Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What’s wrong with the power play?

Another Monday is here and that means it’s time to learn something waste company time! As always, the mailbag is the perfect opportunity to soak up some of that sweet, sweet hockey knowledge laid forth by our writers and to argue with us about it in the comments section. If you’d like to get in on next week’s mailbag, you can email me your question to baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. I always need peeps to chime in so please send them to me. Have a good week, everybody.

Oct 17, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) during the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1) Greg L. asks – What have you learned about Laurent Brossoit since taking over from Cam Talbot?

Robin Brownlee:

He’s got a lot of moxy. He battles. He’s mentally tough. That’s a start.

Matt Henderson:

He’s not reliable enough to count on and bad goals seem to come in bunches.

Cam Lewis:

He makes some pretty nice saves and he grinds his way through games even when he allows a bad goal early. I don’t see a starter here, but he’s certainly a capable NHL backup, it seems.

Chris the Intern:

Brossoit still looks like he’s not ready for the NHL. He’s a tough case. As McLellan mentioned in one of his pressers, LB makes a lot of high-difficulty saves, but struggles with the easy saves. Is this because the speed of the game and shots are a little too high for him? Or does he have the skill and no confidence? I will always be a fan of Brossoit as a goaltender. I don’t think he’s doing a terrible job stepping in for Talbot, but I don’t think he’s doing a fantastic job either.


To me, it’s wild how Brossoit can change so much from period to period. He really needs to work on his consistency and I think it’s going to be tough if he plays as little as he was before Talbot went down. I still have time for LB, and think he can be a good goaltender, but he needs to find a way to eliminate the softies because there are games when he looks really good and other where… well… not so much.

Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

2) Anthony asks – How long do you think Todd McLellan will keep the three centres apart considering the reduction in all of their time on ice?

Robin Brownlee:

He’ll mix and match as game situations dictate. We’ve already seen that.

Matt Henderson:

I bet Todd is pulling his hair out because it feels like there just aren’t any right answers. We’re probably getting close to seeing Leon and Connor together again.

Cam Lewis:

I’m not really sure what else he can do. The blender has seen almost every iteration of lines at this point. I’m sure Leon and McDavid will be back together sooner rather than later because the third line with Strome, Nathan Walker, Anton Slepyshev, or whoever else isn’t doing anything.

Chris the Intern:

Right now the team is struggling with effort as a whole from every single person. This makes it tough to decipher how successful and effective our lineups are because everyone is sucking at once.


I was wondering that too. Having the three Cs split up means that all of them are playing fewer minutes than they otherwise would. That said, Draisaitl is paid like a guy that’s supposed to carry his own line and he hasn’t done that yet so it’s an interesting situation. I would try him with Nuge again and see if they can’t work something out, because Jesse Puljujarvi is looking good with Connor right now.

Nov 11, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) congratulate right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (98) after he scored a goal against the New York Rangers during first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

3) Yves asks – What would you like to see the Oilers try differently on their power play? Clearly, the current plan isn’t working.

Robin Brownlee:

Power plays ebb and flow. Oilers ended a long goal-less drought on the road trip. Can’t draw anything up that hasn’t been drawn up already. Success depends on executing what’s on the board.

Matt Henderson:

Drop Letestu or Lucic and play Puljujarvi in those spots. The kid is dying to get set up for that one-timer. Let him loose.

Cam Lewis:

The power play hasn’t been great but it hasn’t been terrible either. A key, I find, is that the team gets fewer power play chances than anyone else, and if you aren’t getting the reps, you grip your stick a little tighter and try to feather that perfect pass rather than taking a shot.

Chris the Intern:

I would like to see the Oilers score more goals on the powerplay than they previously have.


I wish Puljujarvi would be the shooter on the boards. I don’t know what Todd has against putting him there, but that’s what I want. The kid has a booming shot and is not afraid to use it, something the power play has been missing virtually all year.

Apr 8, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan addresses players during a time out during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Edmonton Oilers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

4) Nathan C. asks – A video of Todd McLellan yelling at the players made the rounds on social media and I’m curious to know the panels take on the approach? Thanks in advance.

Robin Brownlee:

Wrote an item on my take. It’s a card a coach can play, but only so often.

Matt Henderson:

Sometimes people need to be yelled at. Maybe even a lot. I don’t know. In my professional life I don’t typically raise my voice when I’m dealing with adults. So when it happens it catches people off guard. That’s the point. It should be jarring. I would like to think a coach is doing that to change behavior. It only works if you aren’t screaming all the time.

Cam Lewis:

You can only do it so often, but based on the way the team played against Philadelphia, it was probably a good time to do so.

Chris the Intern:

Frankly, I don’t think we see enough videos of Todd yelling at the team. I’m sure he does it a lot, and they deserve every bit of it. But there does come a time where you can only yell at them so much. If they don’t respond well the first time you yell at them, they might not respond any different the 10th time. Again, we don’t know what’s going on behind the dressing room doors or how Todd has been coaching them so it’s tough to say.


I don’t have any problem with it. If you think that he was too tough on them then you’ve probably never played any competitive sports in your life. I remember coaches yelling at us like that when I was in Bantam and Midget, let alone the NHL. Toughen up.

5) Hugh asks – If the first quarter of this Oilers season was a move title what would it be?

Robin Brownlee:


Matt Henderson:

Ok. Here we go:
Redlight Cowboy
Crossing Jordan
Ocean’s 11 Right Wingers
Dude, Where’s My Playoff Team?
My Klef Foot
Todd Versus The Volcano
Cam Lewis:
Connor McDavid and The Chamber of Disappointment?

Chris the Intern:



Weekend at Bernie’s. Why? Because it looks like someone is trying to make the corpse that used to be the Edmonton Oilers live again.


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  • Spydyr

    The biggest difference I see with the Oiler team this season from last is the teams goaltending. Bad goaltending effects the entire team . It get difficult to claw back into games only to have your goalie let in yet another stinker. It effects the entire dynamics of the team. You need to have trust in your goaltender.

    • geoilersgist

      Ya, this is exactly what they need to do. There is way too much hesitation to shoot. The powerplay was moving the puck well yesterday, but didn’t shoot enough. Even that 5 on 3. The game should have at least been tied after that.

      • Anton CP

        It is not just that they don’t shoot enough, they have the wrong person shooting too often.

        Normally that on PP that puck movement is meant getting closer to the net or trying to open up the defense but the Oilers rarely do that. Passing the puck without moving the feet means the defense don’t have to move as much to guard the passing lane. When the Oilers trying to enter the zone that they have rarely carried the puck instead that they settled for dump and chase, the Oilers have a very high giveaways on PP due to the lack of effort on movements.

        What’s wrong with PP? The laziness. Especially with McDavid on ice that everyone just stop moving and waiting for McDavid to do his things.

    • Crazy Pedestrian

      It has been mentioned, that it’s quite possible that they are avoiding putting him on the pp to avoid potential bonus overages. Once it gets to a point where it’s nearly impossible for JP to get any extra bonus money, they will play him there..

  • madjam

    Dysfunctional poor grade depth that is unable to play quality minutes , which boils down to poor vision of GM that necessary advancement was coming from inside the team . Equally poor off season additions were even a worse calculation on the GM . Put it all together and you have a poor blend hockey team this year that no coach can overcome .

      • IRONman

        I feel the GM has had bad run of luck. No sekera, no Larson, no Cam. I can’t wait till the team is healthy. Sekera and Larson make massive impact on this team. I respect letting young players develop like Nurse and Benning but the D is too thin.

    • Anton CP

      So many puzzling things…I mean, Nurse has shown that he can move the puck well but he almost never get the call on PP (Benning has the second highest PP mins for D, only behind Klefbom). Both Maroon and Letestu are not shooters, they are more of snipers. Puljujarvi needs to have more PP mins so at least someone on ice can shoot the puck well enough.

    • Leaking5w-30

      Because having 2 great passers on a line with a guy with a wicked shot makes as much sense as having a top face off guy on a line with 97. Basically your suggestion makes too much sense!

  • Anton CP

    Of course that one thing the Oilers is seriously lacking is the veterans. Only 5 out of 26 (active+injured) are 30 or older and only 11 are 25 or older. So essentially that the Oilers are having almost 70% of the players are 24 or younger…the Oilers need more veterans and only 2 options can make it a possibility: sign/trade for them or wait for players become vets on their own.

  • Spoils

    I like the 3C attack. I would double shift Draisaitl to get him some time with RNH and McD (so playing with the 1st or 2nd line depending on the shuffle).

    His line had push against the leaves. And I am really liking having 3 dangerous lines (4 if you count what Juj -Let-Kas had been doing).

    can’t wait to get sekera larsson and talbot back. WOW that is a big tax on talent. can’t wait for the PP to turn around. can’t wait for the oilers to go 13 wins in 15 games to close out the season.

    dream the dream.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    Take Letestu off the PP. It’s like they’re not even looking at him as an option. Give JP a chance. What’s the worst that can happen? But in reality who cares about the PP when the PK is the real issue.

  • Oiler Al

    Hey Todd,get down to Canadian Tire and pick up couple dozen Goals and send these guys to their basements or driveways and start shooting when they get home. You have a $25 million centerfield here and cant score a friggfin goal against a fairly weak defensive team with a backup goalie, and their star player not dressed.