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Oilers to healthy scratch Yakupov… again

Dec 30, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

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Looks like Nail Yakupov is back in the doghouse. And, the press box.

The Edmonton sophomore will be a healthy scratch for Tuesday night’s game versus Phoenix, according to the Edmonton Sun. The decision comes after Yakupov, 20, played less than 10 minutes in four straight games — including a season-low 6:14 in a win over Calgary on Friday.

Recently, Yakupov said it was “pretty cold on the bench,” when asked about his reduction in ice time.

This isn’t the first instance of head coach Dallas Eakins sitting Yakupov in press row. He was made a healthy scratch for a pair of games in early October, which fueled speculation about his future in Edmonton. In November, agent Igor Larionov met with Oilers brass to discuss his client’s future, which apparently included the possibility of Yakupov playing elsewhere.

After leading all rookies with 17 goals in 48 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, Yakupov has struggled this season. The first overall pick at the ’12 Draft has just six goals and 14 points in 39 games and a NHL-worst minus-25 rating.

Yakupov also had his play blasted by Russian Olympic scout Igor Kravchuk.

“He has to make up his mind, if he’s not going to change his game, then he has no future (in the NHL),” Kravchuk told TSN 1200 Radio Ottawa. “From what I see, his team game is really, really poor. He tries to do a lot of things by himself, he has absolutely no defense.

“That’s what really concerns us as scouts.”

  1. thailer35 - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    The game is Tuesday, not Monday.

    • thailer35 - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      And can you say, KHL bound?

  2. joey4id - Dec 30, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    His way of playing goes all the way back to his play in development leagues at a young age. Many coaches who have talented players like Yakupov have a tendency to let him play his offensive game as opposed to developing his ability to play 200 feet. You can get away with that approach in amateur hockey, but when it comes to the pros it just doesn’t cut it. You have to compete in all three zones with or without the puck. Defensive responsibilities are a must as good as he is offensively. He can’t just play offense and be satisfied with that. Not in the pros.

  3. esracerx46 - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    1. How do you draft a kid number 1 overall that has such deficiencies in his game. 2. With said player, why did you bring him up in a lockout shortened season rather than have him work on these issues either in junior or overseas.

    Answer: Steve Tambellini

  4. agrego17 - Dec 30, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Dear Oilers,

    There’s at least one other team right now that has a few players requesting a change of scenery, if you’re looking to shake things up a bit.

    A Capitals Fan

  5. devilsarethebest - Dec 30, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    This is getting old already, just trade him. I’ll be there at the airport personally to pick him up.

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