Monday Mailbag – September 14th

Mailbag

Can you believe it’s finally the week of the Golden Bears and Oilers rookie game? Seriously! Go check your calendars to make sure I’m not dreaming – I’ll wait here. Okay good. The problem with feeling all this excitement is that we have to wait all the way until Wednesday for Connor McDavid and the other rookies to suit up against the Bears at Rexall Place. Luckily the mailbag is here to help you kill a little bit of that time. If you’d like to have a question featured you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or DM me on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.

Entourage

1) Sal B. asks – I can’t help but feel that the Oilers should have had Connor McDavid live with an experienced NHLer over Taylor Hall. Am I being unreasonable?

Robin Brownlee:

Taylor Hall is an experienced NHLer.

Jeanshorts:

I think Gregor already answered this pretty succinctly last week. Hall and McDavid have already spent time together this summer, so I’m assuming they became fast friends, and it’s definitely an easier transition to move in with someone you’re familiar with than someone who is more or less a stranger. McDavid is 18 and ODDLY enough it seems he’d rather live with someone closer to his age than go to another billet-style situation that he’s been living in since he was 15.  I think these rumours of Taylor Hall’s “character problems” are ridiculously exaggerated and I guarantee that once the team starts finding success they’ll “magically” disappear. Also, Taylor Hall is going into his SIXTH season in the league, and is a game away from 300 played in the NHL. I don’t know how much more experience people think he needs, but I’m pretty sure he’s got a decent handle on the rigours of an NHL season. And if anyone can relate to the pressures of being a number one pick coming into a down and out Oilers team with Rocky Mountain size expectations, it’s Taylor Hall. 

And it’s also pretty insulting to Connor McDavid; everyone and their grandma has talked up and down about what solid character McDavid has, and that he’s mature beyond his years. Yet people have this idea that he moves in with “bad boy” Taylor Hall and overnight he’s going to become the second coming of Alex Daigle? Dumb. He’ll be fine and they’ll score 200 points as line mates and everyone will demand the entire team live together in a giant commune underneath the new arena.

Lowetide:

I think Connor McDavid is a rare player and person. I don’t believe it’s an issue at all.

Jonathan Willis:

I wouldn’t say you’re being unreasonable; lots of people here will tend to agree with you. Frankly, though, I’m a little amazed at the play this is getting in Oil Country. I’m not sure why people seem to think that having McDavid live with Hall instead of someone like Matt Hendricks is going to make a big difference in terms of what happens on the ice.

Jason Gregor:

It is about who Connor McDavid is most comfortable with. It is McDavid’s choice. I have no issue with it. Hall has five years’ experience — he isn’t a rookie.

Jason Strudwick:

Hall has been through a lot in his NHL career so far. He has some experience and is hungry to turn this team around. I think they could rub off on each other in a positive way.

Matt Henderson:

It’s not entirely unreasonable to want that, but I wouldn’t get too mixed up about it. Try to remember who you were living with when you were 18. Most of us never lived with NHL veterans when we reached adulthood and I’m going to wager a solid 70% of us never turned into murderers without that guidance. McDavid is a smart kid who has done the right thing his whole life. Chances are if he hasn’t rebelled into some weird goth phase already, then he probably never will. 

Baggedmilk:

I think people are looking too much into the fact that Connor McDavid is living with Taylor Hall. Put it this way: if you’re Connor McDavid, would you really want to live with an older guy and his family? I understand that it would likely be a more mellow environment (living with an older player that is), but you also have to think of the kid’s happiness, and he would likely have a better time living with peers. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 12.29.14 PM

2) Aiden asks – How much stock do you put into Connor McDavid’s performance, good or bad, at the rookie tournament?

Robin Brownlee:

Next to none. The real measure begins in pre-season against line-ups featuring a handful of NHL veterans and escalates when the regular season begins. 

Jeanshorts:

Very little. Obviously if he gets no points and looks invisible out there I’ll start getting a little nervous, but the rookie tournament is nowhere close to the pace and skill of an actual NHL game. I distinctly remember a few rookie tournaments ago when Tyler Bunz played lights out. “THIS GUY IS THE FUTURE OF THE CREASE” I screamed at no one in my empty apartment. Last I heard he’s trying to get a PTO in the ECHL somewhere. I look at it the same as the Billy Moores Cup; it’ll be fun to watch McDavid light it up and should be a slight proxy of what’s to come in the regular season, but at the end of the day these are still just exhibition games against other rookies and prospects. Just sit back and enjoy the show!

Lowetide:

I don’t think it has any impact, but clearly seeing him do well is what we’re all cheering for. I hope he lights up the Flames and Canucks for 100 points, but that may not be reasonable.

Jonathan Willis:

None whatsoever. I doubt we’ll see him running at full speed in that tournament.

Jason Gregor:

None. Do not analyze every shift. Do you remember how Hall, Eberle and RNH performed at their rookie camps? I don’t either, because it means virtually nothing as to how he will play in NHL.

Jason Strudwick:

Right around zero. We already know what he can do against his peers. I am looking forward to seeing him against NHL level competition.

Matt Henderson:

All the stock. No, I don’t know. Not nearly as much stock as his performance in the OHL over his entire junior career. We’ll see his skills on display I’m sure. When these answers come out we’ll already know what he looks like in competition wearing Oiler silks.

Baggedmilk:

None. A good chunk of the players featured won’t ever play in the NHL, and won’t accurately represent the competition he’ll face in the NHL. If he lights it up – cool. If he doesn’t – who cares? I’m waiting for the NHL.

Barn

3) TheBirdofAnger asks – What other NHL arena would you like to watch a hockey game in and why? If you have already what was your experience like?

Robin Brownlee:

Watched hockey from the press box in all of them except the newer rinks in Pittsburgh and New Jersey.  Explaining that experience would take awhile.

Jeanshorts:

Pretty sure we’ve already answered this a few times *tips glasses to edge of nose, looks at Baggedmilk*, but like I said earlier this summer I’d love to catch a game in Chicago, purely because my body would turn into one giant goose bump during the American national anthem.

Lowetide:

Madison Square Garden. It’s been a goal of mine for many years, hope to make it someday. My Dad visited New York after the war and when I was a kid told me about fights he’d heard on the radio from there (and games from Yankee Stadium or Ebbets Field that he’d read about or listened to on radio).

Jonathan Willis:

I’d like to watch a game in Montreal; love them or hate them, the Habs are a franchise that inspires passion. And, since we’re dreaming here, I’d love for that game to be a Game 7 situation against the Bruins.

Jason Gregor:

MSG.

Jason Strudwick:

I look forward to seeing a game in the new arena here in Edmonton.

Matt Henderson:

I would love to watch a game in Chicago. Place is always rocking these days.

Baggedmilk:

I’ve always wanted to watch a game at MSG or in Montreal. I think that the environment in those two barns would be pretty electric and interesting to be a part of. 

BeerChair

4) Oilfan33 asks – If you were asked to come up with one must have feature in the new arena what would it be?

Robin Brownlee:

A Donkey Meter. A device that would detect and alert security to the minority of hopelessly intoxicated stooges and insufferable potty-mouthed goofs who ruin the game experience for others. 

Jeanshorts:

BIGGER SEATS! I’m 6’4”, 200+ pounds and I can barely sit comfortably in those little wooden boxes they try to pass off as seats (in the upper bowl anyway — I’m not bourgeoisie enough to sit down in the golds). My knees and shins are always jammed against the seat in front of me and I have to keep my knees together, otherwise I’m playing footsie with the dude next to me, and trust me most people DO NOT like playing footsie with me. I usually try to get standing room-belly bar tickets because those are much more comfortable for my awkwardly giant frame.

Lowetide:

Wanye-cam! I like the Rexall experience, so will probably be blown away by the new arena. Maybe free beer if the Oilers score six?

Jonathan Willis:

Nothing’s really coming to mind here, I’m afraid. I’m just really not that interested in the venue; I’d much rather just watch the hockey played therein.

Jason Gregor:

There would be a high-tech system that focused on fans who yelled shoot on the PP. When they yelled, they would be tasered, with only a small voltage but enough to stun them and shut them up.

Jason Strudwick:

I think it is important to have Cherry Coke Zero in every fountain.

Matt Henderson:

I thought cup holders was a gimme but apparently not for people in the upper bowl. So I guess cup holders is the hill I’m still going to die on.

Baggedmilk:

I’d like to have beer delivered by drones right to your seat. Think of how awesome it would be to order a beer from your phone and a little robot brings it right to you. That’s a future I’d like to be a part of!

Dislike

5) Jeffrey D. asks – Have you ever written or said something negative about a player or coach only to meet them afterwards? How did it go?

Robin Brownlee:

That’s the gig in the MSM. If you rip somebody one day you better be there the next to answer for it. Lost count of how many angry managers, coaches and players etc have confronted me, but it ranged from physical confrontations — a boxing manager — to verbal threats of violence and lawsuits to garden variety name-calling. 

The vast majority of people you write negative things about handle it professionally as long as you keep the criticism professional and don’t make it personal. It’s easy to cheap shot somebody and call them names from afar, as too many bloggers do. Try framing a question, “Hey, Eberle, you sucked balls tonight. Can you comment on that?” while you’re standing in front of them in a dressing room surrounded by the their teammates and friends.

Jeanshorts:

Not yet, thankfully. And in all honesty once I started working here I realized there was obviously much more of a possibility of that happening then when I was just a nameless TV production drone in Vancouver (rather than a nameless blogger in Edmonton), so I’ve started to temper some of my opinions on social media/blogs. Though I’ve always been of the opinion that people go way too far on social media as it is. It’s one thing to criticize Ben Scrivens for playing a bad game, but it’s a completely different ball game when you start hurling personal attacks and insults at a person because you take sports way too seriously. I’d rather have a constructive discussion about why I have a certain opinion than have to apologize for making a stupid joke I thought was “edgy” at the time. Also please don’t go back and look through my Tweets from years past, otherwise I’ll never be able to become Prime Minister!

Lowetide:

Yes. No issue at all. I did get insight into the event I wrote about, rendering my criticism moot. It taught me to ask more questions about possible reasons before proceeding with the post or article.

Jonathan Willis:

A few times while I was in Oklahoma City, yeah, and it never came up (with players, coaches or executives). Most everyone I dealt with was thoroughly professional.

Jason Gregor:

I believe it is important to show your face in the room the day of or after writing an article about a player or coach. Allow them the opportunity to approach you. I find it gutless when people who never go into a room attack a player personally in an article or on air. Easy to say things about someone when you never have to see them. I’ve had a few players express disagreement, and usually they voiced their opinion and we moved on. Wasn’t a big deal.

One time, however, I walked into the old Oilers dressing room. You walked down the ramp, turned to the left and the room opened. As I turned left, George Laraques came racing over to me. He was fuming. He was swearing at me. I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked me why I called him an idiot and a buffoon. I said I never did. He said BS and got right in my face, and then JJ Hebert, their PR guy, came running in and said, ”Georges, you have the wrong guy.”

Turns out one our morning show guys (Jake Daniels) had said it. George hadn’t heard it firsthand, but a few of his buddies had texted him. About 20 minutes later, he had calmed down and he walked over and said sorry. He said he read texts fast and thought it said Jason, not Jake. He was good about it. We laughed about it. I said I’d never seen him that mad other than when he fought Rob Ray. I was just glad he didn’t hit me when he was seething. I do recall gripping my mic and mic flash in my hand thinking if he swung I’d have to hit him back with that, which would have been a bad decision on my part…haha

Jason Strudwick:

This is a good question. As a player I never respected media who would say that player x,y or z absolutely sucked, and go on to rip a player a new one. It is great to get attention but really does not teach or inform his audience.

I think Jim Matheson is one of the best members of the media. He could be critical of a player or a play and he would back it up with his reasoning behind that critique. Players respect that approach much more than saying they were brutal that night.

Matt Henderson:

I’ve never met any player I’ve written about, but I’ve had a player’s family bash my work online. Nick Schultz’ brother was pretty mad about my assessment of his trade value. I also don’t TRY to say anything negative, it’s just that sometimes saying something accurately about former Oiler players, coaches, or management comes across as negative because they were accurately terrible at their jobs.

Baggedmilk:

No player or coach should ever take anything I say seriously. To this point I haven’t run into anyone that I’ve made fun of but I always try to make sure I’m talking about their job and not them personally. I think there’s a big difference in talking about someone’s work as opposed to them personally. 

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    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      So many people lately have opened with a comment that garnered more likes than dislikes. It makes it so much more fun to start reading the comments. Thank you all of you!

      • freelancer

        Always more fun to start things off on a good note! Now on to the game from today. Only able to catch bits and pieces (stupid work) but man was Draisaitl flying. Great to see him not only skating pretty fluid, but also beating defenders.

        If he can play with that confidence going into TC I don’t think it’s going to be possible to send him down.

  • Rob...

    New space age seats that can drop down to row of washrooms below without disturbing anyone’s view of game , small garbage bag and hand wipes , and monitors with ear phones to view replays and order food and drink by a chunnel system right to your seat . Need a floor cover for dropping seats of course . Need a tray like in airplanes to rest drink and food on . Monitors also good to review game and commentary during period breaks . Nothing worse than people running up to get food ,etc. and go to washroom during game and cutting off everyone’s view , etc.. It’s a real challenge going to washroom during the breaks with cramped quarters in the concourse . Basically a small mini luxury box for every seat . For the prices one pays to see the games live , it should be included in that price . Now that’s comfort and convenience .

  • oiler_head

    @JasonGregor…first let me say I have total respect for your opinions and insight.
    However, I have to disagree with your objection to fans yelling shoot. I think as hockey fans (especially an Oiler fan) we all get emotionally invested in the game and that emotion gets the better of us, especially during tense and expectant moments of the game like powerplays. Countless times we have seen the Oilers of the 90’s and 00’s force passes through the slot trying to make the tic-tac-toe pass/goal when an opportunity for a shot and rebound appears more obvious (to me, the fan). I have never played hockey but I am somewhat knowledgeable but I understand how hard it is for a player to see the same things that I may see (correctly or incorrectly). As a paying fan, I think I should be allowed to yell shoot as long as I am respectful of the other fans around me and not just acting like a buffoon. Fans yelling and cheering and trying to compel their team to action is what we are there for – I assume it provides energy and gives the players something to help motivate. Personally, I’d rather be in a building that is loud and raucous than in an 80’s Edmonton Coliseum that was dubbed “The Library”.

    Either way, I live out of town (US) and will continue to yell “shoot” at the TV, far away from potentially annoying you. And when I do get to the new Rogers place, please understand that me yelling shoot is part of me cheering my team as you zap me.

    • The Soup Fascist

      I respect your right to yell “shoot” – especially in your house – but I have to admit few things drive me more crazy than a blowhard endlessly yelling “shooooot” in my ear.

      Invariably, the shot is blocked and the opposition is gone on a short handed two on none. This was especially true during the ingenious Dallas Eakins 1-3-1 powerplay formation.

      My response to the moron behind me, as Scriv the Sieve dug the puck out of the Oilers’ net was – “happy”?

      The problem is unless the shooting lane is there, blasting it three feet wide or into the shinpads of the penalty killer is ill advised.

      “Shoooot enthusiasts”: free to cheer and yell all you want, just please ask yourself this question first:

      Who is better equipped to make the decision of when to shoot the puck? The defenseman with the puck on his stick and view of bodies in front of him, who has played the game at the highest level for the largest part of their life OR the Div 7 beer leaguer in row 37 across the ice 140 feet away.?

      • oiler_head

        @soup_fascist – are you referring to the post 2006 Oilers that have struggled to entertain us? If so then my answer is – does it really matter?

        Regardless, both are better equipped than me…

  • Reg Dunlop

    When the fine panelists at ON indicate that McDavid’s play at the rookie tourney means absolutely zero that also goes for guys apparently penciled in as the 2nd line right winger (Slepyshev) by ON faithful. This guy looks good out there because he is older than most of the kids playing and has a year in the KHL under his belt. Sorry to say but he plays in the AHL for the year to learn the NA game, let’s stop the insanity. PS: Gadzic and Klink are the 12 and 13 forwards to start the year not Pak or Pitlick.

  • Reg Dunlop

    We are talking an entertainment industry here , and people critiquing the performances both good and bad on a nightly basis . Do you walk out of a show or concert without saying what you thought of if ? A lousy performance is a lousy performance . I doubt players are so thin skinned that it effects them , at least they shouldn’t be , or they should not be in an entertainment industry . If your a writer of a column then your a little more accountable than the average fan or part time blogger . I doubt players put much if any emphasis on most comments . It’s all part of the job in an entertainment industry , not like you can hide from it or negative comments .

  • Leef O'Golin

    How about having the glass send out an electric charge to anyone who slaps them hard enough from the seat side? And those guys that stand up and wave when they know they’re in the camera shot during game action: some kind of trap door would suffice.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    ?#2 I am to be honest a bit nervous at Connor Playing at the young stars tournament. All it takes is one young player to get a bonehead idea in his head that running McDavid is a way to get noticed and blows out his knee. I have far more confidence in most NHL players as they understand this is about making a living and McDavid is going to fill seats and that is good for all of us. I am totaly fine with him only paying two games. I loved how the whole team went after Vancouver after the hit. Nurse was such a Man in that Game!

  • moosewacker

    Gregor is overrated at what he does , Sorry Jason , My opinion just as you give yours. I read you and listen to you because i love sports talk. Not all of you is bad , you just come off sometimes like you are like the been there done it all guy and know everything. You don’t, you have not been and never will be. I respect your work but…thats about it.

    Been on my mind , needed to say it.

  • ubermiguel

    @Willis, The Bell Centre is absolutely nuts, I hope you have a chance to experience it. A Game 7 against the Bruins could result in the demolition of St. Catherines, either by a happy mob or an angry mob.

  • ubermiguel

    Get rid of the Octane girls they are brutal.A winning season would be great in the new arena.
    Six more sleeps till the greatest band invades Commonwealth Angus young and AC/DC.Calgary no Connor no Angus you suck.HEHE

  • The Soup Fascist

    I always held a grudge towards people who sat on the edge of their seat and then leaned forward for most of the game. Being a few inches shy of 6 feet compounded the issue. Getting aisle seats was a solution but that option was not always available. Have not figured out a tactful solution and just can’t stoop to becoming a leaner too. Can the new arena address this dilemma? I”m too old for growth hormones and would feel awkward carrying large cushions to elevate my sight line. Watching the big screen is not same as eyeballing the play directly. Will there possibly be a jockey section?

  • S0DAP0PS

    I think what would improve the in-game experience for me would be my 50/50 numbers being called. That way I could refill my wallet that the Rexall experience just drained.