Monday Mailbag – November 3rd

Mailbag

Welcome, welcome to another edition of the Monday Mailbag. By now, I’m sure you guys know the rules of said mailbag, but if you don’t this whole feature is dependant on you. If you have a question, you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.  Without further adieu, you should grab a coffee and waste as much company time as humanly possible. Enjoy.

Marketing

1) Shredder asks – What can the NHL do better to promote itself against the other major sports? In your opinion, what is the fastest growing sport in North America right now?

Robin Brownlee:

Not sure the NHL can do much in U.S. markets, where it’s behind NFL, MLB and the NBA. It’s particularly difficult, and always has been, in southern cities where few people play hockey growing up. Does anybody really care about hockey in Florida unless the teams reach the SC final? Even in original six cities, hockey is behind the big three and always will be. Affordable ticket prices on both sides of the border will sell a certain segment of sports fans, but the bottom line in many of the U.S. cities is simply that hockey isn’t part of the social fabric like it is in places like Montreal and Edmonton.

As for the fastest growing sport, what I read tells me it’s soccer, even though it’s way, way behind  the big three.

Lowetide:

I think the NHL is a splendid sport as it is, and would only suggest the league stop making ridiculous and self serving decisions that alter the game in subtle ways. An example would be the insane requirements surrounding qualifications for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. 

Fastest growing sport? MMA

Jason Strudwick:

There are individuals with great personalities in the NHL. They need to show them so fans can get to know them. Twitter and other social media has helped a lot. Look at the change in the way Roberto Luongo is perceived.

Jeanshorts:

LET THE PLAYERS HAVE PERSONALITIES! Sidney Crosby is obviously an amazing player, but he’s got the personality of a soggy cardboard box. Blah blah blah great ambassador for the game, respectful, blah blah blah, I get that. But he and most other players in the league regurgitating the same cliches about teamwork and never saying anything remotely interesting isn’t getting coverage on Deadspin or Pardon The Interruption. You know what is? Milan Lucic telling Dale Weise he’s going to kill him in the handshake line after a hard fought playoff series. Joe Thornton talking about whipping out his hog if he scored four goals in a game. Literally anything Sean Avery did or said. 

I’m not necessarily saying players should be shooting off their mouths in every interview, but the hockey media, and hockey culture as a whole needs to stop acting like any player who says anything remotely resembling an opinion is “classless” or anyone showing even a tiny bit of emotion on the ice is a selfish, terrible monster who is clearly locker room cancer. 

The public at large loves a spectacle. Want to promote the game and get people to pay attention? Give them something to pay attention to. 

And anyone who’s been paying attention knows the fastest growing sport in North America is PICKLE-BALL

Jason Gregor:

The NHL needs to connect with personalities. Casual fans will be more inclined to watch if they relate personally to players. Statistically the fastest growing sports in NA aren’t any of the big four…they don’t have room to grow. Lacrosse is growing very quickly amongst kids, but that won’t translate into more people watching pro lacrosse. Soccer has always had a high participation rate, but that didn’t translate into success at a pro level. Hockey needs to have more shows like 24/7 that allow non-hockey fans to get to know the players.

Jonathan Willis:

I’m really not sure; I’m not a marketing guy. But I’m also pretty indifferent to the answer, too. I barely even have a guess as to the fastest growing sport in North America; soccer maybe? 

Baggedmilk:

The first thing they could do is MORE SNACK ATTACKS! I am so excited for the new arena to have a properly size concourse.  What were talking about again? Oh right, surpassing the NFL. Actually, I thought they had the right idea with having cameras go behind the scenes. HBO’s 24/7 was awesome for taking fans behind the scenes. I think having more shows like 24/7 and Oil Change would show some of the player’s personalities rather than the rehearsed cliches that they have to shell out after games. MOAR ACCESS I SAY!

RuleBook

2) Ryan Connop asks – If you could change one rule in the NHL, what would it be and why?

Robin Brownlee:

The full duration of any given penalty would be served even if the other team scores with the man advantage. Higher cost to those who play outside the rules and more power-play goals to address the desire for more pucks in the net.

Lowetide:

Puck over glass. The only good thing about that rule is that goofy Aaron Ward song. 

Jason Strudwick:

More protection for the D men. That means stiffer penalties and suspensions for aggressive forwards that trip, hit or slide into D going back for pucks.

Jeanshorts:

Get rid of the shootout. And I say that as a fully fledged hypocrite who will gladly watch and enjoy the damn spectacle of it all. But as many before me have said it’s ridiculous to settle a team game with a one on one skill challenge. They might as well just do a relay race like we did in minor hockey to see who had to pick up the pucks at the end of practice. At least that has more of a team element to it! 

Jason Gregor:

I’d make every PP a full two minutes. The NFL and NBA are changing rules to generate more offence, which is what majority of fans deem exciting. NHL is the opposite.

Jonathan Willis:

Well, there are a bunch of changes I’d make, but the one that comes to mind is the ‘intent to blow’ rule. It’s a terrible rule; the action should continue until the sound of the whistle, period.

Baggedmilk:

I think pucks should be allowed to be kicked in, provided that the skate remain on the ice.  I want to see more goals, not amputations. 

StanleyCup

3) Connor Reid asks – If you were given the Stanley Cup for a day where would you take it? What would you do with it?

Robin Brownlee:

I’d take it to my son’s school, stage a road hockey game with his classmates and and award the winning team the Cup.

Lowetide:

I’d have a big party and invite Oilers Nation, we’d have it at Wanye’s castle and Oodle Noodle would be there with food. BYOB, though. I’m old, cheap and drink A LOT!

Jason Strudwick:

If I had won the Cup I would have invited my family, friends and former coaches to share in the experience and to thanks them all for their support.

Jeanshorts:

I’d charter a rocket to the moon because that way I’d actually be able to lift the cup over my head. THAT THING IS DAMN HEAVY (so I’ve been told). And then I’d forget where I was, take my helmet off to try and drink moon champagne out of it and explode my own head a la Total Recall.

Jason Gregor:

I wouldn’t take it. I believe only those who win it should handle it, and since the NHL dream is long past for me, I politely decline.

Jonathan Willis:

I’ve never done anything to earn a day with the Cup, so I’d probably look into handing it off to a charity or a hospital for the day; it wouldn’t be right to do something selfish with a trophy I haven’t earned.

Baggedmilk:

I think the better question is, what wouldn’t I do with it?  If I had the Stanley Cup for 24 hours I would literally take it everywhere. 

If I’m in the shower? Guess what I’m lathering with.

Eating Fruity Pebbles? Damned right it’s from the Cup.

Hockey game at Rexall? Put 49 beers in the top please, lady!

And you had better believe that if I could somehow convince the missus that go time was to be included in the menu, ol’ Silver Stanley would be riding shotgun right beside me.

Needless to say I’ve thought about this before.

BuyNow

4) Tristan Alexandre asks – If I’m buying, what are you having?

Robin Brownlee:

2015 Corvette Z06

Lowetide:

It depends, but I’d likely ask for a rye and coke if I wasn’t driving, beer or wine if I was driving. Rye is a demon liquor though, so you young people stay away from it. Angries up the blood. 

Jason Strudwick:

Bud Light.

Jeanshorts:

Double Jack and Coke, small glass. Or the biggest donair money can buy.

Jason Gregor:

Bacardi Limon and water.

Jonathan Willis:

Well, if you’re buying I’ll take a Highland Park 50. I love the scotch but I can’t afford to buy anything pricier than the 21-year-old (and normally I settle for the 15).

Baggedmilk:

Spiced Rum and Coke (or Pepsi, who cares). 

Honestly, whatever you’re willing to buy me I will happily accept. 

Change

5) Peter P. asks – Do you remember what you bought with your first pay cheque? If so, what was it?

Robin Brownlee:

First job was a paper route. Cash only, $16 a month as I recall. Lots of jaw breakers and PEZ.

Lowetide:

I bought motor oil. 10w30. I bought a Chevy Bel Air Super Sport 1965, maroon with a white hard-top roof. 289? Maybe 283 engine. Anyway, it took more oil than gas but I loved that car.

Jason Strudwick:

A pair of Big Star jeans. It was almost illegal how good my ass looked in those things!

Jeanshorts:

Oh boy. I made like 10 dollars a week helping my friend deliver papers when I was a kid, but I have no idea what I would have spent that on. Probably slurpies and candy? My first “real” job right after high school I most definitely bought booze.

Jason Gregor:

My first job was being a gas jockey at the Mohawk in Beaumont. I was 14. I don’t recall buying anything extravagant, but it was likely a cassette tape.

Jonathan Willis:

I had a paper route when I was a kid and I can’t remember what I did with that money, but I got my first regular job when I was 14 and I ended up buying a KOHO hoodie and a Nintendo 64 with that first check.

Baggedmilk:

The first time I ever made any money of my own was from a Kool Aid stand that I set up with my friend outside the Morinville Fire Department.  We made about $15 selling overpriced cups of warm Kool Aid (we ran out of ice almost immediately). I remember spending my half of the cash on candy and a roll of caps to pop in my mouth so that I could practice blowing smoke rings. 

  • Imagine if all this brain trust put energy into getting rid of Eakins and righting the oiler ship to get ready for next year instead of all this.

    You guys have a position to help the fans, get on with it…….write about the Eakins experiment and the failure and embarrassment it has become to a once proud franchise!

    • Hellcat is interesting because anything with over 700 HP has some wow factor. Problem is, Dodge has never got the new Challenger quite right since the launch — I’ve driven every version. Too heavy. Doesn’t handle. Fit and finish. etc etc. Had an SRT8 Charger in 2008 and I might go that way, Hellcat Charger, before the Challenger.

      I’m not a Corvette guy even though I’ve owned a few, including a couple of Z06s. Just don’t see more overall bang for the buck and the C7 is by far the best version ever produced.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Yeah, if I recall correctly, the Hellcat Challenger is in the ballpark of 4,400 lbs.

        Which is a good chunk heavier than even Lowetide’s 1965 Bel Air, a boat of a car that can pretty easily seat 8+ people if you aren’t concerned about seat belts.

        Thats an awful lot of weight for any kind of performance automobile to be carrying.

      • D

        True. I rented a 2012 Challenger and it’s definitely a car that needs a lot of highway because of lack-of-handling. Mainly the “look” is what’s attractive with the Challenger, but the new Corvette beats it even in that category.

  • The problem I see with the ‘full 2 minutes’ rule suggestion is that there are some absolutely terrible calls made by the refs. I actually think it will result in less calls as refs will be more afraid to become accountable. As far as the puck over glass – it used to be a discretionary call. It may still be. But the league has basically told the refs to call it full time. I’d rather it revert to a judgement call. I think Cherry suggested a face off in the defensive zone without a line change a la icing. That would be a good compromise.

  • The scouts have failed....

    You know, I was thinking about it the other day, how VERY good hockey players, on average, have it.

    Let’s compare an office worker with a 40 hr/wk job, 3 weeks paid vacation, and 1 week of various national holidays, to an NHL player.

    The office worker is expected to produce 1920 hours of work per year (doesn’t include their vacation days, holidays–assumes 40hr/wk for 48 wks/yr).

    The average NHL player is part of a 26 week season, with 82 games. That’s about 3.15 games/week (we’ll assume no playoffs). Each game, let’s say they “work” 6 hours per (2.5 hr game, a couple hours before and an hour after the game). That’s 491 hr/yr to games (6 hr/gm x 3.15 gm/wk x 26 wk/season).

    Then let’s add practices–let’s assume 4.5 practices per week in season, for 3.5 hours per. That’s another 410 hours (3.5 hr/pr x 4.5 pr/wk x 26 wk/season).

    So during their season, we’re figuring about 900 hours of work. Now they do work during the offseason, but take a look at the math.

    Assuming they don’t do more during the season than their games/practices, and even assuming they’ll take a 3 week vacation and 1 week national holidays, they’d have to be “working” 46 hour weeks in the off-season to come even with your average office worker in terms of hours worked (1920-900= 1020 hours/22 weeks of offseason).

    Since I’m guessing most do not work 45-50 hours a week (that’s nearly 9 hours/day assuming 5.5 workouts a week in off season), they really do have it made, more than it even appears when you just look at their salaries.

    • The Last Big Bear

      Yes, but the average office job doesn’t involve getting the tar beaten out of you and working yourself to the point of exhaustion on a regular basis, definitely not at a 40 hour/week job.

      Yeah, so maybe they do work far less hours than the rest of us normal people do, but I’d rather keep my office job and longer hours, than try to take the beating they do on a regular basis

    • The Last Big Bear

      Top-tier professional athletes are overpaid to play sports.

      In other news, water is wet. Sun is expected to rise in the east, and new boy band album is at the top of the charts despite not being very good.

    • They have developed/been gifted with a world-class elite level skill that you or I could never possibly dream of possessing.

      For that, they deserve to be handsomely compensated.

      Are you saying they should get paid about half of what an office worker makes?

      Socialism has never worked. Give it a rest.

      • Not at all. Simply observing that for all the “wow, they work SO HARD” and “my goodness, they deserve to be compensated because they’re elite and work so hard”, they really aren’t working that hard.

        Are they absurdly TALENTED? Yes, absolutely. But in terms of how much work they put in to their jobs on an annual basis, its hardly anything at all. People act as though they’re stunned players can even make it through the season, when in reality they’re working quite a bit fewer hours a week than your average office schmuck does

        • The scouts have failed....

          Dress the Office worker up in Hockey Gear and let Pronger work em over for 5 minutes once a month and by the end of a year they will be in a wheelchair.

          The lid to the photo-copier dropping on your head wont do much damage but a Subban or Chara elbow sure will.

          There is no such thing as wage parity o equity.

        • It’s not the relative amount of work they do, it’s the value that work creates. Socialism is an awesome coffee shop topic for underemployed hipsters but capitalism drives the economies of the world. The harder you work and the more talented you are, the farther you can go. Kind of like evolution.

          Alternatively, if you were able to calculate the amount of energy they expend as a measure of “how much work” compared to johnny lunchbucket, you’d be surprised to see they work far harder.

          Then you have to consider every moment of their waking lives from the time they strapped on skates as kids was devoted to hockey – most of which was unpaid. They put more time into skills development, training and preparation than most doctors ever did.

          • Harry2

            Thank you for this especially the last part, you can add to that take the top 100 from every profession in the world – and compare them to the top 100 nhl players (who are the ones who are really getting paid) and tell me then about discrepancy because I can guarantee that the top doctors, teachers, CEOs, firefighters, etc are making very good coin why – because they are the best at what they do. The best of the best get paid regardless of what they do for a living.

    • The scouts have failed....

      One of the posters talked about how good the player has it, however I am not sure if having it made is being questioned by the media after a bad game or in the midst of a slump. A bad injury away from never playing again or being away from the family for a good chunk of 8 months and more if your team is a stanley cup contender. Your summer might consist of a few weeks off but your not far from a gym unless you plan on showing up to camp and getting demoted. Being traded is always a real threat too. Your job is also under threat every minute when some new hot shot is in the minors.

      Do i wish i was a player, of course almost every Canadian boy dreams of it. But that takes an incredible amount of work, luck and god given skill. Plus the statement of hours worked is a false one too, how many guys pounding the keys are actually giving it all for their entire 40 hours.

  • The scouts have failed....

    SWEET!! My question goes #1. Thanks for posting it, and thoroughly enjoyed the answers.

    As for competing in the USA, RB is right, the NHL is behind NFL, MLB, NBA, although not too far from the NBA surprisingly.

    I have to agree that marketing the players could make the NHL more interesting, and Jeanshorts is right about NHL’ers having to be picture perfect people off the ice too (although I might disagree with pickle ball) – either Patrick or Evander Kane are much more interesting than Crosby.

    I’d also argue that since we’re in a social media led world where people are so interconnected, it’s important to market the sport of hockey internationally. Europe is a great place to get going, since it’s already there, but asia should be a focus as well, if only northern asia. What’s the point of being the best at something if nobody really feels it’s worthwhile (“yay I’m number one at pickle ball!!” – “who cares?”)…I got the feeling Canadians, after dominating Sochi hockey, were just like that – “yay, we’re the best at hockey” – rest of world: “shut up, we’re talking about the upcoming world cup”…so for me, the most important thing for hockey is to make it matter somewhere else other than Canada. I have no idea how to do that.

    In N. America soccer is coming, I have no doubt about that. The MLS “Canadian experiment” is a big success, as attendance is great in our cities. This is a commendable thing for Canadians, however the NHL needs to take note, as there are fixed amounts of money able to be spent on sports entertainment, and hockey could lose out to other sports.