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.”