Monday Mailbag - July 7th

baggedmilk
July 07 2014 02:55PM

MondayProblems

Mailbag Monday. Mailbag Monday. Mailbag Monday YEAH! To submit a question, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk

Enjoy.

5Words

1) Mark Bishop asks - If you were to describe the Oilers work on Day 1 of free agency in five words what would they be?

Lowetide: 

Identifying problems and finding solutions. Top drawer start to the summer. Possession players who can play important roles. 

Robin Brownlee:

Finally looks like a plan.

Jason Strudwick: 

The best news about is...

Jason Gregor: 

Added proven NHL depth players.

Brian Sutherby: 

Just ok, but better today...

baggedmilk:

Dude, where's my centre depth?


Winner

2) Brian Chamberlain asks - Who are the winners and losers of free agency so far and why?

Lowetide:

Winners: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Dallas, 

Losers: Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit

Robin Brownlee: 

Popular question at this time of year, but we've got absolutely no way of knowing until we see how the pieces fit together next season. Often, teams that make the most moves have the most holes and question marks. Are they winners because they made the most moves or the biggest moves? Not necessarily. At first glance I like what Dallas did by adding Spezza and Hemsky because it improves their top-9 forward mix. I like the addition of Grabovski and Kulemin with the NYI for the same reason.

Jason Strudwick: 

The players that have signed are the winners. The losers are the ones still on the outside looking in.

Jason Gregor: 

Losers: Washington Capitals. Paying a defensive defenceman, Brooks Orpik, $5.5 mill for 5 years is sheer lunacy.

Winners: Pittsburgh Penguins. They signed Christian Ehrhoff, Steve Downie and Blake Comeau to one-year deals at very reasonable contracts.

Brian Sutherby:

I really like the move by Chicago and filling their second line center hole with Brad Richards on a 1 year for 2M. The luxury of being a great team is you can land older veterans looking to win on the cheap. He couldn't live up to the huge ticket he signed in New York but he's still a very serviceable second line center and is a strong veteran presence in any locker room. 

The tickets signed by the Ducks and Flames for guys like Clayton Stoner and Deryk Engelland are huge over payments for 6/7 type D-men. I wouldn't have handed out the money and term the Washington Capitals did either.

baggedmilk:

I'd say the winners on free agency day are the agents. They get a cut of the inflated contracts they negotiated and for that I salute them. It would be awesome to be a fly on the wall to listen to the negotiations. The losers are the Maple Leafs. Just because.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 11.25.02 AM

3) @WColfo asks - All our young defenders are bubbling under the surface and everyone is saying Edmonton will need a stud d-man in order to compete. My question is, can a stud d-man develop internally without the help of a big name vet to show them the ropes?

Lowetide:

I think so. It would help to have a mentor. Suspect Struds answer will kill here.

Robin Brownlee: 

Depends on who you're talking about. A 27-year-old veteran who has played in the league for 5-7 years probably doesn't need anybody to "show them the ropes." What they need is some depth under them. A younger player with potential to be a top pairing player probably does need some veteran guidance.

Jason Strudwick: 

Yes. I think it can happen that way. There are many examples of that in the NHL. The key is patience. With these signings on the back end the oilers young D will be given lots of time

Jason Gregor: 

Drew Doughty had Denis Gauthier, Tom Preissing and Sean O’Donnell as veteran D-men when he was a rookie. In his 2nd season they added Rob Scuderi. Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from. Neither did Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook. It is nice to have veterans on the team, but many of the great D-men played a lot of minutes early in their careers. Of course it would help Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse if they had a #1 D-man to learn from, but it isn’t necessary for them to develop.

Brian Sutherby: 

I definitely think you need a good leadership group to help young guys feel comfortable but I think you can if developed properly. 

Give them time in junior to improve their game and physically mature. Let them dominate in the AHL for a year and learn the Pro game for a while. Bring them up and shelter them for a bit from top lines and tough minutes and let them feel comfortable with their surroundings. Put them in positions to succeed. Get their confidence, get the timing and the speed of the game and slowly give them more ice as you see their confidence grow. Not everyone is Drew Doughty. It can take years, especially for young guys on the back end, to get it. You have to be patient.

baggedmilk:

I had no #1 D-man to teach me the ways of the world and look how I turned out! 


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 11.25.57 AM

4) @BCoonan asks - As someone who hasn't played sports at a high level, something I've always wondered about is the "size" argument.  In your opinion, how much of an advantage does someone that's 6'2 218lbs have over 6'0 190lbs?

Lowetide: 

It's all based on playing style. Mark Messier was a killer. Do you know where he ranked in height and weight compared to his opponents?

Robin Brownlee: 

All things being equal, which is rare, the bigger player is the better player every time. In your example, 28 pounds is a lot if the players are equal in terms of skating ability, puck-handling, shot, hockey IQ etc etc. What possible advantage is there in being smaller?

Jason Strudwick: 

Things like wear and tear on the body. The ability to use the body to shield the puck. I do believe that it is the attitude of the player that makes the difference before size.

Jason Gregor: 

If the two players have the same skill, the bigger player has an advantage. He is stronger. If he is a D-man he can handle big, skilled forwards better, and vice versa. Size helps in many areas, and if the two players are equal in skill, the larger of the two will have the advantage in one-on-one battles, fending off checkers and going to the net, for example.

Brian Sutherby: 

If the skill levels are the same I'm taking the bigger guy all day. Longer reach, heavier to protect the puck in corners, and in front of the net. If the player throws his weight around a bit, he's that much more powerful. Bigger bodies are way harder to move.

baggedmilk:

Wait... size matters? DAMMIT! *Googles natural male enhancement pills*

SpiritAnimal

5) Matt Minault asks - If you were to describe your fellow Nation writers as a wild animal. What kind of animal would they be?

Lowetide:

Wanye: Lion. King of the beasts

Jason: Orangutan, very smart

Lowetide: Foghorn Leghorn. Well let me tell you, boy

Robin: Wise Old Owl. Piercing and witty. 

Jonathan: Crow. Insightful, brilliant

Brian Sutherby: Bear. Tough, focused, skilled.

Robin Brownlee: 

If I ever felt the urge to describe other writers here as a wild animal, I would slam my head against the top of my desk until it went away. Tell me, Matt, do you ever imagine writers here as wild animals?

Jason Strudwick: 

My favorite movie of the Rocky series is easily number 4. Ivan vs Rocky was a great battle.

Jason Gregor: 

Brownlee: Water buffalo, due to his large cranium.

Strudwick: Peacock. He struts around on a pair of twig legs. Also a Hyena… has a loud laugh and is not afraid to attack.

Willis: Cheetah. Incredibly fast at pumping out content.

Lowetide: Dolphin. Smart and friendly.

Wanye: Woodpecker. Hardworkding and relentless, but often can give you a headache.

Sutherby: Black bear. Hairy as hell, likes to fish and when upright he can actually move pretty quick.

Baggedmilk: Snuffleugagus. Wanye is his Big Bird. He is Wanye’s imaginary, loyal friend that no on else can see.

Brian Sutherby: 

Wanye - would be a snake because somehow he can eat things twice his size

baggedmilk:

Robin Brownlee is like a koala bear. Mostly because he's adorable and loves chewing eucalyptus.

Willis is like an owl... but a cartoon owl because they're always wearing a graduation cap and he's a smart dude.

Lowetide is like the noble beaver. A simple and shining light for the Oilogosphere.

Jason Gregor is a giraffe. Not because he's got a long neck but because he's on a whole different level when it comes to sports knowledge.

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 David S
July 07 2014, 12:26PM
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LOVIN' THE MAILBAG!

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#2 Sevenseven
July 07 2014, 12:28PM
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Fist up for rocky iv

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#3 Sevenseven
July 07 2014, 12:28PM
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Fist up for rocky iv

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#4 David S
July 07 2014, 12:34PM
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Missed F!ST! AND the dreaded double post. Man, that's the textbook definition of a bad day around here.

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#5 Mujidog
July 07 2014, 12:43PM
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If I ever became a writer for the Nations, I'd be the butterfly. Nobody suspects the butterfly...

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#6 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 07 2014, 03:17PM
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It's the size of the fight in the dog that wins the battle. Not the largest dog in the fight.

One of the most feared blue liners to ever play the game was 6'0 and 185lbs. He use to knock those 6'4 225lbs types out like nobodies business. Scott Stevens gave the term, straw man, a whole new meaning.

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#7 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
July 07 2014, 03:20PM
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Boo Sevenseven

You were two minutes too late.

Quicker on the draw.

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#8 Will
July 07 2014, 03:29PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

It's the size of the fight in the dog that wins the battle. Not the largest dog in the fight.

One of the most feared blue liners to ever play the game was 6'0 and 185lbs. He use to knock those 6'4 225lbs types out like nobodies business. Scott Stevens gave the term, straw man, a whole new meaning.

This x - y rhetoric sounds really great, and there are of course lots of examples of smaller guys playing above their weight, but in a conference and a division like the Oilers, size is King. Great example being that the big heavy eastern team went all the way to the cup finals only to lose to the bigger heavier weastern team, who had to battle through 3 game 7 series against three other big heavy western teams.

The only off example might, might, be Montreal's win over Boston, however without looking I would bet on average the two teams are comparable size wise.

Mac T had a great quote that winning teams' make-ups become in vogue until the next team structure emerges to win. However, I can't see having a team of big NHL players ever going out of style, or not helping teams to win championships.

To finish your x -y rhetoric, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts, but the smaller dog is always going to have to fight way harder to beat the bigger one.

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#9 Cold Hard Truth
July 07 2014, 03:35PM
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Oh July, the time when people start drinking the kool aid again and forget the painful lessons the season has taught (or not taught). MacTavish failed to acquire any impact defensive who can play the first line. And no, Nikitin, who played bottom pair minutes and was a healthy scratch on Columbus doesn't count. It was evident to most posters by November that Edmonton needed a legit first pairing defence. Now management and most posters have, once again, lulled themselves into believing that the 'defence by committee' approach will suffice. It didn't last year.

What is more, the roster depth at centre is worse this year than the start of last year. There were plenty of centres better than Arcobello who could have been had on free agency. But nope. I'm not holding out on MacTavish acquiring a centre before the seasons starts, because if he really thought it was a problem, he would have done something by now. If he doesn't, the season can rule themselves out of the playoffs by September.

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#10 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
July 07 2014, 03:58PM
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@Will

Blah blah blah, not buying it, blah blah.

Spirit crushers come in regular sizes. Bryan Marchment 6'0 195lbs. Or, if you're going to play the less intimidating card. The last 5 Conn Smythe trophy winners were all 6'1 or less.

Lets all be LA King copycats, and not blaze a new trail others will try and copy. You guys who fall in with the size matters flock make me laugh. You're probably all still scratching your heads why Lindros never won a cup.

How's that for rhetoric?

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#11 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
July 07 2014, 04:26PM
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Some questions are good, some are bad. But the Nation writers that can't put a sentence together to at least play along should be reminded they write on a internet blog site.

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#12 David S
July 07 2014, 04:27PM
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Will wrote:

This x - y rhetoric sounds really great, and there are of course lots of examples of smaller guys playing above their weight, but in a conference and a division like the Oilers, size is King. Great example being that the big heavy eastern team went all the way to the cup finals only to lose to the bigger heavier weastern team, who had to battle through 3 game 7 series against three other big heavy western teams.

The only off example might, might, be Montreal's win over Boston, however without looking I would bet on average the two teams are comparable size wise.

Mac T had a great quote that winning teams' make-ups become in vogue until the next team structure emerges to win. However, I can't see having a team of big NHL players ever going out of style, or not helping teams to win championships.

To finish your x -y rhetoric, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts, but the smaller dog is always going to have to fight way harder to beat the bigger one.

Or if the size of the fight is equal, the bigger dog will win.

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#13 Will
July 07 2014, 04:30PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Blah blah blah, not buying it, blah blah.

Spirit crushers come in regular sizes. Bryan Marchment 6'0 195lbs. Or, if you're going to play the less intimidating card. The last 5 Conn Smythe trophy winners were all 6'1 or less.

Lets all be LA King copycats, and not blaze a new trail others will try and copy. You guys who fall in with the size matters flock make me laugh. You're probably all still scratching your heads why Lindros never won a cup.

How's that for rhetoric?

Still poor. And it's strange you think we're at odds here, by my eye the Oilers got much bigger this off season, and will continue to do so if our prospects continue to develop.

I completely agree that individual players can be great in all shapes and sizes. And again, tons of examples of both types of players out there, small and tough, or skilled. And Big and slow and ineffective.

However, I really do think the time for believing a team composed of small forwards is going to have any kind of impact in a division, conference, and league dominated by heavy teams. And judging by the moves Mac T made, management also sees it this way.

The Oilers are a great case in point. Hall is now the best LW in the league and a bonafide superstar. Eberle is capable of 70 + point seasons. Perron last year had a career year, and so did Gordon. So 3 players with career years, and a few with very good years, and yet as a team they were terrible. Tampa bay two years ago was another great example, they had the top two point producers in the league, and yet were the third worst team. Great individual players does not a great team make.

I agree 100% not every player needs to be a human tower, and that some of those guys are awful hockey players, but a smaller team is always going to have a more difficult time against a larger team for the simple fact a bigger guy will never have to put as much effort against a smaller guy for the duration of the game, in a contact sport like Hockey. Hence why I'm thrilled they took Draisaitl over Bennet. Calgary is about to find out how difficult it is to win with a team small up the middle.

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#14 Will
July 07 2014, 04:31PM
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@David S

Ya I'm right there with you on that one. Clearly a team like LA, especially whenever they happen to wake up in the playoffs, are a team with both size and fight.

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#15 Oiltimer
July 07 2014, 04:34PM
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How many rings did Henry Richard have again ?

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#16 Brian
July 07 2014, 06:23PM
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"Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from."

Seriously, Gregor? Lidstrom played with Paul Coffey for most of four seasons to start his career. Usually on the same pairing. And not end of career crappy Coffey either, early-mid 30s point per game Coffey.

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#18 The Last Big Bear
July 07 2014, 07:33PM
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Sevenseven wrote:

Fist up for rocky iv

Looks like somebody's got a case of The Mondays.

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#19 Saytalk
July 07 2014, 09:23PM
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Brian wrote:

"Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from."

Seriously, Gregor? Lidstrom played with Paul Coffey for most of four seasons to start his career. Usually on the same pairing. And not end of career crappy Coffey either, early-mid 30s point per game Coffey.

Yup, plus Lidstrom was mentored by Brad McCrimmon. McCrimmon also mentored Ray Bourque, Chris Pronger, and Mark Howe. I think the benefit of a solid veteran defenceman for a rebuilding team is vastly underrated.

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#20 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
July 07 2014, 11:02PM
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Brian wrote:

"Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from."

Seriously, Gregor? Lidstrom played with Paul Coffey for most of four seasons to start his career. Usually on the same pairing. And not end of career crappy Coffey either, early-mid 30s point per game Coffey.

Yeah. Even if Lidstrom didn't have much mentorship is it really fair to say "Well if one of the top 5 defensemen of all time can make it without learning from a stud D-man, then clearly it's attainable for our prospects"

That being said, I hope Gregor's right because the Oilers don't have a real #1 to show the kids the ropes...

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#21 Jason Gregor
July 08 2014, 07:51AM
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Brian wrote:

"Nick Lidstrom never had a stud D-man to learn from."

Seriously, Gregor? Lidstrom played with Paul Coffey for most of four seasons to start his career. Usually on the same pairing. And not end of career crappy Coffey either, early-mid 30s point per game Coffey.

Coffey never joined the Red Wings until Lidstrom had played 140 games.

As a rookie Lidstrom scored 60 points in 80 games and then had a very good 2nd season.

So Coffey came near the end of his 2nd season. Coffey and Lidstrom both shot left they didn't play together as often as you think.

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#22 Jason Gregor
July 08 2014, 07:59AM
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Saytalk wrote:

Yup, plus Lidstrom was mentored by Brad McCrimmon. McCrimmon also mentored Ray Bourque, Chris Pronger, and Mark Howe. I think the benefit of a solid veteran defenceman for a rebuilding team is vastly underrated.

Brad McCrimmon was a rookie the same year as Bourque, but he mentored him? Interesting that a rookie mentors a rookie.

As rookies Bourque had 65 points in 80 games and was +52.

McCrimmon had 16 points and was -3. Only one other regular Bruin player was below +7 and that was Wayne Cashman.

Saying McCrimmon mentored Bourque is not true. Far from it.

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#23 Jason Gregor
July 08 2014, 08:01AM
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@Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

Neither did Doughty, Keith, Seabrook, Shea Weber or Ryan Suter.

They can learn from veterans, but the suggestion they need to have a stud D-man teach them is inaccurate. Many of the best didn't.

Having a steady veteran is enough, you don't need to learn from a superstar.

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#24 j
July 08 2014, 08:45AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

It's the size of the fight in the dog that wins the battle. Not the largest dog in the fight.

One of the most feared blue liners to ever play the game was 6'0 and 185lbs. He use to knock those 6'4 225lbs types out like nobodies business. Scott Stevens gave the term, straw man, a whole new meaning.

I agree with the opening statement but Stevens was much bigger than that. Most sites have him at 6'1" and 215 lbs (min). He was a big man and by all accounts built like a truck. Not to mention he was a generational talent. 918 NHL points. Incredible player.

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