Monday Mailbag – July 27th

Mailbag

Whether you’re killing time at work, or sitting on your couch in your Captain America pyjamas, the mailbag is here to help you kill off a little bit of your Monday.  Whether that time killed is company time (preferable), or you’re killing time until it’s socially acceptable to drink – we don’t care – we just care that you’re here. Thank you. If you have a question for the mailbag, you can email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.  Until then, I present to you the masterpiece known as the Mailbag.

allstargame

1) Chungerr asks – What suggestion would you make to promote a more competitive NHL All-Star game?

Lowetide:

Every player on the winning side gets $1 million dollars. I don’t know, I hate the All-Star game.

Robin Brownlee:

None. It’s a lame event that has nothing to do with being “competitive” and everything to do with marketing and greasing sponsors. I’d rather see the game cancelled and players given a short break to rest and heal or just take time away. That won’t happen.

Jeanshorts:

I don’t really think there is a way to make the current iteration more competitive. I really dislike the way the MLB All-Star game decides who gets home field advantage in the World Series, so I wouldn’t recommend a Stanley Cup Finals version for the NHL. I think we just need to face facts: the All-Star game is, and always has been just a fun weekend that’s mostly geared toward kids. We all have our specific fond memories of the game growing up (Owen Nolan calling his shot for me) and I’ve found that the older I got the less appealing the game became for me. I also don’t really understand why everyone loves to complain about it so much; if you don’t like it then don’t watch it. I haven’t watched one in about five years and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything at all.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think there’s any way to make it competitive enough but there might be a few things we can do. For one, it can’t be during the season. It just can’t. Nobody in their right mind is going to block a shot or attempt something that could result in a broken bone with the playoffs around the corner. This game should happen in September but before training camp opens. I don’t want to mess too much with the game, but just changing the date should make players more willing to show some physicality.

Jason Strudwick:

I have one simple solution: cancel the game. It will never be competitive. No one wants to get injured in this game and I bet many are not getting a full nine hours sleep each night.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see a reason to change the game. I don’t want the best players to play hard and risk injury in a meaningless game. I can see best on best at Olympics, the World Cup next summer and high intensity in the playoffs. I don’t need it at the all star game. The game is for home town fans and a reward for players to get recognized.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t see the NHL changing the game at all. From where I sit that whole game is for the kids and the sponsors. To me it’s just a couple days to go outside or something like that. 

365141

2) Roger asks – With Andrew Ference seemingly slipping down the depth chart as far as 7th or 8th d-man over the last few weeks, is it still appropriate for him to retain the captaincy? If not, how should the Oilers address this issue? 

Lowetide:

It’s a tough question. I imagine he’ll start as captain and then at some point (maybe next summer) Todd McLellan will feel comfortable that he can read the room. I think we should proceed as if Ference is the captain and an everyday player based on how the summer is going, so projecting him at No. 7-8 is perhaps unwarranted.

Robin Brownlee:

I’d prefer Ference come forward and hand off the captaincy to somebody else, but I would not force him to do it or strip him of it if he’s against the idea. Perhaps Todd McLellan has his own ideas and will discuss the issue with Ference.

Jeanshorts:

The Oilers are in a pretty sticky situation here. As Matt noted in his article last week, Ference has been one of, if not the best community ambassador the Oilers have had in years. But you could argue he shouldn’t even have been given the captaincy in the first place; he had never played a game for the team, and here he was with the C. However I also still see some logic in that he was one of the longest serving NHLers on the team when he arrived, and I don’t think 22 year old Taylor Hall or 20 year old Nuge were ready for that responsibility. He absorbed all the criticism leveled at the Oilers from the media loss after abysmal loss and answered for the failings of the team. 

At this point, though, I think it’s time to move on. If Chiarelli sits him down and levels with him that he’s obviously not part of the future, and that they’d like to go in a new direction with one of the core young guns, I’m sure it would go over as well as you could hope for something like that. I mean, if the Stars can take the captaincy from Modano while he was still a big part of their team, I don’t think anyone would raise an eyebrow at the Oilers doing the same thing to Ference.

Matt Henderson:

I think it’s time to move on and let the core players take over. There is no need for a transitional Captain for the Oilers. They’ve been in transition since Jason Smith left. Hall or RNH, that’s who I think should wear the C.

Jason Strudwick:

Very good question. Lets go back to when Ference was named in the first place. Eakins had no business choosing a captain so quickly. He did not know any of the players — how could he know the type of captain the team needed? They should have just had assistant captains.

If I were running the show I would keep it as is and let things play out. We don’t know how much Ference will or won’t play. I chuckle every time people have him slotted in as the 7th or 8th. What is that based on? Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

Jason Gregor:

He will not play differently if he has the C or not.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve been saying this for a little while now but I think Ragin’ Nugent-Hopkins should be the next captain of the Oilers. He has the temperament to handle the job. You don’t necessarily need a vocal leader to wear the C, but you do need a guy that is committed to being the best that he can and for me that’s Nuge. 

Circle

3) Chicken Laser asks – Do you agree with the notion that the Oilers’ moves this summer were all lateral (Connor McDavid’s acquisition excepted)? If you do not agree why not? 

Lowetide:

Cam Talbot was an excellent bet and Andrej Sekera was one of the truly outstanding available blue liners. Peter Chiarelli has improved the team, and hired Todd McLEllan as coach, but it appears the team will have to make in-season and summer 2016 moves to become a playoff team.

Robin Brownlee:

No, I don’t agree. Why is McDavid left out of the conversation? He’s an acquisition and will improve the forward group. I think the blueline will be marginally better and deeper with Sekera, Gryba and Reinhart in and Petry and Marincin out. Could be more than marginally better if Klefbom continues to develop and Nurse comes in ready to kick some ass. There’s more depth in the middle up front with McDavid and Letestu in. The bet is Talbot can be an upgrade on Scrivens. I think that’s a reasonable bet. I think the Oilers will improve by 20 points.

Jeanshorts:

I think it’s way too early to even come to a conclusion on any of these moves right now. I’d argue that on paper the defence looks better, and while the jury is still out on Talbot, again on paper, he looks to be a major upgrade over anyone the Oilers have had in net the last few seasons. Sekera is filling the stupid hole left by Petry that shouldn’t even have been there in the first place, but he’s also better than any other D-man on the roster at this point. And a few of the moves, to me, came off as making room for bubble players or guys looking to make the jump from the AHL to the NHL this year. So if potentially upgrading the defense and goalies, creating competition for roster spots for the first time in years, and allowing players the Oilers have been developing for years to compete for a spot on the big club are “lateral moves” then, sure!

Matt Henderson:

A lot of moves HAVE been lateral. Sekera is pretty comparable to Jeff Petry, but I’ll count him as at least a slight upgrade. Gryba is a number six defender and he presumably replaces Marincin who was playing in a second pairing role so that’s actually backwards. Reinhart hasn’t established himself at the NHL level. Letestu is a bottom six guy with more offensive ability than Gordon but not as adept defensively. The only one that I think is a clear upgrade is Talbot. I see the Oilers just slightly ahead of where they started last year on defense. Way ahead in net. And pretty even at forward even if we are excluding McDavid.

Jason Strudwick:

Hard to remove the addition of McDavid from this summer’s work. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of grading a summer’s worth of work for a team? That would be like saying the Flames didn’t have a good summer if you remove the trade for Hamilton from the mix. Adding McDavid is huge. It changes the look of the top two lines completely.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see them as lateral. Letestu has more two-way ability than Gordon and is solid in faceoffs. Gryba is better than Aulie. Sekera is different than Petry, and I believe Talbot is much better than Fasth. He has no injury history either. That said, I don’t expect the Oilers to be a playoff team, but I do expect them to improve by 20-25 points.

Baggedmilk:

I’d be a lot happier about what’s been done this summer if MacT hadn’t challenged Petry to a one-year deal and then trading him for a case of Gatorade. I like the Sekera signing. I’m willing to be patient to see what Reinhart can be, and I think Cam Talbot is a massive upgrade. 

ForwardThinking

4) Justin asks – Todd McLellan has used Brent Burns as a forward on occasion. Do you think he would ever try the same thing with Justin Schultz?

Lowetide:

Maybe. I can’t think of two different player-types though and there are battles for wingers that Schultz won’t win.

Robin Brownlee:

No. Schultz is not Burns. Isn’t as big or physical and likely wouldn’t be as effective on the forecheck or as adept at breaking up the cycle in his own zone. Don’t see it working.

Jeanshorts:

As you said he does have the track record, so if any coach were to try that experiment it would probably be Todd McLellan. I don’t see why he wouldn’t; Schultz has plenty of offensive potential, and basically can’t play defence, so I don’t see much harm in at least trying it out to see if they can finally unlock the secret that is Jultz.

Matt Henderson:

Give him 10 games to figure out that Schultz can’t actually play defense and yeah, we probably will.

Jason Strudwick:

I can’t comment on what Todd would do but I would never do that. EVER.

Jason Gregor:

Not right away. He is going to want to work with Schultz and see how he adapts to McLellan’s system and playing fewer minutes.

Baggedmilk:

It’s definitely a “show me” year for Justin Schultz. I think if he can put his big boy undies on learn how to play the position he’s supposed to play that he’ll be alright. Let’s see what this coaching staff can do with him first.

Survivor

5) Christopher K. asks – Pretend that the OilersNation writers got lost in the woods. Who would be the most successful survivalist? Who would be the worst?

Lowetide:

Wanye would find wonder in the woods and begin crafting a ‘city on the hill’ for all to enjoy. Gregor would build a compass from mud and his gum boots and walk out (only Brownlee recognizing the opportunity and walking out with him) without any problems. Bagged and Jeans would be lost to the coyotes on the first night, as they become careless from drinking out of the flask Brownlee left behind. Matt Henderson would sooth the coyotes with his reason and card tricks. Willis would hammer out 30 hockey stories on a Smith-Corona using leaves as paper. I’d sleep through the whole thing, keeping the coyotes at bay with my rhythmic snoring.

Robin Brownlee:

As long as I had a deck of smokes and a knife, I’d be most successful. After that, it’s a tie for worst.

Jeanshorts:

I assume that Brownlee would murder us all while we’re sleeping on night one, then slowly work his way to becoming King Of The Forest, before it’s off to enslave all of you! I CAN’T WAIT!

Matt Henderson:

Well it goes without saying that Jeanshorts and Baggedmilk would die without each other but sticking together would also mean certain death. If they got to stick together for a bit then I give them two days before Jeanshorts kills and eats Baggedmilk. 

Robin would probably wander into a bear den and after a few rousing quips directed at the largest of the bears he would be crowned their Bear King and hibernate for seven months or until rescued. 

Jason will be found after almost a week lost in the woods not having lost any weight at all because his diet almost completely consists of dandelion salads and berries as it is. 

Willis will have made a shelter, hunted and cleaned a deer, made a laptop out of dry coconut husks that were mysteriously left in an Alberta forest, and written three posts within the first hour of being lost. 

Jason Strudwick kept thinking about that sweet shootout goal and crews found him because of his trademark laugh. 

Lowetide was never heard from again, but children will forever pass on the legend that whoever enters those woods can hear stories of Oiler prospects from the 1980’s who never panned out whenever the wind blows. 

Wanye turned out not to be real, but a figment of our imagination the whole time. 

As for me, I’m sad to say this situation is just too implausible because I am required by the tenets of my religion to be within 30 minutes of a Wendy’s at all times. 

So to answer your question, the most successful survivalist was me, face deep in a Baconator.

Jason Strudwick:

There are a lot of softies who require warm blankets and internet access at OilersNation. Most would not make it to lunch. Brownlee is the most stubborn so I could count on him for two things. First, he would last a while which would be good because if we got really hungry we could eat him. He is stuffed full of Herbal Magic.

Jason Gregor:

Worst would be LT. He has a personal driver every day, so he would struggle navigating.

Best would be… Willis. He lives in Fort St. John, but more importantly people don’t know that he always has a pocket full of marbles and every time he ventures into the dense bush up north he always drops one every 50 feet to ensure he finds his way home.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t know who would do the best in the woods – maybe Brownlee? He seems like the rugged type that could handle a bear with his fists of fury if need be. I’ll tell you one thing though… Gregor would be the best dressed in the woods.

I would probably die while trying to find wifi. I wouldn’t die first though. I’d kill Jeanshorts to make sure that I had the option of cutting him open and sleeping inside. You’ve gotta have shelter, amirite?

  • ubermiguel

    I wish the All Star game would go back to its roots as a charitable fundraiser. Some of the first versions were for Ace Bailey after his injury and Howie Morenz’s family. I hate to say it but Ovechkin trying to win the car for being last selected so he could donate it was closer to the origins of the all-star game than any of the other crap that surrounds it. Each player’s favourite charity should get some money, but if you win the game your charity gets a little bit more money. The 3 stars get even more money for their charity.

    Although keep the drunken team drafting process, that was hilarious last year.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    For the AllStar game, I think playing league leaders against last year’s cup winner would be interesting. No?

    Or bring in the ‘ol Red Army Team to play the league’s best.

    Or release a panther, lion and grizzly bear on the ice during the game.

    Or spike all the water bottles with random psychedelic drugs.

    That’d spice it up.

  • hagar

    I can’t wait to see Habs nation pull their hair out wanting more from Petry…especially at that price. And I’m very curious to see how he handles the media there if he has a rough patch; they are ruthless and he is so timid.

  • Dirtski

    Hats off to Hendersons survivor question – that was pure gold.

    And as a child growing up in the 90’s, I loved the all-star game. Stuff was simply magical – all the best players! Coolest thing ever. Now pushing 30 I haven’t watched it in years. Perhaps it’s best left to the kids.

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    All Star Game Event Suggestions:

    1. 1 on 1 trash talk competition
    2. How many phone numbers can they collect from the female fans in the stands in 3 minutes.
    3. Out-Tweet Luongo competition.
    4. Most ridiculous selfie.
    5. Ice Bucket challenge. Plot Twist: using dry ice.
    6. 5 slap-shots without breaking a composite stick.
    7. Best excuse they give their significant others for not answering their cell phones while out at the bars during road trips.

    The list is endless really…