Sail on, Richard

Dick Tarnstrom. He was always one of those guys who played for crappy teams and put up points but you never really knew if he was any good. Kind of like Clay Kirby before the Reds traded for him.

Turns out Dick Tarnstrom was a pretty damn good hockey player. Nice skater, moved the puck well, had some gaps, some injury troubles and despite impressive offense at the NHL level his shot wasn’t much to write home about.

In other words, a flawed but valuable NHL hockey player. The Oilers badly needed him the day they signed him but like a gambler in Vegas down on his luck and looking for the Johnny Cash, the Oilers kept finding better options in one narrow view and not addressing other areas.

Possibly more than any other player on the Edmonton Oilers, Dick Tarnstrom was a victim of the madness that was the Oilers summer 2007.

Kevin Lowe did the honorable thing by cutting Dick Tarnstrom loose.

Looks like one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

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4 Responses to "Sail on, Richard"

  1. Dennis says:

    The first thing I think of when I see that picture is that face doesn’t go with that hair;)

    I posted something on Tarnstrom awhile ago; his career as an Oiler was as star-crossed as any I’ve seen.

    They wanted him early in the ’06 season but had to wait to get him because he got hurt. Then by the time he was healthy, they’d picked up Spacek as well. Then the guy supposedly played hurt that year while he was an Oiler.

    In the summer of ’06 when the Oilers were dying for a guy that could move the puck and play point on the PP, Tarnstrom stayed in the Europe. Most say it was for family reasons but I think I also read that he was asking for a lot of money.

    So, it’s the summer of ’07 and he signs to come back and it looks like a soft landing because the Oilers don’t have a lot of guys that can move the puck. So, he signs on Canada Day but then everything turns on him:

    - Later on that same day that Dick signed, the Oilers pick up Pitkanen.

    - On July 12th the Oilers sign Souray.

    - Come camp Tom Gilbert takes the next step

    - Oilers call the rope store and put in an open order for Grebeshkov

    That was the end of the line for Tarnstrom.

  2. Black Dog says:

    I thought MacT just didn’t like him but then they signed him again this summer.

    And then ‘holy cow’ we had a lot of defencemen all of a sudden.

    Thing with Tarnstrom is that he had his warts, of course, but they never let him do the one thing that everyone knew he was good at – that is, run the PP.


  3. Vic Ferrari says:

    I agree, Black Dog. Also, he’s the kind of guy who could probably make hay for you playing in a more offensive role. Against lesser lights quite a bit, starting shifts in the offensive end of the rink, and as you say the first unit PP. Just generally that sort of thing, the offensive ice time.

    And though player roles have changed with the phase of the moon this season in Edmonton, by and large he’s played some tough minutes for this squad. I make him to be the D that has played the most difficult 5v5 icetime on this squad, granted a few are bunched together far more than most teams.

    And only Staios started a larger chunk of faceoffs in his own end, and that just by the skinniest of margins.

    Heading the other way, it’s Souray just edging out noted offensive dynamo Matt Greene. Seriously. Up front it’s Nilsson leading the charge, followed by the famous rookies and Penner. It’s a good team to be a new guy on in this way, they’re eating up a lot of the opportunity.

    I mean if the zone of faceoffs just fell from the sky like raindrops, the chances of Greene starting that many in the offensive end of the rink, by coincidence alone, is 1.2%. Now Letang, Russell, Liles and a few others are surely all well below 1% in the “it just can’t be coincidence, can it?” derby. But that makes sense.

    This doesn’t.

    It’s Matt fucking Greene, people.

    So when MacTavish tells the papers that he’s glad that Greene is coming back to help take the load off of Souray playing the tough minutes … that tingly sensation you’re feeling is smoke being blown up your ass.

    Welcome to Upsidedownland, Pat. Craig MacTavish will be your guide today.

  4. Asiaoil says:

    Hey getting a gritty bottom six winger for this team is great…….in September 2007.

    Just another example of how out of touch Lowe is. Way too little, way too late – and as Vic said the way this team is being managed and coached may make sense in wonderland but nowhere else.

    Picking up Penner, Souray and giving up the draft picks meant trying to be competitive this season – failing to bring in a few more vets for key roles and playing the kids so much means giving up the season and building for tomorrow.

    Is anyone in charge of this mess or have a clue about what they are trying to accomplish? Lowe’s past 18 months have been right up there with Milbury in terms of utter incompetence.

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