Monday Mailbag – June 23rd

TimeToLearn

It’s Monday morning, none of us want to be working, and we’re looking for ways to kill time – enter the mailbag.  As always, this feature is completely dependant on you guys. If you’ve got a question you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.  

Enjoy. 

PizzaAndBeer

1) Nation citizen Dave Manson asks – I’m blown away by some of the stories from players 15+ years ago… ie: smoking in the showers after games/between periods, all-night benders the night before games… What are some of the most unhealthy/bizare events you’ve ever seen or heard about NHL players?

Lowetide: 

Hmmm. Guy Lafleur was a legend, but the Boys on the Bus of the 1980s have some stories to tell. There were lots and lots of parties in this city during the ’80s and you could find them by spotting one or more black Porsche’s parked in the vicinity. That’s what my memories took me to, Edmonton, mid-to-late ’80s and parties night and day (after hours a lot) in the city. CERTAINLY doesn’t happen now. 🙂 

Jason Strudwick: 

I will just say it can be a lot of fun to play in the NHL.

Jonathan Willis: 

I’ve read some stories, but I’m sure I can’t compete with the guys who were around 15 years ago so I won’t even try.

Jason Gregor: 

Not much nowadays. I actually think too many people worry about players partying nowadays. In Edmonton, people think the Oilers lose because the players go out after games. Look at the Flyers, they traded Richards and Carter because they supposedly partied too much. That really hurt the Kings. Oilers did the same when they moved Stoll, Torres and Greene. Expecting players to be choir boys all the time is ridiculous. The smart ones know when to party and when not to.

Robin Brownlee: 

Seen plenty. Heard plenty. Know plenty. Stays on the bus — at least until the book comes out.

Brian Sutherby:

When I got traded to Dallas in the 08-09 season I walked into the shower for the first time and saw a silver can mounted on the wall in the corner. It said “Zubie” on it. I walked over and it was filled with cigarette butts. I couldn’t believe in today’s game a guy as good as Sergei Zubov was still able to do that in between periods.

One guy I played with went out the night before a game early in a tough season and had 4 points the next night. So the next night on the road he did it again and had another 4 point night. Obviously this turned into a thing and before you knew it he was a full blown alcoholic (kidding) and was leading the league in scoring. He ended up getting traded to a contender so I don’t know when it stopped, but he didn’t have a season like that again. It was pretty unbelievable.

baggedmilk:

I think it’s pretty hilarious to read about guys crushing darts between periods.  I’ve also heard stories about guys doing bumps for days, back in the day, but that’s all alleged of course. *wink*

ManOnLeash

2) Jesse Romaro asks – There were a lot of good free agent coaches available this offseason. If you were to guess, how much leash do you think Dallas Eakins will have this year?

Lowetide: 

I think the Oilers are committed to Eakins. Now, if he the team heads into the ditch right away this season all bets are off, but if he can keep the club in contention (at or slightly above a point-per-game) it’s likely he’ll be fine. Craig MacTavish is a very loyal person, as is Kevin Lowe and (clearly) Mr. Katz. 

Jason Strudwick: 

I have said it was the perfect storm for the Oilers last year. Many inexperienced players, a nhl rookie coach and gm that were learning on the job. Everyone should accept blame. It should not all be placed on Eakins.

I want to see Eakins grow as a coach. It will show for the way he handles players ice times and unexpected situations. I would like to see inconsistent or indifferent play met with reduced ice time and good play rewarded. I think less interaction with the media would be a good move. The way he dealt with the jersey toss was a mistake. Dealing with the bottle toss by Hall also should have been handled differently.

Jonathan Willis: 

Not long. If it weren’t for the revolving door in the coaching position I’d imagine he’d be gone already.

Jason Gregor: 

He has the freedom to pick his coaches, but from what I hear it wasn’t easy. Regardless of how he got there, at least the head coach is in charge of who he works with. It shouldn’t have taken this long, IMO.

Robin Brownlee: 

Who are the quality coaches left now? Who will be available by the time the season starts? Can’t project any of it to a good or bad start by the Oilers and how it’ll impact the coaching staff here. Eakins has the full backing of MacTavish and Lowe. That’s not going to change with a lousy first month or two.

Brian Sutherby: 

Unless they are absolutely horrendous (like as bad as they started last year) I think he stays the season. People are fooling themselves if they think this team is close to a championship and a lot of that falls on the roster makeup of this team. I think you have to arm the coach with a decent team. If they stay the same I could see a late- or off-season move.

Any improvement from last year’s finish and I think he stays. Small improvements are a realistic expectation, anything greater than that is a bonus, but I don’t think it should be expected with this roster. Perhaps a trade or acquisition before the start of the season may change that, but at this point I don’t see why we should expect a big difference from last year and I don’t fault the coach for that. 

This team has been bad for a long time through MANY coaches. You have to add some better pieces.

baggedmilk:

I’m actually surprised how often people ask about the coaching.  I’m not saying that Eakins is the best coach in the league, but it’s obvious that MacT thinks this is the guy. I bet he lasts the season regardless of what the first month or two look like.

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3) @opie2316 asks – I hear everyone talking about Edmonton being a place where free agents don’t want to go. Is the weather and city as big of a factor as being unable to win? What makes Edmonton so distasteful?

Lowetide: 

The number one factor is the losing. NHL players signed with Detroit because there was a chance to win Stanley, and if Edmonton becomes a contender to win it all then free agents will come here at market or below. I once asked Mark Napier how he felt when coming to Edmonton (80s) and he said he was thrilled—it was like going back to Montreal (a strong contender). Players with freedom to choose, will choose winning.

Jason Strudwick:

Imagine yourself landing in Edmonton in February at 2 am after a game in Vancouver. Driving from the airport through a snow covered landscape to the Hotel Mac. The next morning you awake and drive from the Mac to Rexall, not a great area of Edmonton. 

Visiting teams see the worst of Edmonton. That is the impression that stays with them. A new rink alters their view of Edmonton. Only winning will change the ability of the Oilers to acquire free agents without overpaying. Look at Detroit: with all due respect that is not a great looking city but they have a tradition of winning.

Jonathan Willis: 

I don’t buy it. I’ve said this before: every individual is going to make his own decision based on his own private parameters. The biggest problem is that professional athletes like winning, and Edmonton hasn’t shown any sign of being able to win in years and years. I think being in the north hurts, but I’d also imagine that a lot of athletes raised in Western Canada have warm feelings about the Oilers and about playing back at home; further some guys won’t like the fishbowl but others will enjoy the attention. If the team wins, we’ll stop hearing about what a horrible destination Edmonton is.

Jason Gregor: 

Losing eight years in a row is the main reason. Edmonton can’t sign every UFA available, and I think it has been overblown that they don’t come here.  Edmonton has signed UFAs the past few years, it just hasn’t been Ryan Suter, Zach Parise types…and those players also said no to winning teams. Money is always a factor, but until Edmonton is a playoff team agents won’t be calling telling the Oilers their client really wants to come here. Winning attracts players, not the weather. Weather is likely only a factor for those interested mainly in money, and you wouldn’t want those players anyways.

Robin Brownlee: 

Climate and quality of life in Edmonton has almost nothing to do with attracting free agents. Losing has everything to do with it. Established free agents are going to get their money no matter where they go. Most want a chance to win.

Brian Sutherby:

See the Detroit Red Wings for your answer. Yes weather and the type of city plays a factor for some players but ultimately players want to be a part of a winning organization.

baggedmilk:

I honestly believe that the high end players will come here if the team ever starts winning. Being at the bottom of the standings every single year isn’t something I’d want to be a part of, I can’t imagine NHLers being much different. 

BigDeak

4) Cody Anderson asks – I don’t get the fascination with Justin Schultz. He looked better in his 1st season than the last, and reminds me of a winger than a defenceman.  Do you think he will develop into a 2 way d-man or that the Oilers would be better off trading him while his name is hot?

Lowetide: 

I think the jury is still out on Schultz. For me, the Oilers need to use him with a smart veteran and to give him plenty of offensive zone starts. I don’t think he’s going to be a difference-maker defensively, but he has wonderful offensive skills. How much value that has to an NHL team is open to question.

Jason Strudwick: 

I think he has made progress. Is it really fair to ask a d man to develop in the NHL playing top minutes most nights? 

Jonathan Willis: 

I don’t know that I’d deal him (though I wouldn’t rule it out in the right trade) because we don’t really know for sure what he is yet. With that said, he’s not a top pairing defenceman on most teams in the NHL right now and there are clubs where he’d be in awful tough to crack the top-four.

Jason Gregor: 

He has played 130 NHL games. I don’t understand why people expect him to be a Norris trophy candidate already. You could trade him, but only if the return is good. I wouldn’t give up on him this soon. He came out of college where he played fewer games and the style of play is much different than the NHL or even junior hockey. He needs to work on his defensive zone coverage, but he has excellent instincts on when to jump into the play or take a chance in the offensive zone. It usually takes D-men 300 games to really get comfortable, excluding the great players, so he is still two years away from likely being an sound two-way player. I’m a big fan of Schultz, I wouldn’t give up on him.

Robin Brownlee: 

Fascination by who? His name isn’t hot. The Oilers don’t know how good he might be and neither do other teams. Doubt he’ll ever be a solid two-way defensemen. If he becomes a consistent 40-45 point defenceman he’ll only have to be OK in his own end to be an asset.

Brian Sutherby:

He’s another guy that’s playing way more than he should because he is forced to do so. On a better team I think you would see a better player. I think they need to continue to try and build around him and give guys like him a better supporting cast. Many Oilers have been thrust into roles they shouldn’t be in yet. I don’t love his game right now, but I wouldn’t give up on a guy with his vision and puck moving ability just yet either.

baggedmilk:

The problem with Justin Schultz is that he was thrown in over his head from day one – that’s not his fault. The Oilers need to bring in capable veterans that take some of the pressure off guys like Justin Schultz.  For a defenceman to come in and dominate the NHL in their first year or two is unrealistic. Give Schultz time to learn how to play in the NHL and I bet we’ll have a solid player there. Expecting a Norris trophy defenceman right away is kind of like picking up a guitar for the first time and trying to play the solo from Stairway to Heaven.

Pick3

5) Albertosdad asks – If you could only watch 3 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Lowetide: 

Hmmm. Great question. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is my favorite movie, I watch it two or three times a year and it never ever disappoints. THE GODFATHER is a brilliant movie, just outstanding, and number two is its equal. The third one I feel a little foolish telling you, because most will find it silly. However, I absolutely LOVE the movie STRANGER THAN FICTION, it’s absolutely brilliant. I feel bad not mentioning MIDNIGHT COWBOY, THE SEARCHERS, SHANE, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, TAXI DRIVER, THE BIG LEBOWSKI and hell I’m forgetting a bunch.

Jason Strudwick: 

Braveheart, Godfather and Sleepless in Seattle

Jonathan Willis: 

Just three? That’s brutally tough, but I figure the trick is to pick movies that I’ve actually watched many, many times (since I’ll be watching them over and over again). If I can only pick one it has to be The Princess Bride, which is either the most rewatchable show ever made or very close to it. I thought about the other two slots and surprised myself with a pair of black and white films – the unparalleled Casablanca and High Noon, which is also fantastic. If I could extent it to five I’d slide in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Clue.

Jason Gregor: 

Forrest Gump… Inspiring, heartfelt and has some great life lessons.

Super Bad… We all need comedy in our life.

My Left Foot… It is based on a true story, and I would need a dose of reality. Also, Daniel Day Lewis is an incredible actor and Christy Brown (Lewis’ role) is an individual we should strive to be like.

Robin Brownlee: 

As Good As It Gets

Forrest Gump

American Graffiti

Brian Sutherby:

Wow that’s tough to do… 

The Shawshank Redemption

The Count of Monte Cristo

Man on Fire 

baggedmilk:

Private Parts, Fight Club, and Superbad

DRAFT PARTY

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The Draft Party is coming up this Friday and we’re looking to raise as much money for charity as possible. A $20 ticket gets you a $20 Pint GC, a $10 Oodle Noodle GC, and a Draft Party Tshirt. This year, all ticket proceeds will be split between the ICCP and the Boys and Girls Club Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Edmonton. 

Click here to get tickets.