Monday Mailbag – March 2nd

Mailbag 3

Well, another trade deadline has come and gone, and the Oilers are once again worse today than they were yesterday. Are we surprised? No, of course not. Since the Oilers are endlessly disappointing you could probably use some cheering up, and so I present another edition of the mailbag.  This segment depends on you, so if you have a question you can email it to me at or on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Without further delay, the Mailbag. Enjoy.


1. James P. asks – Considering the length and grueling nature of the long NHL season, what would the reasonable, ideal number of games be for an NHL season – money not being an issue (I know, I know this will not happen, but let’s talk hypothetically)? What number would consider player safety (durability) and icing the best product?

Matt Henderson:

I would like it down by a couple of weeks so let’s say we chop 6-8 games off the schedule right at the end of the regular season. The Stanley Cup gets awarded in May and we don’t jump from SCF right to draft within a couple days. So let’s say the season should be roughly 74 games. And the preseason can drop two games so we lose the obligatory week of people who will never play in the NHL and who should be at AHL training camp instead.


I’d say 72 games. That’s 10 fewer than current total and gives teams more weeks of two games. PLEASE don’t use the extra time for a tournament or extended All-Star game, though. In fact, flush the All-Star game!

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t see the need to shorten the season. Travel now, with all teams using charters, is easier than it has ever been. Every flight is a straight shot to wherever you are going. It was especially gruelling in Edmonton when the team used commercial flights. That aside, you can’t really pose a hypothetical question removing money when it is the main issue. Maybe 60-70 games would be better from a “best product” perspective, but I don’t know for sure.

Jason Gregor:

I believe 76 games would be great. One less game a month.


I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing them cut the season down to 60 games max. The playoff race would start earlier, the games would have slightly more weight to them, and we wouldn’t start to feel burnt out by February (this may just be me, and it also has a lot to do with the perpetually terrible Oilers, but the season feels like it starts to sag from now until a week or two before the playoffs).


I think the NHL should adopt the NFL’s schedule so that I only have to watch the Oilers lose 16 times per year as opposed to 40+. 


2. Backup Bob asks – With Edmonton and Winnipeg being the least desirable destinations for free agents, what can these Canadian markets do to attract more talent?

Matt Henderson:

Be better. The best things Edmonton can do are 1) Win like crazy and 2) Discuss very loudly the tax benefits of working in Alberta. Nobody wants to lose and everybody wants more money. After that there isn’t much you can do. The Jets are a decent team and they are still a no fly zone for players. It is what it is.


Win hockey games. I lived in Edmonton when guys like Mark Napier were instructing their agents to accept a deal offered by Edmonton (he told me this) because the atmosphere around winning was so damn compelling. Win games.

Robin Brownlee:

Win more often. Success, having a chance to win, is what determines how desirable a city is more than anything else.

Jason Gregor:

The teams can win. This has little to do with the city itself and everything to do with the state of the team. The Islanders used to be on all the no-trade lists, but now they are competitive.


Start winning. That’s literally all there is to it. Atlanta has great weather, has a cool cultural scene and by all accounts seems like it would be a pretty awesome place to live and work, and did we ever see high end free agents signing with that team that made the playoffs once in their history? In that same article someone mentioned how Long Island just recently, over the last year or so, has now fallen off of a lot of players “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO WILL NOT SIGN OR BE TRADED THERE” lists, as they’ve put together a solid team and look to be a continual playoff contender for the next little while. If the Oilers ever start being competitive again the city will fall off that list pretty fast.


The first thing the Oilers have to do is find themselves out of the basement for the first time since Sexyback (seriously, it came out in 2006). Then, when they’ve got that winning thing figured out I assume they can send out the leftover Dany Heatley DVDs to anyone that still isn’t sure. Man, this franchise is embarrassing. 


3. Christian Bradley asks – I don’t find the trade deadline to be as exciting as it used to be and it seems like bigger deals get done at the draft now days. Why do you think this has changed?

Matt Henderson:

I think it’s the cap, plain and simple. In the summer you can go over the cap to some degree or your team has holes you need to fill, but at the deadline there isn’t much there. The other thing is that there are more teams who are close to being good than ever. It doesn’t make sense for them to unload stars because they are maybe just a few tweaks away from getting there.


There’s always ebb and flow. Last season values were down so it’s not terribly exciting but this season there has been more excitement due to payouts (but less quality overall). Rentals will be up eventually and we’ll see another fire sale.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t know that it’s “now days.” Teams are and always have been more likely to make bigger deals during the off-season when there has been time to assess what’s needed. The heat of a playoff push is more about tweaking a roster than it is about totally re-shaping it with deals involving marquee names.

Jason Gregor:

Salary cap is main reason. It is difficult to trade big contracts at deadline. You see more trades leading up to the deadline, but often big ticket contracts get moved in the summer when teams can adjust their payroll accordingly.


Obviously the cap has had the biggest effect. You can’t just trade for guys anymore without having to take future years into consideration. And to me it also seems like more deals are getting done earlier and earlier, which I assume has to do with 1) GMs trying not to lose out on guys they covet, and 2) the quicker you can bolster a playoff spot for yourself the better, obviously. I think the only people that have ever hyped trade deadline day are the TV broadcasters, and they do a good enough job that we still somehow get sucked into it every year, only to wind up disappointed and bored (also the story of my sex life).


I think that’s probably because the trade deadline (and draft) weren’t always the huge spectacle that they are now. Rather than picking up the paper the next day, to see what happened around the league, you’ve got things like Twitter and endless deadline panels forcing “what ifs” down your throat. 


4. Paul Ricard asks – Are we in the dark ages of Oilers history? Why or why not?

Matt Henderson:

Yeah. These are Dark Times. I hope that soon there will be an explosion of culture and success that follows the Oilers for years but this is a terrible time. The same people who put the team in this position are still around and nobody seems to know how to build a competent lineup. At some point good decisions will start to be made and then we will laugh about how unbearable this was.


I would argue just coming out but it’s a steep climb and I’m not certain the right people are in place for the turn north. 

Robin Brownlee:

Yes. Nine straight seasons, and most likely 10, out of the playoffs speaks for itself.

Jason Gregor:

If this isn’t the dark ages, I’m not sure what is. They have missed playoffs for nine consecutive seasons, and they haven’t shown any sign of improving during the past six years. They will need a miracle to make the postseason next year. They have been out of the playoff picture in November, December and January in most of those seasons. This stretch of suck will go down as one the worst ten-year stretches in NHL history by one organization.


I mean, I can’t even imagine what a somehow even DARKER time would look like. I think the only way these years could be any worse is if we didn’t have Nuge or Hall or Eberle or Yak or Nurse or Draisaitl to look at and go “OKAY at least we have some really solid pieces to build around to MAYBE HOPEFULLY be good, like, ONE DAY in the future.” They’ve essentially been the punchline of the entire NHL since 2010 and I barely even like watching Oiler games at the best of times any more. They have beaten the will out of me. We are in the darkest timeline.


Michaelangelo himself couldn’t add any colour to this mess. Put it this way, if all the NHL teams were kids playing in the tub, the Oilers would be the kid that shits in the water and ruins the fun for everyone.  


5. Nicholas A. asks – Gretzky aside, which NHL trade (Oilers or otherwise) shocked you the most?

Matt Henderson:

Shocked? I think when Boston traded Joe Thornton for five really bad pieces, I was shocked at the move. It’s stunning to me that somebody even had the nerve to propose the deal, never mind accept it. The Ryan Smyth deal was shocking to me because it had been reported that he signed a deal then I went away from a TV or computer for a while and when I returned it was reported that he had been traded. I drove home in stunned silence so I guess that was it for me.


Frank Mahovlich to Detroit. I was a kid, but it made my Dad really angry and he didn’t get upset at much. Made a huge impression on me.

Robin Brownlee:

The Chris Pronger trade demand shocked me the most because I didn’t see it coming on the heels of the 2006 Stanley Cup run. New contract. Big impact. Cup final. Chris had never even hinted at an issue with the media here. Then, the leak to Al Strachan by Pronger’s agent. Obviously a game-changer for this franchise.

Jason Gregor:

No trade post-Gretzky deal shocked me, because his trade was gutwrenching. I’d say the Phil Esposito trade.


Pronger to Edmonton. He was my favourite player before he came to Edmonton, and was arguably the best defensemen in the league at the time. AND THE OILERS GOT HIM? FOR ERIC BREWER AND TWO NOBODIES? My favourite player and my favourite team colliding. It was shocking and exciting and perfect. And this was before the advent of social media so I don’t recall hearing any rumblings of this trade until it was officially announced on TSN or wherever I saw it first. I’m not really sure what happened with him though, those pages in my “Edmonton Oilers History Book” seem to be ripped out for some reason.


There are two: The first is the Chris Pronger trade. There was nothing quite like having your heart ripped out only days after losing in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. The second has to be the Ryan Smyth trade. Literally minutes before he was moved, Sportsnet (*cough* E5 *cough*) announced that he had just signed a new deal – 15 minutes later I’m crying on the bathroom floor. 

  • When can we fire the idiotic clowns running this dumpster fire? Forget the draft party, I’ll buy the beer for the “Ding Dong the KBlowe’s gone” party.

    This is ridiculous. They ran this team into the ground, and 6 years later their further down! What kind of insanity is this?!

  • D

    ” Put it this way, if all the NHL teams were kids playing in the tub, the Oilers would be the kid that sh!ts in the water and ruins the fun for everyone.”

    Best example ever!!

    I’d go on to say KBlowe and Mac would be the kids staying in the tub to play with that turd and eat it. Katz would be the parent taking pictures thinking its funny his kids are eating their own turd


    I cannot wait until Craig MacTavish sprinkles his magic fairy dust on the Oilers!

    Then: Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey, Lowe, Fuhr.

    Now: RNH, Hall, Eberle, Draisaitl, Nurse, Klefbom, Brossoit.

    MacTavish is on it! Come on. He’s a smart hockey guy. Articulate. In MacTavish we trust!

    Tired of all the naysayers!

    • D


      Satire: A false or exaggerated statement, based on a real event, made for the purpose of provoking humour.

      This afternoon in his press conference, MacTavish ACTUALLY SAID that he thought that this Oilers team is on the verge of a decade of dominance, like the Oilers of the eighties.

      I am sorry if that makes some of you angry, BUT MACTAVISH ACTUALLY SAID THAT.

      PS: I would have thought that the refrence to “magic fairy dust” would be somewhat of a clue that I was being sarcastic.

      • knee deep in it


        I went back to network, oilers TV, “MacT Deadline Press Conference”, at about 7:10 MacTavish says this. He says this team has “the potential of another great Oilers decade”.

        Many of MacTavish’s comments are so stupid that it is difficult to believe that he actually said these things. I find that his comments are often downplayed by MSM. They treat MacTavish like an imbecile who really should not be held accountable for his own utterances. At press conferences, with rare exceptions, they pelt him with marshmallow questions.

        Perhaps MacTavish should worry about making the playoffs ONCE before he starts talking about “another great Oilers decade”.

    • AddytheWrath

      Actually it was a criticism of the Oilers.
      Should the original writer have to explain sarcasm?

      The Oilers are weii deserving of humour or sarcasm.
      When it is EARNED, it should be given.
      The Oilers will possibly benefit from the Petry trade. 5— 7— 12 years from now will bring “substantial” returns. A run for the playoffs in that time period may happen. They are only waiting until the NEW Arena seating and parking can be solidified for a playoff game.

      They may be in jeapordy of players coming back for their “Once an Oiler Always an Oiler” Program? The criteria may be playing 2 – 3 years.
      Craig is busy as he says —- looking after the Oiler Assets. Maybe getting Oiler Assets could also be a priority?

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    How do you submit questions? I’d like to ask the writers this one.

    With all the recent studies showing the devestating long term effects of head injuries and concussions combined with MacT’s long playing career without a helmet, has he ever been tested for brain trauma?

  • D

    Must respectfully disagree on the consensus about the dark ages. Losing Gretzky then Messier, followed by years of the owner threatening to move the team was the darkest era for me.

    • D

      It wouldn’t be a threat if Katz said he was gonna move the team. It would be welcomed. The fact that you were afraid the team might move is all the proof needed that these are darker days. I welcome this team to move

      • D

        I think so (although I reserve the option to change my mind). Even if the Oil become the NHL’s version of the Chicago Cubs or old LA Clippers, they will still be our Oil.

        Had they moved to Hamilton / Minneapolis / Houston, etc., Edmonton would not only have lost the team, but all the history as well (technically the records and accomplishments move with the team).

        I lived in Boston for a brief time just prior to the Red Sox winning their first World Series in almost a century. Their previous ineptitude is all but forgotten after having won multiple recent championships. A bad stretch of losing can be fixed (and forgotten). A team moved out of the city, they are simply forgotten.

        • knee deep in it

          Fair enough. Just as you said losing will be forgotten by winning but it’s getting ridiculous. I might feel the same way as you if something was actually done about this ineptitude. To me it feels like ground hog day. I remember we were all saying the same thing when Gags and Cogs were coming through the system. The futures bright, it’s only a matter of time, etc. I can’t defend these statements anymore. When a rookie owner hires a rookie GM, who then in turn hires a rookie coach there is a problem. The cancer needs to be cut out. It’s too bad Katz is to infatuated by ex oilers to do anything about it.

  • AddytheWrath

    I have one question:

    What date is the 2015 draft lottery slated to be? Now that the trade deadline is behind us it seems this is the next biggest thing Oilers fans will be waiting for.

    If anyone could answer that’d be great!

  • Hey Addy it doesn’t matter when the draft is because Mcfeaster will probably trade our top draft choices for 1 or 2 thirty year old players that will leave in 2 years meanwhile those draft choices become Luciic or Parise or Suban and hey Mcfeaster gets to keep his job al little longer

  • Jordan88

    You know today I pooped twice.. and sadly that brings me more joy then this team does.

    Thats right the same thing that brings an 80 year old man tears of joy also did that to me today.

    I am 27 years old…. I am too young to die!!!!

    Save us McJesus, Katz bring down the ax of mercy please!

    *grabs baggedmilk and sobs*

    Someone hold me!

  • Alsker

    We go on and on about how we need changes yet I look at attendance at games and it’s sold out every game? the only way there is going to be changes is when it starts to hurt Katzs wallet, billionaires tend to pay attention when they are paying instead of making cause it doesn’t happen very often I get tickets given to me and I rip them up instead of giving them away or letting someone else have them ! Wtf. I love hockey I love our cities team but that’s the only thing I believe will make changes now….empty seats

      • ZZZ wrote to tear up Oiler tickets.It may be more effective to MAIL the tickets to Mr.LaForge at the head Oiler office. Make the tickets arrive after the game. Write a “calm” note. Ask for a reply or a meeting. Tearing up a ticket only damages the ticket. This will help “inform” the Oilers and Support Canada Post!

  • Slats was very bold and the Rangers could hoist the cup.MacT I believe doesnt have a clue.I talked too many people today and the pitchforks were out.Next year never seems to come.We need five players to be a playoff team .I want Boychuk Seabrooke of MacT better get a pink slip.Right Daryl?

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    To try and loosen the mood a bit:

    The ducks traded Dany Heatley to the panthers! Heatley has 2 goals and 5 assists in 25 games in the AHL! Hahaha dany freakin Heatley!! Wtf happened to that guy. I didn’t even know he was still playing hockey! Or atleast trying too lolz

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Fans who lower themselves to name calling and threats are the biggest losers makes me ashamed to be an Oiler fan. We area all tired of the losing and venting your concerns in social media is fine but lowering yourself to ridiculous and callous remarks is really stupid. Must thank the bloggers for fueling the fires of discontent maybe journalism school would have helped.

    • Positive Ray of Sunshine

      Seriously? That’s what makes you ashamed to be an Oiler fan? I’m not a fan of the name calling and dramatizations but I could give you a list of a hundred things to be embarrassed about and I wouldn’t have got to that.

      PS: I’m pretty sure it’s the lousy team and not the bloggers lack of journalism school that has set people off.

  • camdog

    Lol Mark Spector’s tone has changed since Mr.Katz sent him to the penalty box. I guess if you want to cover the Oilers you should be thankful for the opportunity.

  • camdog

    For all of you that don’t think it can get any darker let’s consider next years lineup

    Hall RNH Eberle – the big line that easily gets pushed around.

    Yak Roy Pouliot- second line a little grittier, perhaps they will contribute 35 goals

    Purcell Draisaitle Fraser – CHL centreman, no grit, let’s project this line for 25 goals

    Klink, Gordon Hen – what a great 4th line.

    The D

    Fayne, Ferrence Nikitin, Jultz, Klefbom, Marinchin, Nurse. How is this an improvement?

    Scrivens and ?Fasth?they would be adequate if the rest of the team was.

    Where are the improvements coming from, not from the AHL if we are looking for scoring

    5 more years of dark days my friends as the GM is not clever enough to hasten the process.

  • knee deep in it

    looking at the defence, it is obvious we need a first pairing guy. If everyone moves down a level, they are almost playing in a spot that matches their ability.

    The bruins offered a cap dump to the leafs for dion. They were willing to pay less than zero. If the oilers offered zero ( 3rd round pick or low level prospect), we might be able to make that trade.

    Would that be a step forward or backwards?

    edit – wrong thread?? I did not even read this thread and yet my comment ended up here.