son, go play in Canada in the CHL, where your too good of a player, where you earn nothing but an allowance. (Less than a welfare recipient, less than minimum wage. )
          Or would you say come home. You’ll earn more, your wage is better, it’s insurable. And your mother misses you.
          I know what choice I would make. And it’s not even close.

          Meathead=dead from the shoulders up.

          Sounds about right.

          • james_dean

            So I will ask you again, how would you react if he was to leave the oilers? Maybe he gets homesick this winter and wants to go home. Maybe a team over there offers him 6 million rubles. Cant expect him to stay over here for a measly entry level deal can we? I played junior A until I was 20, we didnt get a fraction of the perks they got in the CHL and I never went without anything, i was working part time living for free,my friends were paying bills and rent working full time, didnt seem too horrible. Then I played CIS where I got absolutley nothing, I guess sticking around for no money would make me a meathead but I didnt have the options he had.

    • oilabroad

      I think the only over reaction to this was yaks, he has not done enough to have that kind of chip on his shoulders to think he is above being benched. The line that bothers me most is saying he wont change his game and he doesn’t like to skate and forecheck. WTF??? this is not the way to get back into your coaches good books

  • Craig1981

    Anybody remember him leaving Sarnia hanging to go to the KHL last year? He went against IIHF rules to skip returing to junior. Everyone one around here praised him, I asked how everyone would take it if it was the Oilers not the Sting.

  • oilabroad

    I think its too early to start throwing around the prima donna label again however it doesn’t look good on him doing this at a time when the team is in the tank and he really has no legs to stand on in terms of output so far this year. I hate to sound cherryesque, but could you see Hall or Eberle doing/saying this?? not so sure…

    One thing we have seen from MacT/Lowe in the past is dissenters get sent away real fast… this could be the beginning of the end

  • Craig1981

    Steve Yzerman and Scotty Bowman got so heated over Yzerman’s defense the Red Wings almost traded him after he had been producing 100+ seasons. Years latter Yzerman is thankful for Bowman changing his game. If Yzerman dealt with it, so can Yak…..and he will be better for it

    • washed up

      Yzerman was in hus late twenties and a mature hockey player. Not a 20-year old.

      Scotty Bowman was a multi-Stanley Cup winning coach, not a moderately successful AHL coach with a good publicist.

      • Craig1981

        What difference does it make if he was early or late 20s? Everyone needs to buy into the teams system

        So unless you have won 9 Stanley Cup you can’t develop players?

      • Craig1981

        I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. The article was about a rift between a coach and a player.

        It appears from this article it’s Yak not wanting to play Easkin’s style. If it was he was trying and having a hard time adjusting that would be different. And who would you take out of the lineup for Yak? He had to sit someone.

      • james_dean

        I recall Hull was not an every game player in Cowtown for his 1st couple of years. So, yes he would be benched frequently and get spot duty many other nights.

      • Dan 1919

        People are making this too personal about Yak. Yeah this is largely to help him find his game and reset, but it’s also because the team is off to a terrible start and is just looking for wins. Yak hasn’t done anything but stand around and give the puck away. Plain and simply, with Yak producing zero offence so far, he is not only not helping, he is a liability. Therefore, try someone else who will give some sort of different dimension to the team.

        I wish Yak was good enough that benching him should be a big deal, and someday he probably will be, but today he’s a flashy 19 year old that hasn’t quite found his NHL game. The coaching staff was well within their realm of responsibilities in benching the struggling teenager.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        Breet Hull played a full season in the minors after college and was 23 years old his rookie year. A much different siuation. At the time in the league when him and Yzerman were rookies defensive responsobility wasnt as important to coaches. Both had their coaches intervene later in there career when the game had evolved.

  • oilabroad

    I am still not sold on Eakins. I mean, what has he really done as a coach that warrants so much hype.

    I feel the team has better players then last year. So they should be better.

    I understand two men on the puck in the defensive end. This becomes very dangerous if no one has picked up the trailing man. It also leaves you vulnerable to a team like Vancouver that cycles the puck well.

    It’s the type of system that takes time for the players to adapt to. The players who are not in the fight for the puck, really have to have their heads on swivels, and keep there sticks in the passing lanes. I’m giving it time. I hope the players do as well.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    The coach should also review his strategies and adapt them to the NHL, where the players react and move faster.

    That “swarm” looks more like they are just running around with no real sense of direction.

    • Rdubb

      Maybe he was the top goal scorer, but what was +/-…hell, you could score 100 goals, but if you’re on the ice for 150, what’s the use?
      The kid has TONS of talent, but NEEDS TO learn how TO PLAY WITHOUT the puck, & it’s THAT PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!!!
      I’d say, that’s the reason why he is one the 3rd line and getting benched.
      Didn’t Eakins say in training camp that he liked the kid? So it must have been a hard decision to bench the kid, but we now have a coach who is GOING TO MAKE THESE GUYS ACCOUNTABLE.
      What happened the other night, Smitty got benched, came back, & has played two great games. He got the MESSAGE, question is, WILL Yak?

      • paul wodehouse

        Ummm and RNH having a team worst -7after only 3 games will put him in the rafters? No…not likely. Yaks got the short end since he’s been here.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    overreactions all around. one game he’s a healthy scratch and the kid might come back to Russia? Igor is no different than any other Russian involved with hockey over there…first sign of anything unusual, and all of a sudden there’s a problem and he might come home, and daddy saw a problem way back in the summer…yeah, like maybe the Oilers hired a coach that finally will make the players accountable for their on ice performance, and if they can’t do the job, they sit. kid needs to learn to play as he’s asked to and if he doesn’t, then he won’t be in the lineup. complete garbage from Igor and total overreaction by daddy, who looks like he may be a problem the Oilers may have to continually deal with.

    • #YakCityGettingScrewedOverByCoach&Mgmty

      Would be true if the other two first round picks who are in the top five worst plus-minus in the league sat … even during a period let alone a game. The turn-over queen is now second on team in avg ice time behind the Nuge, who himself is having his worst defensive season of his career.

    • oilabroad

      Lowetide, Why do you hate Yak? I would like to see, or hear, the full interview. I find everyone is trying to sensationalize everything these kids say and do.

        • Craig1981

          The kid works hard, and has always been a ray of sunshine in interviews. No doubt he hated being benched.( It would drive any competitive person nuts.) Yak is a pro. He’s very mature, and he will get it. I’m expecting great things from this kid.

          I hope Eakins and Mactavish explained this move to Nail. If they didn’t, well, I can see things going sour in a hurry. Especially if Nails father is being given “leading” questions by the media.

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    This is exactly what the team does not need at this point. They already have a headcase with Dubie, and now this.

    Only in Edmonton, do you have a natural scorer relegated to third line duties.