Lord have mercy on the teenager for sins real or imagined against the media. Nail Yakupov stands alone this morning against the knives of the keyboard and it could get ugly.
I don’t know where this started–draft, Russian pre-Christmas tour–but the media has decided Nail Yakupov is not like the good Canadian kids who populate the Oilers future:
Cole’s comments, along with tweets by Terry Jones (“Yakupov doesn’t do interviews after another quiet game. Kid making people wonder on and off the ice”) Jim Matheson (“It’s time for Igor Larionov to tell his client Nail Yakupov that wearing the ‘C’ means you talk. Kid needs wake-up call”) gives you a rough idea about how the media reacts to being stood up with a deadline to publish approaching.
Now, I don’t know the rules and that’s a fact. I don’t know if the IIHF insists on the captain–or anyone–being available to the media after a game. I don’t know if Yakupov was available to other media–perhaps he was busy on Russian television–and I don’t know if other members of the Russian team were made available to the gathered English speaking media in Ufa.
As far as I know, Nail Yakupov remains the refreshing kid we saw at the draft, but you wouldn’t know it from the words being written over the last few weeks. I think this is the reason we as fans have to endure miles and miles of canned answers from sports personalities: they’ve been taught to do it by the media.
The first time I saw something that related to Yakupov’s spirit as being a negative was this article from Terry Jones, with the lead line “that was awesome, but don’t do it again.” I’m not quite sure why the brilliance of Hall, Ebs and the Nuge are to be celebrated but the Russian rocket’s brilliance is beyond the pale, but believe there’s some kind of bias at play here.
What can we do about it? Make signs to display at games, call in to talk shows, tweet to Nail directly. Jason Arnott was run out of this town for making the mistakes of youth once upon a time, and he’s Canadian. God knows what will happen to the Russian teenager, but one hopes he doesn’t change one damn bit. Arrogant? FABULOUS! Think you’re better than everyone? BEAUTIFUL! I genuinely believe this is one area where the fans can make a difference. Make a sign, show up at TC and let ‘em know you’re there.