My friends – it’s Mailbag time. If you have a question for next week’s Mailbag you can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Twitter.
1) Steveland Cleamer asks – What is your opinion on eliminating the “loser point” format in the NHL? What would that look like? Looking at the standings, Colorado is has more wins but is behind Vancouver/Anaheim in the standings due to “loser points” as one example of loser points not showing the true standings/quality of teams.
I would love to go back to a tie, one point each. Three points for a win is fine, too. The Bettman point is idiotic.
If I remember correctly, the original rationale of the loser point was as a way to stop ties – to open up the game in overtime and encourage teams to go for the win. Three-on-three overtime has solved that problem, making the point for an overtime loss the equivalent of a vestigial tail on the NHL standings. It should be done away with as soon as possible, as all it does now is tighten things up in the third period and encourage teams to play for a regulation tie. Either go to a straight wins/losses setup or if that’s too unpalatable (because of shootout winners getting two points) move to a three-point game setup.
NUKE IT! NUKE IT IMMEDIATELY! I’ve never liked it. The idea of rewarding teams for losses has never made sense to me. I mean, I can sort of see the argument that if a team loses in the shootout that it’s not necessarily fair considering it’s a one-on-one thing, and not a team winning or losing. So if we’re going by those standards than this is how I would change things;
Three points for a win in regulation, OT or shootout.
One point for a shootout loss.
Zero points for regulation or OT loss.
This way it makes wins more valuable, and would theoretically stop teams from just playing for a tie to force OT so they’re guaranteed a point either way, and would stop rewarding teams for being bad in extra time (LOOKING AT YOU VANCOUVER AND YOUR EIGHT PITY POINTS!).
I’d prefer two points for a win and none for a loss, no matter how it comes about.
I hate the loser point with a passion, and I hate people who say it isn’t a “loser point” almost as much. If you’re rewarding a team for doing anything other than winning the game then as far as I’m concerned you’re doing it wrong. For the most part it will just reorder the playoff teams but there will be fringe playoff teams who haven’t won as much as other who miss. That’s the part that gets fixed without points.
Tell me one person who thinks the loser point makes sense.
I played in Switzerland. The system there was three points for a win. I liked it. It seemed like you could pull away or close the gap on teams in front of you. I am no mathematician but it seems to me it rewards teams for wins.
It’s ridiculous. The Oilers are tied, in wins, with teams that are five or six spots up in the standings. How does that make sense?
2) Brandon D. asks – If the Oilers are looking to make a major move why not offer up next year’s first round pick as opposed to Nuge or Eberle? You would have to think that the pick would have more value than a struggling player, right?
The first-round pick will have more value when more teams no longer care about this season. It will also have extreme value if EDM continues to struggle and the pick becomes top three overall. I would not trade it right now.
Edmonton’s first-rounder next year should absolutely be on the table, but again that’s likely more of a summer move than an in-season trade. Every team still in the playoff race wants to improve, so the only teams that will be willing to consider a pick-for-player trade are those clubs already outside the picture. Even in those cases there are so many buyers that the competition for any player made available will be fierce.
That’s where my opinion has been, even before all this insane fervour about trading RNH picked up. The strangest thing to me about all these trade proposals is some people are basically saying “THIS GUYS IS EXPENDABLE BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHER PLAYERS WHO CAN EASILY TAKE HIS PLACE ON THIS TEAM”, then follow it up with “THE OILERS WILL GET A HUGE RETURN FOR HIM!” Well which is it? Is the player expendable or is the player super valuable and will demand a huge return if they are traded?
However, to your second point, I do think that Eberle or Nuge would be more valuable than a theoretical first overall pick. Both of those guys could step into the top six of any team in the league and immediately make an impact, whereas while everything points to Auston Matthews being a great young player, he’s still a question mark at the NHL level due to him never playing a single game in the league. So if I’m, say, Garth Snow do I take a player who I can insert into my lineup immediately or do I take a flyer on some magic beans? I’m taking the established top six NHL forward at this point.
I just feel that for the Oilers, getting rid of one of those guys would set the team back far more than giving up to chance to potentially draft Auston Matthews, so as a fan I would much rather trade the pick.
There’s no need to make a major move before this coming off-season. There’s also no need to contemplate giving up a first-round pick until you know what you are giving up. Long way to go before then.
The longer the Oilers suck the more value that pick gets. I think the pick’s max value is in the week leading up to the draft, but hell yeah they should be open to moving it if the return is right.
The team trading for the pick doesn’t know where it will end up — what if after the trade, the Oilers end up 20th and other team only gets 10th pick? RNH and the first round pick aren’t getting traded during the season. And it’s unlikely Eberle is, either. Those three assets, IF they were to be moved, likely do so in the off season.
The only worse idea I have heard today was when my four year old asked to light the BBQ. That pick could end up being Austin Matthews.
If the Oilers are truly committed to improving they should trade the pick. Addition without subtraction would definitely be a nice change. I doubt any trade involving the pick would happen until the summer, though. Teams would want to know where the Oilers will finish the year before they consider moving an asset for a magic bean.
3) Corey R. asks – How would you rank all seven Canadian teams in terms of best to worst, and why?
Hmm. This is a quick ranking: Montreal; Winnipeg; Ottawa; Vancouver; Edmonton; Calgary; Toronto. I do not have a good reason to put VAN in front of EDM but it feels right. Everyone past Ottawa is pretty bad.
Montreal in first, because they’re a very good team with a great goalie. After that there’s a tier of three – Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver – with very little separation between them; I’d probably give the Jets the nod for the top of that trio, followed by the Senators and then the Canucks. I like Winnipeg’s balance and prefer Ottawa’s youth to Vancouver’s declining core. I don’t think there’s a lot of separation in the bottom trio of Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton either. As of this writing, if you go by goal differential it’s Edmonton, Toronto and then Calgary whereas by points it’s Toronto, then Calgary and then Edmonton. For winning right now, I like the Flames’ roster best and I wonder what they’d look like with a different coach and competent goaltending. For winning in the future, I think Edmonton has the best potential, but so far that potential is unrealized. If I’m forced to pick, I’ll go with goal differential.
Montreal speaks for itself I would think. Ottawa isn’t a world beater, but they’ve got a lot of really good players and they should probably make the playoffs for the second year in a row this year.
Winnipeg still has a few question marks on their roster, and they’re definitely a middle of the pack team in the NHL, but I think if they played in any other division than the murders row that is the Central they’d probably be a decent bet to snag a wild card playoff spot (and they still might this year).
Vancouver is teetering closer and closer to falling down an elevator shaft, but as of right now they’re SLIGHTLY ahead of Calgary and Edmonton, in my opinion (but not by much at all).
Toronto is going to be bad for longer than their fans think, I suspect.
And I put Edmonton ahead of Calgary because A) F*ck Calgary and B) while they are in a very similar position as the Oilers right now, I think the Oilers have better young talent to lead them to the next step than the Flames do.
Look at the standings. I don’t see any team making a significant move up or down in order from what the standings reflect, although Montreal will have to get by without Price and I continue to believe Calgary is better than they have performed so far.
Montreal is first in the NHL (right now) so it’s hard to place them anywhere else. Ottawa is the only other playoff team. I like Winnipeg more than Vancouver because I think they are a good goalie away from being scary. Vancouver is next but I think they’re more pretender than serious playoff contender. Toronto slots in ahead of Edmonton because they have Marincin. Edmonton is above Calgary because the Flames are epically bad defensively and they are indeed godless.
Montreal is the best. Ottawa and Winnipeg are middle and Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Edmonton are bad. Order of bottom four will change as season goes along but none are good today.
The Habs are clearly the best followed by the Jets. Ottawa is next in line. The rest all have issues.
Montreal is easily the best.
I rank Ottawa ahead of Winnipeg only because they play in the Eastern Conference.
I rank Edmonton above the rest based on having Connor McDavid.
Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto can all go to hell.
4) Alyssa asks – Pretend that Oilers Nation is having a show and tell day. Which item of hockey memorabilia or merchandise would you bring in to show the class?
I would bring the photo my daughter took for me at the Oilers-Bruins game. I have two children, both of them casual hockey fans until maybe two years ago, but I now have a rabid fan in the house and it is so much fun to share this beautiful game with my daughter, who I love so much. So, that picture. For sure.
I’m not a big collector, but I have two items that mean something to me personally. When I was a kid at my very first NHL game, Georges Laraque signed a hockey card for me afterward. The two people in front of me were interesting for different reasons. The first was a woman who couldn’t get her camera to work, and Laraque was patient and gracious over what seemed like an eternity before the woman finally got her picture with him. The other was a grown man getting a signature, and as Laraque was about to sign him his (obviously drunk) friend (not really a friend) shouts out, “You’re right, he doesn’t look so big, you could totally take him!” I can’t recall ever seeing a man shrink like this guy did in that moment. Laraque gave him a shark smile and then signed whatever it was the man had handed him to sign. I was 13 or 14 and this was grand theatre for me, so I’ve always valued that hockey card. The other is an Oklahoma City Barons puck from my season covering the team.
I’d probably bring in my stick that’s autographed by the entire 94-95 Edmonton Oilers. I won it at a Christmas tournament in Sherwood Park when I was in Novice. I don’t have a ton of sports memorabilia, and that one is by far the coolest thing I do have. Even to this day I still play the “Who’s Unreadable Signature Is This” game! It’s very difficult when half the guys don’t put their number next to their scribble.
The Stanley Cup. Closest Oiler fans will get to it for a long time.
I have a Team Canada jersey signed by Don Cherry. Other than that I have a pretty pathetic collection of stuff.
The framed autographed picture of Strudwick he gave me for Xmas two years ago. I’d give it away to any reader.
I would bring Lowetide’s Oil King jacket.
My polaroid with Marius Chikowski from Carnival of Champions when I was kid. I also have one with Doug Weight, but the Polish Prince is funnier.
5) @jfresz asks – You are the NHL’s Dr. Frankenstein and are building the perfect hockey machine. Which players provide the parts for brain, vision, heart, hands, shot, wheels, and body?
God. I have no idea. Brain? Orr. Vision? 99. Heart? Messier. Hands? Mike Bossy. Shot? Bobby Hull. I am going to pretend that is the end of the question.
This is fun. Off the top of my head I’m inclined to go with Pavel Datsyuk for hockey sense, Joe Thornton for playmaking vision, Patrick Kane for hands, Steven Stamkos for shot, and of course all this needs to be lumped into Zdeno Chara’s frame. Skating is tougher because there are so many great ones in the game; I’m tempted to say Connor McDavid already there. I wouldn’t want to even take a guess at heart, but remembering why this site was created in the first place the logical answer would seem to be to hunt down Ryan Smyth in retirement.
Gretzky’s brain, Crosby’s vision, Ryan Smyth’s heart, Patrick Kane’s hands, Ovi’s shot, McDavid’s wheels and Eric Lindros’ body.
Brain — Toews
Vision — Joe Thornton
Heart — Chara
Hands — Kane
Shot — Weber
Wheels — McDavid
Body — Ovechkin
Brain – McDavid
Vision – McDavid
Heart – McDavid
Hands – McDavid
Shot – McDavid
Wheels – McDavid
Body – McDavid
Brains: Bobby Holik. He got Rangers to pay him way more than he was worth. Smart.
Vision: Gretzky. They said he had eyes in the back of his head — what an advantage.
Heart: Randy Gregg. He could operate on one.
Hands: Dave Semenko. Packed a good punch.
Shot: Maurice Richard. His was a Rocket.
Wheels: Selanne. He loves cars.
Body: Phil Kessel. Relates to average person.
I would build J. Toews.
Since Henderson stole my thunder I’m going to go to put all of Connor McDavid’s tools inside Shea Weber’s body, and give him Mike Ricci’s hockey hair. That’s a fearsome competitor, my friends.
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