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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Is McDavid the best ever at high speed?

Welcome, Internet friends, to a Thanksgiving Monday edition of the Mailbag where you’ve asked our panel of literary wizards any little thing that popped into that creepy mind of yours (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about). Creepiness aside, the mailbag only works because you guys send me your questions and I’m a little bit light going into next week. If you have a question for the Mailbag you can email them to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or DM me on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now, it’s time for you to learn something. Enjoy.

Apr 12, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot (33) makes a save during warmup against the San Jose Sharks in game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) Matthew asks – I’m still feeling the high from the season opener win against Calgary and I would like to know what you thought was most impressive about it? Outside of Connor McDavid’s performance, what did you notice that caught your eye?

Jason Gregor:

The Oilers team defence. They were very organized, had close support all over the ice and gave up very few chances. It shows the benefits of having the same head coach and the majority of the same players playing the same system. Continuity is a major advantage. It also allowed them to work on new things in practice. I noticed three set offensive zone plays specifically designed off of winning faceoffs and engaging the D-men to come down off the point and into the slot.

Lowetide:

Leon Draisaitl was outstanding, the defense was calm and effective, all four lines had good moments and Cam Talbot made some great saves. Awesome opener! I also think there’s some iron in that performance, in that if the team can repeat it we may be talking about a long playoff run in the spring.

Matt Henderson:

Outside of McDavid, what I noticed after that game was that when Nuge played against the 3M line, the Flames trio had 0 shot attempts. Zero. He had his assignment and crushed it. RNH is finding the right balance between offense and defense, but when he commits to defense, he produces results.

Robin Brownlee:

Well, that high looks a little bit different after that loss in Vancouver, no? If you look at the season in one-game segments you’re going to be all over the place. The Oilers were sound defensively against the Flames and Cam Talbot and McDavid took care of the rest. Not the case in Vancouver.

Chris the Intern:

Zack Kassian had an incredible game. A lot of people forget that he went 13th overall in the 2009 draft. A very underrated player that has played some huge games for us last year. I expect he’ll have another solid year.

Baggedmilk:

I thought Nuge had a good night. He was strong on the puck, sound defensively, and looked much better in the o-zone once McLellan added Kassian to that line. I also thought Klefbom and Larsson looked really good. Calgary couldn’t get much done offensively as it was, but when Larbom was on the ice they had nothing.

Oct 4, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his third period goal against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Oiler fan in Van asks – Are there any comparables past or present as far as players go that can handle the puck with speed like McDavid? I know he’s faster than almost everyone but can you remember anyone that can make moves at full speed like that?

Jason Gregor:

Pavel Datsyuk’s speed never changed when he had the puck. No one has been as fast as McDavid, but Datsyuk and of course Mike Modano flying through the neutral zone, are the two I remember. Pavel Bure was explosive, but he wasn’t smooth, he was more of a hard, fast, choppy skater.

Lowetide:

The fastest men I’ve seen (era appropriate) were Bobby Orr, Yvan Cournoyer, Bobby Sheehan and Pavel Bure. Connor McDavid is faster than any of them and that includes factoring in era. He is the fastest man in history.

Matt Henderson:

I remember Pavel Bure being unreasonably fast, but I don’t recall how much puck handling he did at top speed versus straight away speed. I don’t know if there are people who have ever been able to do what McDavid can do. He’s Magic

Robin Brownlee:

Pavel Bure.

Chris the Intern:

Absolutely not. There are a lot of guys that have nice hands (Kane, Datsyuk) but no one can do it at the speed that Connor does.

Baggedmilk:

The closest I can think of is the same as everyone else — Pavel Bure. He was really quick in bursts and had the hands to match it. That said, Connor is on a whole different planet and the game he’s playing isn’t the same one we’re watching.

Sep 18, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Kailer Yamamoto (56) controls the puck in front of Calgary Flames goalie Mike Smith (41) during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

3) Shane asks – What takeaways did you get from Kailer Yamamoto’s NHL debut?

Jason Gregor:

He was nervous, but also the speed and pace of the regular season game is much harder than the preseason. I think many overestimated preseason performance. He has excellent hockey sense, but he needs time to develop.

Lowetide:

It was quiet and had no mistakes. That’s a reasonable result. Todd McLellan will need to see more but this young man has enormous talent and we’ll see if he can figure things out by Game 10.

Matt Henderson:

My takeaway was that McLellan pulled the chute on this experiment early. The fact that Yamo didn’t play against Vancouver either AND was on the fourth line in practice Sunday makes me think he won’t be long for the NHL unless he really starts knocking it out of the park.

Robin Brownlee:

Nothing new. The adjustments and the transition for rookies, even very skilled ones like Yamamoto, take time.

Chris the Intern:

I think it was a real eye-opener for him. We all know guys don’t go 100% in the preseason so this game was a lot faster and more intense than what he was used to. I expect him to settle down and get a little more comfortable in these next couple games. Hopefully, he can pot one soon.

Baggedmilk:

I think he was played almost as expected. He’s a young guy in his first NHL game and the nerves were probably at their peak. I think he’ll calm down a bit for game two, whenever that may be, and that we’ll see a better Kailer Yamamoto than what we saw last Wednesday. That said, we have until game nine to make the call so I wouldn’t put too much into only one night.

Feb 21, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

4) Mason asks – If you were Todd McLellan, how long would you go before Laurent Brossoit starts a game?

Jason Gregor:

Good question. The Oilers have a very light schedule and even if he waits until the sixth game to play, he wouldn’t play until October 19th. I think he starts the matinee game in Philadelphia on the 21st. They play in Chicago on Thursday night and a matinee game on Saturday is close to back-to-back, so he will play one of them I believe. The fact he played close to 40 minutes in Vancouver, and played well, should guarantee he starts a game within two weeks.

Lowetide:

I let the starter go as long as he’s comfortable, with the caveat being if he appears tired or there’s a wobble in his game or a pronounced loss.

Matt Henderson:

He played extremely well in relief, but I would give Talbot at least two more starts in a row before I even think about Brossoit playing. Get the big guy in a rhythm again first.

Robin Brownlee:

McLellan has to make that read off Talbot, as he did in pulling him in Vancouver Saturday. Brossoit was outstanding in relief against the Canucks. Back-to-back games are obvious opportunities.

Chris the Intern:

It will be dependant on how the team is doing. If they lose the next five in a row then maybe toss Brossoit a bone. If they win the next ten in a row It would change things obviously.

Baggedmilk:

I bet Dadbot goes on a run of five to seven starts in a row before LB gets one, and I say that even after the loss in Vancouver. I don’t think the Oilers should play Talbot as much as they did last year but I wouldn’t be surprised if they let him get into a grove before Brossoit got a chance to play.

5) Avery and a friend ask – My buddy bought his girlfriend a very expensive custom longboard then she broke up with him right before he gave it to her. Now she feels bad and wants to buy it from him. He obviously doesn’t want her pity but he can’t just give it to her! What does he do?? We NEED to know from the experts!

Jason Gregor:

If she wants to buy it, let her pay for it. Don’t look at it as pity. The male ego can get us in trouble. Your buddy shouldn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want him. Wish her good luck, take her money and don’t show her the breakup bothers him. It is difficult, but he’ll be better off letting her buy it as a parting gift. Don’t be a “Bad breaker upper” to quote the legendary Seinfeld. Or he can just return it to the store. If it hasn’t been used there shouldn’t be an issue returning it.

Lowetide:

I think your buddy should respect this young lady’s wishes and allow her to pay for the product. I will say this sounds like an exceptional young woman and he’s probably unlucky it didn’t work out.

Matt Henderson:

Take the pity money. You’ll probably get your money back sooner than via Kijiji. Being proud is commendable, but your friend probably feels like trash anyway. He might as well not be broke at the same time.

Robin Brownlee:

He can’t just give it to her? He already did, no? Don’t be a cheapskate.

Chris the Intern:

My friend had a similar story happen to him as well, but with a beer pong table. I’ve got a couple different options for your buddy. 
1. If it was an ugly breakup, 100% take her money. If she’s offering, why the hell would you refuse it and be out (probably) hundreds of dollars? 
2. If it was a nice breakup and he’s still all emotional about it, I suppose he could keep the longboard. Either keep it, sell it to someone else, or wait for the next girlfriend.

Baggedmilk:

Now we’ve got something that I can dig into a little bit! First question, though, is if your buddy thinks that he can get this girl back or if he even wants her back. If he does, then it would be a cool move to just say “Nah babe you can have it. I bought it for you and I want you to have it” and then go complete ghost mode on her over the next few weeks. Remember, absence makes the heart go fonder and nothing will keep her in your mind quite like ignoring her completely. If he doesn’t want to try and rekindle the romance then you’re damned right you take that money, head to the Pint, and use it try to find another girl.

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  • Deep Purple

    I like lowtides comparables, but I`d add Bobby Hull – amazing speed, hands and power. Like Hull and Orr, McDavid has that added power and is going to be special for years to come.

  • madjam

    Dear jilted : Do the honorable thing and don’t use a pity route , and put her on a guilt trip by selling it to her , or even giving it to her free bono . She’ll respect you much more for doing so . Keep the board , and try and return or sell it on your own to another party . It was your mistake not hers , learn from it .

  • regw

    Dear Avery: We understand, (as a group) your pain and loss… Unfortunately material items such as “longboards” are replaceable and do lose value as time goes forward. What the real problem may be is the loss of personal pride and dignity, (See Flames forum) We all sympathize with you in our own way and trust your dilemma will come to an amicable settlement, and, we also do hope Calgary somehow finds a way to get the municipal elects to give Calgarians a replacement for their crushed/tarnished tin-palace…

  • camdog

    As I have said from the beginning, Connor’s game is most similar to Bobby Orr’s (from what I have seen on replays). They may play different positions in a different era, but the way they can/could control the tempo is similar. I’d like to see Connor on defence for a few games, it would be fun to watch.

  • #97TRAIN

    I caught the tale end of Orr’s career but I can’t imagine anyone being faster than McDavid. I think Orr and Coffey were neck and neck as fluid skaters but McDavid is unreal, with great hands.

  • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

    Place the longboard in front of her door. If she opens the door and takes it, you look like a good guy. If, however, she doesn’t look, steps on the longboard, and takes a violent fall… You’ve got a hilarious story and potentially a viral video, so it’s really a no lose situation.