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."


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.


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. 

  • Hemmercules

    What a spoiled brat. Guy plays half a season in the NHL and suddenly they owe him 25 minutes a night. Then he goes crying to his agent over it. Pretty tough to respect a fellow player when he makes comments and acts the way he does. Time to grow up.

  • Randaman

    20 years old. First full season and playing like absolute garbage, yet still on the NHL roster and getting good minutes. For this he creates a media side show and starts making demands.

    Get this prima donna cancerous wench off the team ASAP !!

  • Jason Gregor

    Perhaps Yak is right and there are numerous other oilers playing poorly but come on…this is the absolute worst way to go about this. Stinks of a spoiled brat. Trade the Kid now this is a character flaw and will only get worse.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Haven’t read through the comments yet, but….


    Entitled much??

    Put your time in, you are a rookie for F-sakes! Earn your ice time. Be a team player.

    Have any posters on here that have a real job (like, you know, not playing a game and making millions)ever stepped right into the top pay grade, getting the best shifts, or the choice clients?

    I will bet no way in H-E-double hockey sticks.

    Put some time i and show why you deserve to play more than experienced players with double, triple, and quadruple the games played.

    All things being equal, as Yak thinks (defensive game, +/-, etc…), the vets gets priority. In a large company or corporation I expect no less.

    Good Grief! (to coin a term from our own DashingSilverFox)

  • Wax Man Riley

    He is crazy if he thinks he has been playing well. He turns the puck over, flys the d zone with out so much as looking @ Ovi in the slot. This kid needs at least half a season in okc .Not saying he is the only young player that needs to learn to play both sides of the puck but with out a doubt the most glaring example.

    • cpetruk

      This is probably his point. Its not like anyone on the team is actually out playing him, and deserves more ice time. He’s probably feeling like he’s being picked on.

      Now, thats not to say that if he really felt that way he could try working harder and forcing their hand to give him more ice time.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Good thing we didn’t flush away that 1st overall pick. Who needs a good teammate when you can have the Russian Rocket pt. 2. Does this further diminish his trade value?

  • Spydyr

    Hey Yak,so you want more ice time huh?Why don’t you try the old fashion way and earn it.Instead of whining in the media.He is just another young entitled or so he thinks kid.What ever happened to hard work and earning something instead of having it handed to you?

  • Jason Gregor

    Send him to the minors to learn to play better defensive hockey and a better attitude. It might look punitive, but when you call out your coach and GM when they had your back last week and dispelled the trade rumours – you deserved to be punished.

  • Hockey Problems 101

    This is where Larionov needs to do his job. Deal with it internally and make sure your client isn’t spouting off publicly. Be a professional about it…the second things get a bit rough you can’t go and play the blame game in the media. Jezuz, the kids played a total of 65 games in the show…the sense of entitlement on behalf of Yak and his agent makes me sick.

    Maybe its a Russian thing…

    • Hockey Problems 101

      Ya…because a Canadian kid has never felt entitled. That Lindros kid dug down deep and played hard for the Nordiques despite not wanting to play there…

      • Wax Man Riley

        you are correct sir.

        Also, Lindros acted like a spoiled, entitled, D-bag, and the entire hockey world knows this.

        Yak is also not a 6’4″, 230lb moster center with a mean streak that scored 149pts in 57 OHL games, and he also hasn’t scored 41 goals and 75 points in his first 61 NHL games.

        When Yak does that, he can mouth off all he wants, until then, grow up and understand this is a marathon and not a sprint. Nobody owes you anything.


        Your point stands though, that it has nothing to do with the “Russian thing.”

      • pkam

        True enough…that Russian comment was probably offside. But still, I think the agent needs to handle this situation a lot better. You gotta suck it up every once and awhile. With all the sh*t this team is going through right now, its pretty selfish to be bitching publicly about ice time…and its not like he’s getting 5 minutes a game.

  • Woa hold up Yak, we all love the passion and the potential that you have but don’t go all Souray on us, we know what happened to him. Are you being used as you should? Probably not. Have you deserved that ice time with your play? Sometimes. I think he sould be sent to the minors for 10 games. Let him play 23 minutes a night in every situation, he should light it up. If he does bring him back up and play him on the second line in an offensive role (if he deserves it). I cant even will myself to write anymore with how bad the team is. Work hard boys and it will turn around look at the flames (yuk i think i just puked in my mouth) LOL.