McLellan points out harsh truth


Todd McLellan laid out the future of some of his players very clearly this morning. We will find out if they are listening.

McLellan isn’t afraid to challenge his players, but he often challenges the group rather than one individual.

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When asked about motivation for his players down the stretch he didn’t mince his words.

“I think there’s too many guys in that room
who have way too much to play for to decide to take a few nights off,” he began. “That starts with free agents, it starts with unrestricted free agents, it
starts with players who are coming back and battling for positional status,” said McLellan.

He then mentioned Jordan Oesterle as possibly being next year’s version of Brandon Davidson. A player who exceeded expectations and took icetime away from other players.

McLellan continued to voice his opinion.

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“So to get comfortable and say ‘I’m just
going to go into my spot here in Edmonton’, I think would be a grave mistake by
many of our players, including the very upper end guys.

“I did a study the other day, went back and
looked at Edmonton’s roster from last year. If (a player is thinking),
‘If it’s not in Edmonton it’s going to be somewhere else,’ I’d go do that
homework. Because for a lot of them it wasn’t somewhere else, it was nowhere.

“We’re in the 28th to 30th place range and
those players aren’t quite as desirable as the Stanley Cup champions,” said McLellan.

A nice dose of reality from McLellan.

David Perron is the only player from last year’s Oilers roster who is on a playoff team this year. The rest are either on non-playoff teams — Jeff Petry, Martin Marincin, Marc Arcobello, Boyd Gordon, Ben Scrivens — or not in the NHL — Derek Roy, Matt Fraser, Andrew Miller, Steve Pinizzotto, Keith Aulie, Jesse Joensuu and Viktor Fasth.

If any players are “playing out the season,” they should listen to their head coach. 

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Many have asked about Yakupov leaving the ice at the practice this morning. It never happened. Today was an optional skate. Some players were on the ice and others weren’t.

Something did occur at practice on Saturday morning, and I believe this is what fans are referring to, but they have their days mixed up. I wasn’t at the morning skate, but through multiple sources this is what occurred.

When the two PP groups were announced Yakupov wasn’t on either. Then while the units practised in the  offensive zone all the players stood at the blueline watching, even those who weren’t on the units. Yakupov did not. He skated over to the bench and stayed away from the group for a short time. He likely was frustrated, and I can understand why. He believes he can contribute and would like to be on the PP.

Yakupov is allowed to be frustrated, but I’m sure if he could do it over he would have bit his lip and stayed in the group with his teammates. Yakupov never left the ice. That is a very different story.

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Some will consider it an issue while others won’t. Players get frustrated all the time, it happens, but usually it occurs behind closed doors.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Word to the Bird

    Huh? This is all news to me.

    Honestly, Yakupov probably sees the writing on the wall by now that he’ll be moved out this offseason, and he might be having a mental breakdown.

  • RJ

    Yak had his best success as an Oiler when he was a regular part of the PP.

    The writing is on the wall, everyone can see it. Hope he finds more support with his next team.

  • TheDonkeyJohnson

    I feel for Yak, the way he’s been handled has been a cluster frac.
    If he is traded this summer, I really hope he pulls a “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn( classic line when he’s called into the Manager’s office, classic movie) on the Oilers for 15 years down the road.

  • McPucker

    I can understand Yak being frustrated.

    I can also understand Tmac being frustrated.

    It’s too bad. He has skills. I think he’ll light it up but it will be with a different team.

    • Jason Gregor

      Letestu has a better pts/60 than Yakupov and more PP points 8 to 3.

      Korpikoski has played 35 fewer min on the PP, but has more points, 4 to 3.

      You can play Yakupov, but strangely he has lower a shot rate on the PP than he does on EV. this year He hasn’t been shooting when he was on the PP.

      • clrsnldvc81

        Hey Gregor…

        In no way am I comparing Yak to OV but how is it that Washington can get OV open so much on the half wall for that one timer?

        Again not saying Yak is OV but he does seem to have a decent one timer when he does get it. I don’t think we have another option who can fire that puck in the same manner as OV, Seguin, Stammer etc.

        Is it the PP setup that the Oilers are using? I don’t watch enough Caps games to notice this but highlights seem to show OV almost wide open everytime.


      • LordVallko

        JG your man crush with Mr. Cream puff Eberle is showing through again. Yak at least hits and hustles. I would take 20 three million and a bit per year Yakapovs over 15 soft six million per year Eberle’s any day!

  • ubermiguel

    Yak is the poster boy for the lack of performance from the players on this team. How many coaches does it take for an NHL player to become an NHL player? It should be one. I do feel bad for Yak, he’s had 5 head coaches (I’m counting MacT’s brief return) in 4 years in the NHL, but the coaches don’t back-check lazily and have bad positioning in the d-zone, the players do.

  • Max

    Todd ‘tell ’em like is is’ McLellan will bring this team around. With PCs predicted moves and TMs tenacity, playoffs next year should be a given. The landscape will certainly look much different.

  • Connor McFly

    I like Yak as do most fans. This is not about his personality or his performance in the ” room”. The future of this player is about his in/ability to listen to his coaches and playing NHL level 2-way play. It would appear The he simply stopped responding to the coaches.

    That will get you shipped out of town every time. I don’t want to see that happen but it’s now up toYak.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    It sucks that it came to this, but I think we’re seeing Yak’s final run in orange and blue.

    Yak to Washington, maybe Ovi can take him under his flipper?

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I remember when at the start of the year when Coach called out yaks poor defensive play. When he was asked by the media about the comment later he blew it off. At that point I felt his days were numbered if he could not turn the attitude around. I too feel that Ovi might be the best mentor for Yak as he needs someone who can show him how to be a good pro balanced with the ability to discipline him. I just can’t see Ovie taking any excuses from the kid.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    In all honesty….Yakupov should have stayed in the KHL for a couple years, like Kuznetsov and Terasenko.
    He was totally lost defensively out there and he has one move when coming over the blue he stops up…….every time.
    Yakupov will be out of the NHL in two years

  • Namudi

    Yak will probably go to Montreal, and we will get a third line center like Ellers. Then he will probably get a look with Galchenyuk.

    He will probably do a lot better in the east

  • oilredemption

    Can’t figure out why they don’t want to use yaks shot? He’s not perfect and he isn’t always accurate but at least he can shoot the damn puck… I haven’t once this year seen an attempt to use it and I just wondering why at this point when everything is failing you don’t say “hey let’s experiment with his 1 timer”. You can’t pass the puck into the net. So to have 3 perimeter passers, 1 soft but accurate wrister and 1 half slapper working the pp it just isn’t a recipe for success. Successful powerplays consist of 1 net front player, 1 goal line puck retriever, 1 perimeter Passer (QB), 1 bomb (commonly a dman,oilers lack this of course) and 1 option (floater in the middle but can vary on team, commonly another net front player but can be a Passer too). That’s why it think you have Eberle working the left half wall, yak as the bomb on the right, McDavid on goal line, maroon in front and sekera on the point to use for coverage and a possible shot. Pp#2 use Clendening as the bomb/1timer, drasitial as the floater, hall on the right half wall as QB/perimeter Passer, kassian as net front and letestu/korspe as either goal line puck retriever or have pak as the cross crease 1 time too.

  • 99 NOW 97

    Hey Nail ! You are frustrated Comrade ? Really , wow , we need to go for a couple Vodka’s and talk about frustration.

    Seriously Man , dont give me that shiiit. Learn to be multi dimensional.

    Hey there is this thing called Tapp Car now – Use it. Good guy Yak but way
    over rated. Prove me wrong.

    Sorry, its the truth

  • KACaribou

    A supernova is a rare astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion.

    For a short time, this causes the sudden appearance of a ‘new’ bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months.

  • Lamar's Javelin

    Anyone remember when Nail said that he would either be in the NHL or KHL after his draft year? The Oil mgt bought into that posture from a not-yet-rookie and the mismanagement/coaching went from there. Now, it’s a situation that is a nuclear cluster-F and it has ruined him – he/they don’t trust he/they. It’s over and everyone knows it. He’ll be a 2nd wing RW elsewhere, as effective as Samsonov in 2 or 3 years once he gets his head straightened – and we’ll still be short a RW – or at least that’s what our prospect pool suggests. Yay.

  • Boom or Bust

    Yaks not the only player bringing Down this team. The list seems to be piling up. Ebs has been very lazy and seems checked out. Eberle would have more value than Yak…wouldnt he? Perhaps we should keep Yak 1 more year. He clicked early in the year with McDavid and he’s not 6 million against the cap! If he does find his form it kinda works out….

  • MorningOwl

    and this guy i believe has demonstrated he is not afraid to pull the trigger on huge moves and star players. he will not hesitate to make moves to correctify the problem.

    I actually expect the Oil to be significantly better next year.

  • 916oiler

    Even before this came out, Yak was not part of the solution. He had a chance this year, his last chance, and he hasn’t shown he can contribute.

    Love the kid and his enthusiasm, but let’s get what we can for him and move on.

  • Oil City Roller

    Fail Stankapov has always been playing these bull jive games. Having his agent talk about trades, the KHL, complaining about ice time. The Oilers can’t 86 this guy fast enough. Fact is, TMac was talking directly about Yak. He is a first overall bust and a fourth line player on the worst team in the NHL. Yak is going to find out real quick just how valuable he is to a good team.

  • 99 NOW 97

    Moderators – you should incorporate a skill testing question with the correct answer only permitting you to comment on this site.

    Seriously, it has become ChIlDiSh 🙂 , yes thats me , but it sucks having to
    scroll through the garbage in order to read good actual Hockey talk.

    Redirect those that fail back to Flames Nation.

    OK I am childish so what ! don’t send me to Flames Nation , i will be good.

  • Max

    Tough love. Shock tactics. I’ll back whatever it takes to get these players all on the same (correct) page, and if they can’t? well, we shall see who PC thinks will be an improvement on them. The clock is running down……………

  • hagar

    Remember that “many faces of PC” article a while back? Just watching hockey central, and he has a new one!! “Kids first day back to school look!” He was sporting a nifty striped shirt with his backpack over one shoulder.

    It’s way funnier if you see it I promise.

  • Poloismz

    I just don’t understand why there are people who defend yakupov, he has had plenty of chances with the core players to produce and grow as a player. He has failed at both, he is lazy and his hockey sense is horrible without the puck. His problem is that he thinks he is better than he actually shows. No one in the league celebrates goals like he does, he scores his 4th of the year but he makes it out to be the 50th. What a joke.

  • Rheal1 "Ontario Oilers Fan"

    Who knows what is plaguing this team for the past 10 years…
    I’m still hopeful stability behind the bench will help going forward. Based on what I see as a trend, I’d be happily surprised if the Oilers have 90 pts after 70 games next season………………….

  • Yak is clueless…. Nuff said, nobody can really disagree with that. Regardless of his natural skill or talent which we haven’t seen regardless of line mates (since a brief stretch in his rookie season), he isn’t able to learn and apply what any coach teaches. just watch him on each shift, he is completely lost most times, especially in the d-zone where you NEED to have a basic level of competency to be an NHL player.
    The other oilers TMac is calling out are also garbage in the d-zone, but that’s just because they don’t care enough to try (read 4, 14), not because they are incapable of learning basic hockey fundamentals.
    I say lose em all depending on return. Will be tough to replace halls point totals but if we can get a defenseman to help keep the pucks out of our net and provide some level of stability and leadership, it would be a tough deal to pass up.
    Nashville seems to get by ok without a hall-type player… We’ll see how much they beat us by tonight.