On the down side, the Oilers lost last night and we’re all asking ourselves what the hell we’re doing with our lives. On the bright side, it’s time for the mailbag and should kill at least a few minutes of company time. If you’ve got a question, feel free to email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Grab a coffee, make sure the boss isn’t looking, and enjoy the mailbag.
1) Ryan Northcott asks – What other league do you enjoy watching the most (i.e. NFL, MLB, NBA etc.) and what individual sport do you enjoy watching the most and why?
CFL. Like our game far more than the NFL version. As for individual sports, golf. One of the toughest sports on the planet to play at the level PGA players do.
CFL. I love the league, have since I was a kid. It’s a wonderful game, the rules are unique and the rivalries are intense and local.
Tennis. I’m not sure why, probably the the tremendous athletes who play the game.
I’ll watch pretty much anything other than the NBA, but I don’t really have the time to track other sports. My favourite to watch (other than hockey) is probably football.
The answer to both parts of your question is the NFL/football. And I honestly have no idea why. I cringe 200 times a game from all the massive head shots these guys are taking on any given play, I feel like 80% of pro football players are human pieces of garbage *COUGH Richie Incognito COUGH* and I despise the fact that there’s about 14 minutes of total game play during a 3 hour broadcast BUT I WILL STILL SPEND AN ENTIRE SUNDAY WATCHING ALL THE FOOTBALL I CAN DAMMIT!!
If I’m being honest with myself part of me still does love seeing the massive collisions, but mostly I think it’s because I can throw it on and only pay scant attention and still know exactly what’s going on.
NFL. Giants are my team. Tour de France.
I enjoy most of them, but CFL and NFL are what I watch the most. NFL intrigues me more recently because of my fantasy football league. Tennis is my favourite individual sport to watch.
I’ll watch basically anything. Hockey is obviously my #1, but I can get down to watching NFL, MLB, PGA… I’m also into NBA highlights because I think the rest of the game if filler anyway.
2) @Higgsdistortion asks – What do you think is most likely to happen… the players stay the same but the coach is changed, or a core member is moved before another coaching change? Why?
A core player will be traded before the coach is fired. That’s always the way it happens. Besides, while I’m not saying Eakins is the second-coming of Scotty Bowman, the Oilers are a flawed team and that needs to be addressed before any coach can have real success here.
The more likely item is a trade. Dallas Eakins has shown improvement year over year, but more important there are clear and obvious holes (C,D) in the roster. MacT still has work to do.
I’d say the coach changes before a core player moves. I say that because it’s awfully hard to move a core player midseason and Craig MacTavish has made it pretty clear he doesn’t have much interest in moving those guys anyway. I do think we’ll see some sort of trade before a coaching change is made, though.
I think we’ll see a big trade before anything else. I’m going to go out on a ledge here and assume MacT realizes that the coaching carousel that’s been happening here for 8 years has been anything but helpful to the development of the young players, and the team as a whole. Dallas Eakins is also “his guy”, and after the Ralph Kreuger buttfumble I get the sense that MacT is going to let this ride out AT LEAST until the end of the season and see where things are from there. It’s super easy to scapegoat the coach (Hi 90% of the commenters on here/Twitter) but even if we made some kind of super coach out of parts of Scotty Bowmen, Pat Burns, Toe Blake and Al Arbour this team still wouldn’t be a playoff contender, not with the roster as it currently sits.
I’m going to say we see a winger traded for a legit centerman by the trade deadline.
None of the above. I think they will ride this season out. Patience is the key.
Depends who you deem as a core player. Hall, RNH, Eberle and Schultz are the only ones MacTavish has mentioned and the only one out of those four who they would trade and who has value is Eberle. I’m not sold that Eakins is the answer, but he sure isn’t the problem either. Until this team learns to be more competitive, some have taken steps this year, RNH and Yak, this team won’t win. They need another centre, more consistent goaltending and a proven top-pair defender, but they also need more players who battle as hard as the opposition every night. I’d lean towards shaking up a key piece before another coaching change.
The last thing the Oilers need to do is fire another coach – they’ve had way too many. I do think that some of the decisions that Dallas Eakins has made have been strange, but I don’t think changing the coach mid year is going to help anything. If anything, I could see one of the core kids and a blue chip prospect being moved for help before MacT fires Eakins. Like it or not, I think that’s the truth.
3) Czar asks – I know it’s early in the season but what do you see the Oilers doing with their goaltending situation? Viktor Fasth is a UFA at the end of the year and there isn’t much to choose from in the UFA pool next summer. What would you do with the goaltending?
Too early to say. Need to give Scrivens and Fasth the season to see if either one is a true No. 1.
It’s an ongoing audition for both in my mind. If Fasth plays his way into the starting job suspect we’ll see him signed. Plenty of track left to go.
It always seems like there are more goalies around than there are places for them to play. For the Oilers, it depends what Fasth and Scrivens show the rest of the way; ideally one of them emerges but if not a stopgap like Antti Niemi at a reasonable price wouldn’t be a terrible idea – it’s what Calgary did with Jonas Hiller and that’s looking pretty good so far.
If Viktor Fasth continues his inconsistent play the rest of the season then I don’t think they should re-sign him. I honestly don’t know if there are any better options out there, as you said the UFA goalie pool is thinner than the lining in the swim trunks I’ve been wearing as underwear every day for the past 5 years, but one name on that list that does jump out at me is Cam Talbot. Every time I’ve seen him step in for Henrik Lundqvist he’s looked pretty great. I’m sure playing behind that Rangers defence hasn’t hurt things but he’s only 27 (turns 28 in July) and so far has a career .932 SV% and a 1.91 GAA. Plus he’s only making $575,000 this year so I can’t imagine he’ll be in the running for a massive raise. If the Rangers don’t re-sign him I wouldn’t mind the Oilers taking a run at his services.
Oilers fans should be praying one of these guys takes over as a number one. Outside of that a trade will be needed to fill the spot and then draft and develop.
Too early to tell, but you are correct there is no white knight they can sign in free agency. They need to hope one of Fasth or Scrivens returns to the form they had before arriving in Edmonton. They need to scout other teams and find a guy who is a #3 somewhere who is good, but not getting an opportunity. Hard to find, but that is why they pay scouts. The Oilers haven’t found a hidden gem in years, but other teams have so I’d put some pressure on my scouts.
I was just looking at the list of UFA goalies for next summer and there’s no saviour there for us. Viktor Fasth hasn’t been great, but it’s not like Scrivens has been lights out either. Of the two, I think Scrivens would be able to be a starter. The guy seems so focused and passionate about the game that I’ve got hope that he’ll improve. As for who his backup will be? We may as well get a dart board out and start making guesses.
4) Allan Jameson asks – Do you think Taylor Hall has to change his approach to the game? I admire his recklessness, but I worry about how his style of play will affect his longevity. Thank you!
No, he doesn’t need to change his approach more than he already has. Hall isn’t reckless. He plays with gusto. Diminish that and you diminish him as a player.
I think he’s already changed it a little, he is less vulnerable than in the past. Players get injured, Hall’s had his share, but imo he’s less reckless than in the past.
Not really. I think we’ve already seen Hall make some big adjustments since he broke into the NHL; from my viewpoint he has a pretty decent balance between self-preservation and doing whatever it takes.
I don’t think he needs to. I understand the argument for that, and I had similar thoughts when we drafted him, but at the same time if you look at the major injuries he’s incurred so far in his pro career they’ve all been more or less freak accidents; tweaking his ankle in a fight, getting his face stomped on in warmups by his own teammate, and now getting steered into the net and hitting his knee. He’s taken a few good open ice hits, but who in this league hasn’t? And he did have major shoulder surgery, but again that seems like a very common thing in the NHL, especially for a guy who doesn’t shy away from the corners or contact in general. If he starts taking a few good shots to the head a la Nathan Horton then maybe we could open up this argument again, but for now I’d rather have Taylor Hall going full bore out there with a medium chance of injury, than Taylor Hall playing at 3/4 speed and being less effective.
He has become more aware on the ice. He is fine.
He changed it after getting rocked by Sarich. You can’t ask him to slow down or not attack, that is what makes him so dangerous, but he has gotten much better at not putting himself in dangerous positions to get hit.
I think Taylor Hall has already has adjusted his game. I think he was way more likely to get levelled with a suicide pass in his first couple seasons than he is now. I’ve also noticed that Taylor Hall seems to be keeping his emotions in check a little bit better this year. Of all the people to worry about, I don’t think Taylor Hall is one of them.
5) Richard Franklin asks – What was the worst job you’ve ever had, and how long did you last?
Cleaning boxcars on a CN platform as a summer job. You had seven minutes per car to sweep out grain dust, horse shit and whatever had been in the cars. No matter how hot the day, how dirty the cars where, they kept coming at the same rate hours on end. Stayed for the summer because the pay was good.
When I was a kid, a local farmer (Bud Leachman) used to hire me to pick rocks. It was very difficult work, and long days. It was an important time in my life, though. I’ve dedicated myself to NEVER HAVING TO PICK ROCKS AGAIN!!!!
I’ve never really had a terrible job. Restaurant work when I was in school didn’t pay very well but it was fun. The most demanding was working at an oilfield equipment shop; there was lots of long days (and weeks, and months) in the winter and a fair amount of crawling on hands and knees in frozen separators. I was there for just under five years and don’t regret it at all.
I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of never really having a shit job. Catering wasn’t super fun but shifts were only like 5 hours and you got a bunch of free food. Working at Save On had it’s crappy moments, but 90% of that was just dealing with shithead customers. And then I spent a decade working in TV before starting this even cushier gig, so it’s been a pretty okay road so far for this guy. And it also helps explain why I have little-to-no work ethic when it comes to anything labor intensive!
Carpet Cleaner. 10 days after I started I was drafted. I quit the next day.
Sandblasting tanker drums. It was brutal. The only job I ever quit. I worked six hours and during the afternoon coffee break I left. It wasn’t for me, and I did feel guilty for quitting, but when you know something isn’t for you there is no reason to stay.
Man… I’ve had some bad ones. One summer I worked at a Donkey farm North of the city. The people that ran the farm were nice enough, but the job was terrible. I spend 10 hours/day tilling soil for lilies. Why did they grow lilies on a Donkey farm? I have no idea. I only lasted a week.
Another one was when I first got out of NAIT. I went for an interview for a “Marketing Associate” position, and ended up getting the job a few days later. For my first day I was told to expect a few meetings and a few sales calls. Instead, what I ended up doing was walking around from business to business for 8 hours trying to sell crap to the people who worked there. We would drive from industrial parks to strip malls, and we’d blanket each one. I remember the product we were trying to sell was some lame generator that not one person bought all day. It was my one and only day – I quit that afternoon.