Monday Mailbag – November 16th, 2015

Mailbag

Welcome, friends, to another edition of the Mailbag where you ask our panel of literary wizards anything that pops into that creepy mind of yours. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Creepiness aside, the mailbag only works because you guys send me your questions and I’m a little bit light going into next week. If you have a question for the Mailbag you can email them to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or DM me on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now, it’s time for you to learn something. Enjoy.

Damn

1) Darren in Sacramento asks – Bob Hartley won the Jack Adams last year (on a team with some unsustainable numbers). When I submitted this question, Hartley’s Flames are off to a 5-10-1 start this year with pretty much the same team. Mike Babcock and Todd McLelan were the off season’s most coveted coaches, and regarded as two of the game’s best. They’re off to 3-8-4 and 6-10 starts, respectively.  How much is “good coaching” really just about luck (see Flames, Calgary) and having great rosters to work with? Is “good coaching” overrated?

Robin Brownlee:

Coaching matters, but not as much as the quality of player personnel.  Babcock and McLellan are two of the game’s best. Does a slow start after less than 20 games eclipse the track records they’ve established over many, many years? I think not.

Jeanshorts:

In some regards I do think it’s overrated. I mean the “joke” around here for the last five years or so has been that even in-his-prime Scotty Bowman couldn’t have made the Oilers a good team, and I definitely think that does hold water. I think it’s pretty clear that’s what’s happening in Toronto under Mike Babcock so far; the Leafs aren’t playing terribly per se, and they have a coach with a winning track record as long as anyone, and yet they’ve only won three out of 15 games so far this year. They just don’t have the horses to get the results.

Now, obviously some coaches were bad fits for the Oilers, and most just weren’t given anything close to enough time to really make their mark. But when you have a revolving door of coaches and things don’t change, to me that says there are bigger problems. 

HOWEVER, I will say that I personally think this team has looked much, much better under Todd McLellan than any other coach since MacT. The wins obviously aren’t coming as much as we’d hoped, and I could listen to the argument that Connor McDavid and the ascension of Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse has had just as much impact as anything else, but I have to think a lot of that is also due to having a legit, successful, NHL caliber coaching staff for the first time in almost a decade. This team doesn’t get down on themselves like they did last year. They battle back. They tie games up. They force OT. They’ve soundly outshot teams (usually for just a period or so BUT STILL). Things we hardly ever saw over the last two seasons, with a similar roster. 

So I’d say there is definitely plenty of value to having a good coach, but I also think, like a lot of things in the NHL, it gets a little too much credit when it’s not necessarily warranted.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think it is overrated, but no coach can take a D team and make them a B team. You need good players, and coaching can make a B team a B+ team.

Lowetide:

Great question, I’m not sure there’s an answer beyond ‘luck plays a big part in all sports.’ I do think Todd McLellan will be successful in Edmonton and I don’t think it will necessarily be with this group of players. This time next season the Oilers could have many new contributors.

Jason Strudwick:

Good question. I do think a good coach makes a difference and I have had both. Without talent no team is going to have success but with no coaching a team will underachieve. From watching the Leafs and Oilers I think both coaches are laying a foundation for how their teams will play moving forward. Add in the talent they have or will add I think both teams won’t be at the bottom for long.

Jonathan Willis:

Some of good coaching is luck for sure. Mostly, I think the problem is with the way we evaluate coaches. We really should recognize people like Babcock and Joel Quenneville with the Jack Adams more than we do; right now it’s too often a ‘comeback of the year’ award and that often goes to a team that’s riding unsustainable percentages. But it’s not just the Jack Adams, it’s also the obsession with the short term. Babcock and McLellan are 20 games in with their new teams; not only does it take time to win but it also takes time for the G.M. in charge to find the horses.

Baggedmilk:

The coach should be blamed for everything. They go 82 games in a row without scoring a single goal. Think about it. 

HockeyHallOfFame

2) @MrMikeEaton asks – You are in charge of the HHoF and are allowed one do-over. Is there someone you would take take out, and replace with someone else? Is there someone that should already be included that is not?

Robin Brownlee:

I take out Cam Neely and Bill Barber. Dave Andreychuk and Eric Lindros should be inducted.

Jeanshorts:

It’s still crazy to me that Eric Lindros isn’t in there. He was one of the most dominant players during his truncated career, and I think that may play a part in why he’s not there. He obviously has a long history of concussions and other injuries, which more than likely prevented him from reaching even loftier heights in terms of numbers, and maybe even championships. Despite that he’s 19th all time in goals per game, and numbers aside he was an absolute beast out there. He could steamroll through anyone, then dangle through an entire team and snipe one top shelf. Teams could basically only hope to contain him (or concuss him) rather than stop him. He was a great player and as far as I’m concerned should have been a slam dunk for the Hall years ago.

Jason Gregor:

I wouldn’t take someone out, because the ones I’ve seen in my lifetime were good, and we can’t compare stats from decades ago. The one player I would have in now is Eric Lindros.

Lowetide:

Bob Pulford. That 1967 Leafs were over-represented moons ago, his induction in 1991 was the low point. Who should be in? well, let’s start with Eric Lindros and go from there. I’d probably add five or six names to the Hall.

Jason Strudwick:

I would never say a HOF players should be taken out. That isn’t fair to the players who are in there. I do think Eric Lindros is 100% a HOF. He was a dominating player at some points in his career. I can honestly say the combination of speed/strength/skill that he had was an unique package.

Jonathan Willis:

Eric Lindros belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but if I could make one change that wouldn’t be it. I’d ask for voting to be done publicly. 

Baggedmilk:

Do the youngsters know about Eric Lindros? He used to hit like a truck AND put up points seemingly at will. It’s strange that he hasn’t been inducted yet, but I assume his day is coming. Let me tell you, friends, nothing makes you feel younger 300 than seeing all these guys I watched as a kid get their names in the Hall of Fame.

Kramer

3) Jason A. asks – Do you think there is a team that will be willing to give Mike Richards another chance or is he done in the NHL? If so, which team do you think might be a good fit to give him a chance?

Robin Brownlee:

He’s a player on the decline. Unless he signs a bargain contract, I wouldn’t go near him. Possible fits will depend on injuries and the standings as the season moves along.

Jeanshorts:

I think there’s always a chance he comes back. As I’ve mentioned before NHL GMs have weird, selective memories, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that someone looks at him as “Mike Richards: Memorial Cup Champion, Olympic and World Junior gold medalist, 2x Stanley Cup winner, and SOOOO good in the room!” rather than “Mike Richards: guy who hasn’t broken 50 points since 2011 and clearly appears to be on the downslope of his career”. 

And if there’s one team I can see buying into the myth of Mike Richards it’s the Boston Bruins, who LOVE grit and being good in the room more than most other teams in the league. They’re also not doing that well this season and I can absolutely see trying to “inject some winning pedigree in the room” or something as an option they look at to try and turn things around.

Jason Gregor:

Yes, someone will sign him to a one-year deal this year. Teams love veterans, and at $1 million a year Richards could help a team down the stretch, or even before.

Lowetide:

I think the Oilers might be a good team, but Richards is more likely to catch on with a contender. A team like Boston, New Jersey or even Pittsburgh might fit.

Jason Strudwick:

I would give him a chance but it would be starting in the AHL for a month or two. He would need to show he has some speed and tenacity back. He was a very good NHL player for quite a while but that doesn’t come back because he wants it to.

Jonathan Willis:

I think he’ll get a shot; I imagine most teams are just waiting to see what happens at his trial in December. There are lots of clubs out there that could give him a shot based on having lousy centre depth, so it’s probably going to depend on how willing the G.M. is to take a chance on him. Right now, Edmonton’s centre ice depth chart is looking pretty exposed.

Baggedmilk:

Absolutely someone will. I’m not saying that they should, but I think someone will. Mike Richards isn’t ancient at 30 years old, and he’ll probably sign for plane fare. Is he slow? Yes. Are GMs dumb sometimes? Almost every time. 

MikeTyson

4) Chris J. asks – Based on your gut feeling who do you think will grab the Oilers’ starting goalie position and why? Nilsson, Talbot, or someone else?

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t have a gut feeling about either guy. Nilsson has been the better of the two, but will need to see both over the course of this season before making a call either way.

Jeanshorts:

It’s still a coin flip to me at this point. Nilsson has looked good since his forgettable performance against Washington, and SPEAKING of games we’d like to forget I think that game against Calgary is the only one where Cam Talbot has looked legitimately bad. I know there is a vocal minority out there who love to blame goalies for everything and are already crying about wanting to take back the Talbot trade, but I think that’s crazy and he’s going to SIUTBOHC any day now. At this point it looks like they may just platoon them and go with the hot hand, which isn’t the worst strategy.

Jason Gregor:

Don’t see anyone else grabbing it. I think they both will have good stretches, but I’m not certain one will grab it. I think both will be re-signed, but neither to a long-term, big money contract.

Lowetide:

I’ll bet Cam Talbot. He has a great resume and two tough weeks shouldn’t erase it. He’ll get his chance and will shine.

Jason Strudwick:

We love to talk about the goalies on Oilersnation! Watch the Rangers/Habs/Wild play. They all have very good goalies but the structure in front of them is solid. The same can’t be said yet for the Oilers. Although it is improving from week to week it still has a ways to go.

Jonathan Willis:

I’d give Talbot the nod right now, but as I said in the summer it’s a gamble. Nilsson’s career track record does not encourage me.

Baggedmilk:

I think Cam Talbot will still be the goalie that the Oilers traded for him to be. It won’t be a miracle either that when the defense improves so will the goalie stats. 

Homer

5) Brandon A. asks – Do you remember when you first heard about OilersNation? What is the story of how you came across the website and how did you get involved?

Robin Brownlee:

I knew nothing about the website until the owners invited me to a west-end eatery, offered me a percentage of nothing and asked me to write for them in March of 2008. I countered by asking for a ham sandwich and they said yes and threw in a large side of fries. The deal was done. 

Jeanshorts:

Baggedmilk texted me one day back in 2008, telling me about this guy named “Wanye” who wrote funny articles about the Oilers and made crude MS Paint drawings. Obviously that was right up my alley, so I checked it out and was immediately intrigued. We both started reading and commenting on the blog regularly, then one day we were like “IF THESE IDIOTS CAN MAKE A WEBSITE WHY CAN’T THEESSEEE IDIOTS *points at selves*??” We started our own blog, Wanye reached out to us saying HE was a fan of US for some reason, and years later he followed through on all his threats and officially put us on the payroll. It’s a story as old as time itself.

Jason Gregor:

Wanye emailed me asking to meet him and discuss possibly writing on the site. A mutual acquaintance had put us in contact. I was interested from the very beginning and saw the potential in the site and the plan to grow the Nation. It has been a fun seven years so far. I can only imagine the insanity if the team every makes the playoffs. Wanye might even write an article if that happens.

Lowetide:

Someone asked me to link to it on my blog, and I visited—really enjoyed Wanye as a writer, still do. I think OilersNation approached me about writing via Jason Gregor, could be wrong. Any way, I have very much enjoyed my time at ON and am honoroed to be associated with outstanding writers and idea people. Except Baggedmilk. Guy is completely crazy, parks too close in the parking lot and is a close talker. Plus he talks a lot, I mean A LOT and it’s about nothing. “Remember when they used to sell milk in bags? That’s why I’m called Baggedmilk, because it’s something that people remember.” Exhausting.

Jason Strudwick:

Jason Gregor wrote an article about my family and our struggle with infertility. He did a great job (don’t tell him that).

Jonathan Willis:

I think Lowetide linked to the site and that was the first time I saw it. As for how I got involved, basically it just came down to getting asked.

Baggedmilk:

I was cruising for babes in some old hockey forums and I saw a comment that mentioned the site. Soon after I was one of about 15 people hanging around the site on a daily basis for the first few months it was up. It was around that time that Jeanshorts and I started our terrible blog that caught Wanye’s attention. I certainly didn’t think I would be working here full time only six years later. If I did, I would have picked a cooler pseudonym.  

EDMONTON FOOD BANK CHARITY AUCTION

EdmontonFoodBank 

A few days back, Nation real estate aficionado Adam Dirksen suggested that we partner up to raise some money for the Edmonton Food Bank going into the Christmas season. We couldn’t have agreed more, and so we got to work. With Adam’s tickets in hand, we contacted our partners to see if they wanted to be involved and as always they jumped at the opportunity to help out. 

Over the next few days we will be holding an auction to benefit the Edmonton Food Bank, and give you an Oilers experience to remember. What are we talking about? We put together a package that includes two gold seats (with club access) to the Oilers vs Devils on Friday night, a ride to and from the game in the brand new Nation Limo, $50 in Pint gift cards, Oodle Noodle gift cards, and NationGear by Print Machine to wear to the game. 

The auction runs straight through until Thursday (November 19th) at noon with every penny going directly to the Edmonton Food Bank. We will be updating the bids in all GDB and Wrap Up articles, and on Twitter, until the auction closes. The high bidder will be notified via email to arrange for payment and transfer of the tickets. 

***CURRENT HIGH BID – $450***

10:45am MST – November 17th –  Kevin B. at $450

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    In Regards to your last mailbag question, I am glad you all write on this page, I enjoy all your articles! Love this site and all your efforts you put forth! Keep it up!

    • ubermiguel

      @Nsquared88, we get it, your being sarcastic.
      Also; you suck Baggedmilk.
      Stop propping your own comments!
      Lowetide: Too Old!
      Willis: stop writing so much! Blog whore!
      Jeanshorts: Who?
      Gregor: I could broadcast a better afternoon show from my Mom’s basement!
      Strudwick: We should fight!
      Cue the security guard threats, ” we’ll kick you outta here”
      Bring it on Brownlee.
      Sorry guys, you’re all great. I’m just bitter about being in 30th place again.
      **Sobbs**

  • Ready to Win

    While I expect Talbot to have the better career of our two goalies, I am a little worried that PC might fall victim to the “sunk cost fallacy” and choose Talbot even if I’m wrong and Nilsson proves to be the better goalie.

    • D

      Both Nilsson and Talbot were acquired by him, so the preferential bias for Talbot will not be as strong as if it were Talbot/Scrivens. But I would expect both Chia and McLellan to support whoever will get them the most wins.

  • freelancer

    Hit the nail on the head talking about good goalies and good systems Struds. While there are some goals that can be blamed squarely on both goaltenders. Having a D that is able to limit the amount of second and third attempts definitely should be a factor.

  • freelancer

    On another note. I would love to see one of you write a blog about how despite the losses, the oilers haven’t been blown out too many times this year. While certain stats might disagree, of the 12 losses this season:
    5 have been by one goal.
    5 have been by two goals.
    And 2 have been by three goals.

    I don’t have the exact number in front of me but it would be interesting to compare that to the first 12 games the oilers lost last season.

  • ubermiguel

    There are two main reasons Lindros is not in the HHOF: (1) no Cup; (2) in the hockey world he’s viewed as ..and I quote recent legal pleadings here…”unfriendly, hostile, rude, insulting, vindictive, cruel, uncharitable and generally a despicable person”. Valid reasons? Probably not, but people vote with emotions and if they simply don’t like Lindros they will not vote for him.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      I don’t personally know Eric Lindros but i am a believer in ” actions speak louder than words” . If being charitable qualifies you for the HHOF than the fact Eric has donated 5 million dollars to a hospital in support of concussion research and treatment than he is a shoe-in.

    • R U Kidding Me!

      Then they never saw him play hockey. One of the best players I have ever seen. I’m to young to remember Gretzky live but Lindros is burned into my pot ridden memory. I thought the hall of fame was for those guys.

      • ubermiguel

        I’ve seen both Gretzky and Lindros play, they were both dominant in different ways. Point being: HHOF voting is not all about hockey, there are emotions and egos involved. People still remember Lindros refusing to play for the Soo and Quebec City, and sitting out in 2000-01 rather than get traded to team he didn’t like. Maybe Gretzky didn’t want to play for LA or St. Louis but he suited up for them damn it.

  • Jay (not J)

    meh. The Hall of Fame is for winners. Lindros had some big moments but his career is as defined by a series of injuries that he never seemed to even try to learn to avoid as by any on ice accomplishments. I wonder though how much impact his public laundry days during the ugly divorce with Philly has impacted voters’ decisions.

  • Jay (not J)

    Good coaches are defined by the players commitment to carry out coaches directions at a high level of competitiveness and desire . In a nutshell , get the most production out of each player and team . After that , it relies on the players and coaches inspiration and motivation . We have seen that this year unfolding , but have to question whether we still have the mix and players good enough to compete for playoffs as yet . If not , then GM has to work harder to give coaches other personnel that will fit better . The sooner the better .

  • Soiled Trousers

    I see the Oilers are having a presser with McDavid today. I can just imagine how that conversation went:

    Chia – Jesus Craig we’re in last place and the fans are pretty angry

    MacT – Dude don’t worry about it, just have a presser and tell everyone they need to be patient

    Chia – WIll that actually work

    MacT – We’ve been laying turds on the ice for a decade but we sell out every game. Ya man it will work just fine.

  • Soiled Trousers

    I stumbled on to ON after being on “Oilfans” and “Hfboards” back in 06′. I was quite the puke back then and got into it with a few guys at Oilfans and outstayed my welcome, and HFboards was filled with idiots and was too sanitized for my liking. Oilersnation had funny articles, great writing and some sexy pictures back in the day! (still great writing to this day). I then stumbled on to Jeanshortsandbaggedmilk website and it was a glorious depot of swears, dirty jokes and copy and pasting lines from Tropic Thunder.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3KEhWTnWvE

  • For Pete's Sake!

    I have a feeling Broissoit will be the Oiler’s goalie before the year is out. He looks like the team’s best goalie right now.

    He’s completely outplaying Scrivens in Bakersfield.

    Let the young goalie play with this young defense and work it out together.

    It worked for Sather in the early 80’s when he went with two inexperienced young goalies in Moog and Fuhr over the procession of veterans he’d tried earlier.

    Why not give it a shot? It can’t get any worse than it is now.

  • Serious Gord

    Only one in and one out?

    There are probably a dozen of each.

    Some that it would take out:

    – about half of the ’67 leafs – dick duff being top of the list
    – Clarke Gilles
    – Bobby Clarke for his support of Alan Eagleson
    – Glenn Anderson if Theo Fleury can’t be in then neither should anderson

    Some that i would put in:

    Theo fleury
    Lindros – (its repugnant that the NHL elite gets away with shunning him)
    More of the Iron Curtain players
    Much more of the grinder, 2-way types that every team needs to win.

    • D

      Serious Gord,

      I’m not convinced the Oilers win the Stanley Cup in 1990 without Glenn Anderson. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. I get the comparison between Anderson and Fleury in that their regular season point totals are comparable, but when it comes to the playoffs, it’s not close.

      **Full Disclosure: Big fan of Glenn Anderson**

      • Serious Gord

        Anderson was a career second liner who very rarely if ever cracked the top fifty players in the league. was he ever in the top five on any of the teams he played for?

        Fleury played first line for a large segment of his career and for a significant segment was in the top fifty best players.

        For sure the flames don’t win their cup without fleury.

        Anderson had 214 pts in 225 playoff games; fleury had 79 in 77. And as you know making the playoffs is largely a team phenomenon.

        • Czar

          From 1982-1988 Anderson never finished lower than 40th in scoring. In 5 of those seasons he was in the top 25 and had 3 seasons with over 100 points.

          He was 11th overall in 1981-82, 9th in 82-83 and 13th in 83-84. That’s one heck of a 2nd line player.

          • Serious Gord

            Who was his centre during those years?

            It could be argued that messier was the greatest second line centre ever.

            Second line minutes are easier minutes.

            Many of the top fifty players are defensemen and goalies and forwards who weren’t high point getters.

  • Serious Gord

    I think the HHOF takes in too many players and the bar has been drifting even lower over time. Based on current standards, Lindros should definitely be in, but last time I checked, Bobby Clarke was on the HHOF selection committee and I’m sure Clarke is a very vocal opponent if Lindros’ name ever comes up. I’m guessing Lindros won’t get elected until Clarke is off the committee.

  • ZIN21

    I understand that there has to be improvement in our defensive structure, but some of the goals that have been allowed have just been plain bad (ie. goals from not being tight on the post x3, and a spin around shot from the point with 1 minute left in the game). These are stops a #1 goalie makes. I really hope Talbot figures his crap out soon, and I think he will. But its not just because our defense is “bad”. If Talbot can steal a few games here and there, that’s all we need. We are playing well enough where average goaltending can get us the win more often than not. We’re still only 7 points out as of today. So all hope is not lost!

  • Spaceman Spiff

    With all due respect to the gentlemen above, Eric Lindros should only get inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after the NHL announces that it is putting a team back in Quebec City and not one damn minute before that.

  • ZIN21

    Lindros WAS a beast, for a very small amount of time. I think Ppg means nothing. It’s a junk Stat like +/-. I could see a case being made if he was a great person and hockey ambassador, but that is not and was not the going consensus.

    For me, I never want to see him in the Hof simply because he refused to report to the team that drafted him. Spoiled brat with massive entitlement issues should keep him out forever. Save your demands for free agency, not when you are being drafted. I suspect this will keep him out of the Hof for a long time, preferably forever.

  • ZIN21

    milk is still sold in bags. in ontario you cant even buy jugs like you can in Alberta. i hate them. the ordeal of changing the bag, snipping it, sometimes the plastic doesnt cut cleanly and it drips when you pour it, the bag falls out of the pitcher, the lack of seal means fridge odour is absorbed by the milk and you can taste it a bit if you dont go through bags of milk fast enough, the bags have condensation from the store and it gets your car upholstery wet and hair and dirt in your car stick to the bag, you have to recycle the bag (in the gta youre only allowed one bag of trash per household per week) and the bit of milk still in the bottom of the bag starts to stink after a few days, plus it just feels dumb pouring liquid from a bag