Monday Mailbag – October 20th

Mail

As is tradition around these parts, it’s time for another edition of the Mailbag.  It’s time to find a chair, grab some coffee, learn a few things and waste as much company time as possible on a Monday.  This segment depends on you, so if you have a question you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Without further delay, the Mailbag. Enjoy.

practicesquad2

1) Steveland Cleamer asks – I was watching “Rudy” over the weekend and had a thought. Why don’t/can’t NHL teams hire their own “practice squads”. Different from football where the player may move up the depth chart and play on the team a la AHL. This practice squad would solely be for the purpose of giving your team a chance to practice against opponents unfamiliar with the schemes your team is running at a high intensity level. Thoughts?

Robin Brownlee:

Forget the practice squad idea — won’t work with the way the NHL farm system is structured now. Tell me more about your Twitter avatar.

Lowetide:

That’s a very large investment, one assumes these aren’t volunteers. And have these people given up on their own careers as hockey players? NFL has hundreds of kids graduating NCAA each year all dressed up with no place to go and make money. Hockey is far wider in scope and jobs are far more plentiful.

Wanye:

But would teams be able to find local players capable of practicing at a high enough level to provide any value against the Oilers? Well let me rephrase that – against an NHL calibre lineup? *winks*

Jeanshorts:

Wait, I thought the Oilers were the practice squad for the other 29 NHL teams?? And speaking of Rudy, remember when we had our own Rudy moment last year? *remembers*

Brian Sutherby:

The depth chart is the AHL, and I think those players need to play games. That’s often why you see teams carry a 7th D that maybe isn’t as good as a prospect, but they want the prospect to play.

The current players on the team are more than capable of providing a different look in practice if needed as the opposing team. It’s not going to screw you up if you have to run a few different forechecks simulating what the other team might do. Often coaches or maybe a guy coming back from injury that needs extra reps might pretend they are forechecking like the opposition as well.

Jonathan Willis:

With an 82-game NHL schedule, teams get enough game time over the course of the season.

Jason Gregor:

Football plays once a week. They have more practice time during the week, and football also only has 10-12 players on the practice squad. They go head to head with offence vs. defence. It is completely different strategy, plus every play starts with virtually the exact same formation. The Oilers play every second day, and under the new CBA they have to have one day off a week, so that leaves very little practice time. NHL teams rarely have extended practices, and they rarely include full on body contact. They players would be too worn down for games if they had significant body contact drills. Rest is vital.

baggedmilk:

Doesn’t a practice squad have a lot to do with the football teams only playing 16 times per year? NHL teams basically play every other day, so when would they need to practice squad? With that being said, the Oilers are off to the worst start in franchise history so maybe they can use a little practice?

MissYou

2) Kevin asks – If you could have back one player that the Oilers have let walk since 2007, who would it be? I don’t mean to undo a trade–just to get back a player who left for nothing. Is there even a player you would want back?

Robin Brownlee:

Curtis Glenncross.

Lowetide: 

Taylor Fedun is the first name I thought about, so I’ll go with him. A fine AAAA player who might eventually get an NHL shot and have a career.

Wanye:

Maybe Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll? Vishnovsky isn’t looking that great in Oilers silks of late. Nor is Whitney.

Jeanshorts:

I still think Rob Schremp deserves a 50th kick at the can. I mean, LOOK AT THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO?? I still don’t understand how things went so wrong!

Brian Sutherby:

Vladdy “Hockey” Tkachev 😉 

Jonathan Willis:

The weak spots are down the middle and on defence. None of the players the Oilers have let go really qualify as an impact defenceman any more – Lubomir Visnovsky’s pretty clearly winding down, Joni Pitkanen still hasn’t come back from a horrifying injury – so that leaves centres. Jarret Stoll isn’t a perfect player and he’s in the back nine of his career, but if Edmonton could get him back for nothing he’d be an awfully nice fit on the roster.

Jason Gregor:

Simple. The Human Rake, Chris Pronger. He was the legitimate superstar. He makes everyone around him better.

baggedmilk:

I’m going with Jarrett Stoll for his skills on the ice, and for his skills at pulling babes. 

EveryoneExceptYou

3) SevenSeven asks – Does anyone find it strange that all the coaches were replaced except Fred Chabot? 

Robin Brownlee:

Two coaches were replaced. I do find it odd Chabot didn’t make it three. 

Lowetide: 

No. It’s impossible to comment fairly on the inner workings of an organization. Goalies are witchcraft, so Chabot could be the smartest goalie coach in history and only goalies would know. They’re a strange group and probably cast spells if you mess with them.

Wanye:

I’ll tell you what I do find strange. How come Cool Shots wasn’t ever rebooted? That show was great.

Jeanshorts:

I would find it much more strange if any of the 2000 goalies we’ve used in the last 3 or 4 years have gone on to have success for other teams. On a team rife with problems I think the goalie coach is the least of our worries.

Also, I have it on good authority that Chabot knows where Katz has some bodies buried…. 

Brian Sutherby:

I assume given the way the goaltending finished the season they felt Fred was the man. Let’s hope this is just a rough stretch, Scrivens was much better last game. 

Jonathan Willis:

Not really. A goaltender coach has substantially different duties than the other coaches on a team and they often outlast other members of the staff.

Jason Gregor:

I wrote in the summer he shouldn’t be coming back, and I still find it odd he did. That being said, I don’t put the blame solely on him that Scrivens struggled in his first three games.

baggedmilk:

It is strange that every coach aside from Chabot got the boot, but what the hell do I know? Although, wasn’t there something last year after Dubnyk got traded about him having poor fundamentals? I could be making that up.

Yelling

4)  Isaac B. asks – Have you ever been approached/confronted by a player or coach after you had written or said something about them? Do you think players read OilersNation?

Robin Brownlee:

Many, many times over the years at The Journal and The Sun. Never over anything written at Oilersnation. Players do read it, though.

Lowetide:

No, but I have been approached by an individual in hockey about something I wrote. They were agitated, I listened to what they said and changed my view. It was very educational and beneficial from my end.

Wanye:

Nope. Its one of the perks of being a fake person on the internet – no responsibility whatsoever.

Jeanshorts:

Not yet, but by the end of this season if Dallas Eakins hasn’t tried to shove my head into a toilet then this whole thing has been a total waste of time! 

Brian Sutherby:

I have not.

I bet guys have come across certain things, tough not to nowadays. No chance any read it with regularity. I would bet especially in a Canadian market with the scrutiny this team finds itself under, most do whatever they can to avoid all media.

Jonathan Willis:

No, but the only times I’ve covered teams day-to-day are at tournaments and last year in Oklahoma City. I’ve been approached by players’ agents, but that’s a different story. I think players probably run the spectrum – they’re just people, and if I asked the comments section here how many of you would read Oilers Nation if you played for the team I imagine I’d get a gamut of answers.

Jason Gregor:

I have quite often. The Internet allows players to read more, and if they see a link on twitter some will read it. Not all players do, but I’ve had players on the Oilers and around the league talk to me about an article.

baggedmilk:

I assume Dallas Eakins reads everything I write, mostly because of my excellent ideas and grammar. 

Overreacted

5) Alex Reid asks – What do you think Oilers fans overreact about the most?

Robin Brownlee:

Everything. Eight years of miserable results will do that to a fan base.

Lowetide:

Strudwick’s singing voice. It’s not THAT bad.

Wanye:

Oh at this point I think “everything and anything” would be the best response. Now if you will excuse me I have to go plan the 2015 Cup Parade/Write hate mail to everyone on the active roster.

Jeanshorts:

Everything? Everything. “Whoa the Oilers changed the hinges on their office doors? THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS THEY SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON TRADES NOT DOOR HINGES!!” We’re at the point where I’m going to start getting VERY nervous when the entire fan base ISN’T complaining about everything.

Brian Sutherby:

Assistant coaches.

Jonathan Willis:

Kevin Lowe’s continued employment.

Jason Gregor:

Head coach. Many want to blame the coach for all the woes of this team. Players makes coaches look better. Every great coach has always said that. Look at Mike Babcock. He is a great coach, but when he lost Nick Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart from his blueline over the course of two years, his team hasn’t had the same success. I don’t believe he is suddenly a worse coach, but the players he puts on the ice simply aren’t able to do things that Lidstrom could, and too a lesser extent Stuart and Rafalski.

baggedmilk:

Oilers fans overreact most about everything to do with the Oilers. Can you blame us, though?  The Oilers are working on what could be an unprecedented run outside of the playoffs, I think we deserve the right to moan. 

A PARTNERSHIP IS BORN

KLONDIKE_CYCLE_LOGO_14_FNL

Very quickly, I wanted to announce that OilersNation has partnered up with Klondike Cycle as the official sports retailer of the Nation.  If you live on the West End, like I do, Klondike Cycle has always (since 1974) been a staple for sports gear.  From bikes to hockey equipment, the folks at Klondike know their stuff and you’ll be seeing them around the Nation from time to time (including the GDBs).  Since no new Nation partner can walk away unscathed, we’ll also be shaking Klondike down for prizes to give away, including a contest we’ll be running early this week. 

  • reaperfunkss

    “I assume Dallas Eakins reads everything I write, mostly because of my excellent ideas and grammar.”

    Right you are. Have seen your articles printed, clipped and pinned to the walls in his office.

  • Prongers Promises

    So Gregor, if the oilers win 1 in their first 10 games does that mean it is all the players fault and wow, crappy luck on the oilers, we brought in new players and still we look crapy on defense.

    1/10 and it is all the players, you should get a job with the oilers because you clearly cannot see the problem either.

    • Craig1981

      hmmmmm. Gregor is one of a handful of people, not employed by the Oilers, that’s job allows him time, resources, and access to the team.

      Why do you think he is blind and you are not?

      And he never actually said it was all the players fault, you are putting words in his mouth.

      So what is the Oilers problem then?

      • Randaman

        Problems in order of importance in my opinion of course;

        President of Hockey Operations should be FIRED,
        General Manager should be FIRED,
        Assistant General Manager should be FIRED,
        Head coach, Keith Acton & Fred Chabot should be FIRED,
        The scouts should be able to advise on top pick without being veto’d by the owner, Re: Yakupov instead of Murray or Trouba,
        Eberle & prospect or picks for a true #2C.
        #1 Goaltender required ASAP,
        #1 or #2 D required ASAP.

        Last but not least; someone besides Brownlee needs to speak up without predidice on the actual state of this organization because the fans deserve that at least!!!

        • Craig1981

          The problems are many.

          I’m far from the only person to “speak up” about the issues with this team.

          I’d suggest your take is flawed from the start if you think firing Kevin Lowe is the top priority. I get the venom directed at Lowe because he’s been a member of management since 2000 — I think he should be removed for the long-term betterment of the team — but firing him today won’t change what we see tomorrow or three months from now. It won’t change this 0-4-1 start.

          Firing MacTavish as this early juncture of his tenure is premature. Your frustration is based on eight years of ineptitude and losing. MacTavish has been GM for 18 months. Is that enough time? I think not.

          I understand why your patience is exhausted, but firing Lowe, MacTavish, Eakins and everyody else you mention right now means starting over again at square one.

          • Hemmercules

            Not so much preaching patience as practicality.

            “Fire everybody” right now doesn’t work. The list of flaws with this organization is so long that chipping away at it gets tedious and frustrating for fans, but you simply can’t hand everybody in management and on the coaching staff pink slips unless you have better people to replace them.

            I understand why some fans want to see that happen, but the reality is it won’t and cannot happen.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            Lowe being fired for the long term benefit of this team is likely the right thing to do….but Katz just won’t fire one of his pals, just like MacT didn’t fire either of Smith of Bucky. the fact that Bucky was freeloading as an assistant for life through 4 coaches was galling! and Smith wasn’t fired either was he? until the “Old Boys Club” starts to do the proper thing and actually fire the pals that need to be fired, this team will continue to spin it’s wheels.

          • Randaman

            Robin,
            Duely noted. I had the same thought about MacT as I was typing but the fingers weren’t listening. Venom as you say.
            So is starting at square one a bad thing if it means we have the right leadership in place FINALLY?

          • reaperfunkss

            We start every season starting over at square one. Lets be honest here. Lowe keeps trying and keeps failing. he must be the first to go. Nothing this braintrust does can possibly salvage the horror show. It may be that no one can clean this mess in one or even two seasons. I do know that the team has been spinning it wheels for almost a decade now.

            Give Mact time for what? He is poor at evaluating talent He was never a very good coach because of that (Honestly who in the NHL aside from lowe howsin and mact thinks Horcoff was ever a legit #1 center?) and he can be easily conned (Eakins getting a job over the phone) He personally scouted out Belov and turns out Belov was never more than a #5 guy at best yet Mact was hoping for a #3 perhaps a 2 out of him

            Eakins clearly has no clue. Nothing can be pointed in his NHL tenure as being well done, aside from hair and arrogance perhaps.

            Why keep incompetence at all?

          • Prongers Promises

            Fire them all so the entire hockey world including qualified personnel know that the Oilers are starting from square one.
            We couldn’t do any worse with no management structure in place, in fact I think the team would perform better knowing this joke of a regime is almost over. This thing needs to be “blowed up real good”

          • Armchair_Gm

            I think that’s exactly what we need, a totally new start one not dictated by Kevin lowe. What’s the point of keeping him till the off season and firing him. Does anyone still believe this rebuild will work? Are hopkins and eberle and yakupov our version of cogliano/gagner/hemsky. Will lowe try the same tactics used signing comrie or Smyth when hall asks for more money at the end of his deal? We aren’t making the playoffs this year, and sadly at game 5 of this season we can look at next year and see we won’t be making it then either. This is absurdly bad, and I’m tired of people finding moral victories. This team can’t win, who cares why the reason changes every year.

          • Prongers Promises

            Your final submission seems wrong . If all 3 were let go today we would be exactly where we are now – Stage 1 . What are you afraid of ? Going lower than stage 1 ? Even Tams and Kreuger had us at least to Stage 2 .

          • reaperfunkss

            “I’d suggest your take is flawed from the start if you think firing Kevin Lowe is the top priority. I get the venom directed at Lowe because he’s been a member of management since 2000 — I think he should be removed for the long-term betterment of the team — but firing him today won’t change what we see tomorrow or three months from now. It won’t change this 0-4-1 start.”

            This is a flawed argument. Many of us who’ve been calling for Lowe to be fired have been doing so for years. If Lowe had been fired, say, three years ago. Lowe would not have hired MacTavish (a boneheaded decision from the start), who in turn would not have hired Eakins (another boneheaded decision).

            Yes. Fire him now. It won’t save the season, but it might save the season 3 years from now.

        • Craig1981

          I agree with Brownlee’s reply. Firing everyone won’t get you a better finish this year. Plus firing that many people will leave everything in total disarray….

          I really wish I knew how much POHO has with the on ice product. There is a very good chance he deals with building leases, getting the new arena, Oiler charities, flight charters and the rest is MacT.

          I was one of the few that was not a fan of the Eakins hiring (I wanted to wait till they could get a Barry Trotz, Lindy Ruff, or someone when they came available…..a proven quantity where you can say “its not the coach”…..but now I don’t think firing a coach will help now, so ride it and make the switch if someone really great is available.

        • Craig1981

          If anyone wonders why the comment about tier one fans came out here is your poster boy for it – one hell of a stupid comment which is quite common. I could go on about how this is typical oiler fan garbage about saying get all these things but yet not tell us who to get, just go get them – despite the fact very very little of what the oilers needed over the last 4 years has been traded sans Jeff Carter (and if he wanted out of Columbus so fast how quick would he have wanted out of here)and Van Reimsdyk, but I know those things called facts are very scary).

          I also love how you whine about the scouts doing their job, really these are the same scouts who have had what to show in the last 20 years (especially past round 1) ? and if a scout said draft Jacob Trouba at number one then Katz was correct in telling him to hit the bricks. I also love to know what Ryan Murray would have done to help this team in 2013 (oh nothing because he was injured, which you so called experts always harp on Hall and RNH about), 2013 – 14 he ranked 4th in ice time for the jackets, and so far this year he has not played a game, so once again how does this help the oilers.

          I know what the response will be, queue up the “Oilers Apologists” comments. How about this how about if you do not like it do not go to a game – STOP WATCHING or go bandwagon onto some other team. I would say quit buying stuff but chances are the only thing you buy is the knock off garbage jerseys anyways

  • A-Mc

    If the Oilers put as much effort into winning a hockey game as the Oilers Nation group did on putting this mail sack thing together.. we’d likely have atleast 1 win by now.

    #OilerComplaints

    /EndOldManRant

    #GOilers!

  • The Future Never Comes

    Oh no the fans on this site are starting to turn on each other! We’re in such a toxic pandemonium that the oilers management has somehow managed to have us go against one another! This is some sort of distraction technique used thru Katz witchcraft. WE MUST STAND UNITED AS AN ANGRY OFF WITH THEIR HEAD MOB! Don’t turn our backs on our angry brethren’s.

  • I’m wondering if any out there knows what turnover of players we have had since Dallas Eakins took charge?

    It seems to me that we have changed enough players to realize it’s not the players, rather they way they have been organized and utilized.

    In other words how many more players do we need to bring in before people like Gregor conveniently stop using them as the major reason the Oilers suck?

    • cmandev77

      I think what Gregor is trying to say is that it is the players in the sense that yes, we’ve changed up a lot of the players, but we’ve been replacing has-beens/wanna-bes with MORE has-beens/wanna-bes.

      We haven’t had a situation (that I can remember) where we’ve brought in new blood that was in at least the top-half of skill on the team they were coming from.

      It is the players in the sense that even if they all played to their ability, we’re still left with a few really good players, some young players who may or may not be good someday, and an awful lot of players who STILL aren’t very good even when playing at the top of their personal game.

      You could bring in a Bylsma, but coaching Sid the Kid and Malkin and Letang, etc., is a vastly different game than trying to coach our hodge-podge team.

  • BlazingSaitls

    Time to fatten up our team and keep them from starving for points in the standings . Also , the new culture has to change so they can look up to better days than just having to look at themselves for inspiration . Two things that will bring us better results : Lots of donuts and bringing back into locker room the old Oilers memorabilia .

    Off hand : Does anyone recall if players have ever done a coup d’état of coach during or after a game ?

  • vetinari

    Overreact the most to? Sadly, at 0-4-1 it’s hard not to overreact to everything and anything to do with the Oiler organization, including coaches and assistant coaches (by the way, for those of you keeping score at home, Eakins is now 29-48-10 over the past two years as a head coach meaning that you are twice as likely to see an Oiler loss than an Oiler win– we are so due for a two game win streak before losing our next six!!!).

    *grabs scotch bottle to prepare for TB and Washington…

  • Armchair_Gm

    I definitely think Lowe is the main culprit. He’s been around this team since the late 90s and theyve done nothing in that time span. I truly believe that cup run in 06 was the worst thing thats happened to this team. Totally misled the fans and management that was such a flukey run when you break it down, ruined them.

    Fire that idiot. Make the fans happy and fire him

    • Hemmercules

      We get it. Everyone and their dog wants Eakins out. This is already worse than when everyone wanted Mact off the bench and its not even November yet. I hope they fire him just so I don’t have to skip over every other post on this website.

  • bazmagoo

    My take on the current situation is that MacT is being faced with this inevitable reality – GM’s around the league aren’t compassionate, and every trade scenario he’s being presented with is likely heavily stacked in the opposing teams favour due to our poor start, recent history, and desperation to turn things around.

    Thankfully this will eventually lead us to the easiest and best decision he can make – fire Eakins. It’s so obvious this guy isn’t an NHL head coach it’s unbelievable to me that he still has a job. We’ve got a much better lineup than before and yet we are worse off. How’s that even possible? Either every player on the roster has regressed or Eakins is a bad coach making them play a bad system that can’t succeed.

    FIRE EAKINS!

  • Prongers Promises

    This isn’t Lowes team, its Mac T’s remember the letter our beloved Daryl sang to us?
    Lowe answers to no one but the all mighty Katz, yet they have the audacity to proclaim he has no control over anything?

    Let me get this straight. He is away from the public eye, doesn’t have to answer to the media, any decisions he makes fall on Mactavish’s head and his dear buddy Daryl says Kevin is not responsible for anything on this team. Why cant my boss back me for doing absolutely nothing?

  • If that Klondike Cycle logo was hot linked you could scroll over it and be tempted to click through to their site to see the awesome bikes and other stuff they sell there.

    If it was hot linked anyways. You know.