In the rather short history of the Edmonton Oilers, nothing can compare to the current state of the team. Sure there were times when things looked hopeless, but the General Manager (this would be Glen Sather, early 90s) took out the trash and brought in fresh troops (this would be the “Oilers acquire someone named Doug Weight” era).
There was promise throughout the land and the peasants were happy and felt blessed. Fast forward to the current situation: a cap team with an owner willing to spend but a distinct lack of actual people who can help this thing get rolling.
The strange thing is that it is all around Steve Tambellini. He has enough good players on the roster to build a reasonable argument for the post-season and he does have a point when saying the injuries haven’t allowed the team to show its real nature.
Doesn’t matter. Unless the Edmonton Oilers are run by fools then the General Manager needs to get this thing headed in the right direction or lose his job. Over the last several months, Kevin Lowe has been bumped upstairs and Craig MacTavish has been sent away. The new hires (Tambellini and Quinn) have been charged with getting this team into the postseason and folks it is slipping away.
I believe Steve Tambellini’s inertia this summer will cost him his job. His inability to add enough qualified people in roles that are clearly in need will mean the end of him as the Oilers GM. His pursuit of Dany Heatley (after the Khabibulin signing) flushed all other priorities (and they were obvious) and we are now left with another season of wasting veteran seasons while watching the kids learn on the job.
Is it Tambellini’s fault that the Oilers decided to play this many kids way too soon? No sir. Is it Steve Tambellini’s fault that all of Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson and others have not made that next step? Is it his fault that injuries (oh my God there have been injuries) have crushed what little depth this roster had?
Nope. And it doesn’t matter. Steve Tambellini’s job is to get this team into the second season and so far it has been both a failure and a walking advertisement as to what is needed to make this team go well. A veteran, right handed center who can win faceoffs, help on the penalty kill and score enough to warrant flushing one of the kids to wing or out of the organization. A left winger with grit and skill who can play on that 2line with O’Sullivan and either Gagner or Cogliano and depending on the Bulin Wall’s injury a veteran goalie to settle things down.
The only surprise for me in all of this (I suggested this team would finish 11th in the west) is the complete lack of movement by Steve Tambellini. I understand the need to say things like “let’s see what happens when everyone is healthy” publicly but there is no RH C on the IR and there is no gritty LW for the 2line hoping to get healthy.
Steve Tambellini: you need to save your job by taking action. Today would be nice. Right now, your career as Oilers GM can be accurately described as extra-bland Matzah ball.