31
Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Dealing With Frustration

As always, we’re back with a brand new mailbag to help you make sense of all things Oilers. I always need you guys for this feature so email me your questions to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and pretend to look busy for as long as possible. Have a good week, everybody.

1) Mason asks – Do you think the Oilers losing Game 4 was a product of them not being ready to play, or that San Jose was in a must win situation? I don’t get how the Oil could look so different from night to night.

Lowetide:

I think the Oilers got in a hole early, and the penalties buried them. It’s important to remember that the Sharks are a veteran team who made the SCF’s a year ago. Their backs were against the wall, and frankly, the Oilers didn’t handle it well. It’s one game, and we should hope (this is being written Thursday before G5) the Oilers respond. Part of the learning process.

Jason Strudwick:

San Jose was ready to go and the Oilers were not totally committed. The Sharks knew how big a game it was and pushed the Oilers out of the game early. To a man, the Oilers were not ready to compete at that level.

Jason Gregor:

Pavelski made a great deflection 15 seconds into the game. Oilers hadn’t made a bad play. Suddenly that goal gives Sharks huge momentum and Oilers couldn’t get it back. Had RNH scored rather than missed the wide open net which would have made it 2-1. Had he scored maybe game changes, but I don’t think the loss was based on Oilers not being ready. The Sharks got an early goal and carried the momentum through the game. The Oilers rebounded with two solid efforts in games five and six.

Robin Brownlee:

Game 4? The Oilers are getting ready for Game 1 of their series against Anaheim. That in itself should put to rest any questions you have about Game 4, no? It was one bad night.

Chris the Intern:

It’s frustrating to see them come out and hit everything in site in game 2, and then barely hit anyone in game 4 and five…. and then BACK to hitting again in game five. I think it’s a combination of San Jose being in a must-win situation, as well as energy levels within the group. Crazy how all of a sudden Draisaitl found his legs in game five that were non-existent in the last four. Must have had a good breakfast that morning.

Baggedmilk:

The Oilers weren’t able to handle the pressure that the Sharks put on them early and from there the wheels completely fell off. They looked much better in Game 5 and it was the kind of bounce back effort that they needed to get to not only maintain home ice advantage but also to get themselves back to where they needed to be.

2) Terry asks – I’ve noticed Connor McDavid looking more frustrated than normal during the playoffs. Do you see that as a problem or a learning experience since he’s never seen playoff hockey before?

Lowetide:

It is rare to see it, but McDavid has had periods of frustration at points during his two NHL seasons. The checking is tighter and the game is being called in a different way. I would call this a period of adjustment and suspect McDavid will be pushing the limits again soon.

Jason Strudwick:

It is a learning experience. From what we have seen up to game 5 the Sharks have done a great job limiting 97’s space. We haven’t seen him crank it up and blow past people often. He now has to readjust.

Jason Gregor:

Learning experience. There is a learning curve on how to deal with it. He’ll be fine. I thought he was very good in the final two games.

Robin Brownlee:

Connor McDavid is competitive or he wouldn’t be the player he is. Competitive players get frustrated. I don’t see it as a problem. Everything at this point is a learning experience. He’s 20.

Chris the Intern:

I sadly would just give San Jose credit for doing a good job shutting him down. They’re getting the matchups they want against Connor 90% of the time and don’t give him any space to get his speed going. I’m so frustrated watching through my tv, I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now not being able to score for the first time this season.

Baggedmilk:

This is the first time that Connor has had to deal with playoff pressure, refs throwing whistles away, and the added expectations of trying to make things happen against the same team in a seven game series. As the series has gone on he’s played better and better and it’s only a matter of time before he goes full Connor.

3) Lance asks – If you had to guess, how would you explain the disappearance of the offence from the Top 6 during the first four games? Are the Sharks playing that well or are the Oil gripping their sticks a little bit?

Lowetide:

A combination of injury, tighter checking and a massive surge in penalty killing. Edmonton is shortening the game with their own penalties.

Jason Strudwick:

There is less space and time in the playoffs. There is much less cheating and way more physical play. Up until Game 5, the Sharks have done a really good job rolling out their game plan.

Jason Gregor:

Sharks were playing well, and while the RNH line never scored in the series, outside of Lucic’s PP goal, I thought they created many chances and were very good defensively. Of course you want them to chip in more, and for the Oilers to win another round they likely will need the second line to bury some of their chances. Draisaitl was excellent in the final two games and his average play in the first few games was due to the flu.

Robin Brownlee:

There’s always less time and space at playoff time and that results, generally speaking, in fewer goals. The Sharks stuck with Braun and Vlasic against McDavid and they did a very good job.

Chris the Intern:

I’m convinced there was/is something wrong with Patrick Maroon/and or Leon Draisaitl. None of them looked like them normal selves out there. Sure, San Jose got all the matchups they wanted but when you look at game five where everyone was flying, it really proves what kind of effort they can give.

Baggedmilk:

Patty Maroon scored a big goal in Game 5 and Leon Draisaitl was as good as ever. Drai has been coughing up a lung in his pressers and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that he’s battling some kind of bug. That said, no one is playing at 100% in the playoffs and I expect that both of them will perform when it matters most.

4) Brett asks – Which playoff series has surprised you the most and why?

Lowetide:

Ottawa Senators versus Boston Bruins. Losing defenders has impacted Boston but I thought they would win this series anyway. Erik Karlsson is a God.

Jason Strudwick:

Hands down the Leafs and Caps. I expected the Caps to roll them in four and I wasn’t alone! I hate to say this but the Leafs are very fun to watch play. If the baby Leafs don’t have too much of a pull back in season two and they can add a D or two, they could be a handful again next season.

Jason Gregor:

Toronto. I didn’t think they would keep the games that close.

Robin Brownlee:

Chicago. I didn’t foresee them being swept. Likewise Calgary. I wasn’t sure the Flames had enough to win the series but they didn’t show much at all.

Chris the Intern:

Definitely the Nashville series. If anybody was to upset Chicago, I knew it would be the Preds. There was no way I expected it to finish in four though.

Baggedmilk:

Who would have expected the Preds to sweep Chicago? I would never have seen that coming. Same goes for the push back the Leafs have given the Caps.

5) Bryan asks – What is your take on Jack Eichel’s alleged comments about not signing a contract if Bylsma was still the Sabres coach?

Lowetide:

It’s unusual, hard to say from a distance. The firing of GM and coach tells me the owner was as frustrated as Eichel, and it’s anyone’s guess how this turns out.

Jason Strudwick:

The timing is very suspicious. It would be very dangerous to have a 20-year-old player have that big a voice within an organization.

Jason Gregor:

His agent was adamant he didn’t say that. I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. There is no doubt Eichel didn’t love the style Bylsma coached at times. He was vocal about that during the season. The reality is Eichel is their best player and he was fantastic from January on once he recovered from the high-ankle sprain. It is easier to find a replacement for Bylsma than it is to find another Eichel.

Robin Brownlee:

I didn’t once hear anything from a credible source so I didn’t give it much thought at all. Murray and Bylsma were already in trouble and on their way out the door, as we later saw.

Chris the Intern:

I hate when players become drama-queens and give their teams an ultimatum. But it’s hilarious when the team follows through with it. Eichel might as well suit up and sit in the GM’s office during off days working on contracts for everyone else too. At the same time, I know the exact same thing would happen if Connor demanded something. What Connor wants, Connor gets.

Baggedmilk:

It worked didn’t it? Both Bylsma and Tim Murray got the axe last week and you have to think that Eichel’s (alleged) comments were on the owners mind when he dropped the hammer.


CELEBRATE HOCKEY WITH ATB FINANCIAL

ATB listens to Albertans, so we know that “mortgage” really means “home”. See how listening changes everything at atblistens.com

  • Serious Gord

    2. Vlasic d pairing might be the best shutdown pairing in the world. It will be interesting to see if Anaheim can have the same success against mcd. I doubt it. Meanwhile what does EDM do with getzlaf who – unlike Thornton – is playing some of the best hockey is his life.

    4. Nashville series was the first ever where a number one was swept by a number eight in the first round. BIG Changes coming in Chicago.

    Calgary lost all of its games by one goal except the empty netter in the fourth. Had they had a goalie like talbot they may well have won and had the oil Elliott they might have been swept.

    • Shredder

      I gotta agree with you – who on the Ducks is going to be able to do the same things as Vlasic? They’ve got some good dmen in Anaheim, but I don’t consider them elite shutdown guys – more solid skating/puckmoving types that a lot of teams covet, but shutting McD down will be tough. Here’s hoping Larsson can do to Getzlaf what Vlasic did to McD.

    • Hemmercules

      Pretty tough call on what Chicago will do. Their Core is aging a bit but still has a couple good years left for sure. They have a bunch of young guys in the lineup too. I think they will definitely make a couple moves but I don’t see sweeping changes.

    • Not a First Tier Fan

      Agree with you on the Vlassic pairing and that Anaheim doesn’t have anyone that has shown they could do the same.

      Disagree strongly with everything else you said, Gord… Larsson will be able to contain Getzlaf (who is playing well but not better than ever), Chicago isn’t going to panic over one series and blow everything up, and the Flames DID lose in a humiliating way… one-goal games or not they got swept. Don’t blame the goalie if the team in front of him can’t pot in a few more Ginos and salvage a tight game…

  • Tombstone

    Jack Eichel is bad news. I watch his year end interview. He might have never said he wanted them fired but his tone and body language said the opposite. I’m so glad the Oilers didn’t draft this guy.
    I just love the fact Buffalo passed on Draisaitl and draft Reinhart instead. It was Draisaitl that made Eichel loose his bonus.

    • Tombstone

      I said it looked like he had “coke jaw”. That’s where a person can keep his jaw still but thanks for playing mom and editing that Oilersnation. Take down the whole post if your going to edit my comment. No half measures.

  • Spydyr

    From a distance this is how the Buffalo situation played out for me:

    1)Whiny entitled players says either the coach goes or I go.
    2) Hands on owner who does not really know the game(there is a reason Buffalo has sucked for so long as did the Oilers) tell GM to fire coach.
    3) GM says no we make the hockey decisions not some entitled brat.
    4) Hands on owner fires coach and GM.

  • Druds

    Talk about Toronto Sports network…..on the TSN website there are 8 stories about the leafs and how they are going to kick our collective NHL asses next year and if you scroll down about a mile there is one story about the Oilers and Anaheim…sad

    • The Dave

      Didn’t you get the memo? The Leafs are the best story of the post season because they won two games:
      http://www.tsn.ca/talent/leafs-emerging-as-best-story-of-the-playoffs-1.727655

      The media out there loves two things: themselves, and the Leafs. I’m pretty sure most of the staff out there don’t even watch any of the Western conference games (I’m looking at you, Scott Cullen, Mr. “Statistically, Game 2 was close” with shots going 36-16 and Edmonton outshooting San Jose on SJ powerplays).

      Meanwhile CBC opts to not pick up the Oilers for Hockey Night in Canada and instead goes for Ottawa and Pittsburgh and the NHL generally schedules the western teams on the same nights and eastern teams on the same nights, so we can keep having 8 and 8:30 starts and the fine folks out east can continue to know nothing about this entire conference.

      • that’s fine. Edmonton doesn’t need any help from anyone in the east. I hated it when the rest of the country got on the bandwagon back in 06, and I’ll hate it again when they do it this year. I’d be fine if the eastern media would just leave Edmonton alone.

    • btrain

      This is sad. Don’t get me wrong, the Leafs had a great season, they have impressive talent, and they pushed the Capitals further then anyone could have predicted. However, what this year tells us about their future is not so cut and dry for me after watching over a decade of an Oilers team trying to win with highly skilled forwards, weak defense, and inconsistent goaltending. Things aligned incredibly well for the Leafs this year with Andersen covering up for an inept D core, the kids firing on all cylinders, and the guys playing in Florida thinking they were there for vacation. I think its safe to be cautiously optimistic for the Leafs and Leafs fans still have much to be happy with and excited about. However, this outpouring of praise and this idea that they are not only on the right track but well on their way is setting the bar way too high, way too early, in my opinion. To me they still resemble the Oilers teams of the past decade who could beat really good team but needed things to go their way. As an Oiler’s fan I can see a massive disappointment coming to those in Leafs nation who are holding lofty expectations for next season based on this one, the only NHL season for many of the Leafs best players from this season. Unfortunately, until next season, the rest of the hockey world will have to endure the collective tire pumping from all our national sports media groups. Only then will we see if this team can rise to this new level of expectation, if they are the next example of a Colorado Avalanche team, or if they are somewhere in between.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing this morning. When the Leafs were finally eliminated, I thought that the Senators and Oilers might finally get more than a tiny link to a story at the bottom of the page. But it seems that there is even more Leafs coverage now. And of course the Raptors and Blue Jays coverage is still more important than any Western team that is still in the playoffs.

      Honestly, to this day I cannot forgive the CBC for not broadcasting Western teams on HNIC during the 80’s. The Oilers were a dynasty and had the world’s best player… and the Flames were often the next best team. But every weekend we had to watch the Leafs play another useless team. Once in a while the Oilers would play the Leafs and we would get to watch them. But it is ridiculous that it took the CBC 20+ years to figure out that after the Leafs game is over, you can still broadcast a game in the west. The Leafs have longest streak of failing. Other than reporting on how they somehow continue to fail, why should the west have to hear about them at all?

  • giddy

    Is there anyway we could get more consistency on when guys answer all of these questions? I understand there has to be a delay between (I’m assuming) BM sending out the questions to everyone, everyone sending back their replies and having BM compile all of it, but just reads funny every time I read through these.

    And I agree with the others. Can’t say enough about how good of a defender Vlasic is. Anaheim has some good dmen in Lindholm and others, so it’ll be interesting watching how they handle McDavid. Just saying though, McDavid now has a full six games of playoff experience under his belt and now knows how it feels to be shutdown for majority of a series. The outcomes might be a bit different this series, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Anaheim’s a good team, can’t underestimate them or overestimate the Oil at all.

  • Bagged Almond Milk

    I don’t think the ducks have a shutdown pair like the Vlassic/Braun pair. Kesler is obviously a good 2 way center (and a rat), and I’m sure they’ll put him against McDavid and Drai, but didn’t those 2 light up the ducks in the past few games? It’s possible the Sharks were the best team the Oilers will face until the finals

    • Not a First Tier Fan

      Nashville. Preds and Pekka Rinne always seem to have the Oilers number. I’m hoping the Blues will take them out because Edmonton does better against St Louis than Nashville.

      The Ducks and Blues are good teams but Nashville terrifies me.

  • thprop

    I am a Flames fan but I hate the Ducks sooo much that I am cheering for the Oilers….and find myself on Oilersnation here are a few things that I think you will realize quickly in your matchup with the *ucks!
    1. You got the sweetest round one match up available….I was somehow hoping a miracle would occur and the Flames would draw the Sharks…this one will be infinitely more difficult.
    2. Someone on the Ducks WILL do something incredibly dirty to McDavid….it isn’t an IF it is a WHEN…and when they do it will be how the Oilers react that determines the series.
    3. The bottom six of the Ducks are very good…it was the bottom six that determined the games against the Flames…your bottom six will have to be excellent.
    4. Russell will struggle mightily…I have seen that movie before and it ain’t pretty
    Anyhoo if the Oil do beat the *ucks I will be the first to admit they deserved it!