YAKUPOV SIGHTING

I’m always interested in seeing the first few glimpses of newly drafted players. It is one thing to follow the draft, another to adopt a prospect your team procured and still another to believe in the player with the faith and patience of a fan.

Nail Yakupov’s performance in the Canada-Russia series is the current topic of discussion. Despite posting a point-per-game clip (3, 1-2-3) during the first three contests, most of the things you read about Yakupov discuss what he isn’t doing.I saw several “didn’t notice him” and “turned the puck over” comments and of course Yakupov did have extended periods where there wasn’t much happening.

A couple of points: first, we should expect to see this kind of performance at this time of year. Second, for crying out loud people lets remember he’s 18. If you’re being critical of his defensive play at this tournament, then we really need to have a long discussion about #1 overall picks, Nail Yakupov’s importance to the roster, and what we should consider a reasonable level of defensive awareness for this kind of player.

Me? I’m enjoying summer hockey, that brilliant pass last night and the bullet from game one. There isn’t really much to analyze in these games, although that apparently is an opinion many do not share.

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60 Responses to "YAKUPOV SIGHTING"

  1. bookje says:

    It’s like trying to assess veteran players in the pre-season. It’s not at all accurate. Enjoy the summer hockey.

  2. bendelson says:

    A few positive comments re: that bum Yakupov…

    He is a ‘darter’ – He sure gets to the open ice fast… This will play out well in Edm.
    He is wearing the C and the team is winning.

    After game 2, during his post game interview, he thought twice and backed off comments about the kneeing incident showing me the kid has some media savy (and though he was really hearing about it from said player in game 3 he ignored the confrontation).

    Also: Rielly looked really good… And ‘sleepy’ seems an interesting prospect.

  3. dessert1111 says:

    I thought Yakupov, Galchenyuk and Rielly should have went 1-2-3. I guess with Rielly the injury thing didn’t help him, and people like to make fun of Burke for saying that he had Rielly at #1, but I don’t think it’s far off–that kid’s got talent and I think he will be the best defenseman from the draft, providing no serious injury.

    With Yak for this series, I’m personally more interested in seeing what he can do rather than picking apart perceived weaknesses. He’s never played in the NHL–let’s get excited about his ceiling and worry less about how many mistakes he might make in the first half of his first NHL season.

  4. fuzzy muppet says:

    We all knew he had a wicked shot, but seeing his playmaking ability adds a whole new level of excitement. This one could be real special…

  5. Ribs says:

    One thing to keep in mind during these games as well is the coaching. It looked like an odd gameplan for the Russians in last nights tilt. They’d let the Canadians come in to their zone and take initial shots while they tried to defend the cross-ice pass. They relied on turnovers for their offence and that meant a few guys (like Yakupov) were always cheating up the boards. It’s the Blues or Coyotes strategy and it often works. It’s just surprising to see a Russian team doing it.

  6. WeridAl says:

    The problem LT was that most Oiler bloggers, including yourself, made Yakupov look like a superstar and the readers eat it up. They thought he was some sort of hockey GOD, now they see this kid that hasn’t been flashing and their worried. Did the Oiler draft the right person, IMO no I would of preferred Galchenyuk, and I’m been told my opinion often sucks, buts that’s my opinion.

  7. commonfan14 says:

    If this tournament was a great predictor of future success, Gagner would be the best player in the NHL right now.

  8. justDOit says:

    That was my first thought about this tournament – it’s summer exhibition hockey, between two teams made up of players who don’t always play together. Grading players in this situation is like handing out report cards after the first quiz in September.

    The Yakupov that I see playing out there is deadly quick, has excellent vision and puck skills, makes smart decisions and possesses an incredible shot. He has looked out of step with his linemates, as every player has, and we should expect nothing less. I’ve been impressed by his play, and look forward to watching this young man grow into an NHL player.

    But there will always be haters – those taking his performance out of context, or those who feel scorned because the 1st pick didn’t agree with their own preference.

  9. LMHF#1 says:

    I’m surprised he’s even playing. That he’s done some nice things is just a bonus.

    Much more interested in locking up Eberle and Hall (in that order) at the moment.

  10. bookje says:

    WeridAl:
    The problem LT was that most Oiler bloggers, including yourself, made Yakupov look like a superstar andthe readers eat it up. They thought he was some sort of hockey GOD, now they see this kid that hasn’t been flashing and their worried.Did the Oiler draft the right person, IMO no I would of preferredGalchenyuk,and I’m been told my opinion often sucks, buts that’s my opinion.

    Absolutly no one is worried about this at all. Only hockey geeks are paying any attention to this series of games and they all know that it is meaningless and that it is impossible to evaluate players in it. The comments re “Yak holds his stick wrong” are sarcastic bits of humour that are meant to parody such comments about young NHL stars in the past (such as Gagner, Hall, etc.) and are in no way serious.

    Yesh, Next we will see a headline in the Journal “Fans Start to Question Number One Pick” even though nobody has questioned the selection of Yak any more than they did when he was picked.

  11. bookje says:

    commonfan14:
    If this tournament was a great predictor of future success, Gagner would be the best player in the NHL right now.

    Uhm, he is if you take into account the quality of his zone start competition plus minus ratio divided by the number of 8 point games he has had time the number of blog mentions about his size.

  12. prairieschooner says:

    It is a good job that he has not rocked the tournament, then we would get carried away!

  13. rickithebear says:

    It is silly to expect an elite scoring player to show strong two way play and strong PK.
    My 8 yr old ( yup that 2 yr old when we started here) “Um, Dad! rieder?”

    “Nevermind”

  14. Ducey says:

    commonfan14: If this tournament was a great predictor of future success, Gagner would be the best player in the NHL right now.

    Isn’t this the first time they have had this tournament?

    They have the Russians play the WHL, OHL and Q during the season and of course the World Juniors. I don’t recall anything like this for junior players in early August.

  15. Bar_Qu says:

    Ducey: Isn’t this the first time they have had this tournament?

    That’s no reason not to condemn Yak based on other players’ past performance at this tournament.

    Fire the bum!

  16. commonfan14 says:

    Ducey: Isn’t this the first time they have had this tournament?

    This one is 4 games instead of 8, but it’s the same idea as 2007.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Super_Series

  17. LoDog says:

    Ducey: Isn’t this the first time they have had this tournament?

    They have the Russians play the WHL, OHL and Q during the season and of course the World Juniors.I don’t recall anything like this for junior players in early August.

    Gagner lit up this tourney the first year it ran after he was drafted. Absolutely killed it.

    All I am taking away from this years edition is the Stamkos like one timer Yak has.

  18. Traktor says:

    I’ve only seen about a period of each game but I was lucky enough to see the 1-timer. That’s why he went #1.

    I haven’t been OMG impressed with him this tournament but I try and keep things in perspective by looking at #2 overall Ryan Murray. He doesn’t been lights out either despite playing in the WC just a little while ago. Russia’s game winner last night was a byproduct of poor coverage by Ryan Murray.

    Agreed with others that Rielly has looked good but his game is tailor-made to play riverboat hockey against Russia. A real test would be playing against the Americans and their forecheck.

  19. Maverick says:

    Its the middle of summer I can see Yakupov not being a true form just yet, as stated he is only 18 years old and has had a crazy summer; the combine, the draft, coming to Edmonton for interviews, than the Oilers prospects camp, flying back home, and now playing in this tournament. I would cut the kid some slack.

    On a side note; did anyone catch Oilers now yesterday? They had Stu McGregor on and during the interview Bob asked if 2012 was the year of the defenseman is 2013 the year of the center? Stu replies “it would be nice would could use a center for sure” Interesting comment from the Head scout. If you up to listen to the podcast his comment his about the 6:30 mark of the interview.

    Any comments about Stu’s response to needing another center?

  20. sliderule says:

    Did you hear Johnson criticizing his defense.The same Johnson who slags other oilers like Nuge.

    The Yak I saw set up Grigs in clean at least three times over the three games with nothing from it.

    The Yak who seems to pass up shots to set up teammates.

    The Yak who I haven’t seen being involved as culprit in a goal against.

    I don’t think you can criticize forward defenders when you are watching on tv as you don’t know what’s happening away from the play.

  21. Dalton says:

    Question:

    (1) How slow can Alex Plante possibly be? I mean, he can’t be THAT slow, can he? I’m sure he can’t be THAT far from Ben Eager, eh? I feel like I can skate pretty fast, can’t I?

    Thanks.

  22. rickithebear says:

    Traktor: I’ve only seen about a period of each game but I was lucky enough to see the 1-tim

    There is no difference in shots! It is all luck!

  23. spoiler says:

    This post seems a little over-the-top with its own criticism. I’m the only one I know of that commented that Yak leaves his post quicker than an Italian Cruise Ship Captain, but it was also tempered by the comment that the kids obviously were playing firewagon shinny. The criticisms of Yak were as light-hearted as the tournament itself, and came with compliments too.

    OT, Gilbert Brule has signed with the ZSF Lions of Zurich.

  24. Lowetide says:

    spOiler: This wasn’t inspired by any comments on this blog (I would have responded). This is from other sources–including some media on twitter–which imo was overly negative. I didn’t see the same kind of criticism for the Nuge a year ago–and perhaps I am being overly sensitive–but I’m going to err on the side of defending an 18-year old kid playing hockey in August every time.

  25. uni says:

    Lowetide,

    If you think the phlegm on Yak is bad, take a look at the bile they’re spewing about Grigorenko, poor sod, you’d think he was the red headed step-child.

    Also Anton Slepyshev…holy crap. HTF did he not get drafted? Would infinitely prefer him to Moroz, or at least use the last pick in the draft on him instead of an over-ager.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Uni: speeds was asking about him the other day (slep) and I paid special attention to him. I absolutely loved the guy’s game. Man. Needed to draft that guy.

  27. bendelson says:

    Does anybody know why Zharkov is not playing? Did his comments about Russia and the KHL kill his chances…? Is he hurt…?

    Just wondering…

  28. spoiler says:

    LT, sorry, thought you were addressing the readers of your blog.

    Please… Have at the Twits!

  29. spoiler says:

    Yeah, have to agree on Slepyshev. Has sicker skills than any forward on the ice not drafted in the top 10, and may be better than some of the Canuck Top 10ers out there.

    And it seems strange that The Media isn’t criticizing guys a draft year older–like say Strome–a little harder than the kids who just got drafted. Course, I don’t read much twitter, so maybe they are.

  30. Woodguy says:

    WeridAl:
    The problem LT was that most Oiler bloggers, including yourself, made Yakupov look like a superstar andthe readers eat it up. They thought he was some sort of hockey GOD, now they see this kid that hasn’t been flashing and their worried.Did the Oiler draft the right person, IMO no I would of preferredGalchenyuk,and I’m been told my opinion often sucks, buts that’s my opinion.

    I too blame LT.

    MBS wasn’t going to take him first, but LT insisted.

  31. bookje says:

    sliderule:

    I don’t think you can criticize forward defenders when you are watching on tv as you don’t know what’s happening away from the play.

    I disagree, many internet commentators manage to criticize players that they have never even seen play.

  32. bookje says:

    Woodguy: I too blame LT.

    MBS wasn’t going to take him first, but LT insisted.

    Just like CougerLife, LT made me do it.

  33. bookje says:

    rickithebear:
    It is silly to expect an elite scoring player to show strong two way play and strong PK.
    My 8 yr old ( yup that 2 yr old when we started here) “Um, Dad! rieder?”

    “Nevermind”

    Does anyone have a Rickybear translator for those of us who are uni-lingual English speakers.

  34. spoiler says:

    Per Mark Masters Tweets:

    Canadian lines for G4: Huberdeau-Strome-Lessio; Monahan-Scheifele-Rattie; Di Giuseppe-Danault-Hudon; Shinkaruk-Jenner-Wilson

    Canadian d-pairings: Ouellett-Harrington; Pelech-Dumba; Rielly-Hamilton; Murray-Murphy … 1st time Spott dresses 8 in the series

  35. Mr DeBakey says:

    There is no difference in shots! It is all luck!

    Jesus Mr Bear, could you beat that drum a little harder!
    Really wail on it!.

    The best shooters miss the goalie while hitting the net only 15% of the time.
    They miss at least 85% of their shots.
    The word “luck” as used hereabouts is short-hand for -
    missing 85% of the time, BUT NOT THIS TIME!

  36. Moosemess says:

    RE: Taylor v Tyler

    Recent evidence supports the claim that Tyler is the better ‘Playa’

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1270967-the-best-new-wags-of-2012-so-far/page/10

  37. Dipstick says:

    Lowetide:
    Uni: speeds was asking about him the other day (slep) and I paid special attention to him. I absolutely loved the guy’s game. Man. Needed to draft that guy.

    I believe that he scared off the teams by stating that he wanted to stay in the KHL for at least two more years. I guess that he will be drafted in 2014. I’ve tried to find where I heard this, but can’t. Sorry if it turns out to be bad info.

  38. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookje: Does anyone have a Rickybear translator for those of us who are uni-lingual English speakers.

    Ricki’s eight year old beat him in a hockey argument.

  39. Truth says:

    I have watched all three games and the major thing that I notice is that, although Grigorenko is pretty good, Yakupov will benefit greatly by playing with better players. Many of the plays he makes don’t turn into anything because the recipient of the pass can’t finish, or he is in good position but the passer can’t get him the puck, etc.

    For somewhat of a mildly similar parallel; I remember way back in minor hockey tryouts when they would put all of the kids together for the first few games before any cuts were made. All of better players would jockey to be on the same line because if you were to get stuck playing with two linemates (as a F) that are much less skilled it would be so frustrating, plus you would look horrible. Every pass you made they would bobble, every time you made a break into the open the pass wouldn’t come or it would be too late or way off course, the linemates would force you to be in the d zone the whole shift, etc.

    Obviously the kids in this tournament are (almost) all of the best 17,18,19 yr old hockey players in their respective countries and it would be hard to say they are that far from eachother in abilities, but I see lots of glimpses in Yakupov’s game in which he would greatly benefit from playing with better players. Him with the other kids on the Oilers is going to be something special. To think of the speed of Yakupov and Hall on the wings with RNH in the middle is something that could be really special.

  40. Dipstick says:

    I’ve noticed that Yak likes to come back over center to collect the puck from the D and then carry it into the opponent’s zone. He is similar in this to Taylor Hall, but I think that he is more likely to use his line mates rather than take the puck to the net. I wonder if they can prosper on the same line.

  41. jfry says:

    anyone have a feed for the game. firstrowsports is down…thanks for helping out the end of the work day, in advance!

  42. Dipstick says:

    jfry,

    Try TSN

  43. Truth says:

    jfry,

    It irks me that TSN went from live streaming all of these events to only streaming them for their Bell customers. IMO if they show the commercials they should be begging the online community to watch. This is working for me…

    http://www.oleoletv.com/watch/live/stream/online/free/tv/video/channel/feed/link/broadcast/vivo/gratis/p2p/4/august/15/2012/4/2/168/v-436865/russia-canada-.html

  44. Bruce McCurdy says:

    sliderule: Did you hear Johnson criticizing his defense.The same Johnson who slags other oilers like Nuge.

    I hate Mike Johnson as a commentator almost as much as he hates the Oilers. Which is to say, quite a lot.

  45. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: I hate Mike Johnson as a commentator almost as much as he hates the Oilers. Which is to say, quite a lot.

    lol. It seems every goalie the Oilers made look silly 25 years ago is a current TV personality. Johnson must have some reason, but it is less obvious than someone like Millen or Garrett.

  46. gd says:

    Lowetide,

    If Murray Bannerman replaces Don Cherry then we know there is a conspiracy.

  47. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    I’m really impressed with Monahan. Just seem’s that Yakupov is on a different level then his teammates, I wonder how the score would be if Kuznetsov was playing with Yakupov?

  48. Bruce McCurdy says:

    This is the first game of the series I’ve had a chance to watch at any length, and I have to say I’m severely underimpressed with the whole game. Sloppy as hell.

    [Insert caveat about teenagers playing in August on bad ice here]

    Vasilevski in particular has been brutal, they’d be better off putting a trampoline in net.

  49. Lowetide says:

    This has been the worst game. Russians look exhausted.

  50. striatic says:

    i wonder what Yakupov’s TOI numbers are. doesn’t feel like he’s playing much outside the PP.

  51. sliderule says:

    I suppose we couldn’t expect good hockey when you have them play back to back then both teams travel 5000 miles with no rest and another back to back.

  52. jimbones100 says:

    What a shift and play by YAK! Nice drop pass, great work benind the net to get the puck out front. Taylor Hall, Gagner, Eberle or Hemsky bury that pass.

  53. Bruce McCurdy says:

    I put the virtual stop watch on Yakupov and he clocked in at 15:53 in regulation and another 1:13 in OT.

  54. Lowetide says:

    Shifts seemed long to me, Bruce. Do you agree?

  55. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    This has been the worst game. Russians look exhausted.

    Poor bastards probably lost two nights sleep before flying into and out of Yaroslavl.

    Am I right they had fewer players on their roster and more guys who played all 4 games?

  56. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Poor bastards probably lost two nights sleep before flying into and out of Yaroslavl.

    Am I right they had fewer players on their roster and more guys who played all 4 games?

    I think so. I know many of the names now, suggesting there weren’t many. :-)

  57. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    Shifts seemed long to me, Bruce. Do you agree?

    Not really. I counted 25 shifts for 17:06, average 41 seconds. Longest shift 65 seconds. It didn’t help appearances that sometimes he looked like he was at the end of his shift about 10 seconds after it started.

  58. uni says:

    Dipstick: I believe that he scared off the teams by stating that he wanted to stay in the KHL for at least two more years. I guess that he will be drafted in 2014. I’ve tried to find where I heard this, but can’t. Sorry if it turns out to be bad info

    Yes, that was supposed to scare them off picking him in the 1st round, that’s why he was projected as early to mid 2nd round. When your 6th round pick rolls around there’s no reason not to take a legitimate top 6 forward prospect there. Lots of players don’t crack the lineup till their 20 year old season anyway. You’d think with the contract cap limitations the Oilers would be happy to have a guy develop in a very good league for 2 years ala Klefbom in the SEL while not limiting the cap. I don’t get how he slipped past the 6th round. Makarov as well for that matter.

  59. Dipstick says:

    uni,

    I know that the rules are different for non CHL players, but wouldn’t the NHL team that drafted him lose his rights after years of not being signed?

  60. uni says:

    Dipstick,

    You should have the same 2 years to sign that player. There’s no reason not to draft a player of Slepyshev’s calibre with a 6th round pick, then try to sign him over the next two years. You can sign him at any time during the 2 year window and he doesn’t have to come over until he’s good and ready.

    Toni Rajala for example got drafted, played a year, then got signed by the OIlers. They then allowed (loaned) him to Ilves Tampere where he’s played the last 2 seasons while retaining his NHL rights. His ELC didn’t start ticking till hie turned 20 years old as well.

    They did the same thing with Klefbom, drafted him, followed him for a year with the SEL, then signed him, and most likely will allow him to return to the SEL and his ELC doesn’t start ticking till his 20 year old season.

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