Monday Mailbag – August 31st


There’s a long weekend on the horizon and you’ve got a few work days to kill. As always, the Mailbag is here to help you put those long company hours behind you and bring you one step closer to the debauchery that will be your long weekend. The most important part is that you try to look busy, and nothing makes you look busier than reading intently. The Mailbag doesn’t work without your questions so if you have something to ask you can email me at or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. 


1) @jfresz asks – Who is the player that you thought would be a (super)star that didn’t pan out? Bryan Fogarty was one of the guys when I was a kid. I thought Ales Hemsky would be a top 10 point getter for years as well. Who is yours?


I think he’s still a very solid defenseman, but for some reason I though Zach Bogosian was going to be a lot better. When he was drafted right after Doughty I told my friend that while Doughty was going to be good, Bogosian was going to be an absolute killer. Obviously I whiffed on that one PRETTY badly. I would still take him on the Oilers any day of the week, but he’s obviously not Doughty, or Pietrangelo for that matter.

If we want to go with an Oilers player I think we were all pretty disappointed PRV didn’t pan out. Big kid, with a smooth stride and speed to burn, who for one reason or another just hasn’t been able to figure out the NHL. Thought he would be a steal at #10, but now doesn’t look like he’s long for the NHL at all.


Ron Chipperfield. He owned the WHL scoring championship in his draft year and was an outstanding junior player. I thought it was weird when he didn’t go No. 1 overall but remained convinced he would score a bunch in the WHA and or NHL. He had a career, but
not close to the heights his junior numbers implied. I always cheered for him, though.

Robin Brownlee:

So many over the years. From my days covering the WHL, I thought Warren Babe would be a terrific NHL player but concussions ended his career. I thought Len Barrie had a chance to be a very good player after 185 points as a 20-year-old. Surprised Dave Chyzowski had such a limited career. As for players I first saw in the NHL, I expected way more than what we got from Gilbert Brule.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t know about a star, but I always thought Sam Gagner would do more and your example of Ales Hemsky is pretty good but I don’t think he needed to do more. He was a very underrated winger. Back to Gagner, there always seems like he has another level that’s *this* close for him to reach but something always gets in the way. Having a new coach every single year didn’t help him but I thought the 2013 lockout year was going to see him reach that other level. He was on a 65 point pace (over 82 games) that year. I think I’ll always wonder what the Oil could have done differently (so many things) to help him develop more long term.


I always thought Ales Hemsky was going to be more than he is. The guy has the hands and the talent to be a star in the NHL, but the problem is that that talent only shows up every couple of months. I’m sure Hemsky drove his NHL coaches crazy with what he’s able to do, but only does on a limited basis. 


2) @SteveDodd asks – I realize NHL teams and agents want their players to stay away from reading about themselves online, but let’s be real- I can’t remember seeing a 20 year-old without their face buried in their phone. To what extent do you really think Taylor Hall (for example) avoids reading our praise or hate?


Like you said I think it’s virtually impossible for anyone in their 20s to NOT be on social media or the internet in some capacity. So you have to think that a player like Taylor Hall or Connor McDavid, who are talked about non-stop, have to come across, AT MINIMUM, a small percentage of things said about them. ESPECIALLY with Twitter and Instagram. I’m the definition of “curiosity killed the cat” so I’d have an impossible time not seeing some fartbag twice my age telling me how much I suck on Twitter because the Oilers lost or whatever if I were in their shoes. I don’t think they go out searching for any of this at all, but it seems impossible to avoid fully without going to the extreme and disconnecting from all social media/the internet. Long story short the internet is terrible and we should all get off Twitter! Also, please follow me on Twitter @JSBMJeanshorts!


I have no idea but can say he’s adept at using the media via twitter. He comes off as a pretty normal guy and I love the back and forth with Eberle.

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t think the vast majority of players put much stock in what fans have to say — good or bad. Social media shows us every single day that you don’t have to have the first clue or a lick of common sense to have a Twitter account.

Matt Henderson:

I’ve been told by a few people that lots of Oilers have at the very least kept tabs on the major blogs. I don’t know how true that is but my guess is it’s impossible to stay away from reading it all the time. They also will have friends and family who read the sites and let them know if we’re talking them up or down. It’s unavoidable.


I know they read the blogs. How? I’ve seen Taylor Hall retweet a couple of articles from the Nation. Sure they were most interviews that he’s done, but he retweeted them none the less. Whether or not he actually read the thing is another story entirely. Maybe he stared at the words? I do that sometimes. 


3) @AD_Bridge asks – Which active, individual player (from any team) do you enjoy to watch the most? Why?


Ovechkin! He’s got the perfect mix of insanely skilled offence (top 3 best shooters in the league IMO), crash and bang, power forward style of play that I loved watching in a guys like Forsberg and Lindros growing up, and he also has tons of personality on and off the ice. He’s one of my favourites, and it’s wild to me that the NHL doesn’t do more to make him the face of the league.


Patrice Bergeron. As a Bruins fan since Orr (Oilers since Al Hamilton), watching his brilliant two-way game is a pleasure. Fabulous hockey player.

Robin Brownlee:

Ovechkin. Size. Speed. Skill. What else is there?

Matt Henderson:

I guess I really enjoy watching Ovie play. He’s not my fav player, but if I were to just sit and watch someone for pure entertainment it would probably be him. He’s electric.


When he’s at his best I love watching Pavel Datsyuk. He’s like a cat burglar out there. The things that guy can do with the puck on his stick is absolutely amazing. Pavel Datsyuk is an asset at both ends of the ice, and if you’re not paying attention to him he’ll make you look stupid at the same time. Great player.


4) Carson asks – When you were playing hockey at any level what was your jersey number and why did you pick it?


My first number was 19, for no reason other than that was the jersey I was given. Then I switched to 9 because of Paul Kariya for a season or two. Then for the majority of my minor hockey days I wore either 4 or 44 for Rob Blake and Chris Pronger respectively.


I wore No. 5 because no one wanted it and defensemen wore low numbers. It was easily seen from the stands as the guy fishing the puck out of the net for the poor goalie I’d failed.

Robin Brownlee:

No. 9 for Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe. Biggest stars when I was a kid before Bobby Orr came along.

Matt Henderson:

When I play any sport my preferred number is 13 because my birthday is on the 13th. I wasn’t allowed to wear 13 when I played football for O’Leary High School because Rick Walters – who once upon a time dropped about 1000 balls for the Eskimos – wore 13 and they retired the number. I had to wear 14 and it was BS. I mean, Rick Walters? What the hell? Anyway, the last time I played organized hockey they just gave me whatever number and I didn’t have much of a preference. I was still relatively young.


I usually wore number 10 when I was playing. Why? Because I loved Pavel Bure. Bure was my favourite player growing up and I wanted to play him. The guy had moves and speed and could pull off those moves at high speed. 


5) Lane asks – Why do you think there are still so many unsigned free agents? What changed? A guy like Cody Franson comes to mind.


The Franson situation makes no sense to me. I have to think he’s asking for either too much money, or too long of a term. I’ve also heard he basically only wants to sign with a legit contender, so part of the problem may be him being a little too choosy in terms of where he signs. The only other thing I can think of is GMs sometimes suffer from What Have You Done For Me Lately disease. While everything points to Franson being an incredibly solid, depth defenseman he did have a bit of a rocky ride during his short time Nashville. So I wouldn’t put it past a lot of GMs looking at that and passing, which is insane, but not remotely out of the ordinary *looks at Don Sweeney and laughs hysterically*. 

It also seems like the majority of GMs finally realized how the cap works this summer, and that going out and throwing money at guys who are “good in the room” or have won the cup by virtue of being a part of a great team doesn’t generally pan out that well. Perhaps some of that is due to the influx of analytics experts being hired by NHL teams? No…. I’m sure there’s no correlation there….. 


The cap the cap the cap. It’s going to be a big damn deal next summer, Peter Chiarelli’s not buying out players this year looks like it might be a stroke of genius.

Robin Brownlee:

Cap issues. Mediocre players (like Franson) wanting too much money. Not a good combination.

Matt Henderson:

The biggest change facing guys like Franson is that the Cap didn’t REALLY go up. The NHL/PA used an escalator to up the Cap 5% but without it there would be no extra money for UFAs at all and what did come as extra was eaten up very quickly. Teams just don’t have the money to give raises to everyone (ahem, Schultz) every year just for being average. You combine a tight Cap with massive deals like the ones belonging to the NHL’s Stars and it’s a recipe for a lot of teams not having 4M to hand over to UFAs.


I can only assume Cody Franson is asking for too much money or term or both. With the salary cap barely moving this year there were a lot of teams that normally spend money that have not. It was interesting to see GMs being forced to act like adults with their coin purse. You know they wanted to give out big ticket contracts but they didn’t have the ability to do so, and I think that’s what happened with guys like Cody Franson. It will be interesting to see where he signs and for how much. 

  • Ready to Win

    “Who is the player that you thought would be a (super)star that didn’t pan out? ”

    Jimmy Carson. Obviously expectations on him were unfairly high, but I am not ashamed to admit that I was one of those expecting too much from him.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Disappointment probably two local boys who did not fair so well here in Comrie and Lupul . Favorite players and often most frustrating to watch is our Oilers . Secondly , all the scoring stars in league . Number 9 always had special meaning for so many years and Gretzky reaffirmed it by wearing double 9=99 . Oilers can hardly hire anyone else , when they may not have sufficient funds to pay bonuses to new players this year . Our lineup may already be comprimized because of it . Players probably read blogs about them when they are positive about them and team – results driven curiosity .

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I always wore 19 in honor of Sakic and Yzerman. It was a sought after number when I was playing though, so the 2nd years would get dibs. In that case, I’d take 17.

  • Jaxon

    I went from #9 (Clark Gillies) to #17 (don’t remember why) as a kid and then #71 in adult hockey and now I wear #29 for Brad McCrimmon. I think my dad fought his dad at Notre Dame, so I always thought that was kind of cool. I have German ancestry so the fact that Draisaitl wears #29 is a big bonus now too.

  • oilerjed

    Random question for the masses. IF Dr Drai gets given a shot at wing instead of center and kills it, does this open then door even wider to trade Ebs or Yak?? I would say Ebs because he would get more return.. We are quickly running out of room on our top two lines and moving Ebs in place of Drai would free up over 3 mil and fix our top line size issue to some degree.
    Trash away.

    • Jaxon

      Draisaitl’s savings on cap would be 2.6M . That’s 6m – the 3.4 M due Draisaitl because of bonuses = 2.6M . Yak a different story seeing as he has no bonuses coming anymore , but a nice contract of 2.5M . Nurse has a good contract for entering league , even with bonuses is about 1.75 M . Do not see any reason to move/replace Eberle and create another hole in lineup on RW at this stage .

      • oilerjed

        Not even if you can upgrade the defense and still keep an equal or better offense( although unproven as of yet I’ll grant). Right wing depth is not particularly a big problem for us but one more big fast defensmen would be a huge difference maker for this team and it’s development.
        Ebs is really good but not a difference maker.

  • Jaxon

    I wrote about Bryan Fogarty for a creative writing piece in college. Amazing player who had some serious addiction problems. His story is very tragic. He had the potential to break all the records. In junior, he broke goals and points records of Potvin, Orr and MaCinnis. He scored eight points one night just because his coach bet him that he couldn’t, then asked if he could go home after he won the bet. I was a Nordique fan when he was drafted in 1987 (9th overall, Sakic was drafted 15th overall), so I followed his career closely at the time.

    • ubermiguel

      Fogarty’s story is incredibly sad. Forget about wasting his hockey career, his life ended at 32 due to alcoholism. Everyone that played with or against him especially in juniors say he had all the talent and could have been the next Orr. I wonder what demons drove him to drink that much, or if he was just incredibly prone to addiction. I read he had social anxiety so being a high draft pick didn’t help.

      Fogarty’s a cautionary tail on alcoholism, but also putting pressure on 18 year-olds. It’s impossible to predict someone’s whole hockey career at that age.

      • Jaxon

        This was my creative writing poem I submitted about Fogarty (I think in 2002). The formatting is all off and it’s, well, it’s a creative writing piece (pretentious much?). I apologize to readers for the length, but when else am I going to find a use for this. It is what it is, I guess.


        To begin.
        Eleventh day of June,
        I exit into Brantford, Ontario
        to my parents
        Thomas and Virginia

        To begin again.
        Four years old and
        skating all the time in
        Ninety-nine’s hometown.

        To begin again.
        1983, I’m at a friend’s house
        before a high school dance,
        We raid the liquor cabinet:
        “What’s that going to do to me?
        Fifteen minutes later
        I’m bouncing off the gym walls.”

        To begin again
        1984, Hockey in Aroura,
        Fifteen years old,
        I’m at the bar with
        nineteen and
        twenty year olds.
        One year away from home.
        Five different boarding homes.

        To begin again.
        First overall in OHL draft by the
        Kingston Canadiens:
        Kirk Muller, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza.
        I’m awarded a bunch of money.
        A high school kid is murdered in
        Regiopolis Notre Dame.
        They move the case to Toronto.
        I give my winnings to a reporter for the
        Kingston Whig-Standard,
        asking that he get it to the victim’s family.
        I had an enlarged heart.

        1987 Canadian National Team’s
        summer camp in Orleans.
        Caught in a drunken fire-hose spraying incident.
        Sent home along with three others.

        To begin again.
        NHL entry draft,
        Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
        Ninth overall:
        I pull on a Quebec Nordiques sweater.
        Fifteenth overall is
        Quebec’s second pick:
        “Burnaby” Joe Sakic.
        The barometer of potential.

        Two months later,
        Reporters ask me questions
        about my personal life.
        “I may have missed a few curfews in my
        first year as a junior,
        but those days are long gone.
        I’m a different person now.”

        To begin again.
        Traded to the Niagara Falls Thunder
        Remembrance Day,
        Riding the team bus to Sudbury.
        Coach Laforge calls me to the back,
        “I’ll make you a bet,
        $50 cash,
        that you can’t score
        seven points tonight.
        If you lose you gotta buy Maxie here dinner.”
        “Okay, you’re on.”
        Seven minutes left in the second, my
        seventh point started behind our net,
        I carried the puck
        all the way up the ice,
        deked out the goalie,
        and skated around the goal,
        to pass it out to Keith (Primeau),
        who put it into an open net.
        I skated back to the bench,
        “I got my
        seven points.
        Do I have to play anymore?”
        I ended the game with
        eight, another record.
        First of
        two times I did that.

        statistically my best year:
        108 assists,
        155 points in
        60 games.
        Broke records of:
        Bobby Orr-
        38 goals,
        Al MacInnis-
        38 goals.
        Denis Potvin-
        123 points
        Twenty years old:
        Awarded a shiny new
        Chrysler convertible for the most
        3 star selections.

        Canadian Junior Players of the Year:
        Jason Allison, Eric Lindros, Mike Ricci,
        Joe Sakic, Rob Brown, Luc Robitaille,
        Mario Lemieux, Pat Lafontaine, Dale Hawerchuk,
        Bobby Smith, Dale McCourt.

        Junior All-Star Game in Montreal.
        I missed the morning skate because
        I came down with what they call the
        “Crescent Street Blues”

        Powers Trophy winners
        for top scorer in the OHL:
        Rod Gilbert, Derek Sanderson, Marcel Dionne,
        Bobby Smith, Doug Gilmour, Eric Lindros,
        Keith Primeau, Marc Savard, Jason Allison.

        Kaminsky Trophy winners
        for top defenseman in the OHL:
        Bryan Berard, Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis,
        Larry Murphy, Rob Ramage, Craig Hartsburg,
        Denis Potvin.

        Impaired driving,
        I crash a teammate’s car.
        “It only takes
        five minutes to get a reputation,
        and it takes a
        lifetime to get rid of it.”

        To begin again.
        First NHL game in
        October of
        Quebec Nordiques #43.
        45 games, got only
        14 points.

        I had more off ice problems.
        They roomed me with John Kordic.
        It was a different form of co-dependency.
        “Work through your demons together.”
        John died in a sensationalized drug related death.
        By that time, Les Nordiques had given up on me,
        I was jumping around between the
        Pittsburgh Penguins and the Cleveland Lumberjacks.
        “It could have been me.
        I keep reminding myself.
        I’m like him. It scares me.”

        My teammates knew me as
        the nice, quiet guy, that stood in the corner;
        the shy guy with the rosy complexion and the constant smile.

        To begin again, and again, and again…
        Halifax Citadels, Muskegon Lumberjacks, New Haven Nighthawks,
        Las Vegas Thunder, Kansas City Blades, Atlanta Knights.
        Why did Las Vegas and Atlanta sign me,
        cities that are notoriously hard on addicts?
        Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Moose, Detroit Vipers,
        Milan Italy, Hanover Germany, Baton Rouge Kingfish,
        Indianapolis Ice, Knoxville Speed, St. John’s Maple Leafs,
        Huntsville Tornado, Elmira Jacks.
        Holding on.
        Knowing that eventually
        they wouldn’t put up with my problems,
        Then I’d look for the next team that
        believed, or rather
        hoped they could save me and
        reap the benefits of my
        untapped potential.
        But every city has its demons.
        To begin again.
        June of
        Police responded to a suspected break-in at
        Tollgate Technological Skills Centre,
        a high school in Brantford.
        They found me naked in the school kitchen,
        cocaine on the counter.
        For some reason,
        don’t ask me why,
        I had splashed cooking oil
        all over the kitchen floor.
        I got off
        on a technicality for possession,
        a botched lab test.
        But I had to donate
        $500 to a
        dependency clinic for the disturbance.

        To begin again.
        September of
        My last last chance to make the NHL
        I had a try out with the
        St. John’s Maple Leafs
        of the AHL,
        Toronto Maple Leaf’s farm team,
        I only lasted
        three days.
        They needed to
        “make room for the youngsters in their system.”

        To begin again.
        I gave up
        and returned home
        to work for the family
        catering business.

        I have a wife,
        I have other family too.
        Two brothers, Patrick and Glen.
        One sister, Lynn.
        Two times,
        I checked myself into rehab.
        To begin again.
        I’m on vacation:

        A well-known Canadian hockey player
        and former
        first-round draft pick
        for the Quebec Nordiques
        died Wednesday
        at Compass Cove Resort
        on South Ocean Boulevard.
        Bryan Fogarty,
        was pronounced dead at
        12:25 p.m. Wednesday
        at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center,
        said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.
        “An autopsy revealed Fogarty died of cardiac problems.”
        Fogarty was vacationing in
        Myrtle Beach
        with family and friends when he died,
        authorities said.
        “They said they heard him stop snoring and thought he was up,
        but when they checked him, he wasn’t breathing.”
        Myrtle Beach police said
        there appeared to be no sign of foul play.

        I died of an enlarged heart.

        A funeral service will be held in the chapel of
        McCleister’s Funeral Home on Park Road North
        Saturday, March
        9, 2002 at
        11 a.m.
        Visitation will take place today from
        7 p.m. to
        9 p.m.
        Interment will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery.
        1999 interview:
        “I feel bad for myself.
        But I feel bad for the people around me
        because they had to deal with the
        consequences of what I did.
        And I wish to God
        they didn’t have to…”

        …begin again.
        In another timeline
        Bryan Fogarty:
        first overall,
        no demons,
        no battle,
        no rumours.
        Breaks Junior records.
        Breaks NHL records: Orr, Coffey, Bourque
        Canadian Junior Player of the Year.
        Stanley Cups with Nordiques/Avalanche.
        Norris Trophies, Hart Trophies, Conn Smythe Trophies,
        Art Ross Trophies, All-Star Team Selections, World Junior Champion,
        World Cup Champion, Olympic Gold with long time teammate Joe Sakic.

        Hockey Night in Heaven,
        Foster Hewitt:
        “The face-off is deep in their own zone,
        Max Bentley lines up between his brother Doug
        and the fiery Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

        Bryan Fogarty.

  • Jaxon

    My jersey number for years was number97.I have several to back it up.I thought they retired the number 97 lol.
    Steve Kelley was one player who I thought had potential. Fogarty was definitely a player who had superstar written all over very unfortunate.

  • mithaman

    “Who is the player that you thought would be a (super)star that didn’t pan out? ”

    I thought Gretkzy would have been better than he was. I think most would agree that he never realized his full potential. I wish he had a coach like Dallas Eakins to guide him.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I know you wrote it as a joke but I really think it is somewhat true as the trade really hurt his career. If some how the Oilers could of kept even some of the players around him he had at least 3 more cups waiting for him. I also think he could of had many more points per season. Sure it was good for hockey in California and the NHL but so what I hate Donald Duck.

  • Semenko27

    I m the furthest thing from a Bruins fan that there is, but i have to agree with Lowetide. Bergeron is the man. There is not much he can’t do in the game.

  • DirtyDom

    A little off topic but, why do you guys think that Anton Belov was the only player to ever bash Eakins? I mean, we could all clearly see his systems were garbage but the players seemed to defend him. For example when Taylor Hall went to MacT saying he wasn’t the problem.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I guess that I qualify as a fartbag. Oh well, I can accept that knowing that today’s youth will soon be changing my Depends. Can’t wait for burrito night at the senior’s lodge.

    Best player to watch today? Keith. An on-ice general.

    The most disappointing junior star I remember was Greg Joly.

    Back when I used to lace up the tube skates I chose #27. SITTLER! Back when he was dealt from Toronto to Philly he took a cheap shot from Jimmy crack Korn, separated his shoulder and proceeded to throw down with Korn because none of his new teammates had his back. Sittler was the man.