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08-03-2014, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Oscar Acosta View Post
He's simply not allowed to. Anyone actually watching Oiler games can see it a mile away, he's Michael Grabner with actual hands. The one timer goals are to boot. Yet he doesn't get played on the powerplay either.

If the Oilers are in a clutch, we need a goal, situation all of a sudden he's out there. He was a first overall pick for a reason, probably the fastest skater in the NHL and actually has hands to back it up. Unfortunately in the system the Oilers run they demand him to be in their own hashmarks and trying to make him a fasts Shawn Horcoff.
I'm not even sure he's the fastest skater on his own team. In a recent Edmonton Oilers skills competition event at Rexall Place, Taylor Hall was a full second faster than Yakupov in the fastest skater event. Unlike Bure, however, I'm sure Nail actually gives a pretty strong effort in that drill.

Nail has great acceleration; he'll reach top speed pretty quickly. I just don't think his top speed is all that good. Plus, as mentioned, when he handles the puck it's very loose. As someone who has watched a ton of Bure footage over the past few years and appreciates Pavel's style of play, I would like to see Yakupov actually play like his idol, but he simply does not resemble him at all. It isn't just about speed; it's mostly about positioning, tendencies and approach to the game. There are a lot of elements missing that I instead find present in Patrick Kane's game.

I agree the Oilers have probably restricted Nail's ability to play an offensive game, but until Nail actually shows he can play that way I don't know if he's capable of it. At Pavel's best (pre-injury), he made bringing the puck out of his zone seem easy, and he played at both ends. Beginning in the defensive zone was something Pavel liked to do. If Nail is deep in his zone and wants to play anything like Pavel, he would retrieve the puck in his own zone, take it up the neutral zone and make something happen. Playing in his own zone would, in many cases, give him the advantage of being the first player to have the puck on the breakout. He could dictate the pace.

It would be great if Nail played more like Bure. I even tweeted him my videos last summer; I felt he would appreciate them, considering how big of a Bure fan he is (apparently now changing his number to 10 in Edmonton as well). Even if he lacks the speed, maybe he would play a better east-west game and take note of what he is capable of adopting.

Maybe the Oilers' system demands that his positioning be a certain way; I know Markus Naslund's game changed for the worse when Alain Vigneault became the Canucks' coach. Before I can assert that Nail can play a certain way, though, he actually needs to prove on the ice that he can play that way. Otherwise, that comparison can't be made. As of now, his game is far too different from Bure's for me to draw a connection.

Last edited by JA: 08-03-2014 at 07:40 PM.
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