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07-25-2014, 12:12 AM
...better... or not
nexttothemoon's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern Alberta
Country: Canada
Posts: 13,333
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Yak isn't enigmatic... at all.

Honestly, he's a simple boy/man. He LOVES hockey with a passion that borders on obsessiveness. In fact he probably does have some sort of OCD in how much he practices and loves the game.

He's far from being mysterious or complex... he simply loves the game and wants to be the best he can and help his team in the way he believes he can... but shockingly sometimes a 18/19/20 year old doesn't actually know everything they think they do and they actually know less about what it takes at the NHL level in terms of the balance between defense/offense/positioning/responsibilities on the ice than they think they do.

Think of teens learning to drive... in new jobs, in situations where things are new and at a tougher and more challenging level than they've ever experienced before.

It's less about arrogance and more about naivety and inexperience... something that will diminish in time as he gains more experience and self-reflects.

It all comes down to Yaks ability to learn and the coaching environment to let him gain that experience without crushing his self-esteem and ego to the point where he is fragile and doubting his own abilities.

It's a fine balance and he could bust or flourish depending on how he is handled by the coaches on this team and how he reacts to the extreme pressure (much of it self-induced) to be better and contribute positively with and without the puck.

He has the will and the talent... he simply needs to let the game itself teach him where he is making mistakes.

He does need to listen more and realize he doesn't know everything and isn't good enough yet to be taking on the other team by himself without using his teammates or listening to the vets who have been "around the block" more than he has.

It's a team game and the Oilers simply aren't a very good team (with very mediocre coaching imo)... which also obviously makes it much harder for a rookie/sophomore to develop the habits and get the type of positive feedback to know what he's doing right/wrong out there.

This team was so bad even a solid all-around player with plenty of NHL experience would struggle... let alone a young player trying to find his way in a pressure filled environment where EVERYONE is underachieving.

So in short... yes he has to learn to be better... but that comes with simply playing more games and having the chance to make mistakes and learn from them without his teammates and coaches using him as the scapegoat for the team's mediocrity (not saying that's entirely the case... but that does exist to some degree).

I think he becomes a solid NHL player in time but it may not be a quick or smooth process and probably a good chance it won't be with the Oilers.

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