Monday Mailbag – “The prettiest goal you’ve ever seen”

Mailbag

It was a tough weekend in OilersNation and the Mailbag is here to help you forget about it. Did they get their asses kicked two games in a row? Nope. Don’t remember it. Never happened. *sigh*

1) Tristan B. asks – What did you think of the 20 game suspension that the league handed out to Dennis Wideman?

Jason Strudwick:

I can’t imagine what was going through his head when he did this. It was a dumb play. Every player at every level knows this is not allowed. It is stiffer than I expected but I do not have an issue with 20 games.

Lowetide:

It was somewhat surprising to me, in that the punishment went according to the book (or my understanding of it). The NHL is often more creative on these things, giving fans the feeling that things are somewhat random. The penalty is fine, but they need to be consistent.

Jeanshorts:

I’m not surprised by it. I figured they would give him at least 10 games. I still don’t think there was as much malice to it as other people contend, but the NHL couldn’t just let that slip by. They needed to set a precedent that you can’t just recklessly run into officials, regardless if you claim to not have seen them. And in the CBA there is an automatic 20 game suspension for abuse of an official, and while the NHLs Wheel Of Justice® still has zero consistency, this one seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Jason Gregor:

Expected league to come down hard knowing he would appeal. Appeal likely leads to a reduction and NHL can show officials they had their back and it was the independent arbitrator who lowered the number.

Jonathan Willis:

I think it’s going to be reduced on appeal because the critical factor (the factor which increases it from 10 games to 20 games) is intent. Given the hit that Wideman took a moment before and how out of character the incident was, that “intent to injure” portion of the rule is going to get a lot of examination. I don’t blame the NHL for trying to protect its officials — it is a laudable impulse — but I seriously doubt that the player was in anything even approaching his right mind at the moment of the incident.

Robin Brownlee:

No problem with it. Keep your hands off the officials.

Baggedmilk:

I was surprised he got 20 games, but I knew it would be a long suspension. The guy absolutely crushed a linesman and his excuse that he didn’t see him was ridiculous. 

2) Carl D. asks – I was at Rexall and Connor McDavid’s goal in his first game back was one of the prettiest goals I’ve ever seen. What is the best goal you’ve ever seen Oilers or otherwise?

Jason Strudwick:

It was amazing. The only goals I can think of in the same level would be Ovie scoring from his back and Jagr stick handling though the whole team.

Lowetide:

It would be a Gretzky to Kurri, or a Coffey, but I couldn’t choose one. McDavid’s was sweet, but I will tell you Dougie Weight fed some gorgeous passes to Billy Guerin back there a ways.

Jeanshorts:

I don’t think I’ll ever get over Ovechkin’s goal he scored FROM HIS BACK  It certainly wasn’t the prettiest goal, but I hadn’t, and still have yet to see another goal like it. I’ll concede that there definitely was a flukey element to it, but to have the wherewithal and skill to sweep your stick around your head and make enough contact with the puck to send it in the net, WHILE YOU’RE SLIDING ON YOUR BACK, is just insane. Ovi hails from another planet similar to Connor McDavid’s.

Jason Gregor:

Ovechkin from his back against Phoenix.

Jonathan Willis:

I’m not going to overthink this and instead I’ll go with the first thing that always pops into my head when I’m asked about best goals: Ales Hemsky scoring after Patrik Stefan missed the empty net.

Robin Brownlee:

Difficult to name one. Bobby Orr’s Cup winner against St. Louis was spectacular and memorable. Todd Marchant’s Game 7 goal against Dallas is up there.

Baggedmilk:

My favourite goal from when I was younger was Pavel Bure kicking the puck up from his skates to his stick. The guy could score and he made it look easy. 

3) Ashley asks – Do you think it would be realistic for Connor McDavid to play himself back into Calder contention?

Jason Strudwick:

Long term winning the Calder does not matter at all. I do think with so many games missed he will be hard pressed to jump over the players who have stayed healthy. He can get back into contention but he will not win it based on games played. I do think he is one of the best players in the league already.

Lowetide:

Yes. He needs to post 1.1-1.2 points-per-game and the Oilers have to push up the standings. I do not think he wins it, but he can get into the conversation.

Jeanshorts:

After the Columbus game I 100% think so. I think at this point it’s still Panarin’s to lose (even though he’s 24 and this is his seventh season of professional hockey *wanking motion*), but if McDavid can do what he did against Columbus in even half the games the Oilers have left, he’ll get some votes. I think he’ll get some votes regardless, because as Brownlee said numbers aside he’s the best rookie in the league, and it’s not even close. At the very least it’ll add some much needed intrigue to the Oilers second half of the season.

Jason Gregor:

I doubt it. If you look at winners (non goalies) in the last 20 years all of them played 78 or more games, and most played 82. It is difficult to win playing only 45 games. Panarin already has close to 50 points. He would need to go in a major slump, as would Larkin and Domi, for McDavid to have a realistic chance.

Jonathan Willis:

I think he’ll play himself into the conversation. I don’t think he’ll win.

Robin Brownlee:

He’ll be in Calder Trophy contention because of the buzz he creates. If he scores at a point-per-game pace for the season he’ll push the issue. Bottom line is it doesn’t matter if he wins the Calder. He’s the best first-year player in the NHL.

Baggedmilk:

Calder or not, Robin nailed it. McDavid is the best rookie. Hands down. End of sentence. Who really cares about a trophy, in the end?

4) Brett asks – When all is said and done do you think the Oilers will be in a lottery position again this season?

Jason Strudwick:

Yes.

Lowetide:

I picked them to finish No. 22 overall, and suggest they could push it closer. I will say No. 24 and that will mean progress in the second half.

Jeanshorts:

Unfortunately I do. I think they lost way too much ground when half the team went down due to injuries. I think they’ll hang around in the playoff conversation for a bit, but still fall short. And this being the Pacific Division they’ll simultaneously be five points out of a playoff spot, and two points out of last in the league. It’s going to be great!

Jason Gregor:

What is a lottery position? To me it is not making the playoffs and being in on all three lotteries, so yes they will be in a lottery position, but I don’t see them finishing bottom five in the league.

Jonathan Willis:

Well, the lottery these days is for every non-playoff team, but I assume you probably mean a bottom-five position. I’m going to say no. As I write this on Friday afternoon, the Oilers are currently tied for 25th in the league (having played in more games than most of the teams they are currently tied with). I like their chances of finishing the season in 25th overall, just outside the bottom-five.

Robin Brownlee:

Oilers won’t make the playoffs, so yes.

Baggedmilk:

I’m excited for the Oilers to win Auston Matthews and watch the world implode. 

5) Thomas asks – Who is the most underrated Oiler of all time? What made them successful?

Jason Strudwick:

Kevin Lowe. I loved the way he would battle all of the ice. He played hard every night and was important to the Oilers cup. He should be up in the rafters.

Lowetide:

Charlie Huddy for me. Sublime talent, across the board skills, made the right play, took a hit to make a play, rugged son of a gun who never cheated his team. He was a wonderful player.

Jeanshorts:

I’m going to go with Nuge. There are a lot of people who think he’s expendable, too small, “soft”, not that good at face-offs, etc. But I feel that if the Oilers DO trade him at some point before the start of next season it’s going to be a noticeable loss. At only 22 he’s already established himself as a solid two-way player, which is backed up by the fancy stats. He plays some of the toughest minutes for the Oilers, and this season and last has seen his face-off numbers hover around 45%, which puts him in the same ballpark as players like Henrik Sedin, Sean Couturier and Evgeni Malkin. And his PPG average over his young career is better than fellow 2011 draftees Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad and Johnathon Huberdau, all while playing for absolutely atrocious Oiler teams. Nuge is an incredibly valuable member of the Oilers and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.

Jason Gregor:

Underrated from inside Edmonton: Ryan Smyth. He was adored, but I think people underestimated how consistent he was and how skilled he was. His work ethic and determination made him successful. 

Underrated from outside Edmonton: Glenn Anderson. Read many articles about how he was support player, but he was incredible at scoring timely, meaningful goals in the playoffs. He was fearless and he wasn’t afraid to stick a guy to create space for himself.

Jonathan Willis:

Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure what people think of Shawn Horcoff these days but I know toward the end of his time in Edmonton he was basically getting blamed for everything from the final score to the weather outside the arena. That man was an awfully good hockey player in his prime and even afterward brought a lot to the rink. Kyle Brodziak probably belongs on the list somewhere, too; Steve Tambellini dumped him just as he came into his own. Lots of things make any given player successful but what made those two in particular underrated was brains — not just the defensive things that everyone notices like faceoffs and penalty kill work, but making smart decisions in all three zones, those little understated choices that drive puck possession.

Robin Brownlee:

Underrated by whom? Many of the players who aren’t fan favourites are appreciated greatly by their teammates and opponents for what they bring to the table. Charlie Huddy comes to mind for me.

Baggedmilk:

Connor McDavid. He’s better than they said he was. 

        • For Pete's Sake!

          Did you even watch hockey back then? He was an absolute warrior on defense against tough big teams like the Islanders, Philadelphia, Boston and the Flames.

          Don’t let his failures in management taint what he did as a player. He was a vital cog on those Stanley Cup teams!

          • For Pete's Sake!

            I went to as many games as I could afford. You must have been the clown who told me and my brother to shut up because we were cheering too loud.

            The cheap seats always did have the best and loudest fans.

            But of course, you were a season ticket holder. Must be a “hero.” 😉

          • For Pete's Sake!

            I never liked Lowe’s arrogance (on or off the ice), but on the ice it was an attribute – he was a true warrior who wasn’t intimidated by anyone or any situation, gave better than he got, and he literally bled blue and orange for those championship teams. You don’t win championships without those type of guys. Its too bad that he tarnished his reputation so badly in management, where the arrogance which served him so well as a player cost him dearly as a manager who had to do things his way and wouldn’t listen to others. It is sad that anyone under 30 will only remember him as an incompetent manager though, because he was a heck of a player in his day.

            I sometimes feel sorry for him though….he really really hates losing and these last 20 years must have been as hard on him as anyone.

          • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

            It’s okay for fans to have different opinions about players and I respect that.

            I have probably watched as many Oiler games since their inception as any fan.

            These are the D-men off the top of my head that I preferred over Kevin Lowe during the dynasty years Coffee, Huddy, Gregg, Jackson, Fogolin, Steve Smith, Muni and Beukeboom.

            I watched plenty of guys beat him regularly like a rented mule all night long or blow by him wide. Most years he was lucky to get a handful of goals when the Oilers were averaging 5 goals a night. Nope, Kevin wasn’t one of the great all-time Oilers for me and I think it’s easy to separate the player from the GM etc.

            Last thought on the player’s competitiveness – no one is a fierce competitor on the ice and later strategically sets his team up for failure year after year.

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        Don’t confuse your frustration of Lowe in management with him as a player. I remember watching both Lowe and Huddy when they were on the ice. As Huddy was my favorite player I would specifically target him and follow him on the ice. multiple games would go by with out a single player getting past Huddy and scoring a goal from his side of the ice. He had the top +- every year and it was not just because #99 scored a ton. Lowe on the other hand was just mean and tough and amazing with the puck. His compete level was nuts he just hated to lose. I honestly think he would play with a broken limb rather than sit. The one modern D-man that would suffer through pain and never quit like that and really caught my eye was Jason Smith he was not given near the cred he deserved.

        • For Pete's Sake!

          Agree totally. It’s too bad Jason Smith didn’t get his name engraved on the Cup. Another true warrior.

          A guy like that is worth a 1000 Schultzes.

  • “4) Brett asks – When all is said and done do you think the Oilers will be in a lottery position again this season?”

    It seems like a few of you answered this one quite a while ago, or you have a strange amount of faith that the team will climb the standings. I guess the bottom end of the standings are pretty tight, but I think the Oil are going to finish 29th or 30th. Ungh.

    As Gregor pointed out, there’s also more lotteries now (1st ov, 2nd and 3rd). And the meaning of a “lottery position” is pretty open ended.. “are the Oilers going to have a good shot at #1 overall?”… sadly (?), yes.

  • Spydyr

    Well the good news is that at least we made it to game #54 this year before the Oilers are in 30th place. Yup, dead last.

    But hey the Core is fine right? Don’t trade anyone. It only took McDavid 16 games before he ripped into the team. For those who did not see, it seemed like Connor was mouthing off Eberle during the habs game.

    Pathetic team that we continue to cheer for and spend money on. I’m sure Auston Matthews will make a big difference.

    • ubermiguel

      You know what’s really sad? That a 19 year old knows more about responsibility and work ethic than guys 6 years older than him who have been in the league for 5 or 6 years. You couldn’t have found these guys with a microscope yesterday, Eberle included. All this team did was reaffirm what we already know; This team is in serious need of a shakeup and one that involves getting more hrart and character in that lineup.

  • ubermiguel

    Kevin Lowe played 1254 games and had 1498 PIMs. He was a beast. I think mid-90s Ranford was under-appreciated considering how many shots he faced. That 93-94 season is probably still Top 10 most shots ever faced by an NHL goalie.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    Lottery – depends on which team shows up.

    One of them most definitely is a lottery team, while the other can score at will.

    Probably a lottery though.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Ovie’s goal from his back was pretty amazing, but the fluke factor keeps it from being the best, imo. Ebs’ first goal brought me out of my seat like no other goal before it. Up until Connor’s this year, that was the most sublime, calculated move I’d ever seen.

    For me, it’s a toss up between Ebs’ first and McDavid’s “The Goal™”. I think goal of the year this season comes down to McDavid v Malkin’s spinorama against us, where he robbed Klef in his own zone. That goal was truly incredible, top to bottom.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Best player with little recognition. For me there has been a few, McTavish was a hell of a centre in his day as was Simpson on the wing . Problem was with Gretz,Kurri and Mess , Coffey and Fuhr the accolades went to the top 5 then Anderson,Lowe . Always liked Dr.Gregg ,Hughes , Ranford then Rolason, when you have had some of the best players over the first half of the Oils existence this last 15-20 years has been awful . That’s why a GM with guts could turn this whole thing around wit a few trades that include Hall, Eberle, Klefbom . Great teems have the right balance and people not afraid to make important moves. A team isn’t one player but unless the GM makes some moves we won’t have McDavid long term .

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Kevin Lowe may be underrated as a player but for me it is hard to say anything nice about him considering all the damage he has done to the Oilers as a manager.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I would be perfectly OK with jettisoning everyone but Connor, Leon, Nurse and Klefbom. This year, the Oil will co-own the record for longest playoff drought in the NHL. If that isn’t a signal for change, I don’t know what is.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      I might throw Nuge in there as well, at least for the next 2 years until Connors ELC is finished, but agree with the sentiment. If Hall can bag us a true #1 RHD then that is a trade you have to make (especially if we are in position to draft a young winger to replace Hall this year). McDavid is the core of this team, we need to build around him and that starts with surrounding him with a competent defence. Hall is really the only player we have that will net us a true #1 dman – Nuge wasn’t enough to get Jones, and Eb’s value is lower than Nuge’s. You have to give to get, and this team needs a major shakeup anyway.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    I agree with both Kevin Lowe and Charlie Huddy being the two most underated Oilers of all time.

    The great thing about the old Oilers, was that the 80’s team, even though they didn’t think much about defense, they never panicked in their own end and let things snowball against them the way today’s team does.

    And that was because of Lowe and Huddy. Like others have said, they were rocks on defense and never panicked, no matter what the situation.

    When the 80’s Oilers fell behind in a game, they had a way of shutting the other team down so they could mount a comeback. The main shutdown guys on that team were Huddy, Lowe and Fuhr.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    WHO IS CAM LEWIS AND WHAT IS HE SMOKING?

    I would have commented directly on the previous article except that no comments are being allowed on that article (no explanation given).

    This Cam Lewis fellow says the Oilers still have a chance to make the playoffs. That’s a joke. They are never going to catch LA ANA or SJ. So that leaves a wild card. That means they have to (1) pass about seven other teams and (2) keep all those teams behind them until the end of the year.

    NEWS FLASH: THE OTHER TEAMS IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE ARE NOT GOING TO STOP PLAYING GAMES SO THE OILERS CAN CATCH UP.

    Dear ON Editors: please stop ignoring the elephant in the room and let us talk about the important thing. The Oilers are a sh!t show. Yet again. Why did it happen, what can be done to prevent it from happenening again.

      • Seanaconda

        WRONG AGAIN

        The article is dated FEBRUARY 8, 9:45 AM. This morning. Not two days ago.

        Also, in the text of the article, Mr. Lewis says he is doing this on the SEVENTH day of every month. That is yesterday.

        Also, the writer was not just talking about Canadian teams. He talked about lots of teams. What he said about the Oilers is superficial and almost totally meaningless.

        In any event they have lifted the ban, so you can comment directly on that article.

        • Seanaconda

          Wait sorry I was thinking about the Ryan lambert article about the playoffs . I have no idea where you are even reading this article of yours. It doesn’t show up on my nation pages..

  • Seanaconda

    OHH THE TRADE ONE. There are comments on that one and he says the oilers are sellers. I didn’t think it implied the oilers had any chance but anyways I got what you’re talking about now

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I agree with Jason Strudwick that #4 should be in the rafters. (Hopefully one day two times once for Hall). I also think Ranford should be there for his MVP playoff performance winning the 1990 cup. We do not win that year with out him.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      Lowe – yes. I believe Vicious was his nick name. First junior draft pick by the Oilers.

      I’d also throw Gregg out there. Dependable. Nice passes. Under rated physically.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    I think the Calder is supposed to be awarded to the best rookie, not the one with the most points; so i guess Mcdavid has a shot at it if he shows up on a lot of Sportsnet and Sportscentre nightly highlight reels and finishes with 1 PPG or better (for those biased towards points).

    I have been a hockey fan for 5 decades and cannot recall a season with as many noteworthy rookies as this year. McDavid, Eichel, Larkin, Domi, Gostisbehere, Panarin, Nurse, Parayko, Ehlers, Bennett, Sam Reinhart, Duclair, Fabbri, Hanifin, Donskoi, Ben Hutton, John Gibson (is he still technically considered a rookie ?). I’ve probably missed a few.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Most underated Oiler of all time. Andy Moog. He was steady and seldom shaken. He often played more regular season games than Fuhr.

    Andy Moog is the second-fastest goaltender to reach the 300 win mark.

    He was selected to the All star team 4 times for 3 different teams.

    #15 in All time wins.

    Still not in the hall of fame.