62
Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – When will we see Mikko Koskinen?

Welcome, friends, to yet another edition of the Monday Mailbag! Whether you’re at work, at school, or at home, we both know you’re not doing anything even remotely productive and I salute you for your commitment to retired living. And since you’re not doing anything work-related anyway, why not enjoy a few thousand words worth of free wisdom — sound good? As always, this feature depends on all of you and I need questions for next week so if you’ve got one you email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Until then, let’s all gather round to enjoy this here mailbag. 

1) Brady asks – Are you guys at all surprised by how angry Oilers fans have been since the loss against New Jersey? I was upset by that game too, but it seems like many are writing the team off already.

Jason Gregor:

There is a lot of anger, not so much for one game, but from 12 years of suck, and the fact the team looked as inept in that game as they did most of last season. I’m not surprised fans are on edge.

Robin Brownlee:

Not really. Fans here have been very loyal, but they’ve watched a dozen years of ineptitude, two seasons ago aside, and that builds up. There’s even some moaning after wins, like Saturday in New York, but that’s also to be expected because one win doesn’t undo years of frustration and failure.

Matt Henderson:

I’m only surprised that it took 11 years of failure out of the last 12 to make people stop drinking the Kool-Aid. It was just two losses to open the year but everything wrong with the team was anticipated by many fans. So many fears were confirmed. People SHOULD be angry about this defense, the wings, the PP, and the general state of the club.

Christian Pagnani:

Not at all. They’ve been through this before. I don’t fault them for being upset. We heard all summer about a different attitude and starting strong. Then they come out with that effort against New Jersey?

Chris the Intern:

It just proves how on edge and nervous everyone is for this season. Being so angry after one loss is bound to happen when you’ve only made the playoffs once in the last 11 years. I get it, but at the same time, it’s one measly game.

Baggedmilk:

Am I surprised? No. Missing the playoffs 11 out of 12 years will do that.

2) Taylor asks – At TSN, Ryan Rishaug reported that the Oilers allowed the NHL to keep them on the road after their European trip when most other teams return home afterwards. What are your thoughts on this decision?

Jason Gregor:

It was two games and they went 1-1 on those games. They returned to Edmonton Saturday night and then will go to Winnipeg on Monday afternoon. None of us know if it would have helped or not. The theory is the team had more time together and they tried to gradually adapt back to North America time zone (East) rather than come all the way home. The Oilers have made many decisions that were easy to see weren’t going to work out, I don’t see this as one of those.

Robin Brownlee:

Bad decision. It’s too much time away, even though the team returned to Edmonton from New York and will be here a couple of days before flying out to Winnipeg. I think it’ll be 18 days between games at home between the pre-season game against Calgary and the Boston game coming up. Doesn’t make sense to me.

Matt Henderson:

I think it’s a weird choice for the team considering the management knew they may not be here long if October and November don’t go their way. That said, maybe they thought that easing their way into the time zones would be more impactful. No clue. Let’s see how the gamble pays off.

Christian Pagnani:

Strange. You’d think they’d want to come home but maybe they want the challenge of a road trip after playing in Sweden. That’s the best I can come up with.

Chris the Intern:

They might have been wanting a long road trip for some team bonding and morale building? I hope it doesn’t backfire on them. We all knew how important the first ten games are. It’s a risk they are taking, and I really hope it works out. I’m not mad at them for trying it, if they turn this thing around and win out the remainder of the road trip it will be chalked up as a win…maybe.

Baggedmilk:

Yeah, I thought it was a little bit weird that they willing chose to stay on the road instead of the letting the guys go home, but I guess they want more home games to finish the year? We’ll see how it plays out.

Sep 27, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen (19) skates at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Brett asks – I was shocked when I looked at the schedule and saw nothing but tough games coming up. With that in mind, what’s your best guess as for when Mikko Koskinen gets his first start?

Jason Gregor:

Good question. If Talbot plays well, I don’t think we see him until the end of October in one of the back-to-back games. I’ll say in Chicago on October 28th.

Robin Brownlee:

Possibly in Chicago on the 28th after playing in Nashville the day before, but I’d base that on how Talbot says he feels and what’s happened results-wise between now and then.

Matt Henderson:

November…if Todd feels like he isn’t one loss away from being let go.

Christian Pagnani:

One of Chicago/Nashville at the end of the month.

Chris the Intern:

Right now we need W’s so I’m hoping we don’t see him anytime soon. Their first back to back games are on the 27th and 28th of this month. I don’t think they’ll use Koskinen until they absolutely need him, and those are the days it will happen.

Baggedmilk:

Looking at the schedule, I don’t even know what to guess. Nashville maybe? I honestly don’t know. There are no gimme games in October so he’ll get thrown into the fire no matter who he plays.

4) Stacey asks – Were you at all surprised that Todd McLellan mixed up his lines so early in the season? I know it’s only the bottom six that saw changes but it still seems early to pull out the blender.

Jason Gregor:

I have no issue with it. He has kept the lines pretty much intact. Putting in Caggiula has helped the third line. They were excellent in NY. I have no problem with it.

Robin Brownlee:

He made in-game adjustments. Not the same as changing everything up. Need results now.

Matt Henderson:

He blended them up then put them back together (mostly) in the games. I don’t like the blending of lines this early and I really don’t like Todd’s combinations in particular. He has some strange ideas about what works.

Christian Pagnani:

It’s a little early, but it’s only the bottom six. I’m not surprised. A slow start could mean the end for McLellan. He has to try something before things get away from them.

Chris the Intern:

Yes and no. Todd is known for pulling out the blender so part of me knew something like that was coming. I honestly didn’t think it would come so soon, I was hoping it wouldn’t come so soon, but it happened. The players requested less line jumbling in exit interviews last year and I couldn’t agree more. With that said, why did Todd do it so early?

Baggedmilk:

Not overly surprised considering he loves mixing it up. Though, you have to give him credit for his moves working on Saturday. Benning and Kassian struggled in Boston and they were both watching against the Rangers.

Sep 21, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Team North America center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his first period goal against Team Sweden with centre Connor McDavid (97) during preliminary round play in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

5) Harley asks – Ray Ferraro caused a stir today when he said that Auston Matthews is a 1A to Connor McDavid when talking about the best player in the league. Do you agree with this assessment?

Jason Gregor:

His entire interview was about saying it will no longer be Crosby and Ovechkin/Malkin. He felt the two stars now and in future will be McDavid and Matthews. If I’m drafting a team today, McDavid is first pick and Matthews would be my second. People love to get overly offended about things. Ray tweeted four different ways after his tweet, that he has McDavid #1 and Matthews right behind him. I don’t see another forward I would put in that group. If Matthews played for another team, opposing fans wouldn’t dislike him as much. I find many hate the Leafs, mainly the over coverage of the Leafs, and so Matthews is guilty by association. He is a dynamic player. He is on fire to start the season, one of the best starts to a season from any player. I enjoy watching Matthews, he is an exciting player. I have him #2 behind McDavid also. People can argue about how far behind, but that is irrelevant to me. I have him second, if you want to get upset about how close someone says he is to McDavid, go ahead, but I don’t see it being something that really matters. No sane person has said Matthews is better.

Robin Brownlee:

Ray’s assessment is that McDavid is better than Matthews. Anybody disagree? Let’s not split hairs on phrasing and look for issues where there are none.

Matt Henderson:

I think Matthews was shooting 50% for a while. So if he shoots 50% all year he will be 1A to McDavid. Until then, there are better players in the league. Not many, but there are better. He’s really really good though.

Christian Pagnani:

Definitely. I don’t see why this is a big deal. He was a point-per-game centre at age 20 in his second year in the league. That’s without top power play time, too. As long as he stays healthy,  I could definitely see 90 points from Matthews this season. McDavid’s still at the top but I’m curious how close Matthews can get.

Chris the Intern:

Ray Ferraro got a lot of RT’s and engagement with that tweet so his job is accomplished. Auston Matthews is an amazing player, but he is no Connor McDavid.

Baggedmilk:

Who cares? Seriously. If Toronto wants to sell that story then more power to them. Drive his contract price up.

NATION ROADIE TO CALGARY

Photoshop: @isuckatpicking

Just like last year, it was important for us to try and make this trip as cheap as possible and to announce it as early as we could to give you as much time as possible to get your life in order. Based on last year’s trip, this is a roadie that you really won’t want to miss — it’s an absolute blast and a good chance to get ridiculous behind enemy lines. And since I already know that you want to come, let’s get to the when, where, and how much, shall we?

Give me the details, guy:

  • When? Saturday, November 17th, 2018
  • How much? The depends on how many people are coming with you. To put it another way, we’ve got a range of options including single occupancy ($329/person) up to groups of four ($249/person).
  • Why? Because we love to party
  • Where do you buy tickets? Right here, friend. But be warned, just like the last time we did this, the trip sold out quickly and procrastinating will be your enemy if you want to come.
  • Spydyr

    The reason many are peeded off because of the slow start is because lack of effort and not doing enough in the off season to fix the many holes on the team. Then more bad decisions. If you think Benning is a top four defenceman you are incompetent. The holes they did try to fix look like bad moves 2.7 million for a KHL goalie.

    Unfortunately until the tier one fans have enough and stop buying $250 tickets $13 beer and $27 hamburgers nothing will change.

    • Stinky Mitt to the Face

      At least the Oilers have $5MM in cap space to sign Upshall…. An actual second pairing Dman would go a LOOOONNG way to fixing the blue line. Benning could pay third pair and Bouch can go back to London. Although I have been pleasantly surprised by Bouch’s defence. I think that he is defending better than Benning. He may not be as physical but he is making better reads.

    • Hemmercules

      I don’t think playing Benning in the top 4 was the plan. When Sekera got hurt the free agent pool was dried-up. Maybe there was a trade out there in mid to late august but not many teams are ditching top 4 dmen for pennies. Too bad Sekera didn’t ruin himself a month earlier, would have gave Chia way more options.

    • 18% body fat

      im behind you on this, but please tell me why, i should give up my season tickets that if is sell 30 games for between cost and face value, that i can go to 10 for free.

      why would people stop buying my tickets that are reasonably price, and actually a great deal relative to what the oilers would charge

      now i dont buy stuff at the game, so dumb. In fact, makes me wonder now that there is no tip option on the debit machines, if the oilers tip out and a percentage as to why.

      If you can get the 14000 ticket holders, the 3000 in line, and probably the 250,000 people who buy tickets per game to stop buying I will join them?

      Would you give up 10, 20, 30, 40 years of season ticket seniority, to prove a point? Maybe you have in the past. But we are all die hard fans here, and unless you are a “tier one” fan and in there shoes, not sure you can say you would give it up.

      I do know 4 guys at my work who did give up there tickets, but they are more casual fans.

      • JimmyV1965

        No offence. You are allowed to do whatever you like, but this is the problem. You won’t get rid of the season tickets even though the owner doesn’t deserve your support. What are you missing? I’m actually surprised you were selling tickets above face value last year. That’s an even bigger problem. Awful team and people are still paying above ticket value to watch.

        • rossy2623

          No offence to you. You are allowed to say whatever you like, but this is also the problem. See, I don’t want to be an Senators fan who don’t want to go to game and say we want Stanley Cup team. the Owner has given us a new building which might be required rather than lots of people wanted it. The Salary cap is 800 million plus the coaching and other cost for the team. I would just pay $250 for watching Mcdavid, hell i ll buy 2 so that my son can see and fell in love with hockey. I say the owner deserves my support in bad times more than just playoff times. Yes we might deserve better GM or coaching or analytics but I cant understand why fans say get rid of tickets. To me it sounds bandwagon. There are holes but to fix that getting rid of the season tickets is not the answer.

        • 18% body fat

          I think you missunderstood what i said.

          The cost of the ticket is about 60 dollars, the face value is 90. If we sell them for 75 we make money and the buyer gets a good deal. Essentially taking 15 dollars per ticket out of the oilers hands an into mine.

          Imagine if every ticket holder did that.

          Now mine are easy to sell because they are very reasonable price. 2 sections over or 3 rows up the price goes up considerably.

  • Serious Gord

    1. If they hadn’t got mad that would be a story (and would have struck fear in the organization)

    2. What is don’t understand is why did they go all the way over there and play just one game in a backwater like Gothenburg? Is the NHL not a big enough draw for Oslo and Helsinki?

    3. Chicago. If the team is 2-7 before then maybe not until November.

  • 18% body fat

    I think they stayed on the road thinking the jet lag and time zone difference would be eased in. two problems, 1. there was enough days in between to come back home to compensate for the time difference and 2. why agree to a matinee? this defeats the purpose of trying to negate the jet lag.

  • OilersBro

    It’s been two games but I’ve like how Cags has fought for his position on the third line. I wrote him off at the start of the season and had him pegged for the presser, but he’s making a case to stay in the lineup.

    • Spydyr

      Cags is no dummy he knows he is playing for his NHL life this season. I just hope he keeps it up and other players cough Zack cough pick up on the effort required.

  • OilersBro

    Hey guys, as a huge Oilers fan in Toronto, this McDavid and Matthews thing is getting overhyped. Here’s a list of reason we should stop hating on the Leafs so much:
    1.Matthews, while not as good as McDavid is still talented
    9. Tavares (pajama boy) took a hometown discount!
    6. They are a starting the year on fire (5-1)
    7. They don’t even need Nylander to win

    • JimmyV1965

      I love the narrative that Tavares was a hometown discount at $11 mill. That’s an expensive discount. Just because the Sharks were willing to pay $13 mill, which would have been an amazingly bad deal, doesn’t make $11 mill a discount.

    • Oh gawd the Toronto-centric media thing. I’ll tell you bud nobody in the rest of the NHL or the rest of the world for that matter gives a rats @$$ about Toronto. The whole Matthews thing and obnoxious TO fans are making the rest of the NHL hate the Leafs I’ll tell you that much.

    • Redbird62

      A win is a win and full credit to the Leafs for doing so, but their first 5 games were against teams that did not make the playoffs last year. So they are winning the games they should win (except against Ottawa) which good teams do but on fire is an overstatement. What they are doing right now though is scoring a pile of goals.

    • IRONman

      Toronto is going into cap hell. Mitch hits 80 pts he deserves 10 million. Matthews hits 50 goals deserves at least 11 million. Jake hits 50 pts is 7 million. And nylander is out. I hope the leafs score lots and watch the crazy

  • Bills Bills

    The team needs to adjust their style of play. Go to a trap style that chokes the offence out of the opposing team. We don’t have the guns to run so adapt they must. If it means that McDavid ends up on 80% of the scoring, so be it. But unless they can lock things down defensively it really doesn’t matter. If things don’t turn around, perhaps we will see Hitchcock behind the Oilers bench this season. Or maybe the next Jacques Lemaire? Trust me I don’t like the way those guys coached hockey but they won. I will take it.

  • OldOilFan

    It’s becoming painfully clear: THE ROSTER ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

    The team structure fell apart [at the end] against Anaheim in the playoffs. It was like they were being undressed on the ice, literally and figuratively. Anyhoo, since that last game in that series, the Oil haven’t been good at all. They “improved” to barely .500 in the second half last season despite facing backup goalies in some of those games. Faint praise.

    IF they can get Yammo going, then they might have a chance. The kid “should” be a 15 to 20 goal man, on paper anyway. Bouch looks like a keeper.

    • Bills Bills

      So if the roster isn’t good enough, you can keep playing the same system that isn’t working and hope the players change their ability. Which is truly the definition of insanity. Or you could change your structure to play in a way that utilizes the tools you have. And maybe, you might actually be competitive and win. Nobody tries to hammer in nails with a set of pliers and succeeds without a ton of grief.

      So the Oilers suck at playing a fast paced game. STOP TRYING TO FORCE A SQUARE PEG INTO A ROUND HOLE!!!!!! The players aren’t going anywhere, you all agree that Chia hasn’t made great trades with big name players and swapping out bottom pairing dmen and bottom six forwards is like shuffling the chairs on the Titanic! Time to accept what we have and play to their strengths.

  • btrain

    Its fun to ponder “if Matthews played for another organization” what would people think? I’m inclined to think of younger players around the league like Seguin, Liane, Eichel, Hall, Draisaitl, Scheifele, Tarasenko, McKinnon, Kucherov, Pastrnak, Boeser, Barzel, & Marner. If Matthews was playing for, lets say, the Carolina Hurricanes would he be lumped in with the above group or would there still be folks wanting to pencil him as something more. Barzel’s 85 point, calder trophy winning season, is 17 points better than Matthew’s Calder and best scoring season to date. Haven’t ever heard anyone even attempt to compare Barzal to McDavid. Kucherov @ 24 years old, finished last season with 100 points after leading the league for much of the year. That is 32 points better than Matthew’s best season to date and I have never heard anyone compare Kucherov to McDavid.

    For an American born player, who has yet to surpass the 70 point mark in a single season (Even our beloved Leon has done it twice), I am confident he would not be receiving anywhere near the level of projected credibility he has received as a Leaf. It has to be projected credibility because he has yet to outperform many of his peers listed above.
    Is Matthews a premiere player in this league, I have no doubt that he is. I am also sure he will only get better and perhaps someday soon, there will be an argument to be made that he is 1A. As of today, he has yet to surpass many of his peers, let alone McDavid, who has crushed everyone.

  • Odanada

    I suspect that the players are tuning TM out.
    I know the DOD has made everyone wary of coaching changes, but I think these guys need the breath of fresh air a new coach can bring.
    Who? I dunno.
    Definitely not an ex-Oiler.

    • Gaz

      Until this team’s management realizes that defensemen are critical to both (a) defending (what a concept) and (b) as the foundation upon which offense can be created, this team will struggle.

      It’s a team construction issue, not a coaching issue.

    • OldOilFan

      TM’s body language suggests that he has no answers for what’s happening on the ice.
      He has a valid background, he’s not fake, but yes, maybe the team needs a non roster shakeup. So what will it be: new coach, GM, owner?

      • daryl

        He is his own worst enemy will not give JP any significant playing time needs to be gone he is wasting a talent there. I predict that he next coach will use him and succeed.

  • Bills Bills

    I like Matthews because he is half Mexican. My wife is Mexican and we live there part time, awesome people. If he ever does win the cup, I hope he brings it to Mexico.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. Nope. Even for a positive guy like me, there are no excuses for that performance. If Jersey looked just as flat, then I’d start making excuses. But nope, not happy with that game. They were bettering in Boston and New York.

    2. I can’t comment on how that might help/hinder the team. But I will say this. If they win against Winnipeg tomorrow, they’re 2-2 to start the season which would be a positive sign.

    3.