Monday Mailbag - April 7th

baggedmilk
April 07 2014 12:46PM

Answers

Everyone quiet down, it's time to learn! This week, I've taken another 5 of your questions and sent them off to the Nation writers to give their input. As always, if you have a question email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter and I'll add it to the list. Make sure you include your Twitter account (if you've got one) for your 8 minutes of Internet glory! Enjoy.

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1) @sknobes15 asks - With how this season has gone will the Oilers keep coach Eakins because it would look bad to fire another coach or does he deserve another season? Would you fire him or keep him?

Lowetide:

I would keep Eakins, but as Jason has suggested the club has to give him a veteran coach to help him. There's too much to fix! And any coach would need more strength up the middle, which MacT is certainly aware of after this season. Eakins has a learning curve, and the record may well have been better under Ralph this year, but I think staying the course now is better than changing in mid-stream. Again.

Jason Strudwick:

The treadmill of coaches has to stop. As a player you can't keep trying to ingest the new systems of each coach. I still think the Oilers should have brought in a more experienced coach like Ruff. Not because I think that Eakins can't coach but because of the inexperience throughout the whole organization, players and general manager included. Everyone is learning on the job.

Jonathan Willis:

I expect that the Oilers retain Eakins, but that they make some changes to his staff to better support him. I don't think he'd get another season with a different team, but given the amount of turnover in the head coaching position it's awfully hard to make yet another move now. I'd say that's probably a good way to go; I'd personally give him until the early part of next season to turn things around.

Jason Gregor:

I’d keep him. This team needs to stop blaming the coach for all the losing, because last time I checked the players play the game. Eakins has made some mistakes, and his overreaction to being sprayed with water was unnecessary, but the only way you fire him is if one of the best coaches becomes available, and I don’t see guys like Babcock, Quenneville or Hitchcock getting canned this summer.

Robin Brownlee:

Eakins will stay. How it "looks" doesn't matter. What Eakins needs is the ability to assess every one of his assistants and pick his own staff for next season.

Brian Sutherby:

I would keep him. He's definitely made some mistakes, but I believe this group needs to continue with the same message. They aren't good enough because they need to fill some gaping holes and also because the players haven't been held that accountable.  It's always the coaches fault. It's time they have a consistent message and if need be, move some guys that aren't committed to the message. Players for the first time in forever will come to camp knowing what is expected.

Wanye:

The Oilers cannot fire another Coach anytime soon. There needs to be stability and players need to be able to buy in to a system of play over a couple of seasons. Having to constantly readjust to a new Coach is detrimental in the long run. Plus Eakins is a good Coach imo. They should let him hire his own assistants over the summer to legitimize his regime.


markov-face

2) From Joe Sallis - The UFA defenceman group is not great this year... Would it make sense for the Oilers to overpay and bring in a guy like Andrei Markov? Would he be a fit to help our younger D-men?

Lowetide:

It makes sense to me! I'd give Markov a long term deal and have him play with Petry, allowing Marincin-Schultz and Ference-Belov/Klefbom to find their way. Hell, I'd add Hainsey too!

Jason Strudwick:

Markov 5 years ago yes, Markov today...no.

Jonathan Willis:

Something has to happen, and if there isn't a better fit on the trade market I'd be all over overpaying Markov on a short-term deal. He's not an ideal fit for the group, but he's the closest thing to an impact defenceman available this summer.

Jason Gregor:

Overpaying for a 36 year old… That has worked well in the past for the Oilers, but ultimately it won’t matter because he won’t sign here. He will sign with a team he feels is close to winning.

Robin Brownlee:

No.

Brian Sutherby:

Turns 36 next season. I don't see a guy at his age signing with a team stuck in a rebuild, unless the money and term is out of this world, which would be silly for the Oil.

Wanye:

Anything to overhaul the top 4 would be a welcome play. Welcome indeed.


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3) @lukekaun asks - Assuming the Oilers draft around where they're ranked right now (second or third spot) and the player they have as their main target is gone - do you see the team picking the next best player available or trading down to recover more draft picks?

Lowetide:

I think the Oilers made the pick. Trading down doesn't offer enough value for a team to give up their chosen player, hasn't for years. I think they'll take Ekblad or Draisaitl.

Jason Strudwick:

You are basically asking me to forecast the weather for next march.

Jonathan Willis:

I don't see the benefit in trading down.

Jason Gregor:

I only trade that pick for a proven player otherwise I use it. Unless someone below them wins the lottery, Draisatl and Ekblad will likely be available at #2 or #3. They need both, so I’m sure they take one of them.

Robin Brownlee:

If they can get Leon Draisaitl with their pick, they'll take him. Oilers don't need more picks. they need more real NHL players.

Brian Sutherby:

If Ekblad is gone, I think they will take Draisaitl. If they trade the pick, it should be for an established player or two that will make this team better immediately, not to get more picks.

Wanye:

I have come away from the last 3 drafts shaking my head. Beyond picking first overall I don't think the Oil have shown much of anything in the past few years. Fortunately I have faith in MacT and that will sustain me until July.


PuppetMaster

4) David Gibbons asks - Kevin Lowe has taken all sorts of heat this year. What does the President of Hockey Operations actually do? Where do his responsibilities begin? Where do they end ?

Lowetide:

I don't know. I do believe blaming Kevin Lowe has become a major sport in Edmonton. For me, I trust Craig MacTavish is a man of his convictions and wouldn't accept a job that involved him being the figurehead but not the decision maker.

Jason Strudwick:

Good question. I assume since he is the top he is ultimately responsible for the success of the team.

Jonathan Willis:

Nobody outside the organization knows with any degree of certainty what the exact specifics of Lowe's role are. My read is that he's in more of a 'senior advisor' job than anything else, and that MacTavish is largely independent in setting the direction of the team, but that's just my best guess.

Jason Gregor:

He is the puppet master. I keed I keed. MacTavish tells him what his plans are and at this stage I’m sure he simply says, ‘Go ahead.” He also is in charge of overseeing parts of the operations side of things for the Oilers, Oil Kings and Barons.

Robin Brownlee:

As the title suggests, Lowe oversees all aspects of hockey-ops. While GM Craig MacTavish is in charge of day-to-day operations, the Oilers take a group approach in terms of discussing the Entry Draft, free agency and trades. Lowe and MacTavish often travel together to view potential trade targets and free agents as well as to assess players who are already part of the organization. As to who gets the final call, we're told it's MacTavish, but I don't see any major decision being made without the GM at least bouncing it off the POHO first, which is common.

Brian Sutherby:

No Clue

Wanye:

As far as I can tell the President of Hockey Operations talks to Katz on a solid gold mobile phone and assures him despite what he reads in the papers and sees on the tee vee the Oilers are doing just fine and dandy and the fans are pumped. Think of him as the Iraqi information minister but with 6 Stanley Cup rings.


development

5) Cal Oatway asks - Are the Oilers doing enough to develop not only their junior players but their coaches and management as well? If not, how can they improve?

Lowetide:

The Oilers have a very good coach in the AHL. I don't know what their plans for him are, but one doubts other NHL teams have overlooked the job he's done. I'm astounded at how well Martin Marincin has adapted to the NHL. Now, you have to credit the player and his skills are obvious, but there's got to be some good coaching in there, too.

Jason Strudwick:

It seems to me the more often an organization loses people to other ones the better the job you are doing of developing your coaches and managers.

Jonathan Willis:

Billy Moores has spent a ton of time in Oklahoma this year, not only watching the players but also helping to mentor those coaches. I know it's appreciated; he's really respected by everybody I talked to down in OKC. The players in OKC get a lot of feedback from the organization, and we know too from the comments of players like Darnell Nurse that the guys in junior have a lot of back-and-forth with the organization. Whatever has happened in the past, it feels like the team has a pretty good system in place currently in these positions.

Jason Gregor:

They have had the same coaching staff in the AHL for the past three years, so I guess they are developing them. As for management I haven’t seen any developing. They brought back Howson and gave MacTavish a shot at GM. If by developing you mean go elsewhere and then come back, then yes they have. In hindsight that might be the best way to do it.

Robin Brownlee:

Enough? If you consider winning as development, I'd suggest Derek Laxdal and Randy Hansch are doing just fine with the Oil Kings. As for OKC, Todd Nelson's lot in life is directly affected by what players the Oilers provide him and what his roster looks like, which is tied directly to Edmonton's needs -- injuries etc. He's done a very good job this season. At both levels, adding hockey-ops positions to ensure communication with the AHL farm and junior clubs where draft picks are playing has been a priority over the past five years. It's come a long way since the Oilers chose not to operate an AHL affiliate and had prospects scattered all over the place.

Brian Sutherby:

In recent years I don't think they have done a good job developing their young players. I'm a big believer in players not being rushed. Trying to hurry up and turn this thing around, too many have been put in positions they shouldn't be in. I hope they don't do the same with Nurse.

Wanye:

I think the Oilers need to start letting top player prospects develop in the AHL for longer than a cup of coffee. Their penchant for injuries and loss of all confidence for weeks on end tells me longer stretches of playing against non monsters in the NHL should be on the to do list.

94ea28cbbd0f9fe4153692bb3e38b40c
Twitter tyrant for @OilersNation - Resident Jackass - Poor vessel for carrying milk. Follow me on twitter (@jsbmbaggedmilk) - Instagram (@himynameisbaggedmilk) or email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com.
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#1 The Towel Boy
April 07 2014, 01:48PM
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"Think of him as the Iraqi information minister but with 6 Stanley Cup rings."

BWAHAHAHA

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#2 yegCopywriter
April 07 2014, 01:19PM
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The mailbag is quickly becoming my favourite OilersNation feature. Thanks for a great read!

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#3 Will
April 07 2014, 01:44PM
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I don't really know how to frame it into a question, but can we talk for a second about how teams with stud players are not always great teams. St Louis for example during the lockout had the top two point producers in the league last year and were one of the worst teams.

This year, Ovechkin needs one more goal to hit 50 again, and yet the Capitals might not make the playoffs, again.

Nasville, with a Vezina goalie, a Norris defenseman, and the best defensive pick from last year's draft, are also no where near making the playoffs, let alone ever contending for a cup.

What I'm getting at is that the Oilers have problems, but so do a lot of teams.

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#6 Bishai in the Benches
April 07 2014, 01:26PM
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@baggedmilk

Your next big idea should be getting a commenter to write an article once a week with their views on the team. I would pay big money to advertise on a site that features articles written by Wonger.

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#7 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 07 2014, 02:13PM
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As far as I can tell the President of Hockey Operations talks to Katz on a solid gold mobile phone and assures him despite what he reads in the papers and sees on the tee vee the Oilers are doing just fine and dandy and the fans are pumped. Think of him as the Iraqi information minister but with 6 Stanley Cup rings.

Pure. Gold.

Edit: I see Towel Boy beat me to it. Pfft... talk about doggin it at work....

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#8 Eulers
April 07 2014, 12:57PM
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"Wanye:

I have come away from the last 3 drafts shaking my head."

Care to elaborate?

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#9 J.R.
April 07 2014, 04:21PM
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Lowetide...a long-term deal for Markov? Really?

Hellz no.

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#10 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 07 2014, 01:07PM
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If this hockey clubs goal is to better itself on an annual basis, it should also include whomever is sitting in that coaching chair. To keep the status quo/refuse to admit MacTavish made a mistake with Eakins, is in direct conflict of that goal.

Keeping the green coach, to lead this green team, is a recipe for disaster. Our green GM should swallow his pride admit the mistake and do what's right for his hockey team. First year GMs have made worse mistakes than MacTs Eakins braincramp.

The Oilers are at the top of every insiders list when it comes to teams needing a different direction in coaching.

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#11 Derian Hatcher
April 07 2014, 02:48PM
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"Think of him as the Iraqi information minister but with 6 Stanley Cup rings"

Gold Jerry, pure gold...this line alone made my day, thanks Wanye!

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#13 RexHolez
April 07 2014, 02:30PM
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I'd still like to know how many years off failure and misery can Lowe survive?? Apparently 8 is not the awnser. How about 9?

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#14 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
April 07 2014, 03:19PM
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BaconWrapped wrote:

Great idea. I nominate newagesys!!!

This website NEEDS people (readers) to stay around. If you gave NAS (or DSF) his own by-line (heaven forbid), the site would dry up in a matter of milli-seconds.

-------------------------------------------------

Besides...where would I

be able to write Haiku?

Retired no more*

*That Haiku writing mother-f*&^er is BACK boys and girls.

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#15 pelhem grenville
April 07 2014, 03:19PM
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...on keeping Eakins

MacT and Kevin say Dallas, you fire the WHOLE lot of your assistant coaches and hire the ones you want...we get final say of course but at least you are axing all our old buddies that we don't have to and you then have two years (what's left on his contract?)to at least get to the Stanley Cup Playoffs...

if not you're dunzo! K?

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#16 Sevenseven
April 07 2014, 05:28PM
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I wish the Klowe question was worded; "Kevin Lowe has been at the top of the food chain for 14 years and 8 years of poor team performance. Do you feel it is time ownership held him accountable, or is the team performance not his fault?

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#17 MattL
April 07 2014, 04:19PM
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@baggedmilk

Baggedmilk, have you considered starting your own blog with jeanshorts called "baggedmilk and jeanshorts"?

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#18 Brian
April 07 2014, 08:26PM
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Kevin Lowes's responsibilities? Keep Bucky and Smith employed. Bring in other old inexperienced Bus Riders like Messy to consult and be the head coach in waiting. Get in MacT's way the have final approval on decisions (will never be convinced otherwise). And, relay Daryl and Harrison's first round picks to GM of the day.

6Cups is a busy guy.

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#19 The Soup Fascist
April 07 2014, 07:57PM
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BaconWrapped wrote:

Great idea. I nominate newagesys!!!

He is waaay too busy. Pretty sure he is either:

a) Playing in the NBA at 5'2" and 195 lbs due to the SPUD3.2 / MOMMA4.0 system that allows him to reject LeBron driving to the hoop despite the slight size disadvantage.

b) In actuality, Ron Wilson, who is convinced he invented the game of hockey for you stupid, ungrateful Canadians.

c) Writing the "brief and concise" easy-to- understand furniture assembly instructions for IKEA's chain of stores in Uzbekistan.

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#20 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 07 2014, 03:11PM
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@BaconWrapped

I almost said the same thing, but chickened out when I thought of the avalanche of trashes...

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#21 MattL
April 07 2014, 05:00PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

You may be on to something! Although, I'm here and JS is writing for theCanafornians.com. RIP JSBM...

RIP indeed. At least now you're getting out from under his shadow and getting that top billing you deserve. Boo jeanshorts. *sniff*

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#22 Al Low
April 07 2014, 05:20PM
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Isn't it true that Eakins did have a chance to bring one assistant over and he chose to bring in Keith Acton, for some reason? Hopefully, Acton, Buchberger and Steve Smith are all gone next year. It's the best we can hope for as a fanbase because Eakins and 6Rings aren't going anywhere.

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#23 David S
April 07 2014, 06:54PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

I've actually been thinking about this...

The trashes alone would result in at least a 4% increase in CWD's business. They'd extend their advertising contract to infinity.

#SmoothMove

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#24 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 07 2014, 08:16PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

He is waaay too busy. Pretty sure he is either:

a) Playing in the NBA at 5'2" and 195 lbs due to the SPUD3.2 / MOMMA4.0 system that allows him to reject LeBron driving to the hoop despite the slight size disadvantage.

b) In actuality, Ron Wilson, who is convinced he invented the game of hockey for you stupid, ungrateful Canadians.

c) Writing the "brief and concise" easy-to- understand furniture assembly instructions for IKEA's chain of stores in Uzbekistan.

I'm sure he's also working on writing:

d) "Tin Foil Hat Construction in 76 Easy Steps!"

e) "The Amateur Author's Field Guide to RANDOMLY USING CAPS LOCK"

f) "The Crackpot's Manifesto: an Unabridged Reference for Redundant Internet Hockey Blogging on the Internet About Hockey"

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#26 jr_christ
April 07 2014, 04:37PM
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Great article!

I'm hoping we can finished at least 24th next year.

*cries*

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#27 Al Low
April 07 2014, 07:18PM
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Oilerboy1112 wrote:

I have two questions:

1. Should the Oilers still trade Ebs? If we do that would break up the Hall-RNH-Ebs line.

2. Can the RNH line be in team Canada or all stars?

I think Edmonton's committed to keeping Hall, RNH and Eberle. Yak will be the guy who's dealt, I think. It's too bad because I think Yak will be the better player eventually.

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#28 The Real Scuba Steve
April 08 2014, 03:21AM
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If no playoffs then I really hope we beat Calgary in the standngs next year.

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#29 BaconWrapped
April 07 2014, 03:02PM
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Bishai in the Benches wrote:

Your next big idea should be getting a commenter to write an article once a week with their views on the team. I would pay big money to advertise on a site that features articles written by Wonger.

Great idea. I nominate newagesys!!!

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#30 Woogie63
April 07 2014, 11:03PM
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Eakins gets to pick his own assistants -

Given his mis management of the current roster, what confidence does anyone have he can pick the highest quality assistant coaches?

This is the man that brought two Acton and Ryan Hamilton to Edmonton to improve the 2014/14 Oilers.

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#31 David S
April 07 2014, 08:05PM
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MattL wrote:

Baggedmilk, have you considered starting your own blog with jeanshorts called "baggedmilk and jeanshorts"?

Man. I'd pay good money for such a thing!

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#32 Oiler63
April 08 2014, 12:12AM
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GM bouncing ideas off POHO is NOT common. Across entire league there are only two teams with the POHO position, Oilers and Flames. Sabres has a vacant position but probably won't be filled. This position is totally unnecessary. Lowe took it so he can run the team from behind the scene and use the GM as scapegoat. Lowe's definitely part of the problem not part of solution. The fact he still has the job is the 8th wonder of the world! What he should do is collect the pension and stay home!

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#33 bazmagoo
April 07 2014, 03:39PM
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Seems likely Eakins will be around for at least next season, so hopefully he is given the chance to hire two assistants of his choosing to replace Bucky and Smith. One should be a PP expert, the other a coach for the defencemen. Better be battling for the playoffs next season and make it, or bye bye Dallas I hope.

I'm expecting quite a few changes in personnel in the off season, likely at least one bottom 6 centre, RW, and LW via free agency, hopefully all for the 3rd line. Leave Gazdic, Hendricks and Gordon on the 4th line, with Smyth and Joensuu as the extra forwards. Hopefully 2 actual NHL defencemen, however this happens I really don't care as long as it does. Would be shocked if Belov, Grebeshkov, Jones and Fraser are resigned. Would not be at all surprised to see Yakupov moved this summer as well, in fact I'm expecting it.

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#34 Britts94
April 07 2014, 04:11PM
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"Think of him as the Iraqi information minister but with 6 Stanley Cup rings." -Wanye

Golden. Just golden.

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#35 Oilerboy1112
April 07 2014, 05:30PM
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I have two questions:

1. Should the Oilers still trade Ebs? If we do that would break up the Hall-RNH-Ebs line.

2. Can the RNH line be in team Canada or all stars?

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#36 Taylor Gang
April 07 2014, 05:41PM
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Oilerboy1112 wrote:

I have two questions:

1. Should the Oilers still trade Ebs? If we do that would break up the Hall-RNH-Ebs line.

2. Can the RNH line be in team Canada or all stars?

I thought about what happened with Ottawa when they favored pedigree over proven skill (Daigle and Yashin). Nuff said.

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#37 Bucknuck
April 08 2014, 06:18PM
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I was happy to read that every writer for ON thought keeping Eakins around was a good idea. I believe he has made mistakes, but as long as he is learning from them, one can hope that he will be a lot better next year.

I have enjoyed watching the Oil a lot better in the second half of the season than the first half, and I think some of that lies with Eakins. I am very curious to see what next season will bring.

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