MONDAY MAILBAG – March 16th

Mailbag

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.

Cast

1) Stewart Fraser asks – Why is the NHL so elusive with their injury reports?  In the NFL, they are very specific with injuries.  Upper-body and Lower-body doesn’t seem nearly adequate.  Wouldn’t a first rate pro league want to be more transparent?

Jonathan Willis:

Obviously, there’s a fear that opponents will specifically target injured players in injured areas; stickwork is probably a primary concern. I’d like to see more transparency and imagine most fans and media are on the same page.

Lowetide:

NHL teams don’t want to give away information that will allow other teams to target specific players who are injured. I think that’s it.

Jason Gregor:

The NFL does it for gambling, that is the #1 reason. If they say Taylor Hall has a pressure break in his leg instead of a lower body injury, does it really impact us? I think it depends who you are. Ideally, they would say what injury is, but I will admit I don’t care too much. Some teams say what the injury is, Blackhawks did with Patrick Kane, and others don’t.

Jason Strudwick:

It is a fair question. I think the teams and players don’t want opposing teams to target their injuries which does happen. The NFL does it because of the gambling better known as fantasy football.

Jeanshorts:

This is just one of these “The NHL being the NHL” things that will never make sense to anyone. I mean, it was only a few weeks ago when Gary Bettman confidently claimed that fans had ZERO interest in how much players were making or what their cap hits were, so, I mean…

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Matt Henderson:

I think at this point it’s a fun quirk and since I rarely bet on hockey (damn this irrational heart of mine) it makes no difference to me. I don’t think there’s any good reason for it though.

Baggedmilk:

Personally, I think the “upper body injury” schtick is funny especially when the injury is obviously. You see a guy’s shoulder hanging off his body but they’ll still call it an “upper body” injury and it’s hilarious. 

ShooterTutor

2) Brad Malcolm asks – If you’re Craig MacTavish who are you looking at as a potential free agent or trade target to solve the goaltending problem?

Jonathan Willis:

Jonathan Bernier in Toronto. The price is going to be dear, but he’s a good young goalie who could address the position for the next decade. Even in something of an off year he has a 0.914 save percentage behind Toronto’s defence.

Lowetide:

I’ve settled on Martin Jones but would be fine if the club decides to pay for a two years of Antti Niemi. I don’t want a monster deal for a big name, though. 

Jason Gregor:

UFA is best route, since they don’t have to give up anything. Niemi, Ramo, Neuvirth and Dubnyk are best options right now, and possibly Enroth. Ramo might be best because he is playing well, but also won’t command big money like Niemi.

Jason Strudwick:

Antti Neimi. Although he is not a top end starter he is a starter. He can handle the work load and mental aspect of the position. He has been a pretty steady 60 game guy. I do not want the Oilers to bring in a guy who they hope can be a starter.

The truth is if the team in front of the goalie does not improve its overall team defensive play it won’t matter who is in net. It is simply to easy to get chances and score goals against the Oilers.

Jeanshorts:

I’ve been dreaming of the Oilers trading for Cam Talbot for a couple seasons now, and with the way he’s played since taking over after the Lundqvist injury my infatuation has only grown. He’s a solid goalie and has an incredibly cheap contract going into next season so I doubt the Rangers would even entertain the thought of moving him, but who knows! I’ll continue to dream about what could be. 

Matt Henderson:

I liked Raanta and he was apparently available and nobody was biting on that. It sounds like Jones in LA is getting the big media push and they are talking about using the Pittsburgh pick to get him. That’s legitimately insane. Even though the Oilers tried and failed with Fasth and Scrivens (though he can still change that evaluation) I am still fine trying to find a backup who can become starter. 

Baggedmilk:

If the Oilers are going to go the route of finding a backup goalie I think they should go for Dustin Tokarski. There is no way that he’s going to play much with Carey Price in front of him, and he’s been around long enough to have made his bones a little bit. Again, it would be another scratch ticket but I think he’d be a decent bet.

3) Shane A. asks – Do you think the Oilers should give Laurent Brossoit some games heading into the summer?

Jonathan Willis:

It wouldn’t hurt, but it’s hardly a priority. Brossoit will likely be the Oilers’ No. 1 AHL goalie next year anyway (and maybe the year after, too) so it’s not like there’s a big rush to get him to the majors.

Lowetide:

Sure, why not? Give him a start. They’re not going anywhere.

Jason Gregor:

Maybe one game as a reward, but keep him focused on AHL. I wouldn’t rush him next season either. Let him have a second year in the AHL and play 55 games.

Jason Strudwick:

No. Confidence is huge for young players. I would not want him exposed to an Oiler “off” night down the stretch. He is where he should be and doing quite well. BE PATIENT.

Jeanshorts:

NOPE! Have you seen how badly those poor souls are getting shelled out there? I have no idea why anyone would want to throw Brossoit into that tire fire, rather than just let him finish out a solid year in the AHL and gain more experience and confidence. So of course, this being the Oilers, that means we’re only days away from him being called up and losing five games in a row and then being traded two seasons from now only to go on and win back to back Vezinas for the Capitals or whoever! I CAN’T WAIT! 

Matt Henderson:

I’m not keen on it but a couple might not be the worst things that’s ever happened. I would have preferred the Oilers trade for a goalie on the cheap at the deadline and split the games 50/50 with Scrivens. As for Brossoit, I’d like him to be so good in the AHL that the Oilers don’t have a choice.

Baggedmilk:

NO, NO, NO! Let the guy be the big fish in the AHL for a little while. Laurent Brossoit is only 21 years old. He’s got lots of time to develop slowly and properly. Please, Oilers, do this right just ONCE.

Shirley

4) Brian Chamberlain asks – Do you really believe Craig MacTavish when he says that most of the roster – defence specifically – will be back next season? 

Jonathan Willis:

Yes, I do. I think MacTavish is reasonably happy with the foundation and thinks he only needs to add high-end pieces (this is, after all, basically what he has said). Of course “adding high-end pieces” is kind of a hard thing to do, and half a decade after drafting Taylor Hall there’s reason to doubt Edmonton’s ability to pull it off. 

Lowetide:

Yes. I think we’ll see four changes of note: starting goalie, two defensemen and a center. This won’t be a playoff team in 2015-16 unless they get Connor McDavid and he really is Hockey Jesus.

Jason Gregor:

Yep. Can’t trade Nikitin, Ference has NMC, and Schultz value very low. He will try to upgrade the defence, but it won’t be easy.

Jason Strudwick:

Yes.

Jeanshorts:

As much as I hate to say it, I honestly do. And that is purely because MacT has 1) shown himself to be pretty true to his word in terms of what he says during press conferences, and 2) has also shown himself to be a complete lunatic! This is a guy who says he thinks Nikitin is a top four defenseman! The D next season is going to be made up of number 4/5 guys forced into 1/2 roles and rookies thrown to the wolves and left for dead. I CAN’T WAIT!

Matt Henderson:

He would be a fool to think that Nurse as a rookie would be enough to take what the club has now and make it viable. I refuse to believe the goal is to be this bad despite all the pleas for more and more time and the insinuations that the Oil don’t WANT to be good until they get into the new building. I might not think the team has the people in place to build the right defense, but they have to make changes. Right?

Baggedmilk:

Isn’t it amazing how such a smart guy can continue to find new and creative ways to put his foot in his mouth? It’s so disheartening. If he honestly believes that this team’s defence is good enough to compete this summer should be his last as the GM.

Unique

5) Oilerfan Eric asks – Smytty’s mullet and stick aside, which NHLer (past or present) had the most distinct characteristic or quirk? 

Jonathan Willis:

If we’re going with recent Oilers, I’d pick Dwayne Roloson’s uncanny ability to lose his helmet at critical moments/baseball style clears of the puck. If we’re going all-time, I’ll take Glenn Hall, either for inventing the butterfly in the era of the standup goalie or for routinely throwing up before games.

Lowetide:

Stan Mikita’s stick. It was more like a scythe!

Jason Gregor:

Petr Klima’s helmet.

Jason Strudwick:

Glenn Anderson’s moustache

Jeanshorts:

Patrick Roy’s “Never stepping on the blue or red lines” schtick has always stuck with me, because for all the weird things goalies do that one seems like the most blatantly unnecessary. That’s borderline OCD territory.

Matt Henderson:

Ryan Kesler has this really distinct quirk where he throws himself on the ice when opposing players come near him. That’s something else.

Baggedmilk:

Al Iafrate’s skullet. That thing was a masterpiece. 

    • Czar

      BUT EVERYONE CAN SEE THE EMPEROR HAS BEAUTIFUL CLOTHES!

      MacTavish was fired as HC about 6 years ago, on April 15 2009. The next day I had this conversation with a friend (seriously, I am not making this up):

      Friend: MacT will have no problem getting another HC job real soon, you just watch!

      Me: I don’t know. He coached the team for eight years. They only made the playoffs three times. They only made it out of the first round once.

      Friend: They were one game away from the Stanley Cup!

      Me: I think maybe they got a little lucky that year…

      Friend: DON’T BE STUPID! MacT is a smart guy! Everyone knows that!

      For those of you who can remember, virtually EVERY sports journalist in the city agreed with my friend.

      As a person, MacTavish strikes me as a nice, funny man who would be a good TV hockey commentator. As an NHL coach, he was mediocre. As an NHL GM, he is an embarassment .

      Until Mr. Katz figures that out, the team is going nowhere

  • sportsjunkie007

    I read the opening paragraph, immediately got excited and optimistic about my upcoming week. Unfortunately that all came crashing down when I found out that Iron Man pyjamas are only available in kids sizes.

    I hate you baggedmilk. Everything that is wrong in my life is completely your fault. Giving false hope to Oilers fans at this time of the season is unconscionable.

  • Czar

    Golden Bears national champs.Hey Mac that is one excellent coaching staff .Hey Daryl they are all ex Oilers.Fits right into your program get er done.Congrats to Kruise and the boys.A real hockey team in Edmonton.

  • freelancer

    Unless the two defensemen Lowetide suggested MacT will bring in are a 1 and 2. Next season will be incredibly long. Especially if he’s counting on Klefbom and Mr/Norris himself are our top 2 guys.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    THANK YOU Jason Strudwick for this: “The truth is if the team in front of the goalie does not improve its overall team defensive play it won’t matter who is in net. It is simply too easy to get chances and score goals against the Oilers.”

    I get a kick out of most the writers thinking that a simple goalie swap is the cure for all the Oiler’s ills.

      • 99CupsofCoffey

        A bit of sarcasm on my part, but you get my point.

        Every week on this site there is a new article bemoaning the goal keeping as the #1 problem when it’s painfully obvious that Edmonton is a place where goalies go to die.

        That’s a fundamental team problem, not a netminder specific problem. The tone of these blogs/articles is the same: get a fancy new guy in net and we’re on our way. I don’t believe that’s a true statement.

  • Rob...

    This is a bit off topic, but did anyone watch the recent episode of The Fifth Estate? The topic was about prescription drug abuse in professional sports, and they basically profiled Derek Boogard. Lots of interesting tidbits about pills being readily available for the taking in the medical rooms and doctors prescribing crazy amount of painkillers and sleep aids. They had some pro football guys on there too. Really interesting episode.

  • Rob...

    For distinctive features: in the 90’s I had no trouble spotting Canuck’s, Edmonton born, Dave Babych on D due to that thick mo’ of his. I swear that stache took up half his face.

  • Czar

    MacT looked like an idiot when he came in promising bold moves, and then failing to meet increased expectations that he created. He also probably weakened his negotiating position, by identifying himself as a buyer.

    So why tip his hand again? It did not work well for him last time.

  • Jaxon

    Apparently Wendel clark puked before every game as well. Lanny McDonald’s mustache was pretty amazing, as was Harold Snepts. Patrick Roy was a bundle of ticks and twitches. Ron Duguay had some serious flow going on. I like Holtby’s water bottle spray to center himself trick. Butch Goring’s playoff beard and old helmet with multiple layers of paint.