Monday Mailbag – December 22nd

Mail

Whether you’re killing time at work, or sitting on your couch in your Ironman pyjamas, the mailbag is here to help you kill off a little bit of your Monday.  Whether that time killed is company time, or time killed until it’s socially acceptable to drink – we don’t care – we just care that you’re here.  Of course, by “we”, I totally mean “me.” Thank you.  If you have a question for the mailbag, you can email me or hit me up on Twitter.  Until then, I present another edition of the Mailbag.

1) Cory Stephens asks – Isn’t having Todd Nelson coach the team just another version of Dallas Eakins from two years ago?  Do you think he will be coaching when next season starts?

Robin Brownlee:

No, it’s not the same. Nelson comes from within the organization and is more familiar with the personnel, including key guys like Hall, RNH, Eberle and Schultz from their time in  OKC. As for next year, that will depend largely on his results for the balance of this season and what coaches become available over the summer.

Lowetide:

I think the Oilers are uncertain about how to proceed in terms of coaching. Craig MacTavish said he wanted to go ‘eyeball-to-eyeball’ with the players and I imagine that’s the first step. Bringing Todd Nelson in allows them to have a new coach who is familiar with many of the players while not committing to a coach for the future. 

Jeanshorts:

That was absolutely my initial reaction. A guy with a couple years of NHL assistant experience, who learned his craft from a list of well regarded coaches, who went on to have a successful run as a head coach in the AHL? SOUNDS VAGUELY FAMILIAR! 

I sincerely hope that Todd Nelson knocks it out of the park and is the coach the Oilers have been searching for since they fired MacT back at the turn of the century. But once again the Oilers continue to just do the same thing over and over again hoping that this time it will be different. I’m not going to hold my breath. 

And as for next year it all depends on how the rest of this season goes. During his first game in Phoenix the power play already looked way more competent, mostly in the fact that they actually put pucks toward the net at a reasonable rate! There are virtually zero expectations on Nelson right now, so I think even the most incremental positive changes will earn him a shot at a full season next year.

Jason Gregor:

I would be surprised. I think they will bring in a more experienced head coach.

Jason Strudwick:

I think the Oilers need a coach with plenty of NHL experience. When the team is playing great or struggling they need a coach that can handle both situations at the NHL level because he has been there before.

Baggedmilk:

This is the Oilers we’re talking about.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they dug up Zdeno Ciger to coach the team.  They need a guy with experience, but will they hire one? That’s a different story.

Value

2) Woogie63 asks – Oilers own four team’s which charge a wide range for “club seats”;

  • Oilers $277/seat
  • Barons $40 CND/seat
  • Condors $36 CND/seat
  • Oil Kings $33/seat

Geography aside, which team provides their paying fans the best value if you’re buying a ticket?

Robin Brownlee:

Never been to a game in OKC or Bakersfield so can’t say much about their game night presentation. If you’re looking for bang for the buck, look at the standings and the price of tickets.

Lowetide:

I enjoy every game I go to, and the Oil Kings are a blast. I’d love to see the Barons or Condors someday. The only team I live and die with is the Oilers, so that’s my answer. 

Jeanshorts:

I’ve only ever been to an Oilers game (I PROMISE I WILL GO TO AN OIL KINGS GAME AT SOME POINT!!) so I can’t really answer this question all that well, but the Oil Kings have won 2 WHL championships and a Memorial Cup in the last 3 seasons, have made the playoffs 5 times in the last 7 seasons, and I’ve always found major junior hockey incredibly entertaining, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ll get the most bang for your buck from that team. 

Jason Gregor:

If you are going solely on hockey results then OKC or the Oil Kings, but for best value it depends on arena environment etc.

Jason Strudwick:

Interesting question. Have you been to games at all 4? I haven’t so i can’t comment on the value.

Baggedmilk:

I haven’t seen all 4 of these teams play. Admittedly, I’ve only been to Oilers games.  That being said, for best value, I would take the price of the ticket and divide by how many points that team has in the standings.  I’ve got fancy stats for days, son!

TheEnd

3) Ryan Arndt asks – Was Dallas Eakins doomed from the start?

Robin Brownlee:

Doomed, no, but he was facing an uphill battle both seasons with the roster he was provided. Not much room for error and rookie head coaches inevitably make mistakes and need a period to settle in.

Lowetide:

I don’t think so. For me Eakins took over a tough situation but there’s a lot of talent there. He made some decisions that he probably regrets and should he get another opportunity there will be things he does differently. 

Jeanshorts:

Absolutely. A rookie NHL coach, with super high expectations because of his sterling minor league resume and a fan base restless for any kind of glimpse of success, inheriting easily the worst built roster in the league, and working underneath an amazingly dysfunctional management group. He was basically a lamb being led to slaughter when they introduced him at that first press conference. 

I think he’s a very smart man, who learned A LOT over his 100 odd game stint, and I’m confident he’ll rebound somewhere and go on to have a fruitful career. But this could not have been a worse scenario for him to start his NHL coaching career. Hockey Gods help Todd Nelson….

Jason Gregor:

Yes. He didn’t have much to work with and he came in believing he was going to change everything. His focus was too broad, he needed to narrow it.

Jason Strrudwick:

His lack of NHL experience wasn’t what was needed with a rookie gm and so many young players through the lineup.

Baggedmilk:

His GM sure treated him like he was doomed from the start.  THE OILERS ONLY HAVE 2 NHL CENTREMAN!  Yes, Arcobello is doing his best (2 beauty goals last night) but he’s not what the Oilers need up the middle.  The Oilers are also ridiculously shallow on the back end, and they haven’t had consistent goaltending all season long.  If I were Dallas Eakins, I would be a lot more annoyed with Craig MacTavish right now.

Change

4) Richard J. Lewis asks – If you were to guess, what do you see happening with the Oilers personnel between now and the draft?

Robin Brownlee:

What personnel? I see the most change in terms of numbers, coming in the pro and amateur scouting staffs, mainly because of the number of people involved. I doubt that happens before the draft.

Lowetide:

I think the pro scouts are turfed any minute now and the amateur scouts are not renewed/fired at the draft. I think Jeff Petry and Viktor Fasth will be traded leading up to the deadline and that the Oilers will audition some OKC Barons. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Jeanshorts:

At this point it’s impossible to predict what will happen. On one hand I can see the entire front office being firebombed and everyone being replaced from top to bottom, but I also would not be surprised in the least if a handful of scouts are fired and everyone else remains intact and the ferris wheel of madness continues to go round and round. The first scenario is ideal, but the second scenario is far more likely 🙁 

Jason Gregor:

There will be some sacrificial lambs. I expect a new head coach…likely some new pro scouts. Amateur scouts possibly as well, but changing them before the draft is difficult, because who can you hire. Most teams will keep their best amateur scouts with them until the draft is over.

Jason Strudwick:

There are so many milestones between now and the draft it would take pages to get to it all. If I am MacT I listen to offers but wait to make any moves until the draft.

Baggedmilk:

I see them trading valuable pieces for pennies on the dollar. Why? Because Oilers – that’s why.  I see them trading a guy like Petry for a 4th round draft pick that never plays a day in the NHL. Why? Because Oilers.

OldTV

5) Bryan Andrews asks – If this season’s Oilers were a TV show, what would the title be?

Robin Brownlee:

Friends.

Lowetide:

The Twilight Zone.

Jeanshorts:

Mad About Everything (and it would be a show about the fans).

Jason Gregor:

Oil Spill.

Jason Strudwick:

Mister Saftey Shoes.

Baggedmilk:

Easy. The Biggest Loser.

  • the ON went down for a bit this morning and i got worried that wanye finally ended it all after blowing that lead last night.

    ” the oilers sure have looked better these last 3 games”

    3 straight losses

    *cries*

  • WTF2

    Both Eakins and MacTavish are to blame for the comedy of errors of the past two seasons. Eakins is to blame because even with the holes in the roster the Oilers should be able to manage better than last place. The team just looked listless under Eakins. At least under Krueger the team had some jump and was playing some of the better hockey I’ve seen them play in years.

    MacTavish is to blame because he came in and made the roster worse. For instance, the centre depth when MacTavish took over was RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, and Smithson – not terrific, but all capable NHL centremen. Now we have two NHL centremen, one AHL centreman, and one very good junior centreman. That is entirely on MacTavish. This is also why the whole “MacTavish is still picking up the pieces from Tambellini” narrative that Jonathan Willis is trying to sell everyone doesn’t hold any water.

  • WTF2

    Few things are as infuriating as watching this team be awful year after year and then look at how much people are paying for tickets. Would love to see management come out and say they will reduce ticket prices by 10% for every year the Oilers don’t make the playoffs… but alas that’s a pipe dream.

    In other news, the Edmonton Rush (who’s tickets range from 40-85 dollars btw) beat the Calgary Roughnecks 11-3 in an exhibition game this weekend. This is a team that went 16-2 in the regular season last year. If you’re looking to watch some entertaining winning games this year. Highly recommend you check them out.

  • S cottV

    What do you guys think about what the motivation is – behind MacT structuring the present coaching the way it is?

    I find it rather curious as why he brings Nelson in, as an interim Head Coach.

    I could see Nelson as an interim Asst Coach or maybe an interim Associate Coach, with an internal eye on considering him as a Head Coach for next year, among other more probable experienced candidates.

    What is MacT doing on this? Sheltering himself? On the bench under pressure from above? Did Nelson only agree if he were to be named interim Head Coach?

    Or – does he really believe that this is the way to go?

    Seems like a too tough a situation to throw Nelson into, the way its structured.

    If you are going to war with a group, they need to know who is in charge when the heat is on. A blurred chain of command gets too many of your own guys killed and results in lost battles.

    Add in the extent of lost battles, organizational kaos, the revolving door on head coaches, the fact that there is nothing really to play for being out of the playoffs and if I were Nelson’s agent – you would almost advise him to pass.

    The guy is gonna have a .250 winning percentage, the way its going and he wont be able to deflect all of the blame from it.

  • WTF2

    If the manager who built the the team to win becomes the coach so he
    can go “eyeball to eyeball” with the organization. Then as the coach he doesn’t
    win….

    Does the manager need to look in the mirror?

    • S cottV

      Based on all the “We/I need to look in the mirror” quotes from the players/organization over the past 9 years I really don’t think there are any mirrors in the dressing room or the offices on Kingsway! Unless they’re those “funhouse” mirrors from K-Days!!

  • ubermiguel

    Woogie63 asks – Oilers own four team’s which charge a wide range for “club seats”;

    •Oilers $277/seat
    •Barons $40 CND/seat
    •Condors $36 CND/seat
    •Oil Kings $33/seat

    Geography aside, which team provides their paying fans the best value if you’re buying a ticket?

    Oil Kings all day based on the quality of hockey, although I hear the Condors put on a good show and they have crazy fun marketing.

    And they don’t own OKC they have an affiliation that ends next year. OKC has a hard time getting people in the building, even with the stacked roster they had during the work stopage.