Mailbag Monday – April 20th

Mailbag

What a weekend! Who would have ever expected that we’d start off this week with a McDavid in our pocket? All I want to do is talk about our new toy. All I want to do is climb a building and sing our new saviour’s praises from the rooftop! Unfortunately, these mailbag questions came in before the lottery BUT THEY’RE STILL GOOD – YOU’LL SEE! With that said, feel free to send all your McDavid related questions to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com for next week’s mailbag. Until then, let’s learn something together. Enjoy.

1) Tyler Anderson asks – Why would the Oilers feel the need to trademark Battle of Alberta? Don’t they have bigger problems to worry about?

Jeanshorts:

All I can picture is Katz, Lowe and MacT sitting in the boardroom from Dr. Strangelove, and Katz is all “Gentlemen, what is yet ANOTHER way we can alienate the entire city and make ourselves look even worse than we already do?”

“Should we trademark a slogan that predates Edmonton even having an NHL team, and then threaten legal action against actual good teams in the city that people enjoy if they try to use it?”

“PERFECT! HERE’S A LIFETIME CONTRACT! AGAIN!” and then they all guffaw uncontrollably until they fall asleep on a giant pile of all our wasted money. 

There is literally no other explanation that makes any sense. 

Lowetide:

You know, it’s kind of representative of the organization at this time. In the last many years, focus has been on the arena, world championship roster selection, Olympics, trademarks. It’s all well and good to have a good foreign policy but they need to spend more time focusing on the important things like winning hockey games.

Matt Henderson:

Keep this in mind, I have ZERO legal knowledge, but trademarking phrases has always seemed incredibly dumb to me. So what, the Rush honestly can’t say “Battle of Alberta” without permission from someone else? Am I allowed to answer this question without writing the team for permission to use commonly used phrases? Do the Flames (who this phrase is 50% about) have to ask the a Oilers permission? I guess so. It’s not like the Oilers even invented the phrase themselves. I would almost understand it if they actually created this saying. It has been synonymous with the Oilers and Flames but really it’s about Edmonton vs Calgary even more than its about hockey. Anyway, don’t they have anything better to do? Of course they do. One thing they can start doing is going through the process to un-trademark the phrase then apologize to the world for being pathetic.

Jason Gregor:

I guess not. After writing my article I received two emails from lawyers, and both felt the Oilers wouldn’t have a strong case if they went to court because the term BOA was used well before their existence in the NHL. It would be pricey to challenge it, but it would be interesting if someone did. It is more “white noise.” It has zero impact for their on-ice product and is a waste of energy to worry about, but they do. I don’t understand why.

Jonathan Willis:

Well, the business side is separate from the hockey side, so I don’t know that it does any good to conflate the two. The Oilers’ organization has a bit of a (deserved) reputation for being thin-skinned on things like this but I also don’t follow the relationship between the Oilers and the Rush closely enough to really understand the back-story here so I’m hesitant to draw any conclusion.

Jason Strudwick:

I have no idea. My question is: how do the Flames feel about it?

Robin Brownlee:

No idea what compelled them to do it, outside of what they thought might be marketing opportunities. Yes, they have lots more to worry about. Being more competitive in the actual series with the Flames would be a start.

Baggedmilk:

The origin of the term ‘Battle of Alberta’ actually goes back to a political rivalry between Calgary and Edmonton – it was applied to sports much later. I’m not sure why the Oilers did it, but seeing as they’ve held the trademark since 2002 and only just decided to exercise it now seems very odd. 

Forensic

2) Vetinari asks – If you were doing the Oilers’ “forensic audit” on the current state of the franchise (including both its strengths and weaknesses), what would be your one paragraph “Executive Summary” for Katz & Co.?

Jeanshorts:

“The cycle of continually hiring people solely based on the fact they either played for the Oilers or have some kind of Hockey Canada connection to Kevin Lowe needs to end if this franchise has any plans of being competitive within the next decade. The entire franchise has been rotted all the way down to the core. Someone with no prior allegiance to the Oilers or Daryl Katz needs to be brought in to take control of the team before any further damage has been done. In conclusion we have identified the perpetrator as Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.” 

Lowetide:

At this rate we should be competitive in the final year of Taylor Hall’s contract.

Matt Henderson:

“Having audited the organization from top to bottom it is clear that the Edmonton Oilers hockey club suffers and suffered from a distinct lack of direction from the Hockey Operations department. Having used coaching as a scapegoat for their ineptitude the team has used four head coaches in the last four years to deflect blame from the fact that management has systematically disassembled an NHL defense up to and including this past season. There is no accountability with a leadership group who is exactly the same today as it was when the Oilers first missed the playoffs nine years ago and my recommendation is that effective immediately a new management cluster is given stewardship of the team under the mandate to make the playoffs immediately.

Jason Gregor:

Hard to say without being on the inside, but at this point I’m not sure I could include many strengths, other than ticket sales are good and they have a new arena coming in 17 months.

Jonathan Willis:

I’d have to actually do the forensic audit to answer that. I hate to cop out on the answer here, let alone two in a row, but all we see is the on-ice result (failure), not the process driving it. I suspect the Oilers have some pretty significant flaws in all kinds of places, but I don’t know what the amateur scouts and pro scouts have been saying, how the internal organizational hierarchy functions or any of the rest. Without seeing the internal communication and understanding how the wrong decisions were reached, it’s impossible to fully understand exactly what’s driving the organizational dysfunction. With the knowledge I have now, I’d say something along the lines of “The Edmonton Oilers have consistently failed in their efforts to ice a competitive ice hockey team; you should let me run a forensic audit if you want me to tell you exactly why that is.”

Jason Strudwick:

Difficult to do this as we are not on the inside. We are simply looking over the fence into the next yard and trying to figure out what has put the team in this position. That being said I do feel that drafting is an area that winning teams have success in.

Robin Brownlee:

Can’t sum up the issues in one paragraph. My focus, however, would be on improving the pro scouting because it impacts multiple areas, notably free agent signings and acquiring the veterans through trades and free agency necessary to complement the younger players. That’s been a huge area of weakness in recent years.

Baggedmilk:

Strengths: “These sucker fans will eat this crap up regardless of how mediocre (read awful) we are – that’s amazing!”

Weaknesses: “Yes. All of the above. Top to bottom. If this team were a waterbed there would be more leaks than any patch kit can fix”

I assume it went something like that.

WorstEver

3) Ryan C. asks – Would you consider Dallas Eakins the worst coach in Oilers history, or does he take too much blame?

Jeanshorts:

I think it’s both. His points % and overall win numbers are better than Pat Quinn’s, but it was clear as day that pretty much every player to a man did not enjoy playing under Eakins’ very stringent coaching style. He tried fitting square pegs into round holes, and then when that failed he tried to turn the squares into hexagons. At the same time I think he gets blamed for things that had more to do with the garbage roster MacT has somehow managed to make worse over two years, than his failings as a coach. As Gregor would say it was a bad mix from top to bottom. But yes, I think we can safely call his tenure the worst of any Oiler coach so far.

Lowetide:

The roster is the issue, has been for years. The Oilers went scorched earth and did it so well nothing is growing.

Matt Henderson:

He probably takes too much blame but I’m too young to really know how bad some of the other coaches were. Pat Quinn was a beauty but he had no idea who his players were or what positions they played so he’s probably worse, BUT he also never scratched Petry to play Hunt so he had that going for him.

Jason Gregor:

Of course he takes too much blame, but he is in the category with George Burnett and Bryan Watson. Eakins attitude and swagger seemed to offend most fans more than his actual coaching I believe.

Jonathan Willis:

He’s not even the worst coach of the current rebuild – that honour belongs to Pat Quinn – let alone in franchise history.

Jason Strudwick:

He learned a lot during his time with the Oilers and I would guess he will be better for his next gig. The team was not built to compete at a high level in the NHL.

Robin Brownlee:

Tough to speak historically because we’re talking different eras and different players, but if he’s not the worst he’s second to George Burnett. (12-20-3 in 94-95). Ted Green had a horrendous start to 93-94 (3-18-3) but that was a terrible team and his overall track record in Edmonton was better than that. Eakins made a bad team worse with by alienating players and failing to put players in situations where they had the best chance to succeed. For me, everything about him was wrong.

Baggedmilk:

He was definitely the worst coach this year. I’m still not sure why Tom Renney was fired? The thing about Eakins is that he never did have much to work with. That being said, he almost derailed the career of a 1st overall pick in Nail Yakupov – that’s all world bad.

Laughing

4) Clarison asks – Do you think media/hockey people from other markets think Edmonton is a complete joke of a franchise?

Jeanshorts:

No one thinks the Oilers are more of a joke than Oiler fans themselves, so I don’t see why not. I mean, who among us hasn’t chirped the Coyotes for attendance woes or the Canucks for being the universe’s biggest sacks of garbage? Why WOULDN’T fans/media of other teams look down on the Oilers with distain/pity? They’ve been the worst team in the league going on six years now. You can’t argue with facts! 

Lowetide:

I think Edmonton is an easy target because of the performance but that’s life. The Oilers deserve everything they get in terms of mocking the performance. 

Matt Henderson:

I think outsiders see the Oilers management and philosophy as a complete joke. Yes. Nobody else thinks this is a developmental league. Jeez, the league wants to change draft rules because Edmonton has been abusing the system so much. They’re ruining the draft for EVERYBODY. Sigh.

Jason Gregor:

They have missed the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons. Right now the organization is not looked upon in a great light by many around the NHL. Results matter and they haven’t had any for a decade.

Jonathan Willis:

It’s going to depend on the individual, but let me answer your question with a question: Three years ago, how did media/hockey people in Edmonton view the New York Islanders?

Jason Strudwick:

If I was working in another market I would think so.

Robin Brownlee:

A good number of them do. What other conclusion are they to come to given the record here the past nine seasons?

Baggedmilk:

Of course they are! Wouldn’t you? Even worse is that some opposing fans and media feel pity.

SayMyName

5) Clare T. asks – I adopted a puppy from the Edmonton Humane Society and I want to name it after an Oiler (past or present) but I can’t decide which one. Can your panel help me out? She is a 2 year old golden retriever.

Jeanshorts:

I think you have to name her Smytty, right? Golden Retrievers are known for their loyalty and obedience, and have long, beautiful fur. Smytty is also a six time GOLD medalist in international tournaments AND one of the greatest human beings that has ever lived, so to me this one is a no brainer! 

Lowetide:

I’ll suggest Ebby. Btw golden retrievers are awesome dogs.

Matt Henderson:

Igor. As in Igor Ulanov, the best defenseman in the history of the Oilers organization. That name will also be useful in the event that you have a son or daughter in the future too.

Jason Gregor:

I’d call her Smytty.

Jonathan Willis:

First off, congrats; those are awesome dogs and I’m a little jealous. That’s a tough one, but you can’t go wrong with a Finnish name like “Jari” or “Janne”.

Jason Strudwick:

Shawn Belle.

Robin Brownlee:

Female dog? Makes it tougher. How about “Corey Perry” — that whole situation was a bitch.

Baggedmilk:

I know you said the dog is a girl but I say you show the world just how big of an Oilers fan you are by naming the dog after an obscure Oiler from days past. Something like Shawn Van Allen or Mats Lindgren should do nicely.

  • Hemmercules

    Not sure why the rest of the league hates the Oilers so much?? They are an easy 2 points, whats not to love??

    answer of the day goes to: “He’s not even the worst coach of the current rebuild – that honour belongs to Pat Quinn – let alone in franchise history.”…well done Willis. I lol’d.

  • Phuryous George

    Based on the responses above it is unbelievable how much your malaise has been lifted by one golden colored card. A grudging congrats from a Flames fan who looks forward to the renewal of a meaningful Battle of Alberta (TM) soon!

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    WIth the first selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers are pleased to-

    *glass smashes*

    MAH GAWD! THAT’S STONE COLD’S MUSIC!!

  • Phuryous George

    Dog Name- Cam Barker

    of course there is always Cujo ( Curtis Joesph)

    Jeff Bark-eboom

    Kelly Barkberger

    Andrew Pawgliano

    Grant Fur

    Curtis Glencross-breed

    Fernando Pawsani

  • Bucknuck

    Willis has a good point regarding that audit in that you have to look at why the poor choices were made and fix the problem.

    The biggest issue for me is assessing the Blue line. Find out WHY they can’t acquire (or keep) quality NHL defensemen, and then rip that problem out by the roots.

  • Hemmercules

    I hope drafting McDavid really does turn the franchise around..

    They used to call Alberta “death valley” because you were almost certain to loose both games.

    Let’s hope we’ll see Calgary and Edmonton back at the top with some real talent like the good old days.

  • ubermiguel

    Willis is on fire with the answers this week. He totally nailed the audit: we can only hope Nicholson tore this organization apart from stem to stern and had access we can only imagine. We only see the symptoms, the cause is somewhere in the bowels…or in the captains’s cabin.

    And props to Blucifer Copperballs for the excellent dog names. You had me at Cam Barker.

  • Derian Hatcher

    1) Tyler Anderson asks – Why would the Oilers feel the need to trademark Battle of Alberta? Don’t they have bigger problems to worry about?

    When the Canucks were in the final against the Bruins there was a Honda car dealership in Vancouver that painted huge Canuck logos etc. on the windows of the dealership. They were contacted by Canuck lawyers advising them that the logo was trademarked and would have to be removed because they did not request permission from the organization to use the logo and team likeness.

    The Canucks went on the lose in the final…

    That’s a shame.

  • Leef O'Golin

    Dog names: Risto, Mush (Marchment), Lubo, Fogey, or Bo (Mironov).

    My excitement for McDavid is tempered by the grim realization that Lowe and Co. will get significant mileage out of being the brain-trust that “landed” him.

  • vetinari

    Eakins has got to be in the conversation for top 3 worst Oiler coaches of all time, and I still give him the nod over Quinn. Quinn came to the organization attempting to run the team like it was 1983 and we were about to go up against the Whalers in a death match. Eakins knew more than anyone else and coached to “fancy stats metrics” without understanding that behind the stats stood the players and their unique perspectives, strengths and weaknesses. Quinn was the ship captain who swigged rum at the wheel and said that he didn’t need any maps to steer the ship; Eakins was the captain who played tugboat in the bathtub and thought that that was good enough to make him qualified.

  • vetinari

    Re: trademarks;

    It’s a commonly used phrase that’s decades old, and used for the Eskimos-Stamps for years as well. Doesn’t the team have PR managers? This could have been handled more professionally. Like Johnny Hockey.

    It was also trademarked, and people had questions, but it was over in a day or two.

  • Gregor is a little quick and heated about the BOA topic.

    Willis answered properly and professionally

    “Jonathan Willis:

    Well, the business side is separate from the hockey side, so I don’t know that it does any good to conflate the two.”

    grow up jason

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Golden retrievers are strong, friendly dogs and great companions, like Jaroslav Pouzar, whose name is on two Oiler Cups, who was strong as an ox, tough i the corners, played on the wing with Gretz and had the drollest sense of humor of any Oiler ever. So it’s either Jaro or Pouz.

  • 5) Clare T. asks – I adopted a puppy from the Edmonton Humane Society and I want to name it after an Oiler (past or present) but I can’t decide which one. Can your panel help me out? She is a 2 year old golden retriever.

    The answer, of course, is “Nuge”.