The fuse on the Nail Yakupov situation continues to burn shorter and shorter by the day, and this time it’s his agent Igor Larionov fanning the flames closer to the powder keg in Edmonton. Larionov is traveling to Edmonton to meet with the Oilers and to discuss Yakupov’s role with the team. His comments about the trip certainly were revealing.
If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) November 12, 2013
Well that’s telling.
Considering that relations between Yakupov and the Oilers were thin as it is, Larionov’s comments about his client being open to a trade is just bad press at this point. There are proper channels to go through with this kind of move, and the relatively new agent seems to have botched the handling here.
It may seem like a small detail, but it’s important that Larionov didn’t say “I,” instead using “we.” We are open to a trade is a very different statement than I will talk to Edmonton about a possible deal. That indicates that Yakupov and Larionov have had at least one discussion about forcing a trade out of the Oilers organization, and that the player is on board with the maneuver.
Larionov made additional comments that ESPN posted earlier today:
Let the kid play, enjoy the game. He’s a hard-working kid. He’s not lazy. He’s got to be part of that team. You have to understand he’s only 20 years old, he needs some support. He’s a goal-scorer. You’ve got to understand that and let the kid develop and play.
While the agent may have taken his grievances to the wrong avenues, it’s hard to argue with his point. It’s amazing how short of a memory some folks around the game have. It’s easy to look at Steven Stamkos now and say “there goes what a true No. 1 overall pick should look like!” but that hasn’t always been the case.
If you take a glance back at his rookie season, you’ll see that he was on the receiving of various benchings and that head coach Barry Melrose told the media at one point that Stamkos didn’t belong in the NHL. When Stamkos was playing he was toiling on the fourth line and playing limited minutes.
He kept his mouth shut, did his time, worked on his game and now he’s one of them most dangerous goal scorers in the world.
Everyone involved in this situation has mishandled it to some degree. With Larionov in town, hopefully Yakupov and the Oilers can get on the same page about what they want for the youngster moving forward. Edmonton doesn’t seem intent on giving up on him, so perhaps the player shouldn’t be so quick to ask for a ticket out of town either.
Just a thought.