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Monday Mailbag – Leon Draisaitl’s Duck Domination

Happy we’re in the second round of the playoffs to all of you! I promise to continue working on turning Mondays into civic holidays so we can all sit at home in our undies, but there’s still a ways to go. Until then, let’s all kill some time together whilst learning about the Oilers we love and arguing with the strangers we hate. Here’s another Mailbag to knock off a few minutes of company time and get you closer to going home. As always, I need questions for the Mailbag so email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Enough of me – let’s learn something.

1) Anthony asks – Not to complain about the referees again but my question is why does the panel think the rule book seems to change in the playoffs? It feels like the NHL is the only pro sports league that varies so widely from regular season to the playoffs.

Lowetide:

The NHL wants to make the Stanley Cup a very difficult task, and part of that is a relaxation of the rule book. It makes impact players less effective (and more vulnerable to injury) and I personally don’t like it. I will say that when your team wins the damn thing it feels all the more satisfying because you know how much they overcame to win the prize.

Jonathan Willis:

I can’t speak for other leagues, but this is one of roughly a million baffling things about the NHL. I’ll answer your question with a question: Why does the defending team get one free crosscheck on an attacking player after a scoring chance or goal? It always seems like the officials will let the first crosscheck go, but then call the second (Pat Maroon got in trouble for going beyond the one permitted crosscheck in a notable moment from the first round). The league does a lot of goofy things for seemingly no better reason than that just being the way things are done.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t feel it has changed much. During the regular season they allow a lot of obstruction and hooking. It is the same in the playoffs, the only difference is emotions are higher and everyone watches every player closer. There is just more whacking, but I don’t think they call it much different.

Robin Brownlee:

The standard of what constitutes an infraction not only varies from regular season to playoffs, it varies greatly from crew to crew. I don’t think NHL head office is doing nearly enough to insist on something resembling consistency, and that’s a MAJOR fail in my book.

Chris the Intern:

Rules have always gotten softer in the playoff which heightens the intensity and creates a rivalry. My only ask is that they keep it consistent throughout the series. Why do we get called for a lousy push after the whistle, and then the Ducks get away with choke-holding our players to the ice? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Cam Lewis:

It’s a frustrating reality of the league, because you want to maintain a level of continuity between games, but since games are so tight, and things can change in a series so quickly, refs are wary to hand out power play opportunities. They seem to want to make the path to the Stanley Cup a rigorous one, and so long as the whistles are largely put away for each side, it isn’t a major issue. It certainly is odd, though.

Baggedmilk:

I wrote about how bad the refs are again on Saturday and I feel as though I’m going to run out of negative adjectives to describe the lacklustre job they’re doing.

Photoshop: @isuckatpicking

2) Sandy asks – Leon Draisaitl always seems to shine against the Ducks and I’d like to ask what you think it is about his game that makes him match up so well against them?

Lowetide:

Anaheim has a mobile defence, but they are young. Leon is highly creative and is also physical along the wall. He is a load and has soft hands, always a difficult opponent.

Jonathan Willis:

I don’t know how much I want to read into it. Draisaitl had eight goals on 19 shots over the last two seasons in games against Anaheim, meaning that the Ducks’ goalies had a 0.579 save percentage against him in those 10 contests. Anybody’s going to look good when half his shots find the back of the net!

Jason Gregor:

Confidence is huge and he has it when he plays the Ducks. His size and strength doesn’t allow the Ducks to physically take advantage of him, plus I think he enjoys games where there is more contact.

Robin Brownlee:

He has been productive against Anaheim, of that there’s no debate. There is no one reason why that’s the case.

Chris the Intern:

Everybody has a team they often thrive against and fortunately for us, Draisaitl thrives against the Ducks. Maybe it’s his German blood, maybe it’s cause of a hate towards Ryan Kesler. As long as he keeps putting up points I won’t ask any questions!

Cam Lewis:

He’s a very good player with a multidimensional skill set. Big and physical, but also a good skater with excellent skill and vision. I don’t know if it’s the Ducks that brings something out of him, or the results just seem to be good. Honestly I feel like he consistently plays well against every opponent.

Baggedmilk:

I think we’re going to be adding more teams to Leon Draisaitl’s destruction tour before all is said and done. The dude just keeps getting better and better and having him and McDavid on the same team is one of the greatest gifts of all time.

Mar 10, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot (33) makes a save during warmup against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Lawrence asks – If you were to give the Oilers one advantage that they have over the Ducks what would it be? What would the Ducks’ advantage be?

Lowetide:

It’s a pretty close series, I would say speed up front is a big difference (at times). The Ducks experience is a double-edged sword and the Oilers ability to scoot gives older teams fits.

Jonathan Willis:

Well, right now I’d have to say the 2-0 series lead (as I write this on Saturday)! One significant advantage the Oilers have is relatively good health, something that has been true for the team for most of the year; Anaheim, in contrast, has most of its best defencemen either out of the lineup with injury or only freshly returned to it.  On the Ducks’ side, experience can be overrated, but I do believe there’s value to having a leadership group that has been through the rigors of playoff hockey before.

Jason Gregor:

Oilers have the advantage in goal and their defensive group is better defensively. The Ducks D corps is a bit more mobile.

Robin Brownlee:

Through the first two games going into last night, it was goaltending. Cam Talbot had been terrific and John Gibson had been way less-than-average (.889).

Chris the Intern:

There’s a lot of things you could address here but I’m going with the home crowd for the Oilers advantage. The Honda Center was lame the first two games and that really played in our favour. Edmonton fans are the best. I’m going to say the Ducks’ grittyness is their advantage. It’s not like we DON’T have our own but they play right on the line and most often get away with the post-whistle idiocracy where we don’t.

Cam Lewis:

The Ducks certainly have the bonus of being a veteran team. They can go down 2-0 in a series and come back because they won’t get too low. They’ve been in these situations before. With that age, though, Edmonton has the advantage in speed and energy.

Baggedmilk:

I always love a good underdog story because no one ever really expects them to win until they do, and that’s what’s happening with the Oilers right now. Every talking head on TV spoke about how the Oilers were outmatched and outclassed and seeing them beat the Ducks is so very very satisfying. Also the Oilers have Cam Talbot and I’ll take him over Gibson or Bernier any day.

Feb 3, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan reacts during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

4) Steven asks – What do you think of Todd McLellan’s Jack Adams nomination and what do you think is the likeliness that he will win?

Lowetide:

I think he earned the consideration and he has been even better in the playoffs. Winning that damned award often means a coach is close to getting fired, so it is a mixed blessing. McLellan has done well behind the bench in my opinion.

Jonathan Willis:

I think it’s John Tortorella’s trophy to lose. Both Todd McLellan and Mike Babcock took over rebuilding teams and have guided them to steady improvement over their respective time at the helm. It’s going to be hard to compete with the year-over-year transformation in Columbus, though, where a year ago the team looked like it was a failure potentially in need of starting a full rebuild.

Jason Gregor:

Well deserved. It will be close and remember it is voted on prior to playoffs beginning. I think he has a very good chance. There is no clear favourite. Tortorella’s team improved 32 points with basically the same team. The Oilers improved by 33, but had many changes and that might be the difference.

Robin Brownlee:

Babcock will get a lot of votes in the east. I believe he will win. Based on performance, I actually think Tortorella should win and that McLellan is should be runner-up, but I doubt we’ll see that.

Chris the Intern:

I think it’s great, of course! I don’t think he’ll end up winning. Babcock will likely take it, which is probably a good thing. Jack Adams award winners don’t really have a good reputation coaching their team following the award.

Cam Lewis:

It was a well-deserved nomination, but it would be shocking if John Tortorella didn’t win. That Blue Jackets team really came out of nowhere and had an excellent season, and it seems Torts is a completely different coach than his poor stints in Vancouver and New York.

Baggedmilk:

It’s well deserved, to say the least. The Oilers look so much more competent in the defensive zone than they have in previous years and it started last season. I don’t think he’ll win (because Toronto) but he certainly deserves some of the credit for helping move this franchise forward.

5) Vic asks – Aside from the Oilers and Ducks, which playoff series are you most excited about in the second round?

Lowetide:

Predators-Blues is a blast, because there is all kinds of skill and some question about the goalies (although both were splendid in the first round).

Jonathan Willis:

Washington/Pittsburgh. I know it’s obvious, but it’s also irresistible.

Jason Gregor:

Pens and Caps. Lots of star power and the intriguing storyline surrounding the Capitals ability to finally reach the third round.

Robin Brownlee:

St. Louis and Nashville. I want to know who the Oilers will face in the Western Conference final.

Chris the Intern:

I always love a good Pens/Caps matchup. Definitely will be paying attention to that one as well.

Cam Lewis:

Ottawa and New York seems to be the underrated series here. The Sens are a wonky team that seems to defy odds while the Rangers can score with the the best of them. Expect some dramatics from that series.

Baggedmilk:

I will never not love watching Sid and Ovi square off against each other. These guys have been the two best players in the world for over 10 years and it’s a battle that I always look forward to seeing.


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  • 24% body fat

    Can someone tell me why Caggulia gets so much icetime? Slepyshev is the superior player, statiscally and by the eye test. He is also larger, more skilled, and a harder shot. Might I add right handed! I’m all for signing Spencer Foo, but if he is going to be gifted minutes like this, than maybe not.

    We have a team in Bakersfield for a reason. Lets us it properly.

  • Randaman

    JG says “I don’t feel it has changed much. During the regular season they allow a lot of obstruction and hooking. It is the same in the playoffs, the only difference is emotions are higher and everyone watches every player closer. There is just more whacking, but I don’t think they call it much different.”

    What an absolute crock of sh!t. Take a break Jason, it’s obvious you need to see an eye specialist. Are you a part time ref or something? Joke…

  • madjam

    Penalty differential regular season : Oilers 7th with 738 Pim.s , but 781 Pim’s against in 82 games . Anaheim was 20th with a whopping 934 P.im’s , but drew and inordinate 916 P.im’s against for a +18 differential . The Ducks ranked 30th in league for P.K. at 281 =3.43 , while Oilers ranked P.K. at 223 =2.73 .

    Playoffs : Oilers notable top penalty players are Draisaitl 17 , Maroon 14 , Kassian 10, Cagguila 10 , Lucic 6 , Hurse 6 . Anaheim has cut back remarkedly from season stats ? Kessler 12 , Bieksa 9 , Holzer 8 , Perry 6 , Lindholm 6 . Manson ( one of their worst thru regular season )somehow has only 2 and Kesler 4 for entire playoffs . A real big difference from regular season for Anaheim and that is very questionable . Seems like officials are giving penalties reluctantly to Anaheim – sort of one and done for evening . Surprised Perry , Manson and Getzlaf are such prima donna’s not to draw ire of officials as they are a very penalty built team to begin with . Oilers not getting same type treatment from officials by the looks of it .

    Biggest advantage experience plays in playoffs seems to be the ability to play the officials .

      • madjam

        Manson was the only defenseman Anaheim had that played all 82 games . He was second in penalty minutes with 82 , only Boll beat him with 87 minutes . A player playing all 82 games I would call a veteran of club .

  • thprop

    Talbot looked shaky and exhausted….if he comes back to earth the Oil are in big trouble. If he bounces back you guys are fine….you are going to have a game like that one after two huge emotional wins on the road.

  • Heschultzhescores

    They should have pulled Talbot after the 4th goal, that was an obvious decision for a couple reasons. One, he wasn’t playing well all night to that point…two, Brossoit needs the playoff experience as well, and finally, Talbot can use all the rest he can get. But they didn’t, so it’s kind of irrelevant now…just seemed dumb to me at the time…and turned out Talbot did nothing to help them win after the 4th goal.

  • Div 13 superstar

    I thought what was missing last night to start the game were the big hits- drawing on the crowd’s energy. I think they tried to go the finesse route. The first goal was a brutal way to start the game, and the fourth was heinous- it totally killed the energy from that awesome McDavid goal. The team has not had two consecutive poor games, and on the plus side, they put three past Gibson. Most nights, that is enough.

  • 2centz

    Is it just me,or does the team and coach seem sick of the media and their choices in questions,and creating story lines? After the Eskimos had issue with the local media,I think it’s more than just the respective athletic clubs,and the media might have to be the ones to make changes to their game,for a change. I’m not sure how pissing off everyone provides a better fan experience either? It seems like a pretty lame excuse to me,like saying photo radar makes the city streets safer.

  • Bagged Almond Milk

    I’m sick of all the interviews where the media sets up the players or coaches for answers, and the players don’t answer the question. Just cliches. Play hard, trust the process, play our game, my linemates yada yada yada. I think it’s bull CRAP. If that’s the way it’s gonna be, may as well not even have interviews for gords sake.

    • Oiler Al

      Totally agree with BAM. The guy is coming off the ice ,sweating like a race horse,trying to catch his breath, and theres “Mike” in his face ” you are down 5 goals what do you have to do in the third to get back in the game”!!!! Find another time and place to talk to the players. Its the same lame when questions that they ask. Christine Simpson is the worst and Scott Oaks not far behind.

    • ed from edmonton

      Pretty much all players interviews are a waste of time. Media people know they can’t ask really pointed questions or players won’t talk to them. Players know there is no point doing anything that might be considered controversial so all you get is a bunch of clichés. But if you were in their place you would do the same.

      Once in a while a coach will say something interesting, like Gullatson’s blast at his team.

    • OilRider

      Yeah they’re pretty much all terrible. Except for Letestu. He gives a pretty decent interview. Last night I was even saying to the wife that he actually gave some half-decent responses, instead of the usual “gotta clean up our game, finish our checks, put the puck on the net, etc etc” cliches.

  • Bagged Almond Milk

    One more thing that really GRINDS MY GEARS. Donald S. Cherry was running his mouth about Kuznetzov’s birdman celebration. The Don says “Kids, we are Canadian, we don’t do stuff like that, we have class, we wear suit and ties”. The man has finally lost it, it’s 2017 Don, you can’t say stuff like that, and if there’s anyone who certianly doesn’t have class, it’s Don Cherry. As a proud Canadian, I found your comments nothing short of embarrassing, Donald.