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Monday Mailbag – Is Jay Woodcroft really on the hot seat?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
3 months ago
Happy Monday, dearest Nation Citizens, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing Woody on the hot seat, this recent losing streak, angry press conferences, and much more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
May 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) reacts with teammates after being defeated by the Vegas Golden Knights of the third period in game six of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
1) @4blueandorange asks – Did Vegas break the Oilers like the Oilers broke the Flames?
Jason Gregor:
No. Oilers aren’t playing well, but it is their own wrongdoings.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t buy into the teams-breaking-teams narrative regarding any teams. The Oilers aren’t playing well enough to win right now.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
No. I don’t think what’s happening right now is a result of the Vegas series. This is just a bad start to the season.
Baggedmilk:
No. The past Oilers are not the current Oilers, but the current version is playing like shit.
2) @sean_howse asks – When will Holland start catching some heat? 11-7 and not being able to have a full 23-man roster in the NHL due to his terrible cap management is laughable coming from the highest-paid GM. Isn’t it fair to say that Holland should be on the hot seat more than Woody?
Jason Gregor:
Not sure why 11-7 is an issue. They used it effectively last season. Tampa won a Cup with 11-7 in over half their playoff games. That is the least of the Oilers issues. If the Oilers had an extra skater or two, who is essentially the 12th or 13th forward, I don’t see why that would solve their issues. Holland can be criticized for the forwards he elected to sign in bringing back both Janmark and Ryan. No need to do that. Campbell signing has been awful. Those are issues he needs to catch heat for, not 11-7.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t see 11-7 as an issue, but as far as the hot seat goes, it’s fair to say he’s made some questionable moves up front.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think he is catching a lot of heat from people. It’s also the final year of his contract, so what is firing him going to really do? It’s not like a different GM is going to magically come in here and make three trades in one week and fix this whole thing. That doesn’t happen. Panic trades won’t solve anything, remember Manning for Cagiulla? Holland will run out his contract and there will be a new GM next summer.
Baggedmilk:
I actually like the 11/7 when Connor and Leon are rolling, but they’re not right now and it’s compounded by other players being unable to score.
Apr 17, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings in game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place.
3) @digaa17 asks – In hockey, I fundamentally believe you need a 4th line that plays a role, has an identity, gets around 10 mins a game. The top three lines should have balance. Respect to Woody and Holland, but I detest 11/7! If you were the current GM/Coach, how would you construct the Oilers lines?
Jason Gregor:
They don’t have any players with an identity of a 4th line that is big, physical, great defensively or fast. They have all the same type players on the 4th line right now and it isn’t working. Hopefully Lavoie’s size can add a different dimension.
Robin Brownlee:
Depends on the circumstances, the opponent and potential match-ups. That said, I don’t see the identity you mentioned on the fourth lines the Oilers have rolled out. It’s like spare parts thrown together. I’m hoping Gagner and Lavoie will change the mix for the better.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I dig 11/7 because the Oilers have something that no other team does: McDavid and Draisaitl. Going 11/7, allows you to rotate your highly skilled top six players through the rest of the lineup and throw off the other teams plans for matchups. The Sam Gagner and Evander Kane duo doesn’t get put together and score two goals if you’re not playing 11/7.
Baggedmilk:
I’d like to see more physicality down in the lineup, but I don’t know that can happen with the current group. It actually bothers me a lot how no one down there is willing to throw their body around. As for the 11/7, I actually like it when Connor and Leon are rolling and can be slid into more favourable matchups.
May 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft looks on from the players bench during the second period against the Vegas Golden Knights in game six of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
4) Yves asks – At what point does Jay Woodcroft find himself in the crosshairs regardless of whether or not you think he is the issue?
Jason Gregor:
If the slump continues over next 5-6 games I think any chance is possible. HC will be looked at also.
Robin Brownlee:
Fire him just because? No. Play better. That’s a start. Then a trade or two if there isn’t improvement. If nothing changes, you look at coaching. It’s a second or third move for now.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I said if they’re not back to .500 by mid-December then we can have the conversation about a coaching change. It might sound like a too long of a time to wait, but I absolutely hate the idea of letting this core group get another Head Coach.
Baggedmilk:
Probably right now? I think he’s a ways away from getting fired, but if this slump continues through November then Woody will be gone for sure.
Jan 20, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers fans hold up a sign that make reference to comments made by forward Leon Draisaitl (29) to a local journalist at Rogers Place.
5) Marc asks – We hear a lot of angry words in the post-game press conferences, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference on the ice. Is the talk cheap or do you buy it at all?
Jason Gregor:
As I said on Friday. Dropping eff bombs is lame, especially when it hasn’t led to any change in on-ice performance. Talk is cheap from this group through 10 games.
Robin Brownlee:
It’s easy to talk the talk. Happens online all the time, no?
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I buy that they’re pissed off, there’s just been too many games this year where they don’t want to work hard enough to actually change anything. That wasn’t the case vs Dallas or Calgary but there have been plenty of other examples.
Baggedmilk:
Talk is cheap. I don’t care that you’re mad to the media, show it on the ice.

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