Monday Mailbag – February 2nd

Mailbag

You watched the Super Bowl, you drank too much, and now you’re looking for a way to kill time at work.  Luckily, the mailbag is here to save you from being too productive.  As always, the mailbag depends on your questions.  If you have one, you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Enjoy the distraction.

Buffalo

1) Steveland Cleamer asks – What is it about Buffalo this year that they are doing so poorly?  They don’t have an overly terrible roster with Myers, Ennis, Moulson, etc. and they weren’t this bad last year.  Is the absence of Miller making that large of an impact on their team/season?

Jonathan Willis:

No, it’s a legitimately terrible roster; if anything the goaltending has at times been the team’s saving grace. Tyler Myers probably isn’t a No. 1 D but he’s far and away the best on that roster; an aging, slowing Josh Gorges is No.2 and the oldest player on their second defence pairing won’t turn 21 until October. Their No. 1 forward in terms of ice-time is Zemgus Girgensons, who just turned 21 this month; he also anchors the PK. It’s kids and terrible veterans pretty much all the way down with only a handful of exceptions.

Jeanshorts:

This is the same question people have been asking about the Oilers for a few years now! “The Oilers have (insert 9000 first overall picks) how are they still this bad?” I’m not really sure why Buffalo is so bad, I haven’t really been paying attention to them this year, but they’ve given up even more goals than the OILERS so I’ve got to assume their goaltending is one of the main culprits. They have both the worst PK AND PP in the league, while giving up the most shots on goal and taking the least amour of shots per game (BAD CORSI!), so it seems that, much like the Oilers, the Sabres just a really poorly built team, despite having some talented players.

And I could type 10,000 words on why Ryan Miller has been overrated for going on four years now, but that’s a question for a different mail bag. 

Lowetide:

I respectfully disagree about the roster. That’s an expansion roster and the men you mention—while good NHL players—are not great enough in number to make a difference.

Robin Brownlee:

Awful goaltending and a pitiful power play is a good place to start. Name four of their defensemen without looking it up.

Jason Gregor:

They aren’t that good. Their blueline is pretty young, and their forwards are not scoring. Hodgson has two goals in 49 games and he is supposed to be their first or second line centre. They are built to be bad and that is what management wants for now.

Jason Strudwick:

I expected Carolina to be the worst team this season. I was close! The sabres do not have the top end talent needed to compete. The players you mentioned are second line guys.

Matt Henderson:

I think the problem is you just listed all their NHL players. The rest of the team is terrible. Hodgson is playing like he wants his next contract in the Swiss League, Moulson was completely invisible against the Oilers, and Stewart looks about as effective at his job as I am at mine. Total gong show. It isn’t the goaltending. They have been getting good net minding. I just don’t think anyone there cares anymore. 

Baggedmilk:

I couldn’t get over how bad Buffalo looked when the they played the Oilers last week.  There were long stretches where the Oilers dominated the play… THE OILERS DOMINATED THE PLAY.  Honestly, I think it will be tough for any team to catch Buffalo in terms of awfulness.

East

2) Rob K. asks – What explains the Oilers’ success against the Eastern Conference this year?

Jonathan Willis:

Lots of things. People say they match up well stylistically, and I think there’s an element of that. Overall, the East simply isn’t as good as the West, so that plays a part, too. And there’s an element of chance, too – it’s like Buffalo losing to Florida but then beating Los Angeles and Calgary in successive games; it’s not necessarily that L.A. or Calgary is easier to play than Florida, just that those were the games where the Sabres had enough fall into place to record the win. 

Jeanshorts:

I’m completely pulling this out of my ass right here, but I think that more Eastern teams play a style of game that suits the Oilers. A lot more run and gun style of offence, up and down the ice quickly and often, more of a “track meet” style of game. Where as the Western Conference has this aura of being built more “heavily” and playing a more physical, grinding style of game, which is obviously not ideal for an Oilers roster filled with middleweights. That, or maybe there are just more poorly built teams in the East. I HAVE NO IDEA! 

Lowetide:

Eastern Conference is a poor conference. I’d suggest six of the top nine teams in the NHL are in the west. 

Robin Brownlee:

Success — relatively speaking, you mean. Fewer big, strong teams in the East and the simple fact the West is a tougher overall conference.

Jason Gregor:

You have to win some games, but mainly it is due to most East teams not being as heavy of teams as the West and they play a more run and gun style that suits the Oilers.

Jason Strudwick:

It is widely accepted that the East is the weaker of the two. There is more depth at center in the West which creates obvious match up issues for the Oil.

Matt Henderson:

The Eastern Conference is a joke. True story. They have great players on some teams but they don’t have great teams. 

Baggedmilk:

The Oilers only have 13 wins on the season, so when they actually win something it’s noticeable.  As it turns out, most of those wins have come against a weaker Eastern conference.  I think it will be pretty tough for whoever comes out of the East to beat the West in the playoffs.  The teams seem bigger, stronger, and more ready to impose their will on you.

Fight

3) Brian Chamberlain asks – Hockey fighting seems to be on the decline but I have always loved a good scrap. What is the best NHL fight that you can remember?

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t particularly care about fighting one way or the other so most of them aren’t terribly memorable for me. I’ll admit I was smirking as I watched Theo Peckham grab and pummel Claude Lemieux, though.

Jeanshorts:

I’m not sure if it’s the BEST scrap I’ve ever seen, but I’ll never forget the Senators/Sabres brawl of 2007. That was just one of those lightning in a bottle scenarios; I was working on some kind of homework, decided to throw a hockey game on in the background, which just happened to be this game. Next thing I know everyone is going MENTAL and trying to take each other’s heads off. The image of Ray Emery with this humongous, psychotic grin on his face as he’s about to get the life beat out of him by Andrew Peters is the way I’ll always remember Ray Emery. AND THEN HE ENDED UP HOLDING HIS OWN! I don’t remember the last time we had seen a brawl like that, let alone having a goalie take on an “enforcer”, so it was a very memorable moment for me. 

Lowetide:

Stan Jonathan v. Pierre Bouchard. 1978. As a Bruins fan, it was glorious.

Robin Brownlee:

Rudy Poeschek-Craig Berube comes to mind for me, but Ron Delorme-Jamie Macoun and PJ Stock-Stephen Peat are classics as well. Got to admit, always wanted to see one of those “Stock, you suck on TV” types run their mouths in person and find out what’s what.

Jason Gregor:

Craig Cox and Bob Probert. It was a marathon tilt and there was over 100 punches thrown.

Jason Strudwick:

Anything with Probert and Domi.

Matt Henderson:

Any goalie fight. Pick one, it’s the best fight ever.

Baggedmilk:

How about that fight when Mike Bishai was in the other team’s bench? Was it against Atlanta? I think it was Atlanta. I also used to love seeing Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood go at it.  They used to scrap about once per year and it was always awesome.

StreetHockey

4) Guy LeChance asks – In the 90s there were always kids playing street hockey in front of our house, but now we don’t see it anymore.  Do you think hockey is as popular as it once was?

Jonathan Willis:

Yes and no. I don’t think hockey’s going anywhere as the predominant sport in Canada, and most of my friend’s kids enjoy playing and are raised around it, just as I was. I do think that it’s easier than ever to get into things that were never even really an option 10 or 20 years ago, so I suspect will see the sporting interests in most countries become increasingly diverse as time goes on.

Jeanshorts:

I’m coming up on my 30s so I guess this is a good time to practice my “out of touch old man” ranting. 

THERE ARE TOO MANY WAYS FOR KIDS TO SPEND THEIR TIME! BACK IN MY DAY WE DIDN’T HAVE NETFLIX AND TWITTER AND PORN AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE! WE HAD A STICK AND A ROCK AND A COUPLE OF TIN CANS FOR A NET AND WE LOVED IT! KIDS THESE DAYS ARE JUST TOO LAZY TO GET OUT AND DO ANYTHING PHYSICAL THEY’D RATHER JUST SIT AROUND LIKE SACKS OF GARBAGE AND WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY VIDEO GAMES ON YOUTUBE! AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON PARENTS OUT THERE WHO ARE TERRIFIED OF THEIR OWN SHADOWS! LET YOUR KIDS OUT OF THE HOUSE TO PLAY! RABBLE RABBLE RABBLERABBLE! 

Lowetide:

That’s a great question. I think it still happens but probably when we’re at work. 🙂 

Robin Brownlee:

Cost of equipment, ice and travel is taking a lot of kids out of the game before they even get into it.

Jason Gregor:

Street hockey decline is due to our society being lazier, too overprotective (can’t let kids outside) and the odd clown who complains that kids are playing road hockey. Hockey is still very popular, but the cost of hockey is making it border on being an elitist sport and that is a concern. Many families simply can’t afford to enroll their children in hockey.

Jason Strudwick:

I think being active for kids is not as popular. There are many other options which include TVs, iPads and video games. I was never one to stay inside to watch Oprah.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think hockey has the mind-share it used to. Soccer is leaps and bounds more popular today than it was when I was young. It’s also more expensive than ever to get kids into hockey. I couldn’t afford to put my kids in it. Beyond that, I hate my neighbours and wouldn’t want my kids hanging out with theirs.

Baggedmilk:

I think the biggest problem is that kids are lazy turds these days.  I have a niece that would much rather play the Sims for hours and hours over doing anything outside.  

GarageBang

5) Lyle Raymond asks – Who was your favourite band as a kid?  Did you feel the same way about them as you got older?

Jonathan Willis:

I grew up in the 1990’s, and thus listened to 1990’s music (I’m sure I still have a Big Shiny 90’s CD floating around somewhere). As I’m sure everyone here knows, the 1990’s were an objectively terrible decade for music. So, no, I don’t feel the same way about Smash Mouth now as I did when I was 12.

Jeanshorts:

The timing of this question is pretty apropos, as my favourite band since I was about 13 or so was and still is Blink 182. R.I.P Blink 182. 

Lowetide:

The first band I really liked was Alice Cooper because my Dad hated them. Deep Purple was the first heavy metal band I liked, then I got into Stones, Kinks, Who, etc. I liked Zep and Floyd but really liked the metal more like Sabbath. I’ll say Machine Head by Deep Purple is my favorite album I listened to a lot as a teenager that I still love. Got heavily into the Stones late teens and they’ve been my rock and roll band since.

Robin Brownlee:

Always been KISS for me. Saw them first at age 16 and again a couple years ago here in my mid-50s, plus four or five times in between. Want to see a show when I go to a concert. Lots of really good bands are boring as hell live — you might as well listen to them at home and save the price of a ticket. Really liked Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper as well.

Jason Gregor:

Never had a favourite band, more favourite songs. I liked all kinds of music from rap to metal, and I still like most although I don’t listen to metal very often anymore.

Jason Strudwick:

Canada’s one and only song bird still tugs are my heart strings. Whenever I hear ‘Could I have this Dance’ sung by Anne Murray, I still shed a tear. In fact I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like her!

Matt Henderson:

Always been a pretty big fan of the greatest band ever exported from Great Britain. Jethro Tull is as amazing today as they were when I was a kid.

Baggedmilk:

Much like my friend Jeanshorts, my favourite band always has been and always will be Blink 182.  They love breaking up, and hurting my insides, but I just can’t stay mad at them.  Now you know where I developed my love of poo and dick jokes.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    Frick baggedmilk, that thrashers brawl game is one of my favourite oilers games of all time. It even inspired my handle. Remember when Conklin broke his hand on that idiot Pasi Nurmanen’s face? And how Atlanta ran out of goalies and played the end of the game without one? Good times. I miss when oiler players cared and would get angry.

    • tileguy

      BROWN VS GRIMSON, ABSOLUTELY!

      Brown was left handed and that always surprised people. His left arm was working like a piston. Grimson was vertical, then 45 degrees, then horizontal. Brown was holding Grimson up. He looked at him, punched him one last time, and dropped him on the ice.

      Before that fight Grimson was an “up and comer” and they called him The Grim Reaper. After the fight they called him The Grim Receiver.

      Brown had a weird uniform, the sleeve on the left arm was almost skin tight so nobody could grab it. After the fight there was a rumour that Brown had got something from the Edmonton Eskimos trainers to spray on his jersey to make it harder to grab.

      This fight happened when Edmonton and Calgary had their last regular season game at the end of the 1990-91 season. It looked like they were going to meet in the playoffs. They did meet and Edmonton won the series 4-3.

  • Are your writers noting the lack of comment traffic on your site of late? I am not sure if it is a reflection on your site or a barometer of the disillusionment of Oil fans in general.

    In any case I would suggest this is not a good harbinger for you or Oil ownership and management.

    This is what too many years of KLowe, Mact and Katz will do for a former hot-bed of hockey. Have happy and a healthy for 2015…

  • tileguy

    Robin: If a band or artist is boring live chances are they are not a very strong recording act.

    Dating myself,my all time favorite Live gigs,
    Stones, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Seeger, McCartney,
    Iron Maiden ,Garth Brooks,Clapton and Coldplay.

    ” Todays music aint got the same soul, I like my old time rock n roll.”

    • If you liked the Eagles live, you must have had some pretty good dope. They’re the first band that comes to mind for me when it comes to boring concerts. I liked their music and they sold zillions of records, but a bunch of guys standing around strumming the guitar in flannel shirts? No chance.

      • Tikkanese

        I had the same experience with ZZ Top. I was kind of excited to see them but they were terribly boring live. They walked out with the lights on, I think everyone thought they were the roadies going to do the last minute preperations. They sort of just half waved then started playing surprising everyone they were the band. They just stood still the entire night and really mailed it in.

        Def Leppard also really mailed it in the time I saw them. Plus they stood the Stanley Cup upside down that time they kicked off an NHL season. I now hate Def Leppard. How they aren’t permanently banned from Canada is beyond me.

      • Tikkanese

        Robin: Yes, Eagles, are not your average energy rock band, but man the songs and musicianship is what I like catching live.Music can be personal I guess.
        With or witout “sonic Enhancments”
        PS. I prefer flannel to spandex.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I remember that back to back Oiler Calgary tussle as well. Grimson caught Brown at the end of his shift and arguable won the fight in that Friday night tilt. The Saturday night back ender in Calgary had a very different outcome. It was over early with Brown schooling and breaking Grimsons cheekbone in a TKO. The Dim Sleeper was born.

    Another Brown fight was with Jim Kyte. The only fight I ever watched where I needed to look away, fearing Kyte could be seriously injured.

    • I remember that KyteFyte. I believe it was the fight that Kyte went down with Brown landing on top of him. Should have been “fight over.”

      If that wasn’t enough, Kyte then made the horrible mistake of punching up at Brown while on his back on the ice.

      I still cringe at the memory of Kytes head bouncing up and down off the ice like a basketball under a flurry of Dave Brown fisthammers.

    • Tikkanese

      Grimson gloated about that win in the first fight, so Brown destroyed him in the second fight. I believe that was Grimson’s first NHL fight as well. I think he learned his lesson.

  • tileguy

    A big problem with street hockey now days is that people report it to the cops more often than ever. We used to play in my friends area for years, then after a new family moved in we had the police driving by and talking to us once a week. Even had the tactical team come out one time because we were being to loud (never played later than 10PM cause noise complaints).

    • Tikkanese

      We had the same problem then discovered playing street hockey in the empty tennis courts. It was an epic move because the fence saved a lot of running after errant shots.

      • Bishai in the Benches

        We talked with some people from a nearby church and they let us play around back in their parking lot. Worked great, centralized location for everyone and we could store our nets there. Sadly no tennis courts nearby any of us. (This was 6 years ago now)

  • Tikkanese

    As a kid I loved it when there was a line brawl between the Oilers and Flames and Dave Brown beat up Jim Kyte then was sitting on him “in the full mount position” as they say in the UFC now. Looking back on it, that was awful. Luckily for Kyte, Brown didn’t take much advantage of it as Kyte was obviously half knocked out still.

    I still love a good tilt though. Especially as more often than not, that is the only entertaining part of an Oiler game the last few years.

    The two epic Probert vs Mcsorley fights near the end of both of their careers were probably the best I seen. Loved Gazdic KO’ing a couple guys last year as well. Don’t see that often.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    WHERE DID WONGER GO. HE WOULD EAT THIS MAILBAG UP AND TALK SO MUCH IN ALL CAPS ABOUT DUSTERS PUTTIN ON THE TIN FOIL AND BEATIN EACH OTHERS BRAINZ OUT.

  • justDOit

    It’s kids and terrible veterans pretty much all the way down with only a handful of exceptions.

    I wonder if Klowe and Co are going to file a patent infringement lawsuit? Maybe Buffalo should surrender one of their 1st rounders as penalty?

  • Cementhead

    There was a goalie fight between dan cloutier and tommy salo and salo tured after a few shots and dan went crazy and skated by the islanders bench challenging the whole team. Not a fan of him going acter an unwilling salo but him going off the deep end was something to see.

    Robin, not sure if you were ever at the old winnipeg arena, but there was a huge painti g of the queen in the rafters and when kiss was here in ’97 gene simmons was hoisted up in front of her and sang god of thunder and spat blood all over the place. Classic.