Monday Mailbag – October 5th

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It’s the Monday before the NHL regular season begins. In a few short days we will be taking over the Pint Downtown and celebrating Connor McDavid’s first NHL game as an Oiler. (Tickets are available here BTW. Until then we will all be finding ways to kill company time and days off the calendar. The Mailbag is here to help you kill a few minutes of the wait. I need questions for next week’s Mailbag so fire away by email at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or by DMing me on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk if you have something you want to ask.

Higher

1) @m_budzinski asks – Given that 75% of preseason 3 on 3 OT periods have ended in a goal, how much should we expect player point totals to be up this year? Could this increase in scoring put a player(s) back over the 100 point plateau?

Jonathan Willis:

If I’ve done my math right, last season 306 games went beyond regulation, with 136 of them being decided in overtime and 170 of them going to the shootout. I’m very skeptical that the 75% completion rate we’ve seen in the preseason is going to stick (coaches and players will get used to 3v3 and when they get used to things offence tends to die) but just for the sake of argument let’s say it does. Last year, that would have meant an additional 94 games were decided in overtime, which means an additional 94 goals added to the NHL ledger. That’s just barely more than one per team, which isn’t much. 

Put another way, NHL teams scored 6,549 goals last season, so if the status quo remains in other areas that’s less than a 1.5 percent increase. That increase will of course be concentrated among the games’ best players (the guys who play in 3-on-3) but even so that’s not enough by itself. And, as I’ve already pointed out, there’s reason to think that 3-on-3 will grow less effective with time. So sadly, no, this isn’t going to be a major boost to NHL scoring.

Jeanshorts:

I doubt it. John Tavares led the NHL last season with four OT winners. Even if we assume there will be more scoring in the 3 on 3 OT, and bump it up to, like, seven, that would still only put him at 89 points. I think it will make a lot more games end in OT, and not leave things up to the stupid shootout (YAY!) but I don’t think it will have much effect on individual player point totals.

Lowetide:

It’s a great question (100 points) and I think it’s possible! If a coach rolls three lines (likely) during
the 3-on-3 that’s a major push for the skilled guys. Good thought by you.

Robin Brownlee:

The top-end guys who usually play in overtime situations will likely see a bump in production, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see four or five guys back at or near the 100-point mark compared to last season, when nobody was close.

Jason Gregor:

Last year 170 games went to a SO. If we use 75% as the guideline that means 130 will be decide by a goal in 3-on-3. That is 4.3 goals on average per team. We can guess the top guys will be in on at least three of them. If one player has more than five points in 3-on-3 I’d be surprised. It will increase scoring, but I don’t see it being the only reason we see 100-point guy again.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think OT points will take someone from 85 points up to 100 but there should be a few extra points. If the NHL wants more scoring back, they need to keep calling penalties like they did after the ’05 lockout. Either that or continue shrinking goalie equipment or what have you. 3v3 will result in a few extra goals but not enough to make a massive difference, in my opinion.

Baggedmilk:

Jamie Benn lead the league last year with 87 points. It’s not unreasonable to think that he could get another 13 points from OT this year. Why not? I think if the NHL really wants to increase scoring they’ll have to get back to calling more penalties like when they came back from the first lockout. 

NurseOnStandby

2) Darryl asks – If you were to guess how long do you think Darnell Nurse will be in Bakersfield?

***BM NOTE: Questions were submitted and answered before Nikitin was waived by the Oilers****

Jonathan Willis:

My guess is that he’ll be playing for the Oilers by December 1, and that he won’t be seen in California again.

Jeanshorts:

I’m going to say 30 games, tops. Odds are that, unfortunately, someone drops out due to injury by that time and I have to assume he’ll be the first call-up. And if we do have a best case scenario and no D-man gets injured I think the next logical thing is he just plays so well in California, and one of Nikitin/Ference falters enough that they’ll have no choice but to call him up on skill alone. As an aside I LOVE that this is a “problem” we have now, rather than trying to debate the lesser of evils between like Brad Hunt, Keith Aulie and Brandon Davidson as who might be the first call-up!

Lowetide:

I’ll say 15-30 games. I watch the current Oilers blue and there’s simply too many skating issues. I do think the time in Bakersfield could benefit the young man, and cut down on the moments where he’s rambling.

Robin Brownlee:

Can’t say. How well will Nikitin and/or Ference play? How well will Nurse play in the AHL? Then, there’s injuries, or lack of same. I won’t be surprised to see Nurse in the NHL this season, but when is anybody’s guess.

Jason Gregor:

Until the Oilers suffer two injuries on the blueline.

Matt Henderson:

I think Nurse will play 40+ games for the Oilers. I think he’ll be here full time before Christmas.

Baggedmilk:

I would be surprised if the Oilers play their game on New Years Eve without Darnell Nurse in the lineup. That being said, I do think spending the start of the year in the AHL will be best for him in the long run. I wouldn’t even be upset in the slightest if the Oilers ended up keeping him down there for the full season. That won’t happen, but I wouldn’t be bummed out if it did. 

underdog

3) Lance Y. asks – Is there a player that you had written off that came back to play well and have a career? Who was it? I personally thought Anton Lander would be a bust but am happy to see he seems to be turning things around.

Jonathan Willis:

Colin McDonald comes to mind. Three years into his pro career I was sure he was a total bust. Then he scored 40 goals for Todd Nelson and he’s played 140 games since then.

Jeanshorts:

Steve Mason. Now, there’s still a chance he falls back below the Mendoza line, especially with the question mark that is the entire Flyers lineup this season, but I thought for sure he was going to join the Andrew Raycroft Calder Award Winning Season Then Fell Off The Earth club. But he’s been really solid in Philly so far. Really SIUTBOHC on me there!

Lowetide:

I’m as guilty as anyone in keeping a candle lit for prospects, so it doesn’t really happen that often. I was shocked that Troy Bodie got 159 games in the NHL, and good for him. He should be proud of it.

Robin Brownlee:

I didn’t hold out much hope Lander would be an NHL player either because in his first few looks he didn’t get anything done. The guy who comes to mind for me is Daniel Cleary. When he didn’t clean up and turn his career around in Edmonton I thought he might be finished. Far from it.

Jason Gregor:

I’m usually patient with most players. I don’t recall writing one off, but I have been wrong on players I thought would continue to improve. I thought Brule and Peckham would become solid NHLers. Never happened.

Matt Henderson:

Tom Poti. I never liked his game when he was an Oiler because he seemed so erratic. Looking back on it now it seems clear that he was asked to play way too much too soon. He stands out to me though because he left Edmonton with a reputation for not being able to play in his own zone and he immediately gained a reputation elsewhere for being a reliable defender. It was a complete 180.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t really have anyone that I had written off only to have them come roaring back with a vengeance, but I have plenty of players that I had high hopes for. Magnus Paajarvi was just on waivers last week and I could have sworn he would have turned into something special. I remember watching him score a hat trick in the pre-season and thinking he might be the best of the lot of rookies the Oilers launched that year. 

CaptainCanadaSmytty

4) Doug asks – Who will be, or can be the driving heart of the oilers? Who will be “that guy?” Who will be the next Smytty for this team?

Jonathan Willis:

I’m going to confess my ignorance on half this question. The only guys on the team I know at all I know from their time in OKC, and even there I didn’t have any firsthand knowledge of the internal dynamics of the team. If you’re looking for a guy on the ice who just powers through stuff, though, I like Nurse for the job. Oilers fans are already head-over-heels for him and I don’t see that changing once he makes it to the show. Hall’s a good candidate too; his reputation seems to have taken a hit from all the losing but if that stops I think even the critics will warm up to him.

Jeanshorts:

I think it’ll be Darnell Nurse. Not in the same way that Smytty played with his heart on his sleeve and the puck on his face, but I think he’ll be one of the biggest emotional leaders on and off the ice. We’ve already seen it in the preseason, whether he’s punching every face within arms length while sticking up for his teammates, or patrolling the ice like a junk yard dog, I imagine he’ll be the next Gator.

Lowetide:

Man, that’s a great question. In terms of ‘devotion to the Oildrop’ I think Jordan Eberle is well on his way, in terms of ‘rugged leader who has left body parts out there for the team’ my pick is Darnell Nurse.

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t see a player who fits that description. The most impact players here have far more talent than Ryan ever did.

Jason Gregor:

Smyth was unique in how he played. Hard to emulate him. McDavid is the easy pick, followed by Hall, but as far as a heart-and-soul guy I will go with Lander. He is a determined player and will do the little things to help the team win.

Matt Henderson:

I think Darnell Nurse will be the beating heart of the team. His passion is overflowing and he will be a difference maker. You watch him play and you can see how much he hates losing and how determined he is to prevent that from happening. If I had to guess who “that guy” was going to be it would be him.

Baggedmilk:

I honestly think it will be Nuge. Sure, he’s not the most vocal guy but he’s a player that leads by example. He works hard at getting better, and is as dedicated to playing a two way game as he is to producing offence. As Nuge’s career progresses I think he will become a shining example for his teammates and a player that they will want to play hard with. Ladies and gentlemen, young Nugey.

Car

5) Adrian asks – What was the make and model of your first car? How long did you have it? What happened to it?

Jonathan Willis:

1987 Honda Accord. My parents gave me $1,000 when I graduated to help me with college expenses, so I spent $400 of it on a beat-up old car and then the remaining $600 covered insurance for just about six months. It was a beautiful thing (as you can see); it wouldn’t go more than 70 kph uphill and I had to refill the oil almost as often as I had to refill the gas but it had flip-up headlights and was the first standard I’d ever really driven. That winter, the car got backed into, damaging the guy who hit me significantly but only leaving a big dent near the door. When I went to the insurance agency to deal with it, the guy took one look at the car and said ‘We can go through the long and agonizing process of finding an identical panel at the wreckers’ yard, painting it and fitting it OR I can give you $500 cash and you can maybe fix… something else on it.’ I took the money (obviously) and simply lived through the door being a pit of a pain to open. I ran it for a year, then I sold it to a co-worker at the restaurant where I worked for $300. I think he got a year out of it before it gave up the ghost completely. Heck of a motor carriage.

My first car

Jeanshorts:

2002 Dodge Dakota! It was more of a family vehicle but I drove it 95% of the time so we all just referred to it as my truck (yes I am a spoiled, only-child). I drove it for about three years, until I moved to Vancouver and no longer needed, nor could afford a vehicle, but it was always waiting for me whenever I came home for Christmas or a visit in the summer or whatever. And my dad just sold it a few months ago when he bought himself a new SUV. She was a reliable ol’ girl and we had plenty of good times!

Lowetide:

It was a 1967 Chev Bel Air Super Sport, maroon with a white hardtop roof. It took more oil than gas and was basically a tank on rubber tires. I loved that car.

Robin Brownlee:

A 1964 Chevrolet Bel-Air that cost me $80.00. Pea soup green with a 283 and a two-speed glide. Strong motor. Lousy brakes and tires. Cut it up after six months so my friend could use the motor for a Chevy II he was building.

Jason Gregor:

1982 Ford Exp. They don’t make them anymore. Loved that car. I hit a deer and had to replace the hood and driver side front panel. The problem was the car was blue, and the only hood and panel I could find at the “Pick-A-Part” was white with green and red stripes. It didn’t look great, but I was 18 and just wanted a car that ran. A year later the engine seized up one KM from my house. We towed it home and I got $50 for it when we dropped it off at the auto wreckers.

Matt Henderson:

I believe it was a 97 Pontiac Sunfire. I got it when I was 18 (2001) and I paid 400 dollars a month in insurance in that first year and 450 dollars a month in my second year without ever having an accident. Without question I paid more to insure it over those 24 months than the car was actually valued. I had it until I traded it in when I bought a new car after I got my BA in 2006.

Baggedmilk:

*drumroll* I had a 1991 Chrysler Dynasty. By the time I got rid of that thing I had to manually move the signal lights handle to make the lights flash. Sometimes it would take minutes for the car to go into reverse. I would put it in reverse, but nothing would happen. It ended up being a major hassle because I had to look for parking spaces where I wouldn’t have to back up. I ended up donating the car to the kidney car foundation and I got a $50 tax credit for it. That was probably double what it was worth. 

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    When I watch Nurse play he is so indeed about the whole team. Hard to Surpass Smitty though he was an Oiler legend already before 06

  • Oilerz4life

    Is the NHL turning into a circus act to sell tickets? 3 on 3 is like watching professional hockey players play shinney hockey and this is how we decide points for wins in pro hockey! Garbage and no way indicative of who was the best team on any given night.

    Hate my comment if you want but the best indication of an outcome in the pro game is 5 on 5 overtime for 5 minutes and if no team scores it ends in a tie, each team allocated 1 point. That is the most accurate way to depict points in standings and what team deserves what amount of points. But thats boring right? It’s turning the game into a carnival act and it’s embarrassing.

    • Craig1981

      People used to (and some still do) say that about baseballs DH rule. Times change

      *though I do wish it would be 3 points for every game, like international play.

    • CMG30

      The business of sports is actually the business of entertainment. Anything that the NHL can do to increase the entertainment value of the game without actually costing them money they’re going to do. That’s why we have the shootout and why we have the loser points. The extra point keeps things artificially close which leads to tight playoff races and excitement!

      FYI, it’s not your entertainment they’re interested in. You’re already a committed fan, they could do almost anything and you’re going to follow. It’s the non-commited, just showed up to the game types that they’re targeting.

  • Tom Poti. I never liked his game when he was an Oiler because he seemed so erratic. Looking back on it now it seems clear that he was asked to play way too much too soon.

    The Edmonton Oilers: Rushing Along Prospects Way Too Fast Since Like Forever™

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    In 1983 I got my first Car a 1974 Ford Maverick My mom and Dad ponied up 500$ for the car and then put new rubber all around. My first trip was to take my girlfriend up to her parents place east of Edmonton. I was so excited to be able to be a man and take my girl home. On top of that the car had a great stereo so I had toons too. We drove in to her yard on Thursday afternoon and were just unloading when my mom called to say I had to go back to Edmonton for Surgery as a bed had opened up for me. We jumped back in to the car and when to the hospital in Edmonton. The Nurse told me the Surgery would not be until Monday and I could spend the weekend in the Hospital or check out and come back Monday. So we headed back to her place for the weekend. As we got near her farm she asked if she could drive as she wanted to pull in to the Driveway in my car. I did not want to surrender the wheel but you know how love is. I moved over and she jumped in to the Drivers seat. Put it in to gear and away we went, about 200 meters down the road she hit a washboard section on the gravel and the car slide sideways. She over-corrected and we slid in to the ditch flipping the car onto its side. We climbed out of the car and soon found our selves at a farm house were we called her house to see if they could come get us. Soon her parents were there and there was lots of crying between her and her mum. Her dad and I went to get the tractor and tow it to her house. The windshield was busted, dents everywhere. We ended up at the hospital as I started to feel woozy when they admitted me the Doc looks at me with a strange quizzical look and says “It says here that you are currently in a hospital in Edmonton whats up?” I explained and he took Xrays etc and eventually let me go. In the end the car was never the same but worst of all was the fact that my Cassette player now had a distinctly round shape just like my girlfriends knee.I was not happy to have lost the stereo. We later broke up. Man I loved that car! I now sits in a Junk yard in Bella Coola B.C. where I had my first teaching job.

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    Andrew MacDonald on waivers. I recall a bunch on here saying he’d be a great target for the Oilers a couple years ago.

    *facepalm

    Sounds like Tokarski going on waivers too. I also recall a bunch on here saying he should be the goalie we target. Remember the Tokarski for Yak talk?

    *double facepalm.

  • camdog

    Hard to respect any of the answers giving to the Smyth question other than Brownlee’s answer. I get it that this is a fan site, but let’s at least keep it realistic, there isn’t a Ryan Smyth on this team, heck I don’t even know if there’s Shawn Horcoff on this team.

    Ryan Smyth did more with less talent than just about anybody player in league history. He would go into scrums and willingly take punches to the face to draw a 2 minute penalty and then on the ensuing powerplay would take cross checks to the back and sometimes face before tapping the puck into the back of the net.

  • billythebullet

    1979 ford f250 custom. Dual blue bottle exhaust. Could hear that ol’ farm truck coming for miles. Sadly I parked that one rubber side up in a ditch…

  • my first car was a 1986 mercury topaz. it did not have proper brakes, and I had to tape the highbeam stick down so I could drive at night. when the starter did not start, had to butter-knife the solenoid and hope you didn’t get sparked in the face region, good times.

    I sure hope nurse and or reinhart and or lander are that smitty type. that would be dandy.

  • 67 VW beetle. Man I loved that thing. Drove it for years. So easy to fix and she NEVER left me stranded. My dad bought it for me for $300 and we ended up selling it for $1500. I’ve been a VW/Audi guy ever since.

  • A-Mc

    *drumroll* I had a 1991 Chrysler Dynasty. By the time I got rid of that thing I had to manually move the signal lights handle to make the lights flash. Sometimes it would take minutes for the car to go into reverse. I would put it in reverse, but nothing would happen. It ended up being a major hassle because I had to look for parking spaces where I wouldn’t have to back up. I ended up donating the car to the kidney car foundation and I got a $50 tax credit for it. That was probably double what it was worth.

    I had a good belly laugh over this one. Especially the part about having to find parking spaces where you didnt have to back up. GOLD! pure GOLD! LOl

  • SanDiegoOilerFan

    Baggedmilk: I had the same problem looking for a parking spot with my ’88 Caddy Fleetwood Brougham. The reverse only worked when it wanted to. Worst time was pushing the car in someone’s driveway uphill. Good old days.

  • Dawn

    My first car in 1988 was a 77 Chev Malibu, blue with blotches of pink primer here and there. She was a monster for gas with that 8 cylinder motor. But such a smooth ride! Pulled over on the side of the highway with my boyfriend one night and the wiring under the dash was never the same again. Shortly afterwards I got my second car, a 77 Chev Malibu 🙂