Monday Mailbag – October 6th

Mailbox

Another weekend is in the books, and that means we’re all looking for ways to distract ourselves on company time. Enter the mailbag. As always, I’ve taken your questions and fired them off to our writers. Now, the questions have been answered and it’s your time to put your feet up and halt all production. If you have a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.

Enjoy!

Cuts

1) @Baresnake asks – With training camp winding down, and the last cuts being made, who is a player you once thought to be a lock on a team, only to be Rob Schremp’d?

Robin Brownlee: 

A team or this team? Don’t get the Schremp reference. He was never a lock to make the Oilers. Lots of players over the years have performed well enough at training camps to earn a job on merit but were demoted because of contract and waiver considerations. 

Jonathan Willis: 

Aside from the really high picks, there aren’t a lot of guys who are really locks. On the current roster, Anton Lander is a guy who projected as a likely NHL’er all down the line, and who was really brilliant in the AHL last year. For whatever reason, he can’t seem to do the things he does in the minors in the majors, can’t seem to translate the skill that won him an NHL job (on merit) as a rookie North American. He’s *this* close to getting bounced back to Europe for good.

Lowetide: 

How long do you have? 🙂 I honestly felt Marc Pouliot would be a player, had a nice skill set and some two-way ability. MacT even talked to him once about playing more of a checking role, but he balked and went his own way. He had the skills, but maybe not the mindset.

Jason Gregor: 

None. The locks all will make the team. The closest would be Anton Lander. I thought he had the 13th forward spot locked up, due to the lack of Oilers’ centre depth, but he hasn’t played that well.

Jason Strudwick: 

No real surprises as far a locks now looking like they will be cut. There are a lot more question marks.

Jeanshorts: 

Anton Lander. By all appearances he’s been a solid AHL player so far, and he has really awesome Pirates Of The Caribbean style facial hair, but once again he looks like he hasn’t figured out what it’s going to take for him to make that next step to the NHL. A lot of people much smarter than me are very high on the guy, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever if a homegrown centre could start making an impact on the big club, but it’s starting to feel like he’s a guy who’s destined for a career in the AHL/Europe. YOUR NAME IS RIPE FOR HORRIBLE PUNS ANTON, DO NOT DEPRIVE US OF THIS OPPORTUNITY!! 

Brian Sutherby:

Martin Marincin.

baggedmilk:

Every year there is a player that all the fans expect way too much from.  Even seeing Jesse Joensuu score 2 goals the other night made some fans feel tingly in the jeans. 

DoesntMatter

2) Aaron Waltman asks – How much weight do you put into a good (or bad) pre-season record?

Robin Brownlee: 

None.

Jonathan Willis: 

Virtually nil. The team isn’t dressing NHL players most nights, and the quality of the opposition varies widely from game-to-game.

Lowetide: 

None. Zero. If you’re getting out shot 50-10 on the final night of preseason with your starting lineup, that’s a worry. But if you’re competitive and go 1-5, I don’t think it matters at all.

Jason Gregor: 

None. Most games only involve half of your roster. The final two games are the closest to a full roster, but even that wasn’t the case this year. Eberle, Perron, Pouliot, Schultz, Petry, Ference, Gordon and Hendricks didn’t play on Thursday. Record means nothing for me.

Jason Strudwick: 

Not a lot for most teams but this Oilers groups needs to feel good about themselves and wins are wins no matter when you get them.

Jeanshorts:

From what I can remember the Oilers have looked pretty great in the pre-season (REMEMBER HOW AMAZING THE DUO OF COMRIE AND O’SULLIVAN WAS GOING TO BE??) for the last 4 or 5 years, and we all know how well those seasons turned out…. 

I think preseason is much more of a tool to gauge individual players rather than the team as a whole. So all you people who have been freaking the hell out about how garbage the power play has looked these last couple of games, COOL IT!

Brian Sutherby: 

Very little, most nights there isn’t more than half of your teams actual lineup playing.

baggedmilk:

Preseason games mean about as much the love letters I send to Katy Perry. No one cares unless you’re directly involved and hopeful for a spot up the middle.  See what I did there?

Scale

3) Corey Walsh asks – How does being called out by an NHL coach affect a young player like Martin Gernat? Dallas Eakins says he isn’t close to being in shape to play in the NHL, how do you think that will affect him?

Robin Brownlee: 

If it does anything but motivate Gernat to address the concerns then he has no chance. Put on your big boy pants and do what the organization asks of you.

Jonathan Willis: 

I think it’s good motivation, and it reinforces the message he was getting from the minor-league coaching staff. He needs to work in those areas if he’s going to be an NHL player, and getting reminded of that in no uncertain terms can’t hurt.

Lowetide: 

In life you can take criticism and use it as fuel or allow it to erode your confidence. I doubt many players at Gernat’s level find those comments crushing. Eakins wasn’t vicious, he was stating fact. Martin Gernat has most of the tough stuff managed, but there’s work to do. Haul ass, young man. Fuel.

Jason Gregor: 

It should motivate him to get stronger. Eakins told him that before he said it publicly, so I wouldn’t say he called him out. Eakins started the answer by saying Gernat had upped his body weight and lowered his body fat, so he put in work, but he has a long ways to go. I don’t understand why telling the truth means being called out. If I was a player I’d want the coach to tell me the truth. What do I need to do to make the NHL?

Jason Strudwick: 

He will make a change and improve or he won’t and will fall off the depth chart. Dallas is doing that because he cares and wants Gernat to succeed.

Jeanshorts:

All players react to those types of things differently, and ideally you’d like to see Gernat use that as motivation. Eakins would say that to him, and then we’d cut to a highly stylized, 80’s style montage where he’s hitting the gym, eating raw eggs by the carton and running up a snow covered mountain carrying a dead ox carcass on his back. He’d come back to camp next season with 25lbs of muscle added and he’d also be 7 inches taller somehow. He walks into Eakins’ office and a cigarette slowly falls to the floor out of the coach’s now agape mouth. They have some kind of interaction where Eakins tells him he could hardly recognize him and that he’s very proud of him and glad he took the coaches words to heart. As Gernat is leaving he stops, turns around, and thanks Eakins one last time before we freeze frame on him jumping for joy with one fist held high in the air. 

Or he’ll just ignore it and go play in the KHL or the Swedish league or something. Could easily go either way.

Brian Sutherby: 

When it is about conditioning or effort that should be a huge wake up call. No player is made the same, but professionalism and being in tip top physical shape is a requirement. I fear if it’s taken him this long to get it, he may never get it. Hopefully message was delivered and received.

baggedmilk:

If Gernat gets all butt hurt about Eakins saying he’s not in great shape, than this isn’t a player you’d want in the organization.  I would hope he takes it as a wake up call, and motivation to get better.

CrystalBall

4) Aidan P. asks – What do you think the 2nd line centre position will look like at the end of the year? Meaning, do you think there will be a trade or that we will ride it out for another year?

Robin Brownlee: 

No crystal ball here. Will largely depend on how the centres who start the season perform.

Jonathan Willis: 

I think it hinges on Mark Arcobello. Leon Draisaitl is obviously the guy they plan to have there long-term, and if Arcobello can fill the No. 2/3 slot effectively over 20-odd games I think the team will be patient. If he can’t, I imagine they bring someone in to support Draisaitl.

Lowetide: 

I believe Leon Draisaitl will show enough during the season to be firmly ensconced as the 2C for the rest of the decade and beyond. The worry is early. By G82 I’d bet he has it handled.

Jason Gregor: 

I don’t see the Oilers getting a bonafide 2nd line centre in a trade. I could see them getting a solid 3rd liner, who could moonlight as a 2nd until Draisailt matures, but very few teams have two legit top-six centres, so I doubt the Oilers can acquire one.

Jason Strudwick: 

This depends on Draisaitl and his ability to quickly adapt to the NHL pace and schedule.

Jeanshorts: 

Well as of right now basically the only option we have is an 18 year old with zero NHL experience. And as good as Draisaitl has looked, and as much as I think he’s going to be an absolute monster of a player at some point, HE’S AN 18 YEAR OLD WITH NO NHL EXPERIENCE TASKED WITH IMMEDIATELY BEING PUT INTO A SECOND LINE CENTER ROLE! I mean, I’m a moron and even I think that sounds terrifying and insane. 

Best case scenario: he’s amazing and we keep asking ourselves why we don’t just field an entire team of handsome German teens, but as we saw with Nuge it’s probably going to take him a couple seasons to really get the hang of being a top 6 centreman in the NHL. 

TL;DR we’re more than likely gonna see a new face on the 2nd line by the year 2015.

Brian Sutherby: 

Trade.

baggedmilk:

I’m just tired of talking about this… won’t it be great when the Oilers are in a position where they only need tweaks and not huge holes to be filled?

Cancelled

5) Peter Franklin asks – Who is your favourite “non-skilled” NHL player of all time? 

Robin Brownlee: 

Frank Musil. He fought for every inch of ice and his level of commitment to training and conditioning was legendary. Had no business making the NHL based on talent but played 797 games.

Jonathan Willis: 

I loved watching Igor Ulanov when I was a kid. Those late-90’s, early-00’s Oilers teams had a lot of guys without a ton of offensive talent who were easy to like — from the Todd Marchants and Jason Smiths at the top end down to guys like Rem Murray and Scott Ferguson at the bottom — but Ulanov stood out to me because he always seemed solid and when he got an opportunity to finish off a forward, he took it. I’ve always had a soft spot for those guys – Murray Baron in Vancouver was a similar player in some ways (though probably not as talented) and he was fun to watch for much the same reason.

Lowetide: 

Gaétan Duchesne. He was drafted late, made his team’s first NHL training camp and played a long time as a quality two-way player. He was maybe a little similar to Craig Ramsay, new Oilers coach under Dallas Eakins. Smart player, did good things and you had to watch the game to appreciate his subtle skills. I was saddened to find out about his passing in 2007, but thoroughly enjoyed the way he played the game.

Jason Gregor: 

Let me just say that if you play in the NHL you have skill, they just don’t have first line skill. Saying that, my favourite non-elite skilled NHL player would be Bryan Marchment. He played on the edge, often crossed the line, but he also didn’t shy away from standing up for himself.

Jason Strudwick: 

That is like asking who is the ugliest sports illustrated model of all time. All these guys would dangle you and your whole men’s league team right out of your jocks!

Jeanshorts: 

Morinville’s favorite son: Jason Holland.

Brian Sutherby: 

Mike Grier.

baggedmilk:

“Non-skilled” seems like a strange thing to say about a guy that played in the NHL, but I guess I’ll have to go with Jason Smith.

  • ON has become too much about ON and not enough about Oilers.

    Deleting all the comments in the previous post and now this completely useless post about ON.

    BTW my fave color is green and the Monkees send me to the moon.

  • Question 5 this week was one of the best in a while. Nice job Peter!

    BTW- What’s with the comments on the new video format? Or rather, lack of ability to comment on said video. I’ll hang up and listen.

    • We’re going to keep comments out of the videos until we get the new commenting system launched. As it turns out, some people can’t handle commenting on anything that features a girl. Unfortunately, a few knobs ruined it for everyone else. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I have never left a comment before on this site, but when I read the comments section on the video this morning I didn’t see any that seemed offensive, at least to my eye. One person said that the presenter didn’t seem to know what to do with her hands, another said that the information seemed pedestrian. Maybe there were later ones that were inappropriate, but shouldn’t the moderator just delete those ones?

        • It’s a new format. I’m sure the guys will hone content and scripts as they start to see more feedback. And with Jeanshorts coming on board I have no doubt things will ramp up fast.

          With respect to the hands thing, very few on-air personalities are comfortable with body shots. That’s why you see desks on newscasts for the most part. It’s extremely unnatural to stand in front of a camera. Not many can pull it off. I foresee a Nation anchor desk becoming part of the set in the near future. Or spots being filmed at various sponsor locations like at The Pint. That’d be kinda cool.

        • The Last Big Bear

          I’m perfectly happy with closing that comments section.

          Things were spiralling around the drain rather quickly, I thought. Which IIRC is similar to what happened the last time that segment was aired.

          baggedmilk is unfortunately correct, there are a lot of people who just can’t handle commenting on a video that features a girl.

  • I have a question for the comments section. Isn’t Hendricks a centre? I know there is this mantra to have a really good shut down fourth line, but at the cost of sacrificing a third line, could the Oilers not have simply upgraded their bottom six this year?

    Hall, Nuge, Ebs

    Poulliot, Drai, Yak (just for sake of argument)

    Perron, Gordon, Purcell

    Pinizotto, Hendricks, Pitlick (or Gazdick).

    This is a more traditional “energy’ forecheck line, but now the top 9 looks formidable, and though the 4th line isn’t going to shut anyone down, boy would that line suck to play against.

    • A-Mc

      I think Hendricks is a case of “HAS played center in the past, but is naturally a winger”. Correct me if I’m wrong ON.

      Also, Gordon, god love him, is not an offensive option. Having him between Perron and Purcell would severely limit the offense of that line. It would be good as a solid checking line, because each guy can do that, but purcell and perron can also score.. So they need a center that can facilitate that. Arco has shown he can do that role with no problems.

      • Interesting, I wasn’t sure myself but one thing I remember from the Dubnyk trade was about how good Hendricks was in the dot.

        I think Gordon’s offense was directly tied to his minutes. Not the easiest thing in the world to generate offense eating the second most difficult minutes in the NHL against top line competition with Hendricks and I think mostly Jones or Smyth as your wingers. As it stand now, Gordon’s line is our shut down, but my proposed situation would be more like a split minutes situation. The fact Gordon managed 3 less points in 5 less games than Suter from the Pens, could mean he’s not that terrible.

        Eakins has also already said Gordon will be asked to play a slightly more offensive role this year. Anyway, just a thought based on current choices available that no one seems to be talking about. I was wondering why not?

  • The Soup Fascist

    Was the issue with Marincin that he came into camp out of shape or they would have preferred he came into Edmonton 6 weeks early to get into shape, the Eakins way?

    Because the last couple of pre-season games someone will have to point out an LD – hell make that ANY D – that played better than him.

    I am not sure this team – or coach – has the luxury to “send a message” to a guy who is clearly in the top six at the expense of some potential W’s. This organization has one responsibility to fans of all tiers: ice the best possible team every night and win some friggin’ hockey games.

    Good thing “Chubs” Kessel doesn’t play here, because he would have been on the waiver wire 30 seconds after he waddled in the door.

    • I honestly think it just boils down to one of those dumb “I’ve been involved with hockey my whole life, so I’m trusting my INSTINCTS” when all actual evidence points to doing the opposite.

      #FreeMarincin

      • The Soup Fascist

        Maybe Dallas should employ the Costanza “opposite” decision making model:

        “If every (hockey) instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

        I think you are on to something, jeanshorts.

        #FreeMarincin

        • justDOit

          You’re forgetting that George was a very deep, contemplative and intellectual character.

          But I would be surprised if this season played out without Dallas doing donuts in the Kingsway parking lot, with the Cup in tow!

          • The Soup Fascist

            Pfft. Stanley survived the strippers at the Bruin Inn – a little asphalt isn’t a big deal.

            As long as he doesn’t get strawberries on Gretz’s jersey.

  • Armchair_Gm

    I’d like a mailbag question that asks each member to answer what it would take for a regime change in Edmonton. Kevin Lowe is still here despite having absolutely no success. Just wondering what you guys think it would take for him to be fired and maybe name one hockey mind you think could help this team

    • Kevin Lowe is the owner’s idol. I think it’ll save some stress in your day if you just come to terms with the fact that he’s going to be around for a while. I’m not saying that’s right, but it is the truth.

  • Spoils

    “I hate talking about this”

    You know what I hate talking about? Our high draft pick. Because center depth is core to the future, the Oilers can justify a MAJOR trade to fill this role.

    I would aim for a 25-27 year old center who could stay with the team for over 5 years and move to 3C or worst case 4th line wing as Draisaitl takes off.

    I think the best asset to offer up is 1st overall pick in 2016 (ie. not next years stacked draft). Because of the timing for this pick to develop, it fits our team’s arc.

    But there are lots of moves to make. Perron has gone up in value, Ebs even because of the RW depth, Petry seems like he is slipping away, Marincin and other prospects like Chase or Khaira might be packageable, the 2nd pick in the deep 2015 draft…

    Don’t trash because you think someones untradeable, no one should be untradeable – we should just get VALUE for our trades, or fill bigger holes with an equal trade. Mac-“BOLD MOVES”-T should make this move this week.

    The team needs to start getting its first playoff experiences if it is ever going to win a cup.

  • “All players react to those types of things differently, and ideally you’d like to see Gernat use that as motivation. Eakins would say that to him, and then we’d cut to a highly stylized, 80’s style montage where he’s hitting the gym, eating raw eggs by the carton and running up a snow covered mountain carrying a dead ox carcass on his back. He’d come back to camp next season with 25lbs of muscle added and he’d also be 7 inches taller somehow. He walks into Eakins’ office and a cigarette slowly falls to the floor out of the coach’s now agape mouth. They have some kind of interaction where Eakins tells him he could hardly recognize him and that he’s very proud of him and glad he took the coaches words to heart. As Gernat is leaving he stops, turns around, and thanks Eakins one last time before we freeze frame on him jumping for joy with one fist held high in the air.

    Or he’ll just ignore it and go play in the KHL or the Swedish league or something. Could easily go either way.”

    ^ Best answer ever.

  • Preseason was supposed to be gaining your spots on merit , not last years performance . Our team is like last year and those with NHL experience were auto winners beyond Nurse and Draisaitl that might be temporary . . Thus we have Arco and Acton for starters once again . Arco was part of our poor start last season as well . Improvement might be delayed once again with center weaknesses .

  • bazmagoo

    In regards to Draisaitl being rushed into the 2nd line center spot. Let’s just be thankful he wasn’t rushed into the 1st line spot like Nuge and Hall were. Baby steps in the right direction Oilersnation, baby steps.

  • vetinari

    I would like to personally thank Brian Sutherby for showing up and responding to these questions. His participation on this website is akin to Martin Gernats fitness level. Thanks for the single sentence responses. I feel better for having received your opinion on these matters.

    If i was another writer on this site I would be offended and embarrassed by how little you seem to care about what you’re writing.

    Obviously, just my opinion.

    Sincerely,
    Jordan

  • vetinari

    Wow. A lot of negativity floating around ON today, and not just toward MacT and Eakins’ cuts.

    Can’t we all just agree to direct that negative energy towards management and coaching rather than writers?

    After all, how could the Oilers demote [*deep breath] Lander, Pitlick, Pinnizotti, Marincin, Yakimov, Wobbly Joe, and the gimp in favour of [insert new goat/hated player here]?????? The dastards!!!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Holy crap, what’s with some of the whiners in this thread?

    Three of the five articles on the main page are team related, one is an interview with Moose, and then there’s this one. How is that too Nation-centric?

    If the first poster doesn’t like it, he should demand a refun- oh wait.

  • mithaman

    “Preseason games mean about as much the love letters I send to Katy Perry. No one cares unless you’re directly involved and hopeful for a spot up the middle. See what I did there?”

    Did anyone else burst out laughing after reading this? Congratulate yourself BaggedMilk.

  • 1979

    Quite a mess of trouble on here today. I would suggest the following:

    Rules for readers
    1. Don’t make a comment that could be construed as classless, racist, sexist, etc… (In relation to the comments section being pulled from the 1 minute video)
    2. If you have criticism for a writer likely keep it to yourself. If you must then be kind and diplomatic.

    Rules for Writer’s
    1. Respect the reader’s who contribute their questions to this ON segment by putting forth honest effort in your answers and being thoughtful, insightful, or funny, and keeping sarcasm to a minimum… Or politely bow out of contributing to this feature.
    2. If somebody criticizes you thoughtfully then respond with humbleness and gratitude,
    3. If somebody criticizes you rudely then ignore it.

    Still enjoy this feature! Thanks for it!

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    That is like asking who is the ugliest sports illustrated model of all time. All these guys would dangle you and your whole men’s league team right out of your jocks!
    Struds this line from you is the most hilarious comparison I have read this year.
    Thanks for the chuckle!

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Gregor, if you finally agree that “very few teams have 2 legit top 6 centres”, why have you been slamming the Oilers for months or years about not having a 2C or trading for a 2C? Just as it would be hard to find 10 teams with a legit #1D. If you deem a #1D to be big, physical, solid offensively, solid defensively, and can play big minutes in all situations. (last 3 Norris winners do not fit that criteria). Teams need to draft and develop. This takes time. Hopefully, with 5 years of organizational growth, the system is in place for decades to come.