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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Getting more out of Kailer Yamamoto

We’re counting down towards the Christmas break and we’ve got a brand new Mailbag is here to help you get your Monday started and also to make sense of everything that’s going on with our beloved Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re talking about Kailer Yamamoto, the Olympics, Christmas movies, and more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, 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.

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

1) Jenna asks – COVID is spreading quickly through the NHL right now and my question is what is everyone’s take on how the NHL should handle the issue? Is it time for a pause? No fans?

Robin Brownlee:

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The NHL can only dictate policy to a point when the problem extends beyond the rink, as is the case with COVID. How I think the NHL should handle the situation isn’t necessarily what I’d like to see, but public health means more than being determined to keep playing come hell or high water, and it isn’t close. COVID doesn’t give a crap if we’re tired of it because it isn’t tired of us. Enough of the COVID fatigue excuses. Buckle down.

Jason Gregor:

We’ve already seen cross-border travel put on pause, mainly so players aren’t stuck vaccinating in a hotel room during Christmas. After Christmas I think the NHL will resume play. The vaccine is working. Players who are getting COVID have little to no symptoms. Once they have three negative tests in a row they are allowed back. I think there is a much higher chance you could see stadium capacity reduced more than the 50% we’ve seen in some places already. But that won’t be the NHL’s decision. It will be each state and province.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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I have a funny feeling we’ll get a pause here soon. Maybe even by the time this mailbag is released. There’s just too many players not available.

Baggedmilk:

I’m not nearly smart enough to know the answer to this question, but I imagine there will be a bunch of shifts in the schedule as we move into the new year. Just to get through the year, I can also see the NHL bringing back the taxi squad and further restricting what players can do when they’re off the ice even if it’s not a popular choice. Lots of money at stake here.

Nov 3, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrates a second period goal against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) @sprinterbodie asks – What do you think the Oilers need to do with Yamamoto to try and get more offence out of him?

Robin Brownlee:

What does Yamamoto need to do to produce more offence? Fixed. Show more of what he did against Seattle Saturday. Put pucks on net and get after them. Far from a great game, but an assist and a couple of shots. Getting back on track starts with the player.

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Jason Gregor:

He could start by shooting the puck. Getting some power play time for a game with RNH out likely helped his confidence. He got a point. He needs to regain his confidence. Most of that is on him, but the fact the coaches have continued to play him in the top-six is the most they can do. The rest is up to him.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I honestly don’t know what else they could do. They give him top-six minutes and he just doesn’t produce. He’s lucky there isn’t a better option to put next to Draisaitl. I like what he does away from the puck but his lack of ability to create scoring chances is concerning.

Baggedmilk:

The game he had against the Kraken on Saturday was the best he’s played in a while and if he can keep that up then the offence will come. I’m not worried about it.

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Nov 14, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) reacts after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

3) @Horby05 asks – Do you think that Mcdavid just needs to shoot the puck? In the game against Columbus, you’re on a 6 game skid so shouldn’t McDavid be looking to score more than trying to help his teammate get a hatty? Are they trying to force passes too much?

Robin Brownlee:

McDavid could be more selfish at times. He passed up a shot the other night that had to be taken. The good news is he’s more of a shooter now than when he came into the league.

Jason Gregor:

He has gone back to passing on almost every 2-on-1. Looking for Puljujarvi for a hat trick is one thing, but he and Draisaitl were on a 2-on-1 and the D-man basically gave McDavid the lane to shoot and he still tried to force the pass. When he was scoring more goals early in the year he was shooting more. I think the fact he buried the empty net goal, rather than pass to Draisaitl was a good step. Great goal scorers have a bit of a selfish side at times. It is hard to knock McDavid for wanting to pass, but a few more shots, when he’s in a good spot will help. In the first seven games of the season he had seven goals and 39 shots. His last seven games he has one goal and 26 shots. Look for him to start ripping the puck more after Christmas.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I didn’t mind him looking to get Puljujarvi his hat-trick but yes, I do think both he and Draisaitl need to rip the puck more. There are too many times, like when they had that two on one against the Blue Jackets, where everyone in the building knows that they’re going to force the pass. They both have really good shots and should use them more.

Baggedmilk:

I always want Connor to shoot more because he has a lethal shot and it will open up his passing lanes a little bit more. Not that I’m telling the best player in the world how to play, but I just think he’s so much better than everyone else that it makes sense for him to be a little bit more selfish from time to time.

4) Clay asks – What’s your best guess on how the Olympic situation plays out? Not only are the players risking a 3-5 week quarantine in China if they test positive, but there are also the political implications to think about as well.

Robin Brownlee:

I think the rapid spread of the latest variant has us headed for a shutdown at the NHL level and a no-go mandate from the players for the Olympics. I don’t see a way around it at this point.

Jason Gregor:

The NHL won’t be going. The lengthy quarantine and risk of players missing more NHL games after the Olympics are over is too big of a hurdle.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I really don’t think we’ll get NHL players at the games. With so many games being cancelled and the potential for a3-5 week quarantine in China, it just does not make sense. It really makes me sad because I wanted to see Sid and McDavid at the games together, but it just doesn’t make sense this year.

Baggedmilk:

At this point, I don’t see how the NHL will send a group of its best players overseas to compete in the Olympics when it’s already having problems getting the games played here in North America.

5) Geoff asks – Not an Oilers question but it’s Christmas week and I need to know what is everyone’s favourite holiday movie? Christmas Vacation is a yearly staple in my house.

Robin Brownlee:

Die Hard.

Jason Gregor:

Can’t pick just one. Some favourites include Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, A Wonderful Life, Elf and Love Actually.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

“Shrek The Halls”

Baggedmilk:

There are a bunch of Christmas movies that I really like so I’ll just hit you up with a quick list: Christmas Vacation, The Night Before, Scrooged, 8 Crazy Nights, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas because it’s a classic.

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