Monday Mailbag – January 26th

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.  With that, I present your first workplace distracting of the week. Enjoy.

Basement

1) Brayden L. asks – From what I see the Oilers are playing themselves out of the NHL basement.  Is that a mistake by MacTavish considering the generational talents at the top of the draft?

Robin Brownlee:

Long way to go still. I expect we’ll see the roster weakened by moves between now and the deadline. I expect Jeff Petry to be moved, for starters. In any case, trying to finish dead last to ensure one of the first two picks is going to be difficult because Buffalo is terrible.

Matt Henderson:

The Oilers have been 30th place bad in large part because of goaltending that was so bad it could only get better. The Oilers climbing ahead of a couple teams was an inevitability all season. Is it a mistake? Let’s see how this team looks after the trade deadline. We could be right back to Last Place Hockey again.

Lowetide:

The Oilers are auditioning a new coach in Todd Nelson, and it’s crazy to undermine a team coming together under a new coach. The pick will have to take care of itself. Edmonton may have their coach of the future here and that must take priority in my opinion. 

Jason Gregor:

You can’t ask players to lose on purpose. He traded Perron away for a draft pick and 4th liner. Unless you want him to give away more players for nothing, there isn’t much he can do. I’ve always said you have to be really bad, or get lucky with a string of injuries to finish 30th.

Jeanshorts:

If anything, I think MacT did what he thought was going to shore up a last place finish. Traded Mark Arcobello for a much older and broken down version of Mark Arcobello. Traded away one of the only legitimate depth scoring guys and last season’s team leader in goals, for a 4th liner on his third team of the season, plus some magic beans. Brought in ANOTHER coach with absolutely zero NHL head coaching experience, has done absolutely nothing to shore up the defence or goaltending, and appears to be well on his way to losing the only good D-man on the team for MAYBE a 2nd round pick. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately? I can’t even decide anymore) Derek Roy and Todd Nelson have helped inject some new life into the team, combined with the fact that the goalies have finally started playing like average NHL goalies, and the Oilers have a bit of an easier schedule in the second half of the year. PLUS Buffalo is making a crazy hard push to never win another game for the rest of the year. It’s basically been worst case scenario in the Fall For First Overall. 

TL;DR No, this isn’t a “mistake” by MacT, and it’s hilarious that now that we’re winning a few games he’s at fault for not icing a crappy enough team, when he was also (rightfully) at fault for icing way too crappy of a team when they couldn’t win a game to save their lives. The life of an Oiler fan! 

Jason Strudwick:

No it isn’t a mistake. There are teams in the NHL that have way more UFAs to trade away. They will be a shell of a NHL team after the deadline. The OIlers can’t compete with that. Also the Oilers need to “move this thing forward”. They can’t continue to be one of the worst teams in the NHL. Stability of effort and structure are the two elements I would like to see from the OIl down the stretch.

Jonathan Willis:

Let’s wait until they have some real success before worrying about the negative ramifications of that success. They’ll be picking top-five anyway no matter how well they play.

Baggedmilk:

I bet if we were able to find the door to Kevin Lowe’s underground lair that we would hear rumblings from management that they’re upset about the wins.  I say, if you’re going to fail you’d may as well fail spectacularly.  Although, it appears that Buffalo lives by the same motto.

CoachKiller

2) Patrick LeChance asks – Is there such thing as a “coach killer?” It seems like a buzz word that we hear every year around certain players if the team isn’t performing.

Robin Brownlee:

Yes there is such a thing. Can take many forms. Don’t recall hearing that around the Oilers “every year” if that’s the team you’re referring to.

Matt Henderson:

I think there is such a thing but I’m hesitant to label any player a coach killer. I also think it’s hard on a team of 20-23 guys to have 1 who is the coach killer. I think a coach killer is a star player who completely disregards the instruction of his coach to the point where the team can fail and the coach get fired. So that is predicated on the player having that much influence and the coach being absolutely right in what he/she asks of the player. I don’t know. It’s all wish washy.

Lowetide:

Young players who are inconsistent can certainly try the coach’s patience and may contribute to a coach being fired. I don’t buy men like Phil Kessel being coach killers though. Streaky doesn’t mean a player is holding back their skill, stuff happens.

Jason Gregor:

A combination of bad players will likely get any coach fired. It is hard for one player to get a coached fired.

Jeanshorts:

I have a really hard time believing that on a team of 22 players, ONE guy can be solely responsible for the coach not getting the desired results. This is just one of those things that happens when a team is perpetually crappy/underachieving and their best player is having an off year/unable to single handedly drag their team to success *waves at Ovechkin*. 

Jason Strudwick:

Yes, there are coach killers. Players that refuse to be part of the team success which mean sacrificing part of their individual success. Listen or read comments out of Chicago and LA. Those players talk about their team and the right way to play.

Jonathan Willis:

Probably, but for the most part I think it’s used as shorthand for ‘this is the best player on a bad team and after a while we just need to blame the best player because all the terrible players below him on the depth chart have been traded.’ You can see why they use shorthand; that’s terribly long to squeeze into a column with a word count.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve been Googling all morning and I have yet to find one story of a coach being killed by one of his players. Seriously, look it up. *rimshot* 

Gretz

3) Kurtis B. asks – No player in the NHL is on pace for 50 goals this year.  Is that because the game is changing, or are the goal scorers having off years?

Robin Brownlee:

Over the past decade there’s only been two, three or maybe four 50-goal men most years. Goaltenders are bigger and better and there’s more emphasis and attention to defensive detail now.

Matt Henderson:

Mumps. The answer is mumps.

Lowetide:

I think it’s luck mostly. Alex Oveckhin is the guy you always look to and Tyler Seguin seems like he’ll threaten that number, plus there are any number of Penguins who can push that number. I suspect someone gets hot in the second half and reaches the number.

Jason Gregor:

Technically, Seguin and Nash are on pace for 50, and Ovechkin is just under. We haven’t seen many 50-goal scorers recently. I wrote about it last week and you will see that we have only witnessed three western conference players score 50 in a season since 2003. Video and advanced coaching is hurting offence, because teams can prepare, but we still have elite players like Ovechkin, Stamkos who can score 50 and Seguin might become one of those skilled scorers as well.

Jeanshorts:

The game is definitely changing. Teams live and die by defensive systems, goalies have gotten humungous big and are more athletic than ever, and I think a lot of teams are becoming more well rounded, and score as a team rather than relying on just one guy for the majority of the offence. These things are usually cyclical so I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple guys broke through the ceiling again over the next few years. And I also can’t wait for the NHL to introduce a bunch of useless new rules they think will help increase scoring, and end up changing the game for the worse! (See: Trapezoid, Puck Over Glass penalty). 

Jason Strudwick:

It is so hard to score in the NHL. I really feel the goalie equipment needs to be shrunk. Most goalies are very tall but very skinny, yet they look like monsters in their gear.

Jonathan Willis:

Hard to say. There aren’t usually more than one or two in any given season, so it doesn’t take many players having off years for that sort of thing to happen.

Baggedmilk:

I think it’s almost unfair to expect a bunch of guys to score 50-goals like they used to back in the day – it’s basically comparing apples to oranges.  Goalies were so bad, back in the day, that scoring 50 goals could almost happen by accident.  Now days, goalies are infinitely better (and look more like tanks) than they used to be, and the defensive schemes are way better. 

Fortune

4)  Glenn H. asks – What happens to Todd Nelson if the Oilers decide to go with a more experience coach next season?  Isn’t he still under contract?

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t know. Nelson was passed over once for Dallas Eakins. Why would he want to stick around if Oiler management goes another direction yet again?

Matt Henderson:

I think technically he’s under contract but I would think that the team would allow him to interview for NHL jobs. Sometimes when coaches sign deals there are provisions that prevent them from applying for jobs elsewhere. If he’s passed over the Oilers need to do the right thing and let him apply. Even if he doesn’t get a job it’s the right move.

Lowetide:

I’m sure they’d love to have him back in the AHL next year (if he isn’t the head coach) but there’s miles of blacktop to travel. I’m going to suggest the Oilers may well have their coach of the future in Nelson.

Jason Gregor:

Oilers would grant him permission, like they did last summer, to interview for other NHL jobs. If he landed a job they would let him go. If he didn’t, and had no other AHL options he’d likely return, but if the Oilers go with a veteran coach over him, I’d bet he would  want out of organization and they would mutually agree to part ways. There is no reason for them to hold him back from another team if they won’t hire him full time.

Jeanshorts:

I’m honestly not sure how this works. He’s still under contract for two more seasons so I don’t see why they couldn’t just send him back down to OKC if a guy like Bylsma decides he wants to commit career suicide and come coach this team next year. I’ll defer to Willis on this one though.

Jason Strudwick:

I would make him an assistant if he will take it. He knows the guys in the AHL very well and what makes them tick. But If I were Todd and passed over twice by the Oilers I would feel it was time to move on.

Jonathan Willis:

Just signed it last summer, in fact. That’s a pretty good question – it’s awfully hard to bump him back to the AHL after he’s been an NHL  coach. Doubtless it’s a question Nelson would rather not know the answer to.

Baggedmilk:

If the Oilers pass over Nelson for the second time, I would hope that they’d let him go despite the fact that he’s under contract.  The guy looks like he’s ready for a shot at being an NHL coach (his suit game needs work though) and I would expect the Oilers to either give it to him, or let him go to chase the dragon (NHL coaching job, not heroin).

chick-flick

5) Sara Philips asks – Last week there was a question about getting girlfriends watching hockey games, but I want to know what WE can do to get GUYS to come to more chick flicks?

Robin Brownlee:

Castration?

Matt Henderson:

I’ve always found that most guys are open to all kinds of…bribery. You might need to get a little creative with this one. Maybe spice things up. Spend a couple of hours, take things slow, then turn the heat up and really blow him away. I’m of course talking about making a delicious roast in the oven. Food is the direct path to a man’s heart.

Lowetide:

Mrs. Lowetide doesn’t like chick flicks. She likes comedies and whodunit’s and documentaries like that Steve Jobs item that was out awhile back. I’ve been married to her for 31 years and that’s really cut into my dating life. 🙂

Jason Gregor:

If he wants to keep seeing you, then politely tell him he needs to see a chick flick now and again. Don’t ask him to pull a 180 and watch one every week, but most guys would do it a few times a year, if they truly like you. If you go to a few games a year with him it isn’t a big deal. Compromise is the key. If he refuses, then he likely isn’t that in to you.

Jeanshorts:

*A million dirty thoughts pop into my brain at once. Dies of brain aneurysm*

Jason Strudwick:

A truly well rounded man will be open to anything his Gf/Wife is interested in doing. The street works both way. He can’t be selfish. I offer up the same advice I gave last week. Kick him to the curb and find a guy that will go with you.

Jonathan Willis:

The problem with chick flicks is the same as with any other movie – lots and lots of them are terrible. If it’s funny and done well I have no problem watching a romcom.

Baggedmilk:

Have you considered liking better movies? 

  • I think the year to tank was probably last year because Ekblad is a (in my best Pierre Maguire voice) MONSTER!! You will see that he will be the next captain of the Panthers, will eventually captain Team Canada and be one of the top D men in the entire league. Sure either of the McEichel guys would be nice but the good teams build from the net up, and Ekblad would’ve been our Pronger for his whole career and not just one wonderful news reporter impregnating season.

  • vetinari

    On the draft issue– last place, at best, is only guaranteed one of the two prized centres but really, nabbing the first overall pick for three years didn’t help the Oilers avoid the tailspin this year when management left gapping holes at three crucial positions (goal, defence and centre).

    Just win. Have some good vibes going into the off season and use it to show prospective UFAs that there is something worth coming to Edmonton for.

    As for Nelson, if the Oilers don’t keep him as head coach and he won’t stay as an assistant, do the right thing and give him the option to either resume his career as head coach in OKC or give him the option to walk as a free agent with no strings attached as a reward for taking the job that no one else wanted or could do in mid season.

  • Last year I thought for sure if we were talking about McDavid Lowe would finally be gone. I hope they finish 4th last, lose the lottery and pick fifth. When they’re at the bottom of the league when the new rink opens, then can we get rid of Lowe? What’s it gonna take?

      • Cap hit of $5.75 million. Contract is in decline and final 2 years only $3 million. He is 29. Id strongly consider this if the goal is to get better. He makes this team better. Im sorry but I dont buy into this fall for McDavid or Eichel crap. Put the best team on the ice and let the chips fall where they may…

      • The Last Big Bear

        Mike Richard’s career WORST full season is 34 points, when he was an 18 year old rookie.

        Benoit Pouliot has only hit that number once, in his career BEST season of 36 points, which he did at age 27.

        They have comparably hideous contracts, but for the player on the ice I’d take Richards over Pouliot 10 times out of 10.

        The Oilers are not in a position to be turning their noses up at NHL-calibre talent, no matter where it comes from.

      • MorningOwl

        he was too far down in the Kings amazing depth chart to be given fair opportunity. there is NO WAY the Oilers can afford to pass on the opportunity to grab a legit #2 center for FREE!!!

        My word, how can there be any hesitation? losing for so long has damaged the thinking process of some people!

  • The Last Big Bear

    I think the “playing their way out the basement” talk is going to end awful darn fast if/when guys like Petry start getting traded.

    And another thing, I think there’s only one guy in hockey who’s still working who has more 1st overall draft picks than Kevin Lowe.

    So I think he knows a thing or two about losing, if there’s ever a concern.

  • It’s emberassing to read comments and articles supporting a planned tank to increase the odds of getting McDavid by a couple percentage points. Those people deserve this team. It’s an insult to the term “professional team”

  • BobbyCanuck

    I would like to read an article about what our forum journalists think we could get for trading Hall and/or Eberle

    Enough already about articles about trading bottom pairings and 3rd lines

    iirc, we are only $3 or $4 million away from the cap,and if this off season means we are going to be gunning for actual NHL’ers. Perhaps we need some cap space…

  • Czar

    Sara, if you are having trouble getting your man to watch lesbian porn with you I think it’s time to cut bait and run, he’s probably a closet Flames fan.

  • MorningOwl

    How did everyone feel about obtaining Derek Roy for the Oilers? Wasn’t the concern for Nashville because his offence fell off?

    Ya his contract is terrible but that doesn’t mean he can’t turn it around. Put Mike Richards in a top 6 role instead of a bottom 6 role with players that want to learn and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers keep rolling in the W columns.

    Oilers need NHL ready players. As much as I want the Oilers to get McDavid I really don’t see us landing 30th at the end of the year so why not pick up the quality players now while you can?

  • Ouroboros_Hydrocarbon

    Richards is a champion on all levels; NHL, AHL, JR, IIHF. As well as a multiple award winner…
    I vote for retirement or the switch to minor league baseball. Atleast it worked for MJ and CHITOWN ha

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m sure MacTavish is interested in having Richards here, but like on other potential waiver pick ups, asking the player if he’s interested in even coming here could save the Oilers yet more public embarrassment.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    RE. 50 goals

    I seen a bit of an old all-star game this weekend. It was on in a restaurant with no sound. Don’t know which one it was but Daryl Sittler, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky . . .

    Pete Peters was one of the goalies. Not only we’re his leather shin pads minute, his gloves were probably the same size that defencemen use nowadays.

    Although the shooters now have their ripping composite hockey sticks the change in tenders equipment has to be a huge factor in less goals.

    #makethenetbigger