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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Thoughts on the Canadian teams moving south?

Happy Christmas week, dear citizens, and welcome to a fresh Mailbag where I’ve taken your Oilers questions, emailed them to our writers, and copied and pasted their answers right here on this very website. This week, we’re looking at the Canadian teams moving south for the season, a fanless World Juniors Championship, the new guys, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got one, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Mar 13, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The statue of Wayne Gretzky watches over an empty Rogers Place as the NHL suspends games because of the COVID-19 outbreak at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) James asks – What were everyone’s first thoughts after hearing the idea about the Canadian teams potentially moving to the US for the 2020-21 season?

Jason Gregor:

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The last thing we need. I thought it was unlikely that it would actually happen, but still it wasn’t ideal. I think a Canadian bubble or moving teams to the provinces that would allow games to be played is more likely. Thankfully we have the Canadian division for one year. I can’t wait to watch all the games.

Robin Brownlee:

Don’t like it for lots of reasons and I don’t think it’ll fly — I’m answering this before the NHL board of governors call on Sunday. I suppose I’d prefer it to no hockey at all, but I’m willing to bet we’re going to see substantial changes to what’s been voted on already when the post-Christmas COVID numbers start to soar. Finally, a Canadian division, but based in the U.S.? No.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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Like most fans, I wasn’t thrilled with it and honestly, I don’t think it’s going to happen. At the same time, it’s not like the Oilers were going to be having any fans at their games next season so there is a part of me that thinks, does it really matter where they play? If it’s the only way that we’re going to get NHL hockey next year, then I won’t complain about it, but I would really prefer if they kept the seven Canadian teams north of the border.

Baggedmilk:

Seeing as it already happened with the Raptors and Maple Leafs, maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised to see this idea pop up? That said, I think it’ll still be the all-Canadian Division but that’s me just guessing on a Sunday morning.

July 28, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA; A general view of Rogers Place is seen before an exhibition game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on July 28, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. Mandatory Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via USA TODAY Sports

2) Trevor asks – Since fans won’t be able to watch the World Juniors at Rogers Place, do you think there will be any advantages or disadvantage of not having the usual atmosphere in a short tournament like this? 

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see any advantage, other than possibly if you gain momentum, one play by your opponent that might have ignited the crowd and give your opponent momentum, won’t happen. I think it is a slight disadvantage to Canada as they clearly would have had the crowd behind them. The players are fired up for this tournament and I think it will be fun to watch, because there will be many scoring chances. Most of these players haven’t played much hockey this year, so there will be more mistakes, which leads to more opportunities.

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Robin Brownlee:

No. Same conditions for all the teams. Will miss the atmosphere because it’s a great tournament to watch live.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

At first, I thought it was a pretty big disadvantage for Team Canada. The crowd in Edmonton would have been INSANE in a normal year and that would have given the players a huge boost. At the same time, maybe this takes away some of the pressure that the kids are feeling and allows them to just focus on hockey. So I guess it’s both a curse and a blessing.

Baggedmilk:

I think it will be a disadvantage for Team Canada as they won’t have the home crowd behind them, so in that sense, maybe an advantage for whoever we play? Just spitballing here.

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Feb 28, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dominik Kahun (95) looks on during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

3) Anne asks – Even without much cap space, Ken Holland was able to add several new players to the roster. Which new guy is everyone looking forward to watching the most and why?

Jason Gregor:

Tyson Barrie for sure. He will play the most minutes and have the biggest impact. I’ve always liked how he engages in the rush and Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones will learn a lot from watching how good he is at joining the rush. They will benefit from it.

Robin Brownlee:

Tyson Barrie and Kyle Turris. Both players will be in significant roles and both are looking to rebound after difficult seasons elsewhere.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s Tyson Barrie for me. His puck-moving ability really excites me and I look forward to watching him hit McDavid with beautiful stretch passes all season. If he returns to the level he was at in Colorado then the $3.75 million deal that Holland gave him will be a bargain. He could also help their powerplay hit another level. I’m also excited to see how Kyle Turris handles his new role and how Dominik Kahun fits into the top-six.

Baggedmilk:

To be different, I’m going to go with Dominik Kahun because I think he has a real opportunity to play with a skilled centre that could help him break out offensively. Dare to dream?

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Dec 6, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and forward Leon Draisaitl (29) discuss a play during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

4) Oilers fan in Van asks – Does McDavid or Draisaitl lead the team in points at the end of the season?

Jason Gregor:

I’ll go with McDavid. He should be healthy. I expect both will be top-five in the league.

Robin Brownlee:

McDavid. He’s healthy, unlike the start of last season when he was coming off an injury, and he’ll be ready to go.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m going to say McDavid. He’s going to be coming off probably the longest offseason of his career and he will likely be 100% healthy, which he wasn’t at the start of last season.

Baggedmilk:

McDiesel. With this much time off to train, I imagine he now has four PCLs and that his rocket legs received some kind of software update.

5) Stephen asks – Last Christmas, I messed up with the gift I bought my wife when I got her a Google Home unit that she didn’t even ask for but I thought was cool to have in the house. She said it was a present for myself rather than something for her and has been reminding me about it for weeks. My question for the group is: what is the biggest Christmas gift disaster that you’ve had as either the giver or receiver?

Jason Gregor:

Received many bad sweaters from aunts when I was 16-19. It became a funny joke between me and my brother. They did work well for working outside at the farm, but I wouldn’t have worn them anywhere else.

Robin Brownlee:

Got a toy safari hunter set — rifle, pistol, ammo belt, hat, holster etc — when I was about five. Surprised my uncle when I shot him in the head and he fell down the stairs.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Oof, I honestly don’t think I have an answer for that. Sorry!

Baggedmilk:

One time I bought my dad a Columbo boxset but completely forgot that he didn’t have a Blu Ray player to even watch them. Those damned Blu Ray discs stayed in his closet for a year before I got him the player he needed just to watch them. Moral? I’m an idiot.

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