Monday Mailbag – December 15th

Mail

Unfortunately, the weekend is over.  Fortunately, the mailbag is here to help you kill as much company time as is humanly possible.  As always, feel free to email me your questions to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com, and we’ll get to them as soon as we can.  Without further adieu, the Mailbag.

Presser

1) Vetinari asks – Was MacT’s press conference what you were expecting? If you could have asked him 1 question, what would it have been?

Jonathan Willis:

Yes, it was pretty much exactly what I was expecting; there isn’t much he really can say. Because he said he wouldn’t answer questions about specific players, I’d have asked him if the Oilers’ tendency to rush players to the NHL – Gagner, Cogliano, Paajarvi, Lander, now Draisaitl – was hurting their development and if he had any plans to alter his approach.

Robin Brownlee:

Exactly what I was expecting. As for the question, MacTavish should have been pushed harder on his statement about being on the job only 18 months. Returned in hockey ops for 10 months before that and his time as coach can’t be ignored — he most definitely had input on personnel decisions in tandem with Kevin Lowe during those years.

Lowetide:

Mostly. I would have asked him why the organization is unwilling to add another center in order to improve depth at the position.

Jason Gregor:

I did ask him about the centres, but I would have liked to ask another one, but their PR people limited it to one per person. I would have liked to ask him why he was willing to overpay for UFA D-man, Nikitin, but not a veteran centre.

Jeanshorts:

It went pretty much exactly how I expected. A whole lot of talking without actually saying anything. Though I did really appreciate how he opened with “this isn’t going to satisfy anyone”. Setting the tone early! 

I would have asked him why he looked at the roster during training camp and apparently thought “Yes, this will work JUST FINE!” when everyone and their dog knew this roster was doomed from the beginning.

Matt Henderson:

I guess it was what I was expecting. The Oilers have been passing the blame for a while. I would have liked to press MacT what the new draft philosophy that he mentioned really was.

Baggedmilk:

It’s pretty much what I expected, except for the shade MacT threw at Tambellini and how he got defensive about his management tenure.  I give MacT credit, he got in front of traffic and took the collision head on.  I wish he would have said something more, but I’m more of a realist than that.  I would have liked if someone had asked him about how the Norris voting was coming along.

WouldYa

2) Brett asks – What is the Oilers first round pick in the 2015 draft worth today? If you were Mac T, would you consider trading it?

Jonathan Willis:

Lots and lots and lots. And honestly, as long as it was McDavid-protected I’d consider it.

Robin Brownlee:

Not trading it this year of all years. Three significant players at the top of this draft.

Lowetide:

A lot. A tremendous amount. It COULD be McDavid. No, I wouldn’t consider trading the pick, because if it is McDavid I’d have to leave Edmonton. 

Jason Gregor:

Value isn’t that much. The Oilers are in 30th, which gives them best chance at McDavid, however, if they trade the pick and get two or three NHL players, then they improve and the draft pick becomes less valuable. That pick’s real value will be determined after the draft lottery.

Jeanshorts:

It’s impossible to gauge the value of anything trade-wise these days because the market never seems to have any kind of consistency. The Islanders landed Johnny Boychuk for just two second round picks, whereas if it had been the Oilers we would have probably had to give up Yak, Klefbom and a pick or something. 

As of right now I’d like to think that the Oilers first round pick could get them at least a #2 D-man, an actual NHL centre and probably a good blue chip prospect who’s on the verge of making the leap, but again this being the Oilers we’d probably end up with like Tomas Kaberle, Jonathan Cheechoo and a sack full of beef bouillon cubes.

And I would only consider trading it if the return coming back was something you couldn’t say no to. Pretty much every first overall pick is labelled as “generational talent” but I think it’s closer to actually being true this year more than any other year over the last little while. At the very least there are two high end centre prospects coming down the pipe in the first two spots, so unless a player like that who already has NHL games under his belt is coming back the other way (or, like, PK Subban maybe? A GUY CAN DREAM!) I wouldn’t trade the pick.

Matt Henderson:

That pick is worth a 100% chance of at least Eichel and a 20% of getting Connor McDavid (at the time of answering this question). That is worth a lot. Connor McDavid looks like a generational player. It’s harder to gauge exactly where Eichel fits on the scale because of the league he plays in, but he’s a fantastic player too. I would absolutely consider trading it, but it wouldn’t be for chump change. 

Baggedmilk:

Could you imagine if MacT traded that pick and it ended up being McDavid? That’s the most asinine thought I’ve ever heard.  That being said, we’re talking about the Oilers.  

Goalie

3) Sheldon Schultz asks – Would you be in favour of the League changing any of the equipment that players have? If so what changes and how would it improve the game?  For example; Would the changes improve safety and head injures?  If no, why no changes?

Jonathan Willis:

Not really, with the caveat that continued vigilance on goalie pads is warranted. The league already made the big change, grandfathering visors, and I don’t know that there’s a logical next step that should be NHL-mandated.

Robin Brownlee:

The construction and configuration of helmets in the NFL is improving by leaps and bounds to better protect the jaw area — helmet extends further down on the jawline. I’d like to see if some of that technology could be applied to hockey helmets.

Lowetide:

Smaller goalie pads, smaller shoulder pads, everyone wears a shield. 

Jason Gregor:

I would make goalie equipment smaller, but since that seems impossible I would make it mandatory that all players wear the plastic guards on the tongue and sides of their skates. That would prevent foot injuries, which have increased drastically due to many players feeling they have to block shots.

Jeanshorts:

I’d be in favour of the NHL getting rid of any kind of plastic caps on shoulder and elbow pads. I think it would help reduce injuries in that guys would probably start thinking twice before barrelling into the corners at 1000MPH, but it definitely wouldn’t eliminate ALL injuries. 

Matt Henderson:

I’ve always been in favour of softer padding. You should feel it when you hit someone. Padding is supposed to be for protection not for making you invincible. I would also love to make goalie equipment smaller. We can send a monkey to space but we can’t make goalie equipment safer while also smaller? I don’t buy it.

Baggedmilk:

I remember playing with shoulder pads that looked like they were made for a linebacker.  They were huge, and the shoulders were covered with hard plastic.  I’m sure that they could lose the plastic, or soften it up.  

4) Alex Aiden asks – Were you surprised that the Senators fired Paul MacLean given that the Senators had just won the night before?

Jonathan Willis:

No, a lot of times it takes a couple of days for the shoe to drop, and once a manager has decided that he’s lost confidence in the coach there’s no sense reversing that decision because of a win or two.

Robin Brownlee:

Still am surprised. Apparently Paul went from being a coddler to demanding more from his players and actually saying they stank when they stank. Too tough on them. Seems that’s a no-no in today’s NHL.

Lowetide:

I was surprised they didn’t try to shore up the defense before trading him.

Jason Gregor:

No. It was clearly something they had been thinking about for awhile. It sounds like it wasn’t about wins and losses, but more about a conflict of personalities. It is interesting that Bryan Murray, the GM, is now on his 5th head coach in 7 seasons. He is entering Oilers territory.

Jeanshorts:

It wasn’t surprising in that the Sens have been up and down during MacLean’s tenure, but the timing of it WAS pretty weird. Like you said they had just pulled off a comeback win, they’re only 4 points out of a wildcard spot and haven’t looked that terrible this year. There were rumblings that some players were starting to have problems with MacLean, and Eugene Melnyk is an insane person, so I’m sure those factors had a lot to do with it, but as with everything the Sens do the optics of the whole thing were really strange. 

Matt Henderson:

Winning the night before and getting fired in the morning happens relatively frequently in the NHL. So that part doesn’t surprise me. I’m more concerned that the Sens thought the coach is to blame despite the fact that the team is 30th in payroll. It isn’t built to win. 

Baggedmilk:

All I could think about was MacLean’s lookalike that shows up on TV sometimes.  What is he going to do now?  Now he’s just a guy with a huge moustache.  Who’s thinking about him?

Daughter

5) Blair asks – If you had or have a daughter, which one of the Oilers would you want her to date?

Jonathan Willis:

I have no idea, but I do hate answering a question that way. Did you know that Napoleon wasn’t actually short for his time period?

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t. If I had a daughter, say in the next couple of years, I’d have to wait another 18-20 years to know who was on the team at that time before answering. Feel free to get back to me then.

Lowetide:

I do have a daughter. Next question.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think any father pushes his daughter to date a pro hockey player. Some of them are very good guys, don’t get me wrong, but If I had a daughter I would have no clue who to date. I’d leave that up to her mother. I just want to be the guy standing at the door scaring the hell out of the kid.

Jeanshorts:

Ben Scrivens has an Ivy League education, is incredibly generous and great in the community and he seems like just a real good dude all around. Hell, if he wasn’t married I’D WANT TO DATE HIM! 

Matt Henderson:

I have a daughter, she’s too young to date. BUT, when she’s 25 and living away from home I will be OK if she brings Ryan Nugent-Hopkins over for Xmas Dinner. As long as his hand-shake has more substance than his moustache things will turn out just fine.

Baggedmilk:

Can I pick anyone?  I’m going to go with Randy Gregg circa 1990.  It was before he became a doctor, so I’m thinking I would wish her upon him early.  Her, of course being the fictional 50-something year old daughter I don’t have.