Welcome, welcome to another edition of the Monday Mailbag. As you know, I take your questions and pass them off to our writers so that you can learn something, and more importantly, kill some company time on a Monday. If you have a question, you can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. With that, the mailbag… Enjoy.
1) Aitch asks – Over the years, the Oilers have had their share of jokers on the team. In recent years I’m thinking of Matt Greene and Dustin Penner who could always lighten the mood with a good chuckle. Who do you think on the current team is keeping things loose in the dressing room or did Dallas throw out the fun with the doughnuts?
Marty Reasoner was Greene’s sidekick, played off each other all the time. So did Doug Weight and Bill Guerin. Rem Murray had a lot of fun mocking reporters (especially me), but the champion of one-liners directed at the media was Tommy Salo. Can’t use his best lines because they’re totally NOT PC today. Don’t know the new group as well because I don’t travel with the team any more.
I think David Perron is a pretty funny guy based on his twitter account. Scrivens appears to be flat out hilarious and I expect Taylor Hall has some mischief in him. After Strudwick left I’m sure there was a down period, but suspect they have fun. As for victims, suspect the Nuge runs smack dab into things based on youth and inexperience.
I could see Hendricks talking a lot in the room and keeping it light.
Greene and Marty Reasoner were the funniest guys I’ve covered. No one on this team is as witty or colourful as those two, which is to be expected, but I think Matt Hendricks is the energetic guy in the room. He keeps things light.
No idea. I can tell you Brad Hunt’s incredibly positive but I haven’t been around most of the NHL guys.
I’ve got this strange feeling that the most hilarious guy in the room is Uncle Yessy. And it’s either because A) he’s one those people who looks like a murderous psycho but has the complete opposite personality, or, more likely, B) they all laugh at everything he says all the time because he looks like a murderous psycho and the entire locker room lives in a constant state of fear.
If I were a betting man, I would say that it’s not one of the players who keeps things light but Craig Ramsay! If things are getting tense, I can see Ramsay regaling tales of poseidon and former conquests.
2) Brayden Stang asks – I’ve read quotes from some of the Oilers players saying that they think they’re playing reasonably well so far this season, but aren’t getting the wins. Do you agree with that assessment of their play so far this season? ****BM NOTE: This question came in before the current winning streak***
Some games have been pretty good — Vancouver and Tampa Bay, to name two — others not so much. They have had some good stretches in losses, but the problem is they’ve made big mistakes that have undone a lot of that. Most notably, they were pitiful defensively in their first four games.
Yes. In Game one the goaltending was poor and then in game two they took miles and miles of penalties. The club did not play well in LA and PHX, but rebounded Friday against Vancouver and then Monday against the Lightning. Two bad games, four good by my count. They could easily be 3-2-1 now.
There is improvement. I like the aggressiveness on the PK. I like the D pinching as much as they are off the blue line. These two examples are still work in progress for this group. At the end of the day they need that confidence.
I’d agree for the most part. They are a .500 team in my books and they are close to that right now.
I know this comment came last week, and I not only agree with that take, but I said it myself. The funny thing is, it’s reversed itself this week: Edmonton did not play at all well against Carolina or Washington but came away with two wins. Eventually, the results match the process, but sometimes it takes time.
Vancouver never had a lead in game two, and once again the Oilers just couldn’t find that killer instinct to close out a game with a win.
*Pretends LA and Phoenix games didn’t happen*
And the second Vancouver game was a 1-0 loss for all intents and purposes where they just couldn’t buy a goal from some reason.
And since then everything has looked like it’s starting to come together. There are obviously still cracks showing, but on a whole I think they’re going to put together a pretty okay season the rest of the way.
I know this question came in last week, but all I can think of is the Oilers finishing with a 77-4-1 record. PLAN THE PARADE! What were we talking about?
3) Zach B. asks – Is there a max salary for an NHL coach? And if so do you think that the max salary and thrill of a challenge could get us pending free-agent coach Mike Babcock? He may want to go to a contender but it’s pretty rare that contenders have coaching turnover.
No max salary for coaches. Mike Babcock isn’t coming to Edmonton for all the money in the world. He’s got plenty already.
As far as I know, the NHL has no ceiling on coaching salaries and it isn’t part of the salary cap. I think Mike Babcock would be an excellent choice, but my bet is Dallas Eakins will have the job one year from now.
There is not a salary cap for coaches. The NBA has set the bar high for coaching salaries. I expect NHL coaches are pretty happy with that and will benefit from it. Lots of season left to see how the team does before talk of another coach should be brought up.
There is no max salary for NHL coaches. The Oilers could pay him as much as they want, but Babcock wants to win. There will be 28 teams (Detroit and Cup winner not included) who could be interested in his services. If the San Jose Sharks don’t win, I could see them making a coaching change and other top contenders would seriously consider Babcock, if he doesn’t stay in Detroit. I’d be stunned if Babcock came here.
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a max salary for coaches, executives and the like. I don’t expect we’ll see Babcock leave Detroit – he’s got a good thing going there and the Red Wings will pony up to keep him.
I was under the impression that Katz had already started construction on turning the Ledge into a giant, diamond encrusted mansion for Mike Babcock.
But, I mean, do you HONESTLY think that ANOTHER new coach is going to immediately turn this team around? Mike Babcock is a great coach, no doubt, but look at where the Red Wings have been in the last few years. They lost one of the best defenseman of all time to retirement, they’ve dealt with injuries to their stars, Jimmy Howard was very mediocre last year, and now they’re no longer in the conversation as perennial cup challengers. Did Mike Babcock all of a sudden become a worse coach? Did he “lose the room”? Or do hockey fans/media put way too much stock into coaches in general?
I’m willing to concede that perhaps Dallas Eakins just isn’t the right fit for this team, or that maybe he is just better suited to coach at the AHL level, but I also think it’s absurd that there’s talk of replacing him after ONE season, especially since we all saw how well that worked out with Quinn/Renney/Kreuger. Let the season play out, and yes, if they finish in the bottom five or ten again they should definitely look into a new coach. But I don’t think it’s wise to replace the coach solely because there’s a guy with a better resume and a couple of shiny rings available.
Don’t worry, guys, I’ve already started sending Babcock bags of Wanye’s hair to get the negotiations started. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Eakins doesn’t go anywhere in the next 12 months.
4) Tikkanese asks – Since the NHL and NBA seasons start and end at virtually the same time, are they not hurting themselves somewhat? They are in direct competition for media exposure and fan attendance. Should the two leagues get together and slowly move the seasons apart some?
When I check the number of consecutive sell-outs at Rexall Place, I don’t see any case to be made for the NBA season hurting the NHL season. Just referencing the NHL schedule. Does it make any sense to move it up a month and start the regular season in early September? That means opening camp in August. If you move it back a month and start in November, you’re playing the Stanley cup in July. Don’t see either as being workable.
I’m honestly not sure how much audience they share, but it doesn’t seem to be impacting teams/leagues. Scheduling would be the big item but the clubs clearly are able to make it work.
Good idea. The NHL can start in July right after free agency.
Don’t see why. Different crowds, different sponsors.
I don’t see how this is workable. Those two leagues are also competing with the NFL and MLB, college sports in the States, the CFL in Canada, and so on. Right now the NHL’s season is pretty well-aligned with MLB – is there more or less fan crossover between the MLB and NHL or the NHL and the NBA? I don’t know the answer to that, but I’d bet the NHL does and that they’re acting accordingly.
Maybe I’m just a naive Canadian, but I don’t know if there’s really that much crossover between the two fan bases. And, even if there is, look at what is going on right this moment: Hockey and football started right as the MLB playoffs were getting under way AND IT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR SPORTS!!! If I were a fan of Premiere League soccer I’d basically be spending 7 days a week watching sports for like 15 hours a day and IT WOULD BE AMAZING!
And if anything I think the competition is good. If I may be a huge nerd for a moment, remember the Monday Night Wars in wrestling? WCW and WWE(F) were in direct competition for ratings on Monday night and it forced both companies to step their games up like crazy, and I honestly don’t think there’s ever been a better era in wrestling than that one, solely because of the insane competition between two egomaniacs. Hockey and basketball are more or less apples and oranges, so that’s a fairly flawed comparison, but if pressure from the NBA forces the NHL to think outside the box and try to step their game up I think we’ll all be better off for it.
I don’t watch basketball so any kind of delay in the NHL season would just annoy me. Anyone else? I don’t know, does it really matter? As far as I see it, they have 2 completely different audiences for the most part. Are there some basketball fans that are annoyed that they can’t watch the Houston Rockets AND Dallas Stars? Maybe. But I can’t imagine there are many.
5) Travis H. asks – What is the best song to do at Karaoke?
Anything by Sinatra is a winner — unless you’re Strudwick Then, it doesn’t matter.
“More than This” by Roxy Music. Bill Murray sings it in Lost in Translation and sounds good doing it. Plus you can think about Scarlett Johansson in the same movie while singing it.
If you need to ask this question just turn around, go sit down at your table and order a round of China Whites.
Bust A Move by Young MC, but very few can pull it off. For Struds, or more specifically for the audience any song without lyrics would be the best.
For my money there’s no better karaoke song than Wait (The Whisper Song) by the Ying Yang Twins.