23
Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Battle of Alberta Recap

Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a brand new Mailbag to help you get your week started and recap the Battle of Alberta. This week, we’re looking at the Blake Coleman goal reversal, Jay Woodcroft’s first NHL playoff run, and a whole lot 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.

May 26, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first overtime period against the Calgary Flames in game five of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

1) @TheTowelBoy asks – Was it a kick?

Jason Gregor:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I was at the game and when I saw the replay the first time I thought it would stand. The longer the review went I felt was positive for Edmonton. Coleman admitted he knew what he was doing, but thought you could direct the puck in, without kicking it. Having watched it many times I never saw what they usually deem a kicking motion. Edmonton got a bit of a break. I still think the best team won the series, but I’d say they get a favourable decision on that play.

Robin Brownlee:

Apparently so. I thought it was a good goal on the first take in real time. Less convinced with each replay.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Was it a kick? It’s too hard to tell honestly. I will say that I don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn the call though. That goal probably should have counted. It wasn’t the reason why the Flames lost the series though!

Baggedmilk:

I was absolutely stunned that they called the goal back given that the call on the ice was a good goal. I just didn’t think there was enough evidence to change the call on the ice, but once the decision came back from Toronto, I knew the Oilers had to take advantage. The other thing about this is that there’s no guarantee that the Oilers couldn’t have come back to tie over the last six minutes anyway, so assuming that the Flames would have won is a decent leap anyway.

2) Ed asks – Now that his team has won the Pacific Division, Holland is looking pretty good. The team’s success has been helped by three key additions from over the last 12 months. Hyman, Kane and Keith. All have been key contributors, but if you had to pick one as being Holland’s most impactful add, which one?

Jason Gregor:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Difficult to answer. They’ve all been positive impacts at different times. Hyman was exceptional v. the Flames. Kane leads with 12 goals. Overall I’d say Kane as he adds overall elements this team desperately needed on ice — a big, fast, mean, skilled winger who could finish. He also has very good hockey instincts and is in the right position. Hyman’s tireless work ethic is very impressive and his ability and willingness to go to the tough areas to score were also needed. Keith has added stability on the backend, and the players rave about his calm demeanour on the bench and in the room. All three have helped, but I’d go with Kane if I had to pick one.

Robin Brownlee:

Most impactful is Kane. Best deal is Hyman. He’s a terrific player and he’s under contract for another six years at a reasonable AAV.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’ll rank them! Number one is Zach Hyman. He’s scoring clutch goals, killing penalties, and finding ways to be effective even when he’s not with McDavid or Draisaitl. Kane is a very close second. Keith is a very distant third in this group. He’s been good, but he has plenty of flaws and the acquisition price was the hardest to swallow of the three.

Baggedmilk:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

That’s a tough question but I’d have to give it to Hyman or Kane given the additional offence both of those guys have been able to bring into the lineup. We needed secondary scoring on this hockey team and both of those guys are doing exactly that.

May 18, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic (17) gets tangled up with Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian (44) in the third period in game one of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

3) @shaunmaddex asks – Is Woodcroft going to consider changing that fourth line at some point? They don’t contribute positively and he doesn’t play them.

Jason Gregor:

As he said in the article on Sunday, it has to do with matchups. Colorado will play their bottom six more, so we might see the fourth line more. But remember, playing the fourth line more means less of McDavid, Draisaitl, Kane, Hyman and RNH. Many keep saying how Holloway will do more than Archibald. He might, but will he do more than the top players would in those extra minutes? I wouldn’t expect much from Holloway if he only plays 5-7 minutes. It is very hard to contribute positively in low minutes unless you are used to playing low minutes.

Robin Brownlee:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We’re couch-coaching Woodcroft now with the Oilers on the way to the Western Conference final after dismissing the Flames in five games? Not me. Woodcroft has said matchups will play into things, so it’ll depend what the Avs do. Also, I do wonder about Kassian’s health status and if that’ll impact things.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I know it may sound weird, but I want Dylan Holloway in the lineup over Josh Archibald. Sure, Archibald is hitting a lot, but he’s been brutal away from the puck and it’s hurting the team. I’d love to see if Holloway can jump in and make a positive impact in the offensive zone.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t like that line at all and wasn’t overly surprised to see both Kassian and Archibald get fewer than five minutes in Game 5. For me, they just spend way too much time in their own zone and that’s obviously a problem.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
May 26, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal with teammates during the first overtime period against the Calgary Flames in game five of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

4) Mitch asks – What’s the biggest surprise from the Battle of Alberta series that saw the Oilers get through in only five games?

Jason Gregor:

How Kane eliminated Tkachuk from the series. After game one you barely noticed him.

Robin Brownlee:

I was surprised that a Vezina finalist like Markstrom was such a sieve. He didn’t finish even one of the five games at .900.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I was very surprised by just how bad Jacob Markstrom was. He’s a Vezina finalist and the Oilers made him look like an AHL goaltender. The Flame’s lack of ability to play a full 60 minutes was very surprising as well. The Oilers played great, and they’re arguably playing better right now than they ever did during the regular season, but if the Flames would have had their ‘A’ or ‘B’ game every night, this series would have gone to six or seven games.

Baggedmilk:

How Calgary’s top line — one of the best in hockey through the regular season — basically disappeared.

May 18, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

5) Vince asks – Jay Woodcroft has shown a willingness to make adjustments from game to game or even shift to shift and many of those changes worked well. What has most impressed you most about the way he’s navigated his first NHL playoffs as a head coach?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Jason Gregor:

He isn’t a normal NHL rookie head coach. He was an NHL assistant for 820 games. He was also a video coach with Detroit for 246. He was on the bench for 79 playoff games and cutting video for another 46. He won the Pacific division playoffs last year with Bakersfield (no league playoffs due to COVID). Coaching in high-pressure situations isn’t new to him. Yes, this was his first time having the final say as an NHL head coach, but he’s been through many series on an NHL bench prior, so I didn’t expect him to be overwhelmed.

He used his best players to his advantage. I saw some suggesting Edmonton relies too much on a small group of players. Why wouldn’t you play your best players more? I was most impressed by how consistent he was in his demeanour, sticking with how he wanted the team to play and his messaging. He didn’t waver, he was always calm, even after an ugly game one.

Robin Brownlee:

His concentration and ability to pay attention to what was happening on the ice in Game 5 with obviously planted distractions behind him. And, of course, the gate swing and hand-on-hip segment.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

He just seems to be pushing the right buttons with his line combinations. Also, I think his calmness has really rubbed off on the team. Even when the Oilers go down by a few goals, they don’t panic and they don’t change their game. They stay calm and keep chipping away. That’s a product of a team that’s fully bought in to what their coach is saying.

Baggedmilk:

I love that he doesn’t wait to make changes when he feels like the team needs it, and for the most part, those adjustments are working out nicely. Not to mention, the power stance plays.

MAILBAG IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CORNERSTONE INSURANCE

For 90 years and four generations, Cornerstone Insurance has been a family and employee-owned business in Edmonton with all of the insurance products you need for your ever-evolving life. Citizens of the Nation can get a discount here.