Yakupov’s agent to meet with Oilers, ‘willing to make a move’


Nail Yakupov’s agent, Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov, will reportedly head to Edmonton to discuss how his client is being used by the Oilers, according to ESPN’s Craig Custance.

What’s more, he’s also willing to explore the option of a trade if the club is unhappy with his client.

“We’re willing to make a move,” Larionov explained. “Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

Yakupov’s sophomore campaign in Edmonton has been filled with drama. New head coach Dallas Eakins has twice made Yakupov a healthy scratch, there’s been a flurry of trade rumors and the Russian winger’s production has fallen off — he’s on pace for just nine goals and 18 points this season, which would be a major decrease after posting 17 goals and 31 points in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.

(Oh yeah, there was also Russian Olympic scout Igor Kravchuk telling an Ottawa radio station that Yakupov “has to make up his mind, if he’s not going to change his game, then he has no future [in the NHL],” and “from what I see, his team game is really, really poor.”)

Recently, Yakupov has seen a major reduction in ice time, getting just 10:46 in a 4-2 loss to Philly and 10:54 in a 5-4 loss to Chicago. He did score his second goal of the season against the ‘Hawks, however.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes from the Larionov meeting. Oilers GM Craig “man of action” MacTavish is clearly unimpressed with his club so far — he’s recently traded defenseman Ladislav Smid to clear space for the signing of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov — but Eakins has already gone public and said any Yakupov trade rumor is “100 percent untrue.”

As for Larionov, he’s well-respected within hockey circles but is relatively new to the agent game, having only served in the capacity for a few years.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
Leave a comment

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
1 Comment

Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: