Monday Mailbag – November 23rd

Mailbag

Welcome back to the real world, Nation. At least going back to work after a weekend of poor life choices means you get to read another instalment of the Mailbag, right? RIGHT?! Good. I’m light on questions for next week so if you have anything you’d like to ask our panel please email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. With that said it’s time to learn something. Enjoy. 

Rod Phillips

1) TheBirdofAnger asks – What makes a play by play announcer so great? Or awful? Who are/were your favourite sports announcers?

Lowetide:

Great question. For me, Rod Phillips was the best. He had an ability to build a play toward a crescendo without making it feel contrived. I’d say that’s a key—being able to hold the listener in describing the play.

Jason Strudwick:

Most of the time I don’t really notice the announcers. I just watch the game without really paying attention to what is being said. The one guy I do notice and still love is Bob Cole. Love him.

Robin Brownlee:

Real emotion, not the fake, contrived schtick too many guys rely on now. My favorites were Jim Robson and Rod Phillips.

Matt Henderson:

Sports are irrational. It’s something ridiculous that grown men and women shouldn’t really care that much about but a great play by play announcer makes you care. They highlight the drama of the moments, big or small, that can otherwise happen in front of you and be gone in an instant. I think a great play by play announcer can sense the play developing and build to crescendo of the goal or the touchdown or whatever. They should be accurate to the emotion first and the play a close second. Favourite? I’ll cop out and say Rod Phillips. I’m a homer.

Jason Gregor:

Rod Phillips on radio…Incredible passion and he was the main connection for most games since very few were on TV in the early 1980s.

Jeanshorts:

I think most of it just boils down to personal taste. I could probably listen to Rick Jeanneret call literally anything and it would be exciting, but if you’re a fan of whoever the Sabres rival is you probably HATE hearing him lose his mind whenever a Sabre does anything remotely worthwhile. Much like anyone who’s not a Canucks fan finds Jim Hughson’s voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard. 

I think my favourite over the last few years is probably Gord Miller. He can generally find the perfect tone that makes the game seem exciting, but doesn’t make him come off as a homer toward either team. And he’s been the voice of so many legendary plays over the last decade or so, from the WJC to the Olympics and everywhere in between that he’s gotta be at the top of the list for this generation of PBP callers.

Baggedmilk:

I’m going to be a total homer here but I loved the way Rod Phillips used to call games. His voice, his description of the play, and the way he would let the team have it when they were playing poorly made him untouchable to me. Rod Phillips was everything I wanted in an announcer. It’s still strange to hear him call out our stupid pseudonyms on the North x NorthGretz podcast every week. 

If we’re talking talking TV I have to go with Bob Cole. I grew up on that voice and I always look forward to hearing him call a game even if his chops aren’t what they used to be. 

Banners

2) Vetinari asks – Hypothetically, what item would you like to take home as a personal souvenir from Rexall if you could get away with taking anything? Personally, I would love to have Gretzky’s number hanging in my living room and I would insist that the doors to the player’s room (the one with the stickers from the playoff wins) find a home somewhere in the new arena– preferably where fans can walk through and take pictures.

Lowetide:

Hmmm. Lordy. I don’t know. Maybe one of those Stanley’s?

Jason Strudwick:

I guess the stall I sat in? The memories I have from Rexall are more moments than items. Those you can’t move.

Robin Brownlee:

Taking a lot of memories from there. Those are my souvenirs. I’ve picked up a few odds and ends there over the years, but they’re not as important in remembering the place as the people are.

Matt Henderson:

I’ll take the Gretzky statue, thank you. I don’t know what else but the banners you mentioned, the door, or the statue there really is that I would want. Northlands hasn’t exactly filled the place with memorabilia. It’s mostly lined with concert posters from the mid-90’s, the seats in Commonwealth have more sentimental value to me. All that might be left would be the lines connected to that swamp water they call beer. 

Jason Gregor:

I would take the scoreboard. I’d open a sports bar and have the scoreboard hang from the middle of it and people could watch games on all four sides.

Jeanshorts:

I’d want the 2006 Western Conference Champions banner, and I’d put it in a small, dimly light room that I would go to whenever I needed to cry hysterically. Like a cleanse for the soul.

Baggedmilk:

If it were up to me I’m taking the ping pong table. If that thing could talk I bet there would be some wild stories to be heard. Besides, who doesn’t like ping pong?

3) Steve from Windsors asks – The Oilers had a chance to draft a top flight prospect like Kyle Conner or Matthew Barzel at #16 in this year’s draft, but traded for Reinhart instead. In hindsight, what do you think was the better option?

…Trading for Reinhart, and hoping that he develops into a legit top 3 defenseman in future years?

…Or drafting someone like Conner, and hoping that PC could have used a stud prospect like that to try and trade for a top 3 defenseman in future years?

Lowetide:

I feel the price was an overpay for Reinhart. That said, Edmonton needed to address the blue and sometimes overpaying for the asset is the right call.

Jason Strudwick:

The answer to this we will not know for some time. So far I have liked what I have seen from Reinhart. So if you want my answer right now I will go with Reinhart.

Robin Brownlee:

I’m fine with the Reinhart trade.

Matt Henderson:

Truthfully, I don’t think the Oilers were ever targeting Matthew Barzel. It sounds like they lost out on Hamilton and made their play for the next best thing they could get their hands on. I’m hopeful that Reinhart can grow and develop into a top 4 guy. If he can’t then the trade will be a bust but you have to take risks to fix this defense. 

Jason Gregor:

Oilers didn’t need another smaller, skilled forward. If trade was #16 for Reinhart I’d have been happier with it.

Jeanshorts:

I’m still totally on board with that trade. I like it just as much as I did on draft day when they pulled the trigger. In my opinion Reinhart has been solid, and he’s still young enough that realistically he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. He should be a solid second pairing player for years to come. 

And on top of that, both of those players you listed are forwards, which the Oilers have coming out of every orifice right now. And the Oilers have played the wait and develop game long enough (and are still more or less doing that with Nurse/Klefbom right now, waiting for them to become legit top 2 guys real soon). They traded magic beans for a player who already has NHL experience and as we’ve seen has stepped in and done well in his role so far. I’d make that trade over and over again.

Baggedmilk:

I still like the Reinhart trade. Yes it would have been nice to have Barzal in the system as either an up and coming player, or a bullet in trade negotiations, but it was a move that had to be made. Frankly, I was just happy to see Chiarelli take a swing on improving the defense, and I think Reinhart has played well enough to show us that he will be a contributor on the back end when he gains more experience.

Winner

4) Brandon B. asks – Todd McLellan continues to talk about how losing cannot be acceptable for the Oilers. In your opinion, what can the coaching staff do (if anything) to prevent indifference in the dressing room?

Lowetide:

Several things. Control ice time, we’ve seen that already. Reward good performance, we’ve seen that too. Never hesitate to bench a player who isn’t delivering…wait, he’s done that too! McLellan is a good NHL coach, I think his words don’t match his actions and that’s another thing that’s a positive.

Jason Strudwick:

Don’t allow the attitude to drift into that losing area. Continue to push for improvement every day. Don’t let that standard drop at any point. Push the players to be better.

Robin Brownlee:

Keep delivering the same message and back it up with success — wins. Nothing sells what a coach is pitching like results.

Matt Henderson:

If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn’t be giving it away for free. The team is a decade into missing the playoffs. Indifference might be the only thing keeping some of them sane.

Jason Gregor:

Create a Fight Club in the dressing room. But since the first rule of fight club is no one talk about it, maybe it is already happening.

Jeanshorts:

I think the only thing they can do is continue to tell the team that they are doing a lot of good things, but that they still need to take that extra step. They’re losing a lot of one goal games this year, and sticking around (or even mounting comebacks) in games with teams like Chicago and LA, which I consider to be a step in the right direction. Obviously the results aren’t there yet, but I would hope that McLellan is saying something to the effect of “We’re doing a lot of good things, but we still have plenty to work on. Keep doing the good things well and the rest will start falling in line.” 

Baggedmilk:

I like what McLellan has said about “catching the players doing things right.” Even when things are going badly the guys need to know when they’re doing things right in addition to coaching them on what they’re doing wrong. McLellan has probably had to do more teaching this year than ever before in his career and there’s still a lot of work to be done. He’ll get us there.

Baseketball

5) Sara G. asks – What is the greatest sports movie of all time and why?

Lowetide:

Slap Shot. It’s a brilliantly written, ridiculously acted movie. Plus Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From” is in it!

Jason Strudwick:

Hoosiers. Love this movie. I still find it inspirational. If you haven’t watched it stop reading this and go watch it.

Robin Brownlee:

The first Rocky movie and Field of Dreams are my two favourites.

Matt Henderson:

Isn’t this like picking your favourite child? You obviously have one but the other kids will get all huffy if you say it out loud. I’m a sucker for all kinds of sports movies. I can watch Bull Durham or A League Of Their Own at any time. I will happily watch Slap Shot on repeat for days. Even bad Football movies are good. Let’s go off the board a bit and pick Blood Sport as the greatest sports movie of all time. Why? Splits!

Jason Gregor:

Slapshot was outstanding. It was a fairly accurate portrayal of how life was in the minor leagues. 

When they make a movie about Strudwick’s career it would be top notch. Quentin Tarantino could play Struds.

Jeanshorts:

This one may be a little controversial in terms of whether or not you think it’s a sport, but I LOVE Beyond The Mat, the documentary about professional wrestling! I haven’t seen it for a while, but the last time I watched it a couple years ago it was just as entertaining as the first time. IT’S GRIPPING I TELL YOU! GRIPPING!

Baggedmilk:

Do I have to pick one? Because I’m not going to. This is my segment and I’ll do whatever I want.

There are so many great sports movies so I’m just going to rattle off a list: Baseketball (I love South Park and the stupidity is right up my alley), Any Given Sunday (that speech right?), Field of Dreams (classic), Slap Shot (timeless), Goon (surprisingly hilarious), Friday Night Lights (crushing ending, great story), Cool Runnings (feel the rhythm), Rookie of the Year (who wouldn’t enjoy a kid playing in the majors?) Major League (WILD THANG…YOU MAKE MY HEART SANG) and Showgirls (stripping is kind of like a sport?).