For Nail Yakupov though, we got this succulent quote:
“He plays like a guy being chased by a swarm of bees,” someone once said.
Remember how Dallas Eakins had worked with him to work out the kinks in his game, and how they got along and communicated very well?
“Our long term goal with Nail is not just have him be a player who would just score and not worry about anything else. Our long-term goal for him, and his own long term goal, was to be a very well-rounded player, a guy you could rely on to to all kinds of things.”Isn’t that how Michel Therrien ruined Alex Galchenyuk, because the Canadiens are so awful at player development?
Mark Spector wrote:
From the same article:Offensively, defensively, off the ice with his teammates… Nobody ever knew where to find Nail Yakupov. There was no system he could follow, no traditional path to success he could be led down.Coach after coach told him where to go to support the puck, but when support was required he was somewhere else. They ringed the puck around the boards to the place he was supposed to be, but Yakupov was never there when it arrived, for reasons unknown.They coached him on where to go when the puck was in the offensive zone, but too often when his centreman looked up to pass him the puck, he was elsewhere. It was like he had learned only to score as a junior in Sarnia, but somehow never to play hockey.Teammates invited him to dinner with the boys. He most often had something else to do.”
Fittingly, the Nail Yakupov era began with a vote by the Oilers scouts: It was 9-2 against taking him ahead of defenceman Ryan Murray at the 2012 draft. The brain trust of then-GM Steve Tambellini, Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe, in yet another of the brilliant decisions that orchestrated an NHL-record 10 consecutive playoff misses, overruled their scouts and took Yakupov anyhow.