Friday, November 24, 2006

Lock Up Your Grandmothers, Look Out, A-Rod... It's Alexei Yashin!

Arguably the most maligned captain currently serving in the NHL, Alexei Yashin is the face of the New York Islanders and recipient of the second-worst contract in the history of the NHL (see: DiPietro, Rick). Turtleneck-loving Yashin has earned a diva reputation over the years, even more so than previous captain, Michael "Chiclets" Peca. And it's been somewhat warranted. Okay, before you jump on me with the "somewhat" in that statement, understand that coming off an MVP-nominated season in Ottawa in 1999, Yashin was making a decent amount less than Alexandre Daigle. Alexandre. Daigle. All I'm saying is that he deserved to ask for more money. He definitely should've sacked up and played out his contract, but he also deserved a better salary. Alexandre Daigle. Dude.
Prior to this season, Yashin could best be described as the Alex Rodriguez of Long Island. He has appeared disinterested...lazy, even. All of the potential in the world, none of the motivation, none of the clutch play. And the lack of hustle shined like a beacon against the scrappy efforts of teammates like (Saint) Jason Blake, Trent Hunter, and Shawn Bates. This led Islanders fans to speculate that Yashin couldn't handle the pressure of being a captain. In fact, once the rumors of a contract buyout were squashed, gossip stirred that new coach Ted Nolan was going to strip Yashin of he "C."
But this year, Yash has jumped out of the gate posting serious numbers and logging chunky minutes on the penalty kill, power play, and at even strength. It seems that Yashin needed more pressure to feel useful. And luckily, Nolan has recognized that and adjusted accordingly. This seems like the first season that Yashin has really taken on the mantle of Captain.
I myself am not all that high on Yashin, although I did write him an apology letter and sent him a Mrs. Fields Sampler for calling him "a Dirt Devil of character" on SportSquee. So, I will excuse myself from extolling his virtues. But Yashin is doing really well and his teammates seem to love him. And he's married (or not?) to the aged patron saint of puck bunnies and raw food enthusiast, Carol Alt, who is 13 years older than he. So he has that going for him.
But he's not going to poetically inspire his boys, like Rod Brind'Amour. There is no way he'd take a puck to the face, like Chris Clark. Or beat the snot out of someone in the name of his teammate, like Jarome Iginla. And he doesn't have the skillz of a Joe Sakic to lead by example. But Yashin is only 32, and has at least 500 years left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to prove me wrong.
But know that if he craps out this season, I'm phoning (Saint) Jason Blake and Miroslav Satan to offer my services for Captain Campaign manager.


Shan said...

Yashin = Daigle

margee said...

I don't love Yashin, but he is not Daigle. Yash crapped out into a 60 point player, but Daigle completely collapsed. Daigle is a washout, a lost cause. Yashin is an underachiever or maybe a burnout. I'd say the more apt comparison for Yashin is Vinny Lecavalier. Capable of brilliance, but all too infrequently.

thehockeychick said...

Alexei is a good player, when he gives effort. But, he is not the glue to bring a team together like a captain should be. He is certainly a selfish player and everyone (other than his Russian buddies) knows that.

On a personal side, I published a very brief article about his contract disputes with Ottawa. I caught him right after he announced his 'hold-out' for an interview. He didn't seem very phased about not playing and was more interested in getting paid what he thought he deserved. But he was much younger and immature then. I do give him the benefit of the doubt that he has matured in the league but I still think he's too selfish of a player to wear that 'C'.

Also, a captain is supposed to be committed to his team. Maybe not a correlation, but Alexei's been with Carol for like eight years and doesn't plan on getting married. Committment issues? Hmmm... ;-)

Heather B. said...

You do not want Miroslav Satan as a captain unless he's matured greatly since his days in Buffalo. He seemed to have quite a rep for being lazy and selfish among some of the players he played with here.

I don't have much of an opinion on Yashin other than that I don't care for the turtleneck look.

margee said...

Yashin is selfish, but if I'm honest with myself, I'll admit that I find the turtlenecks to be the most offensive thing about him.
Again, I'm not one of his defenders, but I was at the game Friday with on-ice seats, and he was first to congratulate his fellow players and they were first to jump in and defend him when the Pens were getting rough with him (which was all day). His teammates speak glowingly of him, so there must be something we're all not seeing. Because to me, he's not captain material.

And Heather B., I did not know that about Miro. Scandalous!

Heather B. said...

Well, it's weird because some guys seemed to like Satan a lot, some guys seemed to not. From what I understand, upon arriving in Buffalo Chris Drury told management, "You gotta get rid of Satan, he's a cancer." And upon arriving in NY, Mike Peca said, "You gotta bring in Satan, he's great." I like Drury *and* Peca so who knows?