All I can say about Yakupov (and I'm going to try to make this post worth your time):
1. First, hi, Oilers fans, I'm a Red Wings blogger, so click the "unfollow" button after this Tweet if you wish. I won't be offended or take it personally.
2. @CraigCustance has the Tweets form Larionov. Please refer to the following:
[quote]Igor Larionov says he's got a trip planned to Edmonton to discuss how Nail Yakupov is being used. Pretty unhappy.[/quote]
[quote]If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: "We're willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that's part of life."[/quote]
[quote]@HockeyOrDie @mc79hockey To be clear, when I said pretty unhappy, was referring to Larionov. Said he wants answers.[/quote]
3. Larionov is an agent, not the player, and he is not making a trade demand on his player's behalf;
4. Larionov played for Viktor Tikhonov in Russia and Pat Quinn and Scotty Bowman in the NHL, and he left the Canucks (for the 1992-93 season, to play in Switzerland) and the Red Wings (for the 2000-2001 season, to play for the Panthers) due to contract disputes.
Here in Detroit, Igor was never afraid to speak up or speak out, even if he took crap for it, because he'd spent the final years of his time in the Soviet Union trying to *legally* leave the Russian National Team instead of defecting.
Larionov is also fiercely protective of his clients. He chooses a small number of players and informs them that his goal is to make them better players, responsible young men, and that he believes hockey at its highest level is played in the NHL.
Clients who aren't willing to come to North America to play for CHL teams (usually OHL ones), train in the offseason here (usually in Metro Detroit) and who aren't willing to commit to spending their formative years playing in the AHL, ECHL, etc. in order to earn gainful NHL employment and sustain gainful NHL employment are not the kinds of clients Larionov wants to mentor.
He's being the "bad guy" and the "bully" here because he can do that independently of his client. When someone says that he's taking a trip to Edmonton to find some answers, as a partisan fan, I wouldn't be *that* worried about the player wanting to bail. It sounds like Larionov issued something of a threat en route to personally ensuring that the relationship between player and team are working by visiting the Oilers himself. That does not indicate any sort of unwillingness to "make it work"--it's just part of Igor's "game."
We're talking about part of the sometimes rocky process of the relationship between a young player's representative and the player's employer. The player's representative is not the player and does not speak for the player himself in most instances, and at this point, it sounds like you've got a very vocal agent making his discontent be known before shifting into problem-solving mode.