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Yakupov Addresses Reports

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

It has been reported publicly that Nail Yakupov's agent Igor Larionov is 'unhappy' with the way that his client is being utilized and has planned a trip to Edmonton to meet with the Oilers in regards to his ice-time.

Yakupov addressed the media today after practice regarding the reports and confirmed that he is unhappy with the amount of play time that he has seen over the past few games and that his agent will be visiting Edmonton.

"I know that (Larionov is) coming and we've got to do something because I don't see any trust in me now," said Yakupov. "I'm playing lower and lower minutes and I just want to help my team win every game and try to do something. I'm trying to shoot, trying to skate, trying to hit but I haven't had that much chance to do that. It's been very hard to watch the game from the bench when my teammates are fighting for pucks or points because I know I can do the same thing."

Yakupov is averaging 15:28 of ice-time per game, however has saw those numbers dwindle recently and has not played over 12 minutes in a game since November 5, against the Florida Panthers (12:47).

"I just want to play. I don't want to play nine or five minutes. I think I can play more and I can help my teammates to do something to get some points. We need points. I'm 20 years-old and I think that's a pretty important year for me to learn how to play hockey.

"I just want to play, I want to help and I want to have fun. It's a simple thing. I want to play hockey."

The reports last night from ESPN The Magazine Senior NHL Writer Craig Custance also state that Larionov has said the two are willing to 'make a move' to any team.

Yakupov refuted those claims by saying he has not asked for a trade.

"I wasn't asking for a trade. I wasn't saying anything bad.

"I don't want to talk about anything bad, but I just want to say, I'd like to be here. I love to be in Edmonton. I love the city, I love to play with these players. I've known for a couple of years, a couple of guys. It's a great atmosphere with great people around, great staff, great equipment managers, doctors and everybody. I just want to be a part of the Oilers."

Head Coach Dallas Eakins also had a chance to address the media on Yakupov's play-time frustrations.

"I understand his frustration," said Eakins. "We have a lot of players frustrated right now. We have an organization that's frustrated. When you get into where we're at right now with our record, frustration mounts. We all want better. We all want more, but we have to earn the right to get more."

Eakins says he has spoken with Yakupov, but not on these issues in particular.

"I've spoken to him a number of times making sure he's okay, making sure he understands what we're trying to do, picking him up when he's been down and giving him a kick in the rear. He's no different than any other guy on our team. But to have a one-on-one conversation about trust? No, that hasn't been spoken about, but I don't think it needs to be spoken about because I've already addressed that with our team."

A week ago, Eakins scratched all Yakupov trade rumours.

"I wanted him to know that all of these reports in the media, the people making up trades about him are absolutely, 100 percent untrue," Eakins told the media in Tampa Bay last Wednesday. "This is not going anywhere…"

Yakupov is coming off of a game against Chicago on Sunday night, in which he scored a power play goal. He'll look to build off that performance as the Oilers host the Dallas Stars tomorrow night.

"I'm going to work," he said. "I just want to play and and play the game."

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