Monday Mailbag – October 26th

Mailbag

Happy Monday, fine citizens. Here is yet another edition of the Mailbag to help you kill a few minutes of company time, and give you an opportunity to learn something at the same time. As always, this feature is completely dependant on you guys. If you’ve got a question you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or DM on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.

DougWeight

1) Vetinari asks – Which former Oiler manager, coach, or player — currently in the NHL, retired or overseas — if any, do you still keep tabs on and why? 

Jason Gregor:

Any former Oiler who was in Edmonton for a few years I still keep track of. But players who I’m still in contact with, or I liked how they played, I keep a closer eye on:  Cogliano, Brodziak, Hemsky, Stoll, Gagner, Chimera and Horcoff. I follow some more than others. It is amazing to me Cogliano still hasn’t missed a game. He’s played 629 in a row.

Lowetide:

All of them, I think. Glen Sather has special sentimental value for any Oilers fan my age, even though he’d probably slug me for saying it. Slats had a long run of mediocre after the glory days, but those 80s Oilers were a dream. I pray to every God available we see one more Stanley, but the five Sather helped with are in my brain forever.

Jeanshorts:

I wouldn’t say I keep tabs per say, but I do enjoy seeing how Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner and more recently Devan Dubnyk are doing. I always really liked Cogliano, and would still love to have him back on the team, albeit in a third line role like he currently occupies in Anaheim. Gagner had a solid year in Arizona last season, and just this last Wednesday against the Bruins he scored an absolute BEAUTY of a snipe! And I really enjoy the validation I feel when Dubnyk does well, since I felt like I was one of the few still waving his flag during his absolutely abysmal 2013-14 camp again. SIUTBOYC Duby, SUITBOYC. 

Matt Henderson:

I do my best to keep up on Jeff Petry. Actually, I get constantly reminded about him because the Quebec media has been raving about him since he got there and even more so this year. Turns out he’s actually really good and playing behind Subban is a perfect fit for him. He just recently told the media that the Oilers had never offered him more than a two year deal before his final season in Edmonton. So…yeah.

Jason Strudwick:

I grew up watching the Stanley cup winning teams of the 80s. Any player from that era I am interested to see how they are and what they are up to.

Robin Brownlee:

Several, and different reasons for each.

Jonathan Willis:

Lots of them, but the guy who probably best fits your question is Patrick Thoresen. There’s a really fine line between a lot of bottom-six players who have long careers and ones which don’t, and I’d always felt that Thoresen had more to offer. It’s too late now, of course; he’s in his 30’s, but it’s been fun watching him rip up the KHL the last few years.

Baggedmilk:

I used to follow Doug Weight pretty closely after he was traded. He was always my favourite Oiler growing up and I was devastated when he got traded. These days I will still check in on various guys (I was just checking up on Sam Gagner the other day) from time to time to see how they’re doing. Other times I’ll remember a ghost from rebuilds past and I’ll try to find what they’re doing now — I miss you, Jonesy. 

ConYak_insta2-01

2) Stacey J. asks – Connor McDavid seems to be building chemistry with Yakupov and Pouliot so my question is what makes this a good match apart from the obvious production? Why does Yakupov seem to be a better fit than Taylor Hall was at the start of the year?

Jason Gregor:

Hall and McDavid both like to carry the puck. To me they are “drivers” of a line. Yakupov isn’t, he rarely will carry the puck through the neutral zone and lead the attack. I’m sure Hall and McDavid could play together, and likely will at some points, but it benefits the Oilers to have two productive lines and one player on each line who can carry the play.

Lowetide:

Hell if I know. Once a duo or line is established, it’s easy to point out their value to each other. Developing chemistry immediately? Not so easy. I will say Yakupov is passing extremely well on the line and McDavid is incredible.

Jeanshorts:

Hall and McDavid are both guys who love driving the play, and when you’ve got two guys who constantly want the puck, that’s obviously not going to work out well most of the time. As we’ve seen so far, McDavid can wheel around basically anyone and pass the puck through the eye of a pin. Yak is best suited finding some open ice and firing laser beams on the net, and Pouliot is defensively sound and strong on the puck. It’s a pretty perfect mix if you ask me.

Matt Henderson:

Stylistically the two match better than Hall and McDavid. Hall is a puck carrier. He gets it and uses his speed to drive wide. McDavid is a puck carrier as well who uses his speed with the puck as a weapon. Having them on at the same time means one is getting to do their thing while the other is not. Yakupov, though, is a shooter first and doesn’t need the puck in the neutral zone. It works to have McDavid draw all the attention and/or back defenders off while Yak gets open.

Jason Strudwick:

Connor makes players around him better. That is quite a statement considering his age. There does seem to be some chemistry there. I think we will see 4 ad 97 back together to try it again before all is said and done.

Robin Brownlee:

McDavid is a puck transporter. Yakupov is a shooter. Their styles are a match. I haven’t seen Pouliot, to this point, as effective as he should be with the other two.

Jonathan Willis:

There are a lot of reasons. It’s tempting to default to the fact that Pouliot/McDavid/Yakupov fits the old line archetype of grinder/playmaker/shooter, and of course having McDavid on that line makes him the feature puck carrier and he seems to relish the role. It’s important to remember too that Todd McLellan has tried to make things easy on the, both in terms of matchups and which end of the ice they start in.

Baggedmilk:

McDavid is best when he has the puck and Yak knows this. He also knows that his job is to get open and expect to fire the puck at any moment because Connor will find him. When Connor was playing with Taylor Hall you had two guys that need to carry the puck and there weren’t enough touches to go around. 

axe

3) Alexandre asks – Is it crazy that the Blue Jackets fired their coach so early in the year? Why or why not? To me it seemed like Bobrovsky is a bigger issue than the coach.

Jason Gregor:

It happens when a team is underachieving, and Bobrovsky wasn’t the only issue. Their team defence and overall effort was atrocious. You can’t fire the goalie, and they won’t be leaning on their back up, McElhinney, to carry them. He is 0-2 with a 3.06 GAA and .891 sv%. Yes, it is better than Bob’s 4.72 GAA and .840sv%, but Bobrovsky has proven he can be an effective starter. They hope he will find his groove and the team defence will improve.

Lowetide:

I think the situation in Columbus is similar to EDM fall 2013, when Dubnyk cratered and the team stepped into the elevator shaft. Is CBJ better off dealing the goalie than firing the coach?

Jeanshorts:

I do think it’s crazy, in the sense that it’s plain to see they are just not getting anywhere near NHL quality goaltending right now, and more than anything that’s what’s submarining their season. It’s the same thing that happened to the Oilers for the last two seasons. But at the same time I do understand that coaches have a limited shelf life, and that sometimes a shakeup like this is necessary. Todd Richards only got them to the playoffs once in his three and a half seasons as head coach. And while he never really had a great roster to work with during his tenure, the NHL is a results driven business. And on a more selfish level I CAN’T WAIT to see what kind of zany antics Torts gets up to! I honestly didn’t think we’d ever see him again! WELCOME BACK OLD FRIEND!

Matt Henderson:

As of writing this I believe they are 0-8. The season is effectively over for the Jackets. They are playing a 74 game season while the rest of the NHL is playing 82. The problem is their goaltending, not necessarily their coaching, but you have to do something when 10% of the season is flushed down the drain. What’s crazy is that they gave up a second rounder for Torts. That’s the kind of decision that should get GMs fired.

Jason Strudwick:

Richards may have been on the hot seat before the season had even started. I had picked the Jackets to be a playoff team, something that looks impossible now. Their D is an issue. In a league where D support is huge it just isn’t there for the Bluejackets.

Robin Brownlee:

Crazy? Not sure about that, although I found it surprising because I wasn’t under the impression Richards was the problem. Then again, if the players were bristling about being “coached” on and off the ice, as has been suggested, that can become a problem. The players, especially Bobrovsky, haven’t been good enough.

Jonathan Willis:

He is, and I think they know that. Rumour had it that Columbus was looking for a trade but couldn’t get one done before finally firing Richards. I used to think this kind of thing was crazy and sometimes it is, but Richards’ Jackets were consistently pretty slow out of the gate so it’s not like this was a total aberration for them. Mostly, I think there’s tremendous pressure to do something, and sometimes the coach is the easiest lever to pull.

Baggedmilk:

Columbus needs to get home playoff games to generate revenue and that’s probably not going to happen with the start that they’ve had. I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised Richards was fired so early in the season, because it does happen from time to time, but it does seem early to blame the coach. The Jackets have played poorly as a team and you can’t pin that all on the coach, but as history has shown it’s usually the coach that is the first to go.  

4) @rhysalbrecht asks – Ben Scrivens was sent down to Bakersfield after clearing waivers on October 5th, and has yet to appear in a game. Wouldn’t the organization want to keep him sharp in case of injury to Talbot or Nilsson? Or pad his stats to make him more attractive to trades?

Jason Gregor:

They want Laurent Brossoit to develop. That is their priority more than worrying about a potential injury. Also, he has no trade value at this point. Ramo just cleared waivers as well. Teams aren’t looking for backup goalies right now.

Lowetide:

There may be visa issues. He played this weekend in Bakersfield.

Jeanshorts:

You would think so, yes, but at the same time they also want to give Brossoit as many starts as possible. They’ve also got Eetu Laurikainen down there as a backup so it’s not like they’re really in need of Ben Scrivens per-say. And NHL GMs seem to have weird memories; for instance just recently there was that rumour Lou Lamoriello was interested in trading for Travis Zajac, who hasn’t broken 45 points since 2010. So despite the fact that Scrivens is coming off a bad year, and that he hasn’t suited up since the preseason, it would not surprise me at all if someone took a flyer on him because he WAS good for a few years in Toronto and L.A. Crazier things have happened (Pronger trade this summer, Nathan Horton trade this summer, etc).

Matt Henderson:

I heard it was a visa issue at first. I have no idea if that’s the case still. I don’t know what you do with Scrivens except to say that he should be doing something that could prove his ability to stop pucks.

Jason Strudwick:

Ben is a veteran and we know what he is all about as a player. The AHL is a development league. That is why he isn’t playing.

Robin Brownlee:

The issue, as I understand it, is/was connected to having the proper paperwork done to allow him to work in the U.S.

Jonathan Willis:

He’s played a game now (and not well). It takes a while to get a work visa for another country and playing Laurent Brossoit is going to be the priority down on the farm in any event.

Baggedmilk:

Gotta love a paid vacation, right? Obviously Scrivens wants to be playing in the NHL but that’s not the case, and I just hope he’s being a supportive teammate throughout the uncertainty. 

McDavidKick

5) Nathaniel asks – We’re only a couple weeks into Connor McDavid’s NHL career and I would like to ask the panel what their first impressions of him are so far. Thanks in advance.

Jason Gregor:

His ability to come out a turn with the same speed he entered is amazing to me. I’ve never seen another player do it at his speed. He is the real deal.

Lowetide:

Music. Sweet, beautiful music. I set my evenings around the games and don’t make alternate plans. I plan my bathroom breaks around his shifts. Seriously.

Jeanshorts:

He’s been everything that was advertised and more. He did look a little tentative his first few games, but not out of place at all. Then we saw him open things up in Calgary and he’s taken off like a rocket ship ever since. My absolute favourite part is he’s already THIS GOOD AT 18! I can’t even begin to imagine how insane he’s going to be when he’s like 24. Every game we’ve seen him get more and more confident and HOLY CRAP THIS SEASON IS GOING TO BE SO FUN GUYS!

Matt Henderson:

He lives up to the hype. He’s as fast as they said he was. He’s as smart as they said he was. He makes plays at top speed the way they said he could. It’s all there. It’s the skating and the vision/awareness that stand out though. He makes passes to where people will be, not where they are. That’s incredible. But the speed?! Against teenagers in the OHL is one thing. Separating from real live NHL defenders or making them look like pylons is something completely different.

Jason Strudwick:

Very impressed. The way he plays at 18 makes me wonder what he will be doing at 25. #dreamon

Robin Brownlee:

Better than I expected, first and foremost because he has taken almost no time to adjust to the NHL. I thought we might see what we’ve already seen from the 20-game or so mark on, but he’s already got opposing teams game-planning about what they do about him.

Jonathan Willis:

He’s equal to the hype, and that’s extreme praise. Combine elite speed with wicked soft hands and a high-end processor and it’s hard to argue with the results.

Baggedmilk:

He’s amazing. Every time Connor McDavid touches the puck you never know what’s going to happen, and I say that in the best possible way. He’s playing better, at the NHL level, than I would have expected. To start the year I said that I would be happy if McDavid hit 60 points and anything above that would be gravy. With the way he’s playing right now you have to take the over on that one. 

  • Lucas McDavid

    RE: McDavid

    I’d like to know how many times he’s stripped the puck away! Seems like most of the time when the opposing team has a chance to set up a play, and McDavid is on the ice, the play is broken up before it finds Talbot. Same thing when they try to clear the puck from their end, but McDavid keeps it in. Very fun to watch.

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        With that speed and ability to steal the puck, it’s like Datsyuk and Bure had a baby.

        Wait a minute…Datsyuk is 37, Bure is 44, McDavid is 18….could it be?

      • For Pete's Sake!

        That’s why I like that McLellan is now using Connor on the PK.

        I think with his speed and smarts he’s going to be great on the PK. Now if only Yak could get a bit better defensively so they can put him on the PK as well.

        It’d be like the old days when Gretz and Kurri had opposing powerplay units on their heals getting short handed goals on a regular basis.

  • Joe Mamma

    I am re-posting this from the GDB, as I am absolutely outraged at what is going on on this site right now. This was in response to one of several comments that saw moderation action from FLAMESNATION MODERATORS ON THE OILERSNATION BOARD!

    @FN moderators @jsbmbaggedmilk, @robinbrownlee

    Ok, that’s it. If you FN moderators want to run some Gestapo crap over at FN, that’s your business. But you coming into ON, defending your trolls and deleting comments is where we need to draw the line. You want to control the narrative and silence dissenting opinions on your board, I guess that’s your right, as gutless and pathetic as that is. But just who the hell do you think you are coming into our site and trying to do the same?

    I DEMAND someone from ON moderation (brownlee, bm, whoever, I don’t care) get in touch with these clowns and tell them to STAY THE HELL OFF OUR BOARD. They DELETED a comment of mine, and have made modifications to several others here. They want to tell us we can’t respond to the idiot posters at FN? Fine. But they can’t be deciding if, or how, we respond to trolls on OUR GD BOARD! This is outrageous, these guys have CLEARLY overstepped their bounds, and this requires your attention.

    Fellow ON posters, if you agree that there is no place for FN moderators interfering on the ON site, please cheers this to the top.

    I’ve stuck around through years of uncontrolled trolling from FN posters on our site, but I am not willing to tolerate this. If this is allowed to continue without a response from site management, I am done here.

        • Joe Mamma

          As annoying as it can be at times, never take it personally. Whenever you think it’s unfair, just remember that they are all related to each other at the other nation.

          • Joe Mamma

            I have been a loyal reader and poster on ON for many years. This has NEVER happened before. I have NEVER seen a moderator from another Nation site going into a different Nation site and making changes.

            What is wrong with you people? I have three responses to this post, and they are all DEFENDING THIS? Go look at the comments on yesterday’s GDB. See for yourself what is going on there. You are ok with this??!?

            I have no words.

    • Soiled Trousers

      I agree 100%. The most offensive thing was the Flames Moderator edited Oilers fan comments but not those of the outrageous Flames troll Jeff. Don’t get me wrong, I think a good troll is fine and it shows good rivalry between the teams. However, to have a Flames Moderator come to an Oilers board and silence the people responding to Flames trolls is absurd.

      If the people who run this site don’t want any trolling whatsoever then fine. But you cannot let Flames fans spout off on this site and not expect Oilers fans to chirp them back. I was almost as mad about this as that disallowed goal. Almost.

      • Joe Mamma

        Exactly. They just outright delete or modify the post if it is from an Oiler fan, but the worst they do to the troll is put a “Jeff, don’t be an ass” at the end. Like he’s their good buddy or something. Did they delete his off-topic, inflammatory troll posts? No.

        I’m all for cleaning up the trolling on the Nation sites. But that’s not what this is. This is one-sided bs, where there is one standard for flames fans, and another for us. It’s garbage, it’s not balanced, it’s not consistent, and is only driving the tension higher and higher.

        I’ve seen the bloggers and writers here perform moderation on comments, but that is NOT what we are talking about here. This is FN moderators White Knight-ing for their posters on OUR SITE. It is garbage, and I, for one, am not ok with it.

        You think Lowetide would let some other site mod come onto his blog and start deciding who gets to say what? I think not. If this is somehow approved by the ON leadership, then they can just come out here and let us know that. Then I know to just close my account and never click on this site again.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I would imagine the ON sites probably hire a moderator or two for all their sites as you don’t need one guy for each site.

      The one here just happens to be a Flames handle. Really no big deal as I’m sure they are acting under the ON mandate for comments.

      Also, I find some of the other prominent writers moderate only their own posts, but definitely have different boundaries.

      As someone who has said some pretty awful things about the opinion of the writers, other posters, even other teams over on their boards, and has never seen a comment deleted, I think the team here is doing a pretty liberal job. You have to really go over the line to get a comment deleted.

      As CCR would say, before you accuse someone, take a look at chor self. (not a typo).

      • Joe Mamma

        You know, the GDB is right there for you to look at. You could have easily just looked for yourself before you jumped to conclusions and made an idiot of yourself.

        This was not an ON moderator. It says right in the modified comments “FN Moderator”. Go see for yourself. I’ll accept your apology whenever you’re done.

        • You’re right, I misspoke. I did not mean Oilers Nation, I meant the entire Nation site. So like the conglomerate of Nation sites probably hire one or two moderators for all the sites. All with the same mandate.

          Now, I don’t know what was said so I have no idea, maybe this guy did play favorites or something. I’m only going with knowing none of my comments have been deleted, so I’m assuming it must have been bad, or ticked like a zero tolerance box or something. Kind of like how in Red Deer, all the bars say no gang colours, but no one I know has any idea of what those colours are. So you can show up and not be admitted not because that was your intent.

          • Joe Mamma

            You know what they say about the word assume, right? You assumed wrong, these are not nation-wide mods. They are FN mods, and they are abusing their power.

            And for the record, I could care less about my specific comment being deleted. It is the principle of the matter. Multiple comments were affected, and they are biased as hell.

            I repeat: have a look for yourself.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      As I have never seen your comments which were deleted or “Changed” I have a difficult time asking for the head of some moderator with out facts. Your accusations are not facts but opinions. If you are going to publicly attack the moderators you need to give examples of what was changed or deleted. At this point I can not support your petition and I gave Negative props due to the lack of facts you gave to support your argument.

      • Joe Mamma

        Read the comments on the GDB. It is a “fact” that they are on our blog changing and deleting comments. Have a look for yourself before you come at me with your self-righteous crapola.

        • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

          Was not trying to be self righteous as I have screwed up plenty in my life. My point was that if you cited at least one specific incident of what was changed that you wrote it would help. I think what you wrote would sound less like a rant and more like a logical argument. You may well have plenty to complain about as others have agreed with you. All I was trying to point out was that stating opinion does not convince those of us who have not experienced what you say you have. If you want to sway the tide of public opinion show us evidence of what happens. In the future Start capturing screen grabs of your posts and after they are changed capture that. Later when you write you will be sure to quote what was changed. I am sure even at this point it will be looked into even with out this evidence but it would make your case airtight and allow we whom are ignorant of such happenings to form positive opinions about your argument. Enjoy the Nation I am happy you are here as your passion shows you to be a Passionate Oilers fan.

  • Re: McDavid and Yak: when I looked at the lineup coming into the season, it seemed like McDavid and Yak would be a great fit for the reasons given. McDavid likes to carry the puck and make plays, while Yak loves to fire the puck. Why weren’t they together in the pre-season?

  • Fair to say Yak is not a play driver, but I also think his passing is criminally underrated. However, it does look like McLellan is turning Yak into a “volume shooter”. Hopefully the trend continues.

    Does this mean the top line needs a grinder? Or will Hall Nuge and Ebs just fall back into their old habits?

    Crazy to think the Oilers went from Purcell, Arcobello, Yakupov to start last year into a second line of Pouliot, McDavid, Yak for this year.

    I can’t think of many teams with two complete scoring lines, but that’s what the team will have when Ebs gets back.

    Speaking of, any update on that?

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Re: McDavid
    I see him do things at 18 that no player has done in a long time. His speed, size and awareness may well be up with Mario, time will tell. We really need to drink in the next decade and savor every game.

  • @RobinBrownlee

    Robin always enjoy hearing you opinion. For this comment on following former players “Several, and different reasons for each.” Would you mind picking one or two and why?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Sure. Kept it vague because I got to know a lot of players over the years and it would take awhile to list them all (and the reasons I keep tabs). Here’s a few.

      Doug Weight and Bill Guerin. Terrific players and fun guys on the road I’d like to see do well in coaching/hockey ops.

      Georges Laraque. Always has something on the go. Into everything. Bad karaoke singer.

      Rem Murray. Mocked me better than anybody I ever covered. Makes me laugh. Selling commericial real estate back east now.

      Mike and Paul Comrie. Local boys made good.

      Jussi Markkanen. Wonderful guy.

  • Joe Mamma

    Schultz specializes in giving up pucks and screw up the power plays, yet with the evidence he displays since he has been an Oiler has been of mistakes. Although he has improved a little this season, I do not understand why he is getting so many chances, very much a weak link in the defense always gets beat and it is now expected that he isn’t going to win any battles.
    Surprised he is still an Oiler.

  • Derzie

    Like the schlub with no job, greasy hair and pants hitched up to his sternum parading around with the hot trophy girl, the Oilers having a gem like McDavid is great for the schlub, but terrible for everyone else. Yes I am jealous.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Just read David Staples article about which players the Oilers should chop over at Cult of Hockey on the Journal. Very worth the time to read IMO.

  • A-Mc

    It’ll be a magical thing when McDavid intercepts a pass on the PK, and is across center ice before the defensemen even realize what has happened.

    Jonesy was good for this kind of thing but his speed wasn’t there. Imagine CMcD wheels in a situation like that. Even the thought of a Shorthanded break away has me smiling from ear to ear.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I’ve been surprised with McDavid’s strength.

    The odd time watching him I thought, ‘Oh. He’s pretty strong.’ Then yesterday, more than few times I thought ‘WOW. HE’S VERY STRONG’.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Some how I expect to see the picture of Ninja McDavid kicking Harvey the Hound in the teeth a lot in the next ten years. Glad I am not a Flames fan.

  • Spoils

    so much to love about Yak having a home. It is worth moving Pouliot to the McD line or moving Hall back to Nuge to get Yak going. Next we need to get Purcell going.

    LD with Purcell?

    • Spoils

      I was 100% on the Nuge/Pouliot/Eberle bandwagon. Who knows if McDavid and Yakupov would have gotten as big a chance to build chemistry if not for the Eberle injury.

  • S cottV

    Yeah – you can sure tell that McDavid is something special.

    Amazing ability to get going with the puck and to drive to the net, with unreal speed. Seems to take shorter, powerful and more plentiful strides than normal – while he blows by defenders caught by surprise.

    Tremendous offensive ability, but – what I like is that he seems determined to not be a defensive liability in his own zone.

    He doesn’t get mesmerized and drawn to the puck like happens far too often with our other centermen. He looks off puck for the 3rd attacking forward and picks that threat up. Beautiful.