Monday Mailbag – January 18th, 2016

Mailbag 3

It’s that wonderful time again. That time when you have all the things you’ve always wanted to know about the NHL, and about life, answered by our panel of bloggers life coaches. I like to think of us as a much cheaper alternative to a college education. As always, this feature depends on you guys so I need you to submit your questions. If you have something you’d like to know you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn something. Enjoy.

Sports

1) Dave C. asks – There is a lot of talk about the drop in scoring in the NHL, which can be attributed to improvements in defensive systems, goaltending style and equipment. Is this a problem faced by any other major sport? Can the NHL learn anything from these other sports?

Robin Brownlee:

Not sure the NHL can learn anything specific from other sports because no other sport is really that similar, although continuing to look at ways to increase scoring makes sense. The desire to make sensible changes is what matters.

Lowetide:

Great question, don’t have an answer—mostly because hockey is somewhat unique to other major NA sports. I will say a 2-1 game has appeal for me, nothing wrong with a good defense and goaltending.

Jonathan Willis:

I have to pass on this one; I only follow hockey.

Jeanshorts:

Last years’ NFL season was pretty terrible top to bottom. I’ll let Drew Magary lay out all the reasons.

Pitchers are once again becoming the dominant force in baseball and, Blue Jays smashing all those dingers aside, scoring in the MLB is down to historic lows

Both of these leagues are looking into, or have already implemented new rules to try and keep up with the ever changing nature of their respective sports. You have to think the NHL will come up with a bunch of new rules and ideas to try to increase scoring in the near future too.

Jason Gregor:

The NFL and NBA changed rules to enhance scoring. The NHL refuses to properly enforce obstruction or goalie equipment size and that has hurt them, but even when they put in new rules, they usually screw it up. The offside review only hinders offence. They only review goals to be called off due to a missed offside. How many times do the linesmen blow down an offside that wasn’t? I’m guessing it happens as often as missed offside calls, yet once the whistle is blown there is no chance to score so this rule only limits offence.

Matt Henderson:

The only lesson I want the NHL to learn from other major sports is that they don’t have to change every five minutes to have a quality product. Baseball takes forever, has infrequent action, and has regular season OT that can last indefinitely. They haven’t bent over backwards to prevent extra time lasting longer than five minutes. Scoring in soccer is such a rare occasion that fans at the games have to stab each other in the stands just to stay awake. They don’t care. Basketball is presumably a game played by humans. I’m not sure. There seems to be lots of points but they don’t give a squat about basic rules like travelling. The NHL wont even allow a linesman to determine offsides without a challenge from the coach now so I don’t see the NHL abandoning rules. Don’t go to other sports to find a solution for hockey, there’s no need to do that until all the easy changes are exhausted anyway. Who cares what baseball does in response to the shift if we can’t even reduce goalie equipment to safe but reasonable coverage?

Jason Strudwick:

An issue few bring up is the speed of all the players in the NHL. They cover so much space quickly it doesn’t give anyone a chance on offence. Go back 10 or 20 years, there was so much more time and space compared to today. Maybe we should ask the players to go slower when defending.

Baggedmilk:

I think the NHL could learn something from soccer and the NFL in the sense that they should allow pucks to be kicked in the net. Does that work?

Fatality

2) Shane asks – I was at the Panthers/Oilers game where Taylor Hall got cranked, and Matt Hendricks went out and cranked someone in return awhile later. When Hall got hit, the other players on that shift did nothing in response. But when Ekblad got hit, his teammates immediately reacted. Outside of Hendricks and Nurse, I rarely see Oilers stand up for one another when somebody gets levelled. I’m still upset over the lack of response when McDavid went down. What is it? A dressing room problem? Does the coaching staff address it? Is it a leadership problem?

Robin Brownlee:

Some players are naturally inclined to respond and the Oilers don’t have enough of those. Teammates and coaches can encourage a pack mentality and even insist on it, but it really starts with the individual player.

Lowetide:

The hit on Hall was loud and it certainly stood him up, but I can’t see a foul on the play. Mark Fayne could have gone over and said pardon, but the Oilers have lost games (Minnesota Wild, Dumba hit) by a goal previously with the exact scenario. As for the Hendricks hit on Ekblad, that was an illegal hit and the reaction was predictable. I don’t think the Oilers would have quietly gone to the bench had that hit been on one of their players. Your opinion may not match mine.

Jonathan Willis:

Todd McLellan fielded very similar questions after the game. He noted that Hall got up and was fine after the hit–something that can’t be said about Ekblad, who was hammered in the numbers. He also noted that the Oilers played hard, physical hockey against Florida’s star players after the hit on Hall. He said the response was “excellent” and “great”. So if you’re looking for the coach to do something to change the response, you’re probably looking for a different coach. As for McDavid, this isn’t going to be popular but I honestly don’t get what kind of response is expected. He tried and almost managed to beat Philly’s D to the net, went off-balance and crashed awkwardly into the boards. This wasn’t some nefarious plot on the part of Brandon Manning to break his shoulder and going out and beating the stuffing out of him doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.

Jeanshorts:

Todd McLellan did address this already, and had no problem with the way his team responded. And personally while I do agree that team toughness is needed, especially on an Oilers roster that has been fairly limp in that regard for seasons on end now, I think a lot of people are going overboard with this, and it’s more a case of optics than anything else. 

Taylor Hall got absolutely creamed by Gundbranson, and obviously the Oilers want to try to prevent that from happening. Less than a handful of shifts later Matt Hendricks took a healthy (and fully illegal) run at Panthers’ star Aaron Ekblad. To me that more than meets the criteria of eye for an eye. What do you think is going to send more of a message: that Hendricks hit, or Mark Fayne half heartedly face washing a guy after a clean hit? I choose the first one. 

If the Oilers win that game 5-0 is this nearly as much of an issue? I personally don’t think so. But they’re on another downward slide, and people are looking for answers, and right now the Wheel Of Blame® has fallen on “lack of team toughness” for the umpteenth time.

Jason Gregor:

Lack of players who are willing to do it. Gryba will do it, but you need more and it isn’t about fighting for me. It has to become a team mentality where they stand up for each other, but also for themselves. The latter doesn’t happen often enough either.

Matt Henderson:

Hall got hit with a clean hit. The team responded with multiple fights, a dirty hit on Ekblad, and they controlled the puck all night. I’m not sure what was missing from their response. I have no answer to give here about the problem with their response. There was no problem. As for it maybe not happening enough, Chiarelli wants a meaner team. That stuff will get here when the Oilers have a roster with more than 3 chippy players.

Jason Strudwick:

First off, there was no reason for a reaction on McDavid hit. It was an accident. Same goes for the Hall hit. It was a clean hit. It wasn’t even that hard a hit. I understand what Hendricks was trying to do by running Ekblad but that was a dirty hit from behind. With Ekblad out the Panthers lost to both the Flames and Canucks ( teams the Oilers are trying to catch in standings). Against Arizona while he was serving his suspension the team gives up 3 power play goals. He is an important killer for the Oilers. 

It was an expensive price he and the Oilers paid for getting back at the Panthers for a clean hit on Hall. Do you still think it was worth it?

There are times when going back at a player is important but the “cost” must make sense. With both 23 and 44 in the lineup the Oilers will have the ability to be aggressive and have the other team come after them. Always a better position to be in.

Baggedmilk:

Actually, I think it’s dumb when guys have to fight after laying a clean hit. I think the Oilers did the right thing in that they stepped up their physicality and took runs at the Panthers’ best players. I mean, I wouldn’t recommend hitting guys from behind, like Hendricks did, but the intention was good. 

KassianFace

3) Adrian asks – Are you surprised by how quickly Kassian was recalled? Do you see him staying for the remainder of the season?

Robin Brownlee:

Yes, I am. There are enough holes up front that Kassian could very well stay if he plays well and flies straight, but I’m in the wait-and-see camp for now.

Lowetide:

Very surprised. I think Peter Chiarelli did it because he wants a Peter Chiarelli team—soon!

Jonathan Willis:

Yes and yes. Four games isn’t a lot of time, but the Oilers’ eagerness to get him up in Edmonton suggests they want to get as long a look as they can at the player before making a decision this summer.

Jeanshorts:

I am incredibly surprised. I figured he would need at least a month’s worth of time in the AHL to get his legs back under him. This quote from Condors coach Gerry Fleming seems to back up my hypothesis. This feels like a combination of what Baggedmilk calls the Chiarelli News Cycle® (Oilers on another losing skid an McDavid still weeks away? HEY LOOK OVER HERE!) mixed with a clear need to shake up the roster, especially the bottom six. It seems more like a panic move than a strategic one, to me. 

However I can fully see a scenario in which he sticks with the club for the remainder of the season. Luke Gazdic is literally just taking up a roster spot at this point, so at the very least Kassian could fill that role with ease. Iiro The Hero has provided basically nothing in his call-up. And while Anton Lander has been good defensively and on the draw he has provided exactly zero offence so far, and I could see a scenario in which he tries to find his touch back in the AHL. Basically Kassian isn’t swimming upstream too badly in terms of competing for a roster spot. If he can get his conditioning up to par and not be a liability on (or off) the ice I think he’ll easily stick with the team for the remainder of the year.

Jason Gregor:

I was surprised. I thought he’d play a few more games in AHL and keep playing during the NHL all-star break. I guess the Oilers could send him down and expose him to waivers to avoid a ten-day break. He might be sent back down and play three games to keep playing during AS break.

Matt Henderson:

I had Kassian pegged as coming back by the game versus Calgary, but I also assumed McDavid would return from injury on that day too. So, what the heck do I know? He’s an NHL player and even without the proper conditioning I’m sure it was evident to some degree. He also can’t possibly be worse than all of Pakarinen, Lander, or Klinkhammer. He is almost certainly better than at least one of them.

Jason Strudwick:

I was surprised. He conditioning can’t be very good with so much time off. His skating looks good and he is moving well on the ice, but he does looked winded earlier than other skaters. That can be worked on though. It is up to him if he stays all year. He will need to be consistently involved in games, something he has been able to do in the past.

Baggedmilk:

I couldn’t believe it. For a guy that hadn’t played a game in months I was expecting him to get more time to get up to game shape. On the North x NorthGretz podcast, we all too guesses as to when he would get called up and I went with February 2nd. I think Kassian has played fairly well since being recalled, and I’m excited to see him when he gets up to speed. 

Secrets

4) Braden asks – Do you find that the Oilers are being more secretive about injuries than in years past? If not for Jason Gregor’s article we may not know about Klefbom’s leg infection.

Robin Brownlee:

No, not really. Injuries have been a big secret with all teams since the “lower” and “upper” body stuff was employed.

Lowetide:

Yes. I am torn on it, because fans have a right to know but in the case of Klefbom it is serious enough (staph infections can be extremely serious) that it moves from a hockey injury to something far more impactful. In a case of that kind, giving the young man time to come to grips, talk to family, get treatment underway and become confident in recovery, would seem to be reasonable.

Jonathan Willis:

I think the Oilers’ current administration takes more care to control what gets out than the previous management did.

Jeanshorts:

Not at all. There was a time not that long ago when Gilbert Brule basically fell off the face of the earth. Months went by with absolutely no update on what his injury was or when he would be returning. Much later we found out he was dealing with mental health issues, but the Oilers never said a thing about it. And how many times have we seen a guy clearly break his foot blocking a shot, but teams only refer to it as a “lower body injury”? I think this was more a case of the Oilers not knowing the extent of the staph infection, and hoping it would clear up quickly. The league as a hole is fairly secretive with their injuries and this is no exception.

Jason Gregor:

Chiarelli likes to keep things quiet. It takes more work to get info, which is okay.

Matt Henderson:

Definitely more secretive. They are very quiet and very conservative thus far. It’s a change. In some ways a nice one, in others a frustrating one. I don’t really get the secrecy with a Staph infection. It’s not exactly something another team can target when he returns. I wonder how much of it is just exercising control over the media in general. That’s neither here nor there.

Jason Strudwick:

I am not sure. I think it is a joke how much teams are not telling the truth about their players. From now on just say player X is hurt instead of saying it is upper or lower body. At the end of the day I really don’t care what the injury is. Just tell me when he will be back.

Baggedmilk:

I kind of like it. I like that the GM of the Edmonton Oilers isn’t running his mouth about everything like MacT would have. Would I like him to spill the beans on everything? Of course, but for now I’m enjoying the change of pace. 

5) Arman asks – Is the Griffin Reinhart trade looking more like a mistake? At the time of the trade Peter Chiarelli says he expected Reinhart to play for the Oilers but he seems to have been passed on the depth chart. Is this trade a bust or is it too early to tell?

Robin Brownlee:

Too early to tell.

Lowetide:

I think Reinhart remains a very interesting prospect and look forward to seeing him after the deadline. I think Peter Chiarelli wanted a more immediate return, but that is separate from what kind of player he will become. The trade short term did not cover the bet, miles too early to make the call on this player.

Jonathan Willis:

Yes, I think it looks worse now than it did in the summer. Reinhart is a nice guy to have in the system now and was when the Oilers acquired him, though as I wrote at the time the price was too dear for my taste. Two things have changed since the deal, and both have made it a worse trade for Edmonton. First, Reinhart couldn’t hold on to an NHL job. He got the first crack out of the box and didn’t deliver enough; now the Oilers are cycling through other options. Second, Edmonton’s future on left defence looks more crowded than it previously did, with the coaches falling head-over-heels for Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson surpassing expectation. Obviously there’s story left to be written here, but right now the trade doesn’t seem like a particularly good one.

Jeanshorts:

It is WAY too early to even remotely judge that trade. Reinhart has played 20 NHL games, combined with 70 AHL games for less than 100 games at the pro level. Compare that with Mathew Barzal, who went from a decent mid-first round pick choice, to a CAN’T MISS PROSPECT the second the Oilers traded away the pick that was used to draft him. Barzal has played 0 NHL games, so in that regard he has had less impact on an NHL team than Reinhart has. 

And I don’t necessarily think Reinhart has been passed on the depth chart. The Oilers brought up Brad Hunt to basically be a power play specialist. They brought up Nikitin to see if ANYONE was willing to give up even the idea of a draft pick for him (and for all his flaws he was one of the only guys in Bako with legit NHL experience). LaLeggia, Osterle, Musil, etc, guys in a similar place in their careers as Reinhart haven’t been called up yet. He’s still fully in the mix of young Oiler D-men looking to take that next step. 

To me this feels like the Oilers being patient for once. They obviously don’t feel that Reinhart is ready for full time NHL duty at the moment, and the more he plays in the AHL, the better it will be for his development in the long run, theoretically.

Jason Gregor:

A bit too soon. I didn’t like giving up the second rounder with the first. I could see giving up one, although I would have preferred they got an experienced D-man. I understood the theory of why they got him. They felt he would be much closer to contributing in 2016/2017, when the team should be better, than the draft pick would have been. I don’t mind him playing a lot of minutes in the AHL and still maturing. The Oilers don’t need more youth on the blueline right now so having him in AHL this year doesn’t mean trade is a bust just yet. But Reinhart needs to put in a lot of work this summer and get stronger, which should improve his skating.

Matt Henderson:

First off, I don’t know if he’s any lower on the depth chart than he was before. It’s pretty clear that the Oilers don’t want Ference but have no choices there. They also don’t appear to be fans of Mark Fayne either. With Reinhart they aren’t making him learn in the NHL but they’ve opted for heavy duty in the AHL. If this team is still playing Griffin in the AHL next season then it’s time to talk about busts. Right now, they have an asset who is not waiver eligible and could benefit from increased playing time. Second, Reinhart probably was not the player they wanted to walk away from the Draft weekend with. He was the second choice. He was very probably the wrong choice given that he’s yet another LHD for a team that would have Klefbom, Sekera, and Nurse for the long term. Early returns suggest they might have been better off keeping the picks. Still too early to say for certain though.

Jason Strudwick:

Hard to say that right now, but Griff needs to keep working at his game. I’ve said it before and will continue to say that Reinhart needs more snap to his game. Quicker plays and stronger physically.

Baggedmilk:

Griffin Reinhart is 21 years old. I think there’s still time for him to figure it out before we can call him a bust, but the clock is ticking. 

  • Serious Gord

    1. The template is the nfl. And the NHL has followed their lead somewhat with the competition committee. The nfls committee has been far more active and relentless in dealing with issues than the NHL has. And the one thing that really sets them apart is the exacting application of the rules in the nfl vs the NHL. If the NHL would just insist on calling the rules as written – including goalie equipment – goal scoring would largely be a non issue.

    2. Physical retaliation has been a failing of this team Ever since gator left.

    3. Kassian Call up is all about the distraction from the disaster on the ice that the team is.

    4. Outrageous that injuries aren’t reported accurately like they are in the nfl. This hurts the wagering quality of the league. And that matters.

    5. Griffin is a bust almost regardless of how he turns out – the team needed right now help on defence and the giving up of two high picks could have gotten that but didn’t. Had chiarelli been allowed to get a veteran d the team could well be in a playoff spot RIGHT NOW.

    • Jay (not J)

      I’m with you on the rules – they’re on the book but they aren’t applied so messing around with the books isn’t much of a solution.
      What exactly does “Had chiarelli been allowed to get a veteran d the team…” mean though?

        • Jay (not J)

          That’s crazy talk. It has to be. If Kevin Lowe is pulling the strings what’s in it for Nicholson to just smile and be the face of a change that didn’t really happen? How did he convince Chiarelli to get in on the scam? He might have accepted dubious advice, but Peter Chiarelli made that trade and his name is going to be beside it as long as people are debating its merits.

          • Serious Gord

            My guess is that it was something that was in the works (Elliotte Friedman said they had been working on a deal since Feb) before chia arrived.

            And perhaps you didn’t hear a recent interview with Nicholson where he mentioned what a great help klowe has been at least four times.

          • Serious Gord

            I think Nicholson’s continuous mentioning of Lowe on the HNIC struck me as Nicholson pumping up Lowe before he (Lowe) is officially sent out to pasture. I don’t think Lowe has any real role in the current organization and he will be quietly and respectfully be eased out. Much like the Bruins did with Sinden.

          • Jay (not J)

            That’s what I see too. Katz is directing a concerted effort to salvage something of Kevin Lowe’s reputation and set him up to leave (with McTavish) on a high note. I don’t believe that these 2 are running things from behind a mirror. It just doesn’t make sense and I don’t see who else would benefit.

  • Jay (not J)

    1. In the 60s MLB lowered the height of the pitching mound during a dead ball era. Many traditionalists were dead set against this. This would be similar to enlarging the nets. When I see classic games from say the Oilers hey day, the things that strike me is how small the goalies look in the net as compared to today. Now we have bigger goalies with bigger and lighter equipment.

    2. The Oilers’ lack of “team building” has been one of the greatest failures of the rebuild. You have to look at the players that are supposed to be leading the rebuild.

    3. Kassian quick recall may have been driven by management’s need for a distraction for the faithful to focus on during a losing streak. It sent a terrible message about not having to earn his way back.

    4. Yes.

    5. Too early to tell

    • Serious Gord

      No the parallel between net size and baseball is the distance between the bases or the width of home plate. And NO WAY would baseball change the dimensions. To do so renders all stats prior to the change irrelevant. And that would be a disaster.

      The correct path is to correct the size of goalie equipment. THAT is what has changed most since the 90s.

      • CMG30

        I’m afraid I must disagree with you. The biggest change in the game has NOT been increasing goalie equipment size, it’s been a change in defensive tactics and goalie coaching.

        Goalie equipment is the easy answer but it won’t solve the problem.

        I get what you’re saying when you talk about too much change rendering prior stats irrelevant, but prior stats are ALREADY irrelevant. You cannot make a comparison today between a player like Gretzky and someone of this era without the obligatory phrase “of course it was a different game back then.” That’s because IT WAS a different game back then.

        -The NHL changed the rules to stop Gretzky.
        -NHL hockey, especially defense, is now locked into systems lightyears beyond what was employed even 20 years ago.
        -Goalies are head and shoulders better at playing the position than ever before (true even if they used 1970’s equipment)
        -Shot blocking.
        And the list of changes can go on and on.

        Far from an argument of continuity, the desire to keep stats relevant is an argument FOR making thoughtful changes to the game. If you want to keep stats halfway relevant, you MUST make changes to account for the natural evolution of how the game is played. 3 on 3 overtime has been a revelation to so many fans because they’ve forgotten what exciting hockey was.

        I will have zero problems if the NHL decides do things like make the nets or the ice bigger, or throws out no longer relevant rules like directing pucks in with feet or heads. Because the NHL MUST account for the naturally occurring changes in the game or they risk letting the game evolve into something else entirelly.

      • ubermiguel

        I understand that many people will see making the nets bigger to be too radical, but not doing it because of its impact in statistical records is the tail wagging the dog.

    • ubermiguel

      Changing the pitching mound is in no way similar to changing net dimensions. The net is your entire scoring objective; the baseball equivalent would be making the bases bigger or shortening the distance between bases.

      The goalies do look bigger because they’re bigger men in general and have more equipment. Figure out a way to make goalie equipment smaller (but still as protective) and scoring will improve. Have you looked at a goalie trapper lately? You can’t tell me half of that is there for protection.

      EDIT: I see Serious Gord and I agree completely.

  • Serious Gord

    First I do not agree with the panel that no one charging over to throw down with Gudbranson after the Hall hit was a “good move”. If they get an instigator penalty for it, so what, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is it lets teams know that this is a team and not a collection of individuals out there. It lets your team mates know that it is “all for one, and one for all”. If the hit is clean or dirty it shouldn’t matter. Then just as the team did, they should run the other team for the rest of the game. If the Oil got an extra penalty and the Panthers score, then that is a penalty and risk worth taking. That risk certainly doesn’t stop the Panthers and look at where their “team” is in the standings and where the Oiler “individuals” are at.
    Secondly Rienhart trade didn’t really make sense at the draft and it makes even less sense now. Rienhart is looking like he might turn out like Colten Teubert. Where he looked like he should be able to develop into an NHL defenceman when he was drafted, but he just could quite put it together. I really hope he does make it but it doesn’t look good right now. And even if he does the price was way to high for a third pairing left defenceman.

  • S cottV

    3. I think the quick call up was at least partly driven by the loss of Hendricks.

    Even though he is not in game shape and lacking in aerobic / anaerobic capacity – Kassian obviously belongs.

    Would be nice to get him back to the AHL during the break but not worth the risk if he gets picked up on waivers.

    Someone needs to convince Kassian to become an aerobic / anaerobic beast, because he could do a lot of damage in a lot of good ways – with high end capacity in 60 sec shifts.

  • camdog

    As to the first question three point games have led to reduced scoring – why play for the win when you can win with a tie. Teams need to be rewarded for winning in regulation. Imagine if soccer had the same point structure as hockey…

  • CMG30

    It seems to me that Reinhart was sent down for a combination of reasons, not necessarily his play in the NHL.

    Among the Oiler D-men he was one of the few not waiver eligible and thus ‘safe’. The Oilers wisely realized that too many rookies in the NHL is a bad thing and opted to give him the prime minutes in the AHL.

    Having said that, I think it’s safe to say he’s been passed in the NHL depth cart by both Nurse and Davidson. As Henderson noted, clearly not what Chirilli had intended on draft day. But, I still suspect he’s got an NHL career in Edmonton ahead of him. After the trade deadline housecleaning, I wouldn’t be surprised to see back in the NHL.

    • 24% body fat

      Reinhart has been a huge dissapointment so far, the last thing the oilers need to be doing is trading top draft picks for non immmediate help on the blueline.
      A defence as bad as the oilers right now, and you cant cant make it tells me alot. He needs to be contributing now.

      • CMG30

        I didn’t say he can’t make it. If you read my post, I said that he was sent down for many reasons, most of which were NOT related to his play. When he was sent down, he was NOT the worst defenseman on the Oiler blue line. Under better circumstances, I would play Reinhart before both Nikitin and Ference.

        I agree that the Oilers overestimated the player that he was when they acquired him, however, Reinhart playing top minutes in the AHL is NOT an indictment of this player.

  • O.C.

    1. The team that deflects a shot over the glass or whose goalie freezes it, can’t change players. Just like icing. Less whistles.

    Soccer manages without TV time outs just fine. Speaking of soccer, imagine how good this game would be if they combined that offside rule when the puck is outside but players are inside the blue lines?

    Skaters cannot lay down to block shots. This is insane anyway. You can’t play in the NHL unless you do this? How does this promote player safety?

    Goalies are huge now, but you can’t make the net much, if any, higher. That puts more pucks at face level. Wider might work but it’s easier to make the gear smaller.

    2. What Strudwick said.

    3. No.

    4. No. And as far as other items like non-hockey related injuries, that’s none of anyone else’s damn business. Who here wants to volunteer their personal medical history?

    5. Ask again in three years.

    • Serious Gord

      There is no sport in the world more hidebound by tradition than soccer. Were it not for its incredibly cheap cost of play – the most primitive team sport of all – making it globally ubiquitous and thus globally locked-in to rules that haven’t changed for over a century, soccer would indeed be radically different than it is. And it would have tv timeouts etc.

      It is no fluke that in parts of the world where other more modern sports did not have to compete back in the day that soccer does not succeed.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Regarding the Kassian call up, I think he’s played very well in the couple games he’s been in. By eye, he’s hitting a lot and isn’t afraid to mix it up in front of the net. Loving the pickup so far.

  • CDNinATL

    You want to increase scoring? Call the damn rules! This crap that refs do to manage a game is what’s wrong. Why is in the NFL, they call everything they see but NHL they don’t? Just call the game. The players will be forced to adjust!

    As for Kassian call up, I think that had everything to do with Hedricks suspension. Oh and tonights game is going to be war!! Should be fun to watch!

  • Jay (not J)

    I think people put way too much emphasis on left shot vs right shot dmen. Coffey played with Huddy, Jackson with Gregg, Lowe with Muni etc…all left shot dmen. The issue is a lack of quality NHL ready dmen. When the young guys are ready it won’t matter what side they play or what way they shoot. Lots of guys can move to the right side without an issue.

  • 24% body fat

    Scoring is down, yet because of 3 on 3 top players numbers are artificially inflated.

    Say what you will about Gagner, he stuck up for teammates

    Snow ripped off Chia, I know Chia said it was his decision and it was, but we all know this was Green and MacT influence.

    Kassian was quick and he should of had to prove it longer. But it has so far worked out.

  • .

    Oilers do not have a “Pack Mentality” like most other teams!

    They seldom respond [only Hendy,Kahir and now Kassian]. There are just to many “ME” players on the team.
    This also reflects in their play not only in responding to hits etc. but the way they play the team game.

    Teams with teammate mentality respond automatically. Players don’t have the time to have conference to decide if their mate was hit by a legal or clean check. You just jump in.

    Don’t have to fight the guy, but the very least the wolfs should do a little face washing and jabbering. Oilers for the most part skate away. In Eberles case he is the first guy under the bench.

    It appears to me that the “Panel” here as well
    as the coaching staff have a … turn the other check mentality…

    PS: I am not Loogan, or support the idea of these rats running around trying to injure players, but for goodness sake , stick together and play for one another… not the Oilers

    • Serious Gord

      Im sorry but the fact everybody on ice just walked away and didnt confront the panther player is a joke, that would never happen on most teams. just shows u that the oilers are not a team and dont care for each other.

  • .

    Re: the other leagues, the NHL has been undergoing its own NBA-ization that is similar in kind yet opposite in effect to the big man trend that began around the time of Bill Russell.

    When Russell joined the league, there were 4 other players over 6’5″. Now there are more than 4 players on each team over 6’5″. The NBA has gone from players averaging 6’4″ and 195 lbs (pre-Russell) to averaging 6’7″ and 221lbs (today). At the same time the average score per team has gone up 21%, from 83.7 to 101.

    In the NHL the big man trend has happened not at centre but in net and on D. At 6’4″, Ken Dryden was an outlier during his era because of his height. Today, he’d be on the short side of ~25 goalies. Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog, at 5’10” and 5’8″, respectively, probably wouldn’t even get a shot at playing in the NHL today. Today there are 40 goalies 6’2″ while 20 years ago, the average was 5’11”.

    That means greater reach, more equipment, etc. and . . . fewer goals.

    The multiplier in all this is that the big man is also happening on D. Every team is looking for a Pronger, Gill, Chara, Hedman, Weber, or Byfuglien and even if they don’t play on the top four, taller players are usually filling out the 3-7 positions.

    At the same time, goalie equipment (for bigger bodies) and better coaching and analysis of defensive systems play (including goaltending coaching) has affected every team’s ability to reduce GAA.

    Ultimately, the effect has been to create smaller playing surfaces, where with the bigger players there is less space in front of the net, and players have less time between the dots with the puck to make offensive plays.

    Poor or inconsistent officiating doesn’t help, but officiating was poor and inconsistent when the Oilers were scoring over 400 goals a season, so that can’t be a significant factor (as well, PK skills and systems have improved greatly).

    There’s an opportunity to call for goaltending equipment to reduce it to the size it was 20-25 years ago, but for safety reasons that’s unlikely.

    I’d say it’s likely that the big man in net and on D trend will continue apace and that within 5-10 years we won’t see goalies or D under 6’2″–with some rare exceptions made for the Keiths, Doughtys, and Carlssons that come up, however a lot more of those exceptional players will likely be flushed out earlier in their careers, as the generally are in basketball, even little Stevie Nash is 6’3″.

    Some goalie height stats:

    6-foot-7 (1)
    Ben Bishop, Tampa

    6-foot-6 (3)
    Scott Darling,
    Devan Dubnyk,
    Anders Lindback,

    6-foot-5 (3)
    Darcy Kuemper,
    Robin Lehner,
    Pekka Rinne,

    6-foot-4 (6)
    Reto Berra,
    Martin Jones,
    Eddie Lack,
    Kari Lehtonen,
    Steve Mason,
    Mike Smith,

    6-foot-3 (9)
    Frederik Andersen,
    John Gibson,
    Michael Hutchinson,
    Chad Johnson,
    Roberto Luongo,
    Curtis McElhinney,
    Ondrej Pavelec,
    Carey Price,
    Cam Talbot,
    Tuukka Rask

    • .

      My humble vote would be to reduce the size of the goalie mitts/blocker and also the body chest protectors. [ these things are as wide as the goals themselves.]

      Don’t know how much you can make the pads smaller as todays tenders are all very tall.
      [ Bishops pads,I think are taller than Darren Pang himself]

      Because of the towering goalies I would make the nets taller [2=3 inches] but leave the width as is.

  • ziyan94

    Klefbom’s injury aside, we have 4 LHD playing regularly on the team right now (Sekera, Klefbom, Davidson, Nurse). With Reinhart hopefully on the way, the left side will become a position of strength, and I can imagine Chia will package one of these guys with a pick/prospect to address the right side.

  • FriedSkank

    I can fix low scoring!

    Idea 1: 3-min power-play.

    Idea 2: 2-min power-play and player doesn’t exit sin bin even if opposing team scores.

    Idea 3: Combine 1+2 together.

    What do you think? Can we get Betteman to listen? Or do we need to John Scott to be involved?