Monday Mailbag – June 22nd

Mailbag

A Mailbag-less Monday is like a Connor McDavidless Oilers – not nearly as much fun. The weekend is over, you’re back at work, and you need a way to kill some time. Luckily, we’re all in this together. The mailbag only works because of your questions, and if you have something you’d like to ask you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Enjoy the break from productivity, friends. 

XRay

1) Clarison asks – Given the severity of the injuries and the players that they were tacked onto (Johnson’s broken wrist, Bishop’s torn groin) would it not be in the best interest of the TEAM to slot in a different player and start the backup? Is there too much emphasis on “play through it” during the playoffs?

Robin Brownlee:

Can’t make that call from afar. How are are we to know better than the players themselves and the team medical personnel involved in the decision to play or not play? 

Jonathan Willis:

Sometimes yes, sometimes no; it’s one of those things that’s always going to be a judgment call based on the severity of the injury and the drop-off from the guy in the lineup to the guy at the top of the Black Aces list. In Johnson’s case I would have kept playing him because even with a busted wrist he’s one of the Bolts’ best offensive options. In Bishop’s case I probably would have gone to Andrei Vasilevskiy just because I’m not convinced the drop-off is steep enough not to be outweighed by the injury.

Lowetide:

I think it comes down to medical clearance. If a player is medically cleared, he’s in unless the coach feels he is no longer effective or the player expresses he would rather sit out. THAT won’t happen in the playoffs. Hockey players are madman tough.

Jeanshorts:

My gut instincts say yes. I’ve always been cautious with my own injuries, as I’d rather not have to deal with long lasting effects later on in life. I also never wanted to be a liability out there. Having said that I’ve never competed for the Stanley Cup, so even I would probably try to play through a broken wrist, or a groin hanging on by a thread. And as we’ve seen it’s virtually impossible to tell a hockey player they can’t go out there and play. I mean in 20 years we’ll probably still talk about the Rich Peverley collapsing incident the same way we talk about Bob Baun playing on a broken leg today. Being tough is part of the culture of hockey (for better or worse) and guys will go through hell for a shot at the cup. 

And as we saw with Ben Bishop, even with only one working leg, he still stood on his head and did everything he could to keep Tampa in the finals. It was a gamble, for sure, but I can understand why John Cooper would be hesitant to go with a rookie backup in the biggest games of the season. Same with Tyler Johnson; a gimped Tyler Johnson is still a better option than anybody who would have replaced him. I can’t see this type of thing changing any time soon.

Jason Gregor:

Players want to play. Bishop sat out until he felt he could play and not cost his team. I don’t think he allowed a goal that cost his team a chance at the Cup. Unless a player is clearly hurting his team by playing, I’m okay with them playing.

Jason Strudwick:

No. You want your best players out there for the playoffs. What are you saving it for? I will take a Johnson at 50% over someone that has been sitting out. It is also a bit of a mind messing trick. As the opposing team you don’t know how bad the injury is and you must continue to respect that player.

Baggedmilk:

I guess it depends on the player. Would you rather have Taylor Hall playing at 75% or Todd Harvey taking his spot instead? I think it would be pretty tough for a coach to keep a player out if the player feels as though he can compete with whatever injury he may have at the time. 

Dynasty

2) Mike B. asks – With Chicago winning their third Stanley Cup in six years do you consider them a dynasty? Why or why not?

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t care about the “dynasty” label, frankly. I believe Chicago has been the most dominant team of the 2000s regardless of what name you attach to that. I certainly don’t see them as equals to the Montreal teams that won five and four straight Cups and the NYI team that also won four straight.

Jonathan Willis:

Yes. Three Stanley Cups with the same core group is my threshold; Chicago is only the second team to accomplish that since the end of the Edmonton Oilers’ run at the top of the game (the other team that managed the feat was Detroit). It’s awfully hard for any team to put that kind of run together in a 30-team league and the salary cap makes keeping that Cup-winning core even tougher.

Lowetide:

Yes. It’s a 30-team league now, I would say Chicago’s three-in-six is MORE impressive than the Habs five-in-a-row in the 1950’s when there were only six teams (and three were terrible). 

Jeanshorts:

Absolutely. I think the definition of a dynasty has changed over the years with the advent of the cap. It’s virtually impossible to win back to back championships. As we’ve seen with the Hawks they’ve had to jettison a lot of key players after their cup wins. Having seven core players be able to win three cups in the span of six years is outrageous. I mean, I would consider three cups in the span of a decade a dynasty, so if anything the Hawks may be a SUPER DYNASTY!

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think you can have two dynasties at the same time. The Kings have won two Cups in last four years. If they win next year or in 2017 they’d be same as Hawks. I think Hawks are outstanding team, but for me you need to win back-to-back and at least three in four years to get in conversation. It is extremely difficult to win back-to-back and for me that is the first step.

Jason Strudwick:

Yes. The definition of dynasty changed as soon as the ink was dry on the NHL’s cap CBA. It is impossible to keep top teams together as younger players cycle into their second and third contracts. Success equals a raise.

Baggedmilk:

I think so. The Blackhawks have been mostly dominant since they won the Cup in 2010. Despite having major roster overhauls since that first Cup their core players have remained the same and they’re still able to “be there” every single year. Let me put it another way: If the Blackhawks aren’t a modern day dynasty then they’re the closest we’ll get in modern times (unless the Kings if they win next year). 

Plug

3) Smooth Evan asks – What are your comments about the Arizona Coyotes situation? Where do you think they wind up?

Robin Brownlee:

I’m weary of the whole saga. Want to see them in a hockey market, regardless if it’s the U.S. or Canada. The problem with moving them into a market that’s ready to support a team is that it will cut into the expansion fees Gary Bettman is counting on from those locations down the road.

Jonathan Willis:

I was surprised when the Coyotes got that sweetheart deal from Glendale, and it didn’t surprise me in the least that the new city government went looking for a way out of the mess. I’m skeptical that hockey is sustainable long-term in Arizona and don’t really believe the Coyotes will survive there indefinitely. As to where they end up, I do think we’ll see the NHL go to 32 teams in the near future and Quebec City, Las Vegas and Seattle seem the destinations with the most traction.

Lowetide:

Gary Bettman has to give up first — have never seen it so this could take awhile. Stunningly bad choice, Phoenix.

Jeanshorts:

I stopped paying attention a few years ago. It’s just the same drama over and over again. Though I will say I think the city of Glendale is right to not want to pay a professional sports team owned by a group of zillionares all the tax money every year. I feel like we’re only four or five more ownership debacles/money haemorrhaging seasons away from Bettman finally realizing that maybe hockey in the middle of Arizona might not work out as well as he’d hoped.

Jason Gregor:

Likely in Phoenix, not Glendale. Bettman will do everything he can to keep them in that market.

Jason Strudwick:

Enough with this already. A team should not be in that area. Why would they build an arena in Glendale? It was like they wanted it to struggle. An arena in Scottsdale or Phoenix would have made so much more sense.

Baggedmilk:

Honestly I’m bored of reading about this every summer. If a team is getting $16 million from the city in which they reside, plus revenue sharing, and they’re still not able to turn a profit, then what are they doing there? The only thing I can think of is that Gary Bettman made a promise to a dying friend/relative that he would not rest until there was a hockey team in Phoenix. Nothing else makes sense.  

Theatre

4) Bradley J. asks – If this Oilers offseason was a movie what would the title be?

Robin Brownlee:

Great Expectations.

Jonathan Willis:

I won’t be able to properly answer that until we see what actually happens, so right now I’d go with “untitled Connor McDavid summer blockbuster” and leave it there. The good news for Oilers fans is that it’s not Bold Moves III: This Time We Get Oduya, even if Peter Travers called that film “a non-stop action thrill ride”, or Summer of Steve V: Assessment Day, because even though I enjoy a dark comedy as much as the next guy, I think the premise was played out there.

Lowetide:

Jesus Christ, Superstar.

Jeanshorts:

The Greatest Story Ever Told Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

Jason Gregor:

Unexpected.

Jason Strudwick:

Good question.

Baggedmilk:

“I can’t believe you keep finding a way to suck me back in.” How’s that? 

P.S. I love you, Connor. 

Knitting

5) Angus R. asks – When you’re not watching hockey and covering hockey what are you doing with their spare time?

Robin Brownlee:

Living life — helping run our family business, being a dad, looking for the next challenge.

Jonathan Willis:

This question really made me sad about the amount of time I spend watching, reading and covering hockey, because it took me way too long to come up with a list of other things I do. My wife and I bought a fixer-upper a few years ago and we’ve poured a pile of time into renovations; we didn’t even go camping last year and we love going camping. We travel when we have the time/money, my wife has an impressive array of classic films that I’m slowly catching up with, and I read a pretty broad range of books whenever I get the chance. Between that stuff, friends and family, and this hockey habit I can’t quite kick, I’m reasonably busy.

Lowetide:

I’ve been gifted with a wonderful family and am no doubt in the back yard trying to get my dog to stop barking at the neighbor. I have a beer in hand, am listening to TSN1260 (seriously) and my wife is saying something.

Jeanshorts:

I love binge-watching TV shows or marathoning movies. I try to force myself to write scripts but that’s an uphill battle I usually lose. And other than that I’m usually spending way too much money drinking way too much alcohol at The Pint.

Jason Gregor:

Spending time with my wife and son, working out, reading non-sports books and binge watching TV shows like GoT, True Detective, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Arrested Development on Netflix.

Jason Strudwick:

Practicing on my Trombone. My band “Bonerama”, which features three Trombonists, is hoping to be playing at West Edmonton Mall for Christmas.

Baggedmilk:

Man, I’m so boring. My 18 year old self would be really disappointed in the lack of cool stuff that I do. I read a lot. Right now I’m reading ‘Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office.’ I also bang around on my instruments. I play guitar (poorly), I’m teaching myself to play piano (even poorer), and I like messing around on the Mandolin (worst). Aside from that, I watch a lot of documentaries on pretty much anything. This weekend I watched the Backstreet Boys documentary that’s on Netflix. Did you guys know that Brian Littrell is losing his voice? Tragic. 

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    “Bold Moves III: This Time We Get Oduya”

    I’m still laughing at that one, JW!

    Quick random question for stat wizard Willis – would you be able to point me to a chart showing the top 10 players in PP/60 minutes over the last five years? I need to prove a point to my idiot Leafs fan buddy, so you know it’s for a good cause.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Re: injuries in the playoffs – maybe look at cutting the season down to 65-70 games and the first playoff round to a best of 5.

    The inside of the locker room of a team in the finals must look like a WWI triage. I don’t think anyone, no matter how good of shape they’re in, can physically handle playing 100+ NHL games in a season.

    Icing a team of walking wounded doesn’t make for great hockey either. You can’t tell me that was an entertaining series if you’re not a Hawks or Bolts fan.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    The Walrus…..that would be awesome! This off season has been nothing short of spectacular. What Oiler fan would not embrass this news (hopefully more of a fact than rumour)?

  • camdog

    I’m surprised so many people are willing to bet against the Kings winning the cup in the next 2-3 seasons. When I think dynasty I think of a dominate team, and to be fair the Kings have been right there with the Hawks over the past 4 years.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I heard a Monday morning trade rumour which involves Dion Phaneuf coming to Edmonton for yet to be determined assets going back the other way. Your thoughts? No idea how reliable it is.

      • freelancer

        Keep him away from the media? Not as awful as Toronto but good luck with that. If Toronto ate a good portion of his salary I would consider it. My biggest worry with Dion is all the locker room rumours we have heard from his time in Calgary and onwards.

        Know people who knew him in high school and those stories match pretty well with what we have heard about his professional demeanour.

        On the ice I think he is a very good top 4 defenceman, not a first pairing, but good top four. End of the day, I think there are better options for a top 4.

  • Morgo_82

    Jason Strudwick:

    “Enough with this already. A team should not be in that area. Why would they build an arena in Glendale? It was like they wanted it to struggle. An arena in Scottsdale or Phoenix would have made so much more sense.”

    In regards to the Coyotes, you can’t come up with a more accurate statement than this. I’ve been saying the same thing since the they moved there in 2003.

    Bettman needs to stop being a stubborn fool and finally allow a relocation to a hockey market that actually cares about hockey.

  • Ready to Win

    I don’t think we need to redefine the term Dynasty to mean fewer cups (the HHoF doesn’t recognize any teams as dynasties that won fewer than 4 cups) for the same reason we don’t need to redefine regular season records that have become easier with longer schedules.

    Different eras favour different outcomes, but consistent terminology avoids confusion.

  • this is classic….thanks LT

    “am no doubt in the back yard trying to get my dog to stop barking at the neighbor. I have a beer in hand, am listening to TSN1260 (seriously) and my wife is saying something.”

  • paul wodehouse

    …Gretzky needed the basket on his bike yesterday to whisk away his almost son-in-law Dustin Johnson and get him to the nearest putt-putt golf course to learn how to use his flat stick…can you spell CHOKE ???

  • Joy S. Lee

    For your movie title, I thought Lowetide’s “Jesus Christ, Superstar” was funny, and most fitting, especially given the many references to McDavid in that light.

    Maybe “The Butterfly Effect,” as this movie may have began during an odd and seemingly insignificant moment where the Oilers fired a couple of trainers in order to avert the failure they were mired in. And if there’s a movie called, “The Purge,” that would be the sequel, followed by Lowetide’s preview of the upcoming flick.

  • paul wodehouse

    @ RB…..don’t think so Brownlee, Hawks were not a dominant team of the 2000s! Man, the Oilers had the same amount of points in 07/08 (88 pts) & actually had more wins than the Hawks 41 to 40! The Oil were actually fighting for playoff spots right up until 09 / 10 when the bottom fell out with so many injuries! Hence the rebuild!

    • What part of the reference to Chicago did you not understand? And what, pray tell, do the Oilers have to do with the question that was asked?

      Chicago has won three Stanley Cups in the 2000s. LA and DET have two each. Sixteen teams make the playoffs every year. One wins the Cup.

    • Morgo_82

      Also, if we hire MacLean we better make sure it’s actually him and not his doppelganger that used to sit right behind him in the crowd . Oh wait… only Toronto screws that up!

      *Cough Jeff Finger Cough*

  • B_Oliver

    Very cool that Nuge is #15 and above the likes of Patrick Kane and Jason Spezza on the PowerplayPoints/60! Stats like that are very revealing. Hall/Ebs are pretty much tied at 43/44, still above guys like Seguin and Tj Oshie.

  • paul wodehouse

    The Arizona experiment, was, is, and continues to be about potential TV market-capture. Position your teams in the largest markets and do whatever possible to make them succeed. That is the formula. The PHO market sits 10th. Interestingly enough, Seattle is the only market of the top 20 TV markets without a team.

    Who cares how big the market is if no one watches? Yes, in hockey-mad markets they could draw a higher share, but ultimately the limited TV market caps out well below the potential in a larger market. The stability of the NHL has never been so sure. This is, in large part, due to the massive US TV deal signed in 2011. That deal is nearly three times as lucrative than the previous agreement. The NHL was able to get a deal of this size because they have teams in every large market (expect SeaTac).

    They are trying to grow the game, and enrollment in the sunbelt states has shown it is working. Phoenix has been a mess, no argument, but the NHL has shown the necessary patience to truly grow the game. Will it ever work in Phoenix? Personally, I don’t think it will, especially in Glendale given the new governments position.

    It was a calculated risk moving into the southern markets. They took a shot, albeit from the top of the circle, but as Gretz said, you miss 100% of the shots you dont take.