This is Steve Tambellini in about 1980 as a member of the New York Islanders. Before that he played for the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Lethbridge Broncos and was also part of the Canadian team at the 1978 WJC’s (8gp, 2-2-4).
He had a good NHL career (over 550 games, 160 goals and 150 assists) and old timey guys like me remember him which is always a good sign.
He was a member of the Stanley team on the Island 1980, but I don’t know if his name is on the Cup. When he was wrapping up his NHL career he signed with the Canucks, who at that time (and long after) represented the “Cleveland Indians” for NHL fans.
When he retired Tambellini was used by the Canucks in a media relations role (“congratulations to the Thornhill Elementary kids school patrol and on behalf of the Vancouver Canucks let’s all have a big MAC!”) A lot of years later he moved up the ladder to VP of Player Personnel, a very important position for any organization. In the years 1998 through 2007 the Canucks did procure and develop several quality NHL players and although the amount of credit given is impossible to measure we can at least give credit to his organizational group for these players. Among them are Bryan Allen, Artem Chubarov, Jarkko Ruutu, the Sedins, Kevin Bieksa, RJ Umberger and Ryan Kesler. Some of those players were deep draft picks and took some time to develop so we can give credit to the organization for being at least on the radar in terms of procurement and development. The Canucks obviously made some horrid decisions during this time as well. Beyond that, we’re pissing in the wind.
Not much is known about him other than that so I thought it might be an idea just to throw things out there in case some of it is news to you:
- He was a skill center with speed.
- He was part of two rather large trades (was dealt with Chico Resch to Colorado for Mike McEwen who was a very good hockey player. Then he was traded to Calgary with Joel Quenneville for Mel Bridgman and Phil Russell).
- He turned 50 on May 14.
- Teammates (NHL, WJC, Olympics) included Glenn Anderson, Mike Bossy, Sean Burke, Butch Goring, Thomas Gradin, Randy Gregg, Wayne Gretzky, Terry Harper, Dale Hawerchuk, Guy Lafleur, Al MacInnis, Dennis Maruk, Denis Potvin and others. He would have been 99′s teammate on the 77-78 World Junior team. Tambellini went 6gp, 2-2-4 and the other guy went 6gp, 8-9-17. One was drafted in the first round, the other never drafted. Lordy.
- Tambellini’s coaches he would have played for in the NHL: Al Arbour, Bert Marshall, Marshall Johnston, Bill MacMillan, Badger Bob Johnson, Tom Watt and Bob McCammon.
- Tambellini’s GMs as a player would have included Bill Torrey, Cliff Fletcher, Lou Lamoriello, Jack Gordon and Pat Quinn.
- Tambellini’s GMs he’s worked for include Brian Burke, Dave Nonis and Mike Gillis.
- His nickname appears to be Tambs. Which is horrible. New nickname? I like Steve Zodiac. It works for the old generation and the new.
- As much as we are able to know about an organization of men that can’t number 200 at the highest level (NHL upper management), Tambellini appears to have an excellent reputation and would have been on most lists for “future General Manager.” He got the gig in Edmonton, with some haziness in regard to just how much power he’ll have in this group.
- In today’s Journal, Patrick Laforge is quoted as saying “Kevin’s been the executive vice-president, hockey operations, for the eight years I’ve been here, so he’s had all these responsibilities In this case, we’ll be co-equals, so that’s really the only thing that has changed. The issue, in a number of ways, is that he hasn’t had the time to do the things he’s capable of doing in a broader sense.” I can only take that to mean he will tackle things other than the procurement of players, the 23-man roster and the nuts and bolts of decision making. In other words, Tambellini does the ground work on trades, presents the idea to Lowe (along with KP) and Lowe gives the thumb’s up or down. I honestly can’t see this working for long, as Lowe’s time will probably be spent (more and more) away from the rink and away from all the hockey games, scouting reports, etc. The farther he gets from today, the less his influence in the hockey side of the operations. I can’t see it any other way. It isn’t good or bad, but I think it’s pretty important to make that statement now. Lowe can’t add more work in another area (after saying he needed help) and remain as in touch as is required for the GM job. He may tackle the arena project, he may streamline the management system, he may decide to add scouts in the mid-west to cover the increasingly powerful USHL. While he’s doing that, rookies are going to emerge and veterans are going to lose a step and Kevin Lowe is going to be out of touch before you know it.