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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – To Flop or Not to Flop

What have we here? A shiny new mailbag for a shiny new week. I hope all of you had excellent days off and that the punishment on your livers was kept in check. Since we’re all headed back to work, I wanted to make sure that you had something to read and help you kill off a few minutes of company time. Enter the mailbag. I need questions for next week, so if there’s something you want to ask feel free to hit me up by email or on Twitter. Enjoy.

1) Trent asks – After Game 4, Cam Talbot said that he tries to play the game with integrity but should maybe start flopping if that’s what it takes to have an interference call go your way. What do you think about goaltender interference and the irregularity with how it is called?

Lowetide:

It’s completely arbitrary in terms of how it is called, or at least that is my opinion. Referees have a tough job, but that play looked to me as though Talbot was not given a full opportunity. Every fan base has this issue, you just hope it evens out over a long period.

Robin Brownlee:

The NHL has to figure out what constitutes goaltender interference and then apply the same standard across the board — I doubt that happens, but one can hope. The other thing is you can’t leave the review of a call a referee just made to the same referee. It has to be done by an off-ice official.

Jason Gregor:

When you have different people officiating games and different people in the video review, you will always have some differing of opinions. It will never be perfect, but I do think they should look at only having the review centre review the goals. You have over 42 referees calling games during the season. They won’t all have the same opinion. If you only have, say, five people who are in the review centre, your chances of having more continuity will increase.

Matt Henderson:

I am pretty much horrified at what the NHL now deems is an acceptable amount of interference (so long as you are a Duck). What has happened in this series only highlights the incompetency of the officials and the process of reviewing goals. Frankly, the series should be over right now because Friday SHOULD have ended 3-2 for the Oil but apparently now it’s not interference to pull a goalie’s legs apart.

Chris the Intern:

I’m one more incorrect goalie interference call away from climbing on top of a Pint table and throwing the TV out the window. These calls are out of control and the league is losing a lot of respect from me right now.

Baggedmilk:

Who are we kidding? Even if he did flop he probably still wouldn’t have gotten a call. *fart sound*

Apr 30, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf (15) trips Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) during the first period in game three of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Luke asks – I don’t know why people are saying that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is having a good playoff when he hasn’t produced hardly anything offensively. Can you explain this to me?

Lowetide:

In the first round, he was impressive in possession and his line was facing a tough opponent. The Ducks series has been a little more difficult for them. Nuge doesn’t play on the 1PP, so the boxcars are not as strong as they were pre-McDavid. He certainly has value in my opinion.

Robin Brownlee:

No, I can’t. The Oilers need some production from RNH and Jordan Eberle and they aren’t getting it. Not good enough so far. Not even close.

Jason Gregor:

It makes no sense. Two-way player is such an over-used phrase. RNH played well in the first series, and couldn’t finish, but versus the Ducks he has not been close to good enough. I didn’t even notice him the past few games.

Matt Henderson:

Look, Nuge is doing lots of little things that are crazy important AND he’s a leader in shots on goal. But he also doesn’t have a single goal so I get it a little. But can I explain why people get all over him? No. I cannot. He’s a solid 200-foot player who has been cursed. We should be hunting the band of gypsies that did this to him right now.

Chris the Intern:

This seems to be the same thing that’s happening all season long. Lil Nugey misses the net, or fails on an offensive play but then back-checks the hell out of everybody and makes an amazing defensive play making him the hero. I really wish he was scoring more. He’s definitely due.

Baggedmilk:

Because Nuge is proving himself to be a reliable player that’s willing to battle in the playoffs and Eberle hasn’t done that yet. Let’s not kid ourselves, Ebs still scored 20 goals and 51 points this season so it wasn’t as bad as some are making it out to be, but he’s not showing himself as a Chiarelli type of player either. That’s the issue. To put it another way, RNH looks like he can play the Chiarelli style of hockey more than Eberle can. That said, both guys still need to score.

Jan 21, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle (14) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

3) Neil asks – Can Jordan Eberle rebound next year or is he turning into Matt Moulson? If you don’t feel that he will rebound next year what would you do with him? His value has got to be dropping every time another GM watches the Oilers play.

Lowetide:

Eberle is a solid offensive winger, certainly a top 6F in the NHL. He may be eroding a little (he will be 27 next year) but Edmonton (or another team) should be able to count on him for 50-ish points next year.

Robin Brownlee:

Let’s get through this year first, shall we? There could be as many as two more series left to play and if Eberle finds his game and contributes, that will change the perception fans have of him right now.

Jason Gregor:

Hard to say for sure. He clearly has lost his confidence, and there is no guarantee he’ll get it back to the level it was before. He is going to have to put in a lot of hard work in the off-season. He needs to get stronger. I’d start there and see where it goes.

Matt Henderson:

I think he’ll rebound. Everything we can measure about this year points to it as an aberration. That said, I still think he’ll be doing it on another club.

Chris the Intern:

Honestly, I don’t see Eberle making it through the offseason with the Oilers. I love the guy but his time is coming to an end. I’m surprised he’s made it this far but these playoffs are really making it apparent to Chia where our team lacks production, and that’s our second line.

Baggedmilk:

Like I just said for the last one, Eberle’s season wasn’t as horrible as some are making it out to be and I wouldn’t be surprised for one minute if he went out and hit 60 points again next season. Ebbs and flows happen in the NHL and it’s not like you forget how to play year over year. I’d expect him to bounce back but I don’t know that it will be here.

4) Abe asks – Do you think the back and forth between Todd McLellan and Randy Carlyle actually had any effect on the way the games were called?

Lowetide:

No. I think it’s old-timey gamesmanship but has no real value beyond getting people riled up and excited for the next game. It has value, but it doesn’t impact the game. Now, a coach who is talking to a referee or in a meeting with the NHL officials? Yes.

Robin Brownlee:

No. None. I haven’t seen much controversy regarding face-offs, have you?

Jason Gregor:

None. Zero. Zilch.

Matt Henderson:

Yes. I think the referees are weak-willed spineless slugs who are reactive and incapable of the self-awareness required to not get played. Carlyle had them eating out of his hand.

Chris the Intern:

I sure hope not. I would love to say that the refs don’t listen to that crap and that they are 100% objective… but they’re into the media stuff just as much as we are, so who really knows?

Baggedmilk:

It seems to have worked, or maybe the NHL has its own agenda, or maybe the #RefsHateOilers hashtag is actually true? I think it’s gross that the officials are playing as big of a role in this series as they are. *takes off tinfoil hat*

5) Anthony asks – By the time this gets posted the Oilers could be moving on to the next round, could be eliminated, or heading for a game seven. What is your highlight and lowlight of the 2016-17 season?

Lowetide:

The highlight is Connor McDavid’s season. What a wonderful year. Lowlight? Jesse Puljujarvi’s handling. The Oilers should have sent him out in September and brought him back in the spring.

Robin Brownlee:

Haven’t got there yet. This season isn’t over. How could a win in Game 7 against the Ducks not trump anything we’ve seen to this point?

Jason Gregor:

Highlight was finally covering a competitive team again. The “they suck” and “draft lottery” angles were beaten to death. A low, I guess I’d say Pitlick injury, because he finally looked like he was reaching his potential, but once again he was injured. (On a side note, Pitlick is back skating. He’s recovering nicely).

Matt Henderson:

Highlight of the season? Jeez. You picked a good year for that. Regular season: McDavid crossing 100 points. Post-Season: Sunday’s beat down of the Ducks, but it’s a placeholder for how good I’ll feel if Wednesday breaks the right way.

Chris the Intern:

So many highlights. Definitely seeing Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot rise up to become the stars they are. Both are well deserved. Win or lose these playoffs, I’ve never screamed and cheered so hard at a TV before which will always be a highlight. A lowlight for me was probably seeing Tyler Pitlick miss the year after his amazing start with the team.

Baggedmilk:

Since everyone is saying Connor as their highlight, I’ll take a different route. How about Leon Draisaitl’s killer season? How about Mark Letestu setting a new career high in goals (16) after being slotted in on the first power play unit?

Lowlight would have to be losing Pitlick after the start of the year and the countless Larsson/Hall comparisons. I hope those die down eventually.


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  • elliotsmom

    Highlight for me is the fan support and a season of encouraging and positive comments from the fans and media. The belief from everyone on how well the Oilers were coached and played. Far beyond what many of us expected. But the Oiler Orange Crush madness is off the charts insane. Another highlight in post season is Joey getting a mike to sing with the fans and the fans singing our neighbours Anthem.

  • Krush

    I think that Oilers should try and trade Eberle to the Las Vegas team for their # 1 pick and future considerations, that being the Vegas team taking a player of the Oilers choosing in the expansion draft. This would be a good deal for Vegas as Eberle is an exciting player. It would be good for the Oilers as they could get a decent prospect and have some money freed up.

    • Tombstone

      I been saying the same thing a win for the Oilers would be a decent prospect+pick for Eberle and to drop his Salary. Oilers cannot take on anymore salary.
      Oilers still have to sign 3 Defenceman and their next core group of forwards in the next 2 years and still have money left over to re-sign Talbot.
      Chairalli will do good if he can’t drop Eberle, Pouliot and Faynes contracts. He will probaly sign McDavid this year.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      I’ve said before that Vegas second and they waive their Oilers expansion draft pick for Eberle would benefit both teams.

      Frees up the Oilers to trade with a team in a surplus (forwards, dmen whatever) and not worry about their draft list.

      Vegas is going to be thin at forward after this draft.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      You think that a new team, that knows it will be bad for a while, would rather take a struggling player that costs 6M instead of someone they can draft and develop, and hopefully still have once they’re ready to make the step forward?

      • FISTO Siltanen

        In a word: yes.

        If they can turn him around they have an option to move him for a better pick later.

        Their choices off this roster today are a 4th liner making another $8M over the next two years, a very good power forward who has battled addiction issues and may not be a fit in the city of sin, and some prospects who may or may not workout.

        And no, I don’t think LB is an option. They’ll have too many options at starter they aren’t wasting a pick on a guy they know they won’t be able to send to the minors without risk of losing him for nothing.

  • ed from edmonton

    RHN has shown me more willingness to compete in the playoffs than previously in his career. That art has been great to see. But RNH as 3rd line center who can’t score and is weak on face-offs is a problem. RNH going into extended scoring droughts has happens several times over the last two years.

    • ed from edmonton

      Further on this, when the Oil takes on the Preds in the next series we will see RNH and Ryan Johanssen on opposite sides. Who knows maybe even matched up. This will be very interesting given the opinions of some when the Jones/Johanssen trade occurred. I recall Henderson rating RHN well above Johanssen.

  • Alberta Ice

    I agree. Draisaitl and Letestu have been major surprises and are having great seasons and playoffs. And, yeah, Jesse P. seems like a bit of a disaster for handling this year. My Highlights – resilience in the playoffs (showing some kind of character). Round 1- coming back after a 7-0 drubbing to win the next game coming from behind in overtime. Round 2- coming back after blowing a 3-0 lead to win the next game in tsunami fashion. It’s the Duckies who have been hanging on by a webfoot in these last 3 games. After Wednesday, may they see the bottom of the pond.

  • Ryan68

    Highlight of the year is watching this team play like a TEAM. The most disappointing thing has been the disappearence of the “second” line off the score board. Now that they have Leon running his own line with Lucic and Slepyshev we can stop leaning so much on Connor. That was wonderful to see in game 6. I knew it was Eberle and RNH holding Lucic back.

  • Canoe Ride 27.1

    Highlight was sweeping the season series against the Flames and casting them back into our shadow. Well that and watching our Stud #1 & 2 centers, post fatherhood Cam Talbot, Kassian defending Hendo and taking on the Coyotes in a fight with his crazy eyes, Looch beating up on the Preds and scoring, Patty’s Hatty…

  • Field Marshal

    Great questions. Can’t help but think that Chiarelli has likely made up his mind about Eberle and his lack of production during the postseason. He *isn’t* a “Chiarelli-type” player and I see him gone in the summer.