Monday Mailbag – October 13th

FatBastard

I hope all of you are having a fantastic Thanksgiving long weekend! May you drink and eat far more than you ever should.  If you have to work today, the mailbag is here to provide a distraction and waste company time.  If we can’t help you waste company resources, what’s the point of being here? If you have a question for the mailbag, email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.

DontForget

1) Ryan Tran asks – Do you have a favourite memory or story from the 1984 Oilers Cup team?

Jonathan Willis:

No. The teams of my youth were the Oilers of the late-90’s/early-00’s.

Lowetide: 

Just the feeling of cheering for a team that won something I cherished as a fan. The Bruins won in 1970 and 1972, so as a fan I’d been enduring other teams (mostly the Habs, gack!) winning Stanleys. It was awesome. I lived in Red Deer (Shalom Apartments) and went for a walk about 2 in the morning. It was so calm, I remember that morning very fondly.

Jason Strudwick: 

I was only 8 when they won the first cup so details are a little blurry. I do remember the feeling after they won!

Jason Gregor:

It might sound strange, but it was the 11-0 loss to Hartford. The Whalers and Oilers were my two favourite teams.  The Oilers usually crushed them, but not that day. I remember Rod Phillips calling the game and he was almost in shock how bad the Oilers played. The best playoff memory for me was Randy Gregg’s OT goal in game two vs. Winnipeg. I was 11 years old at the time and I remember thinking how cool it was that a guy like Gregg scored that goal.

Robin Brownlee:

No. Before my time. Didn’t arrive in Edmonton until 1989.

Jeanshorts:

My favourite story about the 84 Cup team is when they won the cup!

baggedmilk:

I wasn’t born yet, but I assume my dad was holding at the time. He probably cheered, and I would have cheered by default.

WhatIsRight

2) Mike Beauport asks – What do you think is an acceptable start (meaning record) for the Oilers this year? Say for the first 20 games.

Jonathan Willis:

Anything in the 0.500 range would be good; say 9-9-2 at a minimum.

Lowetide: 

I think they need 20-22 points in their first 20 games. Seriously. The schedule favors them and they’re home a lot early. If Edmonton is 6-11-3 after 20, I think fans will be upset and with good reason.

Jason Strudwick: 

20 points.

Jason Gregor: 

I’d say 21 points. Whether it is eight, nine or ten wins. They need that many points.

Robin Brownlee: 

Given the favourable home schedule in the first 11 games, I think the Oilers need at least 20 points from those first 20 games. Not a torrid pace, but a marked improvement over last season.

Jeanshorts:

IF THEY AREN’T GONNA GO 82-0 THEN WHY EVEN BOTHER??

I wouldn’t be super mad if they went, say, like, 10-7-3. I think that’s a pretty reasonable goal. Though I also 

thought it was a reasonable goal for me to marry Megan Fox, and the jury is still out on that one. 

baggedmilk:

They’ve already ruined my version of an acceptable record. 

WhatDoesItMean

3) Daryl Q. asks – What kind of message does it send to the San Jose players to strip Thornton of the “C” but give him back an “A” to start the season?

Jonathan Willis:

The message it sends, in concert with the things Doug Wilson and company were saying all summer, is that management would really like him to go somewhere else but he refuses and now they’re trying to live with the situation. I should also add that I think that the amount of politics associated with letters in the NHL is ridiculous.

Lowetide: 

Lordy. I don’t know what the hell they’re doing in San Jose. I guess they MIGHT be thinking that nothing else has worked, so we’ll be the bad guy (management) and give them an enemy to resent. Weird behavior from a smart guy (Doug Wilson).

Jason Strudwick: 

This seems like an over reaction to last season. They resign Joe and Marleau and then talk about moving them? I always thought the Sharks did most things right but they have messed up this situation.

Jason Gregor: 

The players voted on which players should wear a letter, so I think it shows us how much they respect Thornton. I believe Todd Mclellan wanted to make his team uncomfortable. I think he wanted them to deal with some adversity, albeit, much different than losing. It seems to have galvanized the players and that could be a good thing.

Robin Brownlee: 

Haven’t talked to any San Jose players about it so I can’t say for sure. I’m of the mind stripping a captain of the C isn’t a good idea under most circumstances. Joe Thornton isn’t to blame for San Jose’s failings to this point. so unless there’s a real question about his leadership from management or the coaches, I think it’s a bad idea if it’s being done under the premise of “shaking up” the team.

Jeanshorts:

It’s gotta be a mixed message at the very least. “Hey Joe, we don’t trust you to be captain, but here’s almost the same responsibility with less of the prestige HOPE YOU’RE COOL WITH THAT KBYE!” They basically demoted him to Assistant To The Regional Manager, and that was only to get him out of Doug Wilson’s office and put his dick back in his pants.

baggedmilk:

At the end of the day, does it even matter to Joe Thornton? (I don’t know, I’m asking) It seems like it’s a Sharks tradition to strip Cs off guys though. Didn’t it happen to Marleau a few years ago? He seems to be doing alright.

WhyMe

4) Aaron Franchuk asks – Why is it apparently easier for forwards to break into the NHL young over d-men and goalies?

Jonathan Willis:

Some of it comes down to opportunity and the consequences of failure. Every NHL team has two goaltending slots, six defencemen slots and 12 forward slots; there is more room for specialists (most really good young players tend to be offensive specialists, because their two-way game has not matured) when there are more slots overall. The consequences of a mistake are the smallest for wingers, who generally aren’t expected to be the high forward; there are several layers of defence behind them. The consequences are a little bigger for centres, who have more defensive responsibility. They’re much bigger for defencemen, who have only one line of defence behind them. They’re toughest of all for goalies, who are the last line of defence and for whom even a small mistake on an innocent play can be devastating. In short, it’s extremely easy for goalies and defencemen to look bad and it’s a lot harder to shelter a guy with weaknesses.

Lowetide: 

Defense and goal are more difficult positions to learn, and mistakes end up in the back of your net. Offensive forwards can already do the thing NHL teams want them to do, and defending takes experience.

Jason Strudwick: 

Wingers have much less to learn at the NHL level and adjust to. Center, dmen and goalies really are put under pressure.

Jason Gregor:

It is easier position to play. If you make a mistake you have the D-men and the goalie to bail you out. There are rare exceptions like Doughty and Price who can handle it right away, but most can’t.

Robin Brownlee:

For starters, there’s more roster spots available for forwards — 12 to 14 for every team opposed to 6-7 for defensemen and two for goaltenders.  Generally speaking, there’s more turnover up front.

Jeanshorts:

Speaking as a defenceman it’s obviously because forwards have super-massive egos that need to be constantly stroked, where as D-men are always super humble and quiet and handsome and are willing to put in the work it takes to become a regular NHL player. What do you think would have happened if Hall got sent back to Windsor his rookie year? HE WOULD HAVE BURNED DOWN STEVE TAMBELLINI’S HOUSE THAT’S WHAT!

baggedmilk:

Forwards have way less defensive responsibility (especially on the wing) and that allows coaches to ease them into games, for the most part. I suppose you could try to give young D-men soft zone starts, but if things go bad we’re all looking for someone to blame. 

ILoveHockey

5) Stephen Harris asks – What makes the NHL the best professional sports league?

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t think any kind of objective analysis would conclude the NHL is the best professional sports league. I like it because they play hockey, but from a business or ethical standpoint there’s no case in the NHL’s favour. From a business perspective, hockey doesn’t command the market that football, baseball or basketball do. From an ethical perspective, the NHL (like most professional sports leagues) is a parasitic growth on society, one that sucks up public subsidies in both Canada and the United States to inflate the bottom lines of billionaire owners and millionaire players and has no aversion to price gouging or cancelling seasons if it increases the amount of revenue coming in. I love watching hockey at its highest level but I have zero emotional attachment to the NHL.

Lowetide: 

Hmmm. I don’t know if I agree with your statement, Stephen. The NHL has the most wonderful game, but the league and its member owners do more to shoot their league in the foot than any human in recent history. I’d suggest the NHL is an example of a league that flourishes in spite of itself.

Jason Strudwick: 

The speed, physical style of game and skill all combined are unmatched in sports.

Jason Gregor:

Who said it is? I’d say for writers and readers it is our favourite sport, but I don’t see it as the best pro league. I’m not sure there is one. The NFL, from a pure business standpoint, is the best, but they have many off-field issues right now that don’t allow it to be the best.

They are all good, because they are multi-billion dollar businesses, but I wouldn’t say the NHl is the best league. It is my favourite.

Robin Brownlee:

Who says it is the best professional sports league and in what context — popularity, revenue? In many U.S. markets, the NHL is second, third of even fourth in terms of fan interest. Inside page stuff until playoffs.

Jeanshorts:

REF CAM!

RefCam

baggedmilk:

I don’t even understand this question. The NHL is the best league in terms of what? Money generated? Entertainment value? Street cred? What are we talking about here? Just because you’re a hockey fan doesn’t necessarily (or at all) mean the NHL is the best league in the world. 

Now let me ask you a question… What makes fuchsia the best colour? 

  • Craig1981

    I do not get San Jose issues being blown up. They lost in game SEVEN to the Stanley Cup champs. Only one team can win the cup so it is not as this big failure the have

    • ubermiguel

      I should remind you the Sharks were up 3-0 in that series. The utter and absolute collapse of the Sharks was one of their more pathetic performances after many years of early exits.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        the bottom line is that Thornton and Marleau, though not solely responsible for the Sharks playoff woes all these years, haven’t been able to help lead the Sharks to a cup victory season after season, yet both have been re-signed for what 3 years each at over $6 mil per player per season? and now they want to try to dump Thornton? i thought that Doug Wilson was smarter than that too!

    • Dan 1919

      They lost after they were up 3 games to 0, and after years of being a contender that’s the best they could do.

      It’s kind of a big deal that’s being handled completely wrong in every scenario from stripping the C to keeping the same personal.

      I think we’re all confident this SanJose group will never win a Cup, so then why are Thornton and Marleau still on that team? They should be traded for either a very high draft pick or to a team that’s on the cusp looking for a star to carry them into the playoffs (Dallas & Seguin). I think they should have traded them both a year or so apart to lessen the new personal shock and kind of do a rebuild on the fly.

      • Dan 1919

        In fact the SJ situatuation makes so little sense to me that I think something else is going on that we don’t know about. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to trade Thornton or Marleau one or more times and they rejected the trades… leading management to be so frustrated but handcuffed so all they could do was strip the letters from them.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    My best 84 moment was hopping in the car and going to the Cup parade in Edmonton. Because of the lack of security it was so personal. you could get right up to the car and shake hands with the players. it will never be like that again. Sadly someone borrowed my Negative book and never returned them so all I have now is the memories as even the pictures were taken.

  • Spoils

    regarding the captain badge, when do we start talking about Ference.

    How do we get a soft landing on this?

    Kind of awkward putting the Captain in the press box, but if his play doesn’t improve, I would think Klefbom and Marincin should at least get a look.

  • Spoils

    Jonathan, well put as to the ethical concerns with respect to sports leagues. I would love to see that idea fleshed out into an article–have you already written one on the topic? Seeing public tax dollars poured directly into Mr. Katz’s pocket is something that wrankles me, as much as the project is exciting and the city will likely benefit from it.

  • Rob...

    Fuchsia can’t hold a candle to aubergine. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking dresses, suits, cars or a hockey jersey; you can make aubergine work. Fuchsia… not so much.

  • Serious Gord

    I havent been critical of macEakins at al .
    But I don’t understand recalling big bog and sending down kleff.
    Why did kleff start the year here only to sit in the press box? Where will yakimov play? Center has been pretty soli . Unless he’s considering using him as 2nd line center and sending Dr dre down.
    Very bizzare.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I was 15 in 1984 and remember the cup run vividly. I had been cheering for the Oil since 75 so the thought of them becoming the first western Canadian team to win a Stanley Cup was unbelievable.

    Best memory – Tough as nails Kevin McClelland scoring a gritty lunch bucket goal against the unbeatable Billy Smith after some classic mucking in the corner by Dale Hunter, who chipped it out to Kevin. I almost sh*t my pants after that goal, because I knew right then we had finally solved the Islander dominance over us and we would win the cup.

    Its funny, for all of our firepower (Gretz, Kurri, Mess etc) it took some old time grinding hockey to get us the pivotal goal – arguably the most important in franchise history. Meat and potatoes.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Gene Principe reports that RNH did not skate today, and Yakimov is being recalled.

    In other news, Dallas Eakins just kicked a small dog into orbit.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    My guess is that Klefbom goes down to make room for Yakimov who will replace a center – either RNH, if he’s that injured, or Acton/Arcobello if he’s not. Likely it’s RNH but the good news is that his injury isn’t enough to put him on the LTIR so a roster spot needed to be freed.

    Plus I think Klefbom was on the outside looking in in terms of suiting up. None of the veterans are gonna get sat at this point unless they’re banged up, Hunt just scored a goal doing what they kept him up here to do so they won’t remove him and they can’t send Nurse back to junior yet without at least playing him one game. I think he doesn’t get recalled until they need a replacement or Hunt stops contributing and even then it’s probably a battle between him and Marincin for the call up.

  • polo-dad

    My favourite memory is leaving the arena and sitting at the side of the road with my brother-in-law, sharing a bottle of champagne and watching the honking cars drive by.

  • polo-dad

    Actually, my memories from 84 was just an overwhelming feeling of excitement. Looking back, however, I realize that I had no idea how special this time was, almost took it for granted.

    I am starting to understand now how all of the Leafs fans hated us so much as young upstarts without paying dues.

    I wish I knew then what I know now, but that is the same for life in general for almost everyone.

  • Dan 1919

    “Three Oilers players did not participate in practice on Monday. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Teddy Purcell were not on the ice, all dealing with some bumps and bruises.” EdmontonOilers.com

    They’re all listed as day to day and let’s just hope that’s the case, otherwise this season will fall apart quicker than last year’s.

    On the bright side Eberle will probably play better in the pressbox than what he’s done the first two games, and all though RNH has been good the top line has probably been an overall net liability rather than a positive so far. Purcell will be a loss. It’s really been the bottom 3 lines and the PP carrying the Oilers so far so hopefully the wheels don’t fall off.

    Maybe Hall and Yakupov play together and score 63 goals each.