Jordan Eberle

Yakupov: ‘I’m doing everything right’

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With all the problems the Edmonton Oilers have had this season, Nail Yakupov’s struggles have been overshadowed, but unless something changes he will regress offensively for the third straight season. The former 2012 first overall pick has just four goals and eight points in 34 games this season.

“I’m doing everything right,” Yakupov insisted, per the Edmonton Sun.

“I can say I do everything right. I work 100%. I’m not cheating (defensively). I’m not doing any bad stuff.”

He added that while he obviously would like to get more points, he doesn’t “want to get crazy” over it.

Of course this wasn’t what the Oilers envisioned when they drafted him, but it’s too early to dismiss him as a major bust despite the evidence pointing towards it. He is still just 21 years old and to paint his struggles in another light, he is actually tied for the career high in goals (32) and ranks second in points (63) among players from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Is the sample size small? Obviously, but that’s kind of the point.

It’s also worth noting that his offensive struggles haven’t come in isolation. The Oilers as a team have been remarkably bad offensively and everyone from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle on down has underperformed. New bench boss Todd Nelson is hoping a system change will help spark the team and Yakupov in particular.

“We’re trying to create more offense as a team and he’s a guy who can provide that for us,” said Nelson. “You have to get into a position where he can shoot the puck. We have to keep on working with him, going into the scoring areas.

“And with the system we’re implementing, it should open up everybody. He’s just like every other player, we have to put these guys more in a position to succeed.”

Edmonton will play Arizona on Tuesday as the Oilers try to win for just the second time in 20 games.

(Video) PHT Extra: Would the Oilers really trade Taylor Hall?

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For the record, I have no idea what the Oilers could get for Taylor Hall. I imagine it would be a lot though, which is why the temptation has to be there for ol’ “man of action” Craig MacTavish to do something “bold” and turn one potentially great player into two or three really good ones.

So to clarify: I’m not saying the Oilers should definitely trade Hall. They could easily come to regret it if they do. I’m just saying the possibility should be on the table, with a future built around centers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl, winger Jordan Eberle, and defenseman Darnell Nurse. (And the way things are going, maybe even Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.)

Oh, and I’m not convinced Nail Yakupov is a bust either. The kid’s only 21 and hasn’t exactly been granted a great environment in which to develop. “You need to be patient,” some guy said today.

Eberle rumors swirl as Bruins’ offense struggles

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The Boston Bruins, when they’ve been at their best in recent seasons, have been one of the top defensive teams in the NHL.

Everyone knows that. (Lest we forget Claude Julien’s beloved “layers,” and how those layers helped the B’s stifle the high-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 playoffs and the high-scoring Vancouver Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.)

What occasionally gets forgotten, however, is that the Bruins have been a pretty high-scoring team themselves. In that 2010-11 championship year, Boston finished the regular season with the NHL’s fifth-ranked offense. The B’s finished third in the league last season, averaging 3.15 goals per game.

Hence, the growing concern about the state of the current team, which ranks 22nd in offense, averaging just 2.41 goals per game.

While injuries to David Krejci and Zdeno Chara are surely to blame for some of the Bruins’ scoring woes, that’s not stopping the rumor mill from churning. The latest speculation involves a possible deal with the Edmonton Oilers for winger Jordan Eberle.

According to CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty, it’s believed that Eberle has “always been the desired top line target for the Black and Gold,” even if it didn’t sound today like the Oilers were on the verge of making a big trade.

Why Eberle?

Well, the salary cap-limited Bruins did not, if you’ll recall, bring in a replacement for departed winger Jarome Iginla this offseason, opting instead to hope Loui Eriksson could be “better than he was last year.”

And how’s Eriksson done?

Well, he has just three goals in 27 games, so…yeah.

Consider also: Boston’s leading goal-scorers are Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith, each with six. Currently, there are 92 players in the NHL with more than six goals.

The Bruins lost their third straight last night, falling 7-4 to the San Jose Sharks in a game where, let’s be honest, the offense was the least of their problems. But before that they were shut out by the Kings, 2-0, marking the third time this season that they’d been blanked.

Boston is in Arizona Saturday to play the Coyotes.

Related: (Video) PHT Extra: Why Bruins fans should be worried

Predators keep Oilers winless against the west

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The Edmonton Oilers’ stretch of games without a win against the Western Conference was extended to 13 games (0-11-2) Thursday night following a 1-0 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.

Preds rookie Filip Forsberg scored the overtime winner at 3:55 of the extra period.

Edmonton certainly had their chance to win this one.

Thirteen seconds into overtime Predators captain Shea Weber closed his hand on the puck in the crease. The Oilers were awarded a penalty shot, but Jordan Eberle could not solve Pekka Rinne.

Rinne improved to 15-3-1 on the season with a 37 save performance. Rinne has now won nine of 10 appearances (9-1-0) for the first time since he won 11 straight games from Jan. 12 to Feb. 7, 2012.

Thursday night marked the regular season debut of Predators center Mike Fisher, who ruptured his achilles tendon during an off-season workout. Fisher logged 12:44 in ice time while delivering three hits.

Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for the Oilers, who have now gone eight straight without a win. During the 13 game losing streak against the Western Conference, the Oilers have a goal differential of minus-28.

Edmonton, who is 6-3-1 against the Eastern Conference this season, played much of the game with just 11 forwards. Winger Matt Hendricks left the game early in the first period after blocking a Weber shot off his knee.

Post-game coach Dallas Eakins said Hendricks had X-Rays done on his knee cap, which came back negative, but that he was having trouble bending his leg.

Video: Oilers awarded a penalty shot in overtime

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The Edmonton Oilers had a glorious opportunity to win in Nashville on Thursday night after Predators captain Shea Weber covered the puck in the crease early in overtime.

Jordan Eberle took the shot for the Oilers, but could not beat the left pad of Pekka Rinne.

Moments later, Predators’ rookie Filip Forsberg scored the overtime winner, his 10th of the season.