And Like That…..He Was Gone

Mark Spector had a very interesting article up in the last sports cycle about the future of Steve Tambellini and Tom Renney. Today I spoke to various Oiler fans and observers and can say with authority this is once again a house divided. Some blame Steve Tambellini, others blame Tom Renney.

What is fair? Who should go and who should stay?

Steve Tambellini has been on the job since July 31, 2008. This was after the drafting of Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. His first trade of note came in January of 2009: Mathieu Garon for G Dany Sabourin, R Ryan Stone and the 4th rd pick in 2011 that became Tobias Rieder.

He fired Craig MacTavish, hired and fired Pat Quinn and hired Tom Renney. He traded for Dany Heatley but it didn’t take, he signed Nikolai Khabibulin to a long gone contract and he traded Dustin Penner for Colten Teubert and Oscar Klefbom. Tambellini didn’t trade Sheldon Souray but he did send him to Hershey. He traded Kyle Brodziak and walked Marc Pouliot. Rob Schremp left via waivers.

Steve Tambellini has watched over a strong amateur procurement department and on his watch the Oilers have drafted Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with their first round picks. Tambellini’s time as Oilers GM has seen the minor league Barons blossom and that team appears to be prospect rich (you never know).

Steve Tambellini signed Cam Barker as a strong option for the defense.

Tom Renney knew real NHL success before coming to Edmonton. He was coach of a solid to spectacular NY Ranger team that wom a couple of playoff series. He coached legends like Alex Mogilny, Esa Tikkanen, Pavel Bure, Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden, Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan and that goalie Henrik Lundqvist (who he should have brought here with him).

So far Renney has been a mentor and teacher, with a little line matching thrown in this season and of course he’s used TOI as a hammer. I don’t think there are three things Tom Renney has done that are so far out of normal that the average fan would notice. However, he has:

  • been unable to find a spot for Magnus Paajarvi, heretofore thought of as a part of the future
  • been unable to find a spot for the entirely useful Linus Omark (although injury has played a part here)
  • shown a strong preference for Anton Lander despite a lack of evidence that the young man is performing at a high level in his current role.
  • been unable to hold together a porous defense with binder twine and old lace.
  • been unable to find a way to work Devan Dubnyk effectively into the lineup.

On the other hand they enjoyed an 8-2-2 start, he stood by the Russian and refused to flush Petrell and the special teams are wonderful compared to the past. He doesn’t have the horses, but the Oilers are improved in GF-GA season over season (193-269 -76 a year ago and 112-121 -9 this season).

What do I think? I think the Oilers will shuffle things over the summer. Tom Renney stays, Stu MacGregor gains more power over the draft and Steve Tambellini devotes time to the AHL, overseeing Mike Sillinger’s development efforts and the the pro scouting department. Kevin Lowe remains in the current job and they bring someone in to represent as GM. The Oilers add to the think tank just as Detroit did with Ken Holland, Jim Devellano, Jim Nill and others.

Who is the next Oilers GM? I don’t know, but damned if Woodguy didn’t bring up an interesting name over coffee today. What do you think the Oilers will do this year in the front office?

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91 Responses to "And Like That…..He Was Gone"

  1. "Steve Smith" says:

    Who is the next Oilers GM? I don’t know, but damned if Woodguy didn’t bring up an interesting name over coffee today.

    Oh, come on – you can’t do that.

  2. Brett Gee says:

    Shuffling is probably the safe bet, and more inline with how this organization operates. I mean, isn’t Pat Quinn still on the payroll with some mystery position?

    Firing anyone seems very unlikely. Maybe they’ll shuffle the assistants around too, but firing anyone would be very surprising.

    It will take me a while to get used to this site, but I like what I see. Does this mean that blogger/blogspot is in danger of crumbling, or did you just like the look of WordPress better.

  3. Ducey says:

    Steve Tambellini signed Cam Barker as a strong option for the defense.

    I think this is a little unfair. If they were counting on him to be a top 4 guy they would have signed him for more than a year. He was a flyer.

    I think Tambo is doing exactly what he set out to do. They have improved in all areas except for wins. If they had 5 more people would be satisfied. The stats say they should have 5 more wins.

    I think if they do go with a new GM it will be in two years when they want to fill a new stadium.

  4. knighttown says:

    I guess I’d have to say I think Tom Renney is an acceptable coach for this stage of the rebuild. Reputationally, he’s a strong teacher and I have seen some things that support this. He seems to be overwhelmingly positive (like Kreuger) and that’s probably the right attitude for this team. If the kids are listening and learning, that probably buys him another year for me. I suppose it depends on how you view the Paajarvi and Omark situations. I believe he’s handled Paajarvi wonderfully and I can’t stand unbalanced comments about Omark (thought yours was fair above).

    I do hate the Lander handling. I thought the Petrell experiment was just about right. I hate having an enforcer, let alone two but since I don’t know the inner workings I’ll hold Tambellini responsible since he forms the roster (but I do acknowledge Renney may have demanded these guys). I despise the strict adherence to the gentlemen’s code about matching 4th lines. Follow the code if your 1st through 3rd lines are better than the other guys but for fuck sakes, toss out the scorers against the dregs sometimes. Was absolutely shocked how much Kytnar, Hordi and Eager played in the first period, especially with Hall flying like that. I find the quantity of his line blendering reasonable although I would have gone to a balanced lineup on the road (while using the kids/toughs lineup at home) during week 1.

    I think if you are pro-conning it, the pros are slightly ahead and the morale seems excellent. Unless a Top 5 coach came knocking I’d keep the status quo.

  5. TheOtherJohn says:

    I have no difficulty with ST 3.8 staying on as our head of pro development. Only a moron would get in the way of the Magnificient Bastatrd at the draft altho I am sure both Lowe and Tambellini have been tempted. Expect they keep looking at some of the late round pleasant surprises and are, like us, asking WTF!!

    My pick for a new GM would be Babcock…….. if you could not get him as our coach

    Expect some here would say Gretzky but the sooner we cut ties with the Boys on Bus the better off we will be

  6. Lowetide says:

    Knighttown: I know pretty much everyone disagrees with me on this, but I think Renney and Tambellini did an excellent job (at least in theory) with the enforcer role. they flushed Stortini who couldn’t catch a stump in the daytime God love hiim and Steve MacIntyre who couldn’t catch a pass with a Douglas fir; they brought back two speedy guys who could take and make a pass.

    It hasn’t worked out like it should have, but Eager and Hordichuk are faster and should be more effective overall. It was a bet that I can defend even if it hasn’t worked out.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Steve Smith: It was a pretty brilliant name Woodguy threw out, especially if you know Katz’ history. Does that help?

  8. knighttown says:

    As for Tambo, I know its a little thing but I’m kind of…embarrassed by him. He’s such an awkward speaker and projects absolutely no self confidence or leadership. it’s kind of like in high school when the cheerleader runs into her father at the mall and has to introduce him to her friends. “This is my dad Gerald. As you can see by his teddy-bear printed lab coat, he’s nurse.”

    You know Gerald is a good guy and a good dad and you love him…but why can’t he be more like Marly’s dad Brett, the fireman. Or to tidy up the analogy, Jane’s dad, Ken Holland, the awesome GM.

  9. ItsTheBGB says:

    It’s Debra from that Pharmacy!!!!!!!

    I think you over value Omark, Lowetide ;)
    He has flair, but the numbers weren’t there. This team improved special teams without Omark and Omark certainly won’t help 5v5.

    Do you think the next GM will be hired from the player agent pool?

    I asked Ritch Winter on Twitter and he said he doesn’t see it in the cards, but you never know.

  10. knighttown says:

    No issue with the choice of enforcers. I just don’t want an enforcer so by giving a roster spot to Hordi (or Orr or SMac or Parros) you’ve failed.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Well I’m hoping Woodguy will happen by and tell everyone the name he mentioned to me.

  12. godot10 says:

    The professional scouts are responsible for Barker, and the inadequacy of the off-season free agents the last two years, are the old (Lowe) regime’s guys. Tambellini has not cleaned that part of the organization out yet.

    Renney has to go. Tambellini hired a guy in OKC whose exceeded expectations for two years, and is ready for an NHL shot next year. The call ups from OKC have looked well coached, unlike any non-elite player on the Oilers roster. Tambellini can stay, but he needs to add more than Duane Sutter to pro scouting, and fire a whole bunch more of the old cronies in pro scouting.

    Renney has shown absolutely nothing. His vision for the team is wrong. He wants goons. He wants to fit players into roles and preconceived notions of ranked lines, rather than utilize the talent to the best of its ability.

    In OKC, I see 4 scoring lines, and 4 checking lines. I see a coach looking at his talent, and building lines best using that talent, rather than having lines, and stuffing players into lines.

    Renney is stuck in the 2 scoring line, a checking line, and an energy line mindset. No contender in the league looks like that anymore.

  13. IceDragoon says:

    Is he (next GM) ready to give up on behind the bench?

  14. TheOtherJohn says:

    Geez LT was WG suggesting Slats

  15. Lowetide says:

    Ice Dragoon: THAT is the million dollar question.

  16. peeps says:

    What is fair? Who should go and who should stay?

    A little while ago, I posted about Renney’s proposed 1-3-5 plan, and then compalined how we clearly weren’t on track. Shortly after, someone asked how would we evaluate ST if we assumed it’s his job to intentionally tank the team for 3 years (starting in the 2009-2010 season). Under this logic, ST was hired specifically to build a losing club, to get good draft picks.

    That timing doesn’t smell right though… ST was hired in 2008, and I don’t believe Katz used the term ‘rebuild’ until the “fall for Hall” was well underway during 2009-2010. ST must have been originally hired to assist KLowe to build a winning team. Right?

    However, is it possible that once the wheels really fell off, and Lowe realized that the team was beyond short-term solutions (yay, no more whale-hunting), Katz and Lowe, assuming that ST was incapable of building a winning team, decided to put ST fully in charge? This is ideal for Lowe and Katz, since ST is the pefect fall-guy, and before his fall, he’s bound to get more high-end draft picks.

    I’m starting to believe more and more that this has been the plan, and as soon as Lowe believes he has enough high draft picks, he’ll either step back into the GM role, or replace ST with a new GM.

    As for Renney, his positive attributes have been well laid out by Lowetide, and other posters. Based on this, my guess is that they’ll keep Renney during the first seasons run by the next Oiler’s GM, to see what Renney can do when he’s got a better-built team to work with… if the Oilers show improvements in the standings, it’s a fair bet that Renney stays longer.

    However, as long as Renney seems positive for the development of the young guys, and until ST is replaced as GM, I don’t expect to see Renney gone, regardless of team standings.

  17. pboy says:


  18. Maverick says:

    Cool new site!! I will miss the old site but change is not always ease for us almost middle age guys either :-P

    If we are playing the name game….I’m throwing out there the name ….. Rich Winter.

    The winds of change are a blowing in the Oiler’s organization and it will definitely be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  19. bookje says:

    I think Tambellini’s job depends on what he and Katz agreed upon prior to the season. Was it playoffs, 20th, lottery?

    If the tank job is choriographed then he should be safe.

  20. godot10 says:

    The young guys aren’t developing under Renney. Omark #fail, Paajarvi #fail, Dubnyk #fail, Hartikainen #fail, Peckham #fail.

    Do you like the hanling of Lander, stuck between goons 90% of the time?

    Gagner listens to his dad more than Renney from the sounds of it. Renney kept on thinking it was better to play Belanger and Lander at centre than Gagner.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Eberle are developing themselves. But the Oilers will lose them to free agency if Renney doesn’t develop the 2nd tier of prospects in the cluster, which he is failing to do.

  21. Woodguy says:



    Just finished supper and opened the thread.

    I had the same story related to me by two different people who don’t know each other, but are connected various ways to various people. They both told me a few years apart from each other when the story hadn’t made the rounds. Neither had anything to gain by telling me, just gossip over beers, but from credible people.

    The story has been mentioned a few times and isn’t new news, but both people told me that the main motivation for Darrel Katz to buy the Oilers was so that his very good friends Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish could run an NHL Team unencumbered by constraints of the EIG budget.

    Once Katz saw that is was also probably a decent business move, assuming he could get a new rink, he bought the team.

    I haven’t heard if letting MacT go has changed their friendship, but I doubt it.

    Its only speculation, but Katz owns the team, and if the story has any truth to it, MacT is a probable name to succeed Tambellini when that time comes.

    I doubt he comes back to coach.

    MacT has a fresh MBA and is probably wanting to take it for a test drive, which he isn’t doing coaching in the AHL, but staying in the industry.

    He’s healthy again by all reports as well.

    Expect the unexpected.

  22. peeps says:

    I think it’s a bit unfair to not attribute any of Gagner’s recent success to Renney.

    It’s natural for a good parent to encourage their child. I suspect Gagner’s dad get’s mentionned in the paper quite often because he used to play in the NHL. If reporters asked other players for sources of inspiration and support, most would probably mention a parent (especially since parents of successful hockey players would have had to make very significant financial and time committments to help their children reach the NHL).

    I’m under the impression that Renney has helped with the development of all of Hall, Eberle, RNH, Gagner, Potter, Petry, and Smid, who all seem to be doing visibly better since the beginning of Renney’s tenure. You can’t convince me that Eberle had this exceptional year with no help from Renney.

    This year, MPS didn’t seem to want to go to the hard spots, and if he’s just not listenning to coaching advice, the only thing Renney could do was cut down MPS’ minutes. It was up to ST to send MPS down to OKC (which was where things could have been handled better). For Dubnyk and Pekham, both seemed to play well last year, but poorer this year. You can’t win them all, but their careers in the NHL are young enough that they may still turn out well.

    Omark is the head scratcher I still can’t figure out… I’ll give you that.

    However, given the surge of young players playing in the bigs right now, I’m still under the impression Renney is doing a good job with player development..

    One last note: I think the biggest thing holding back the development of some of these players is that they’re spending too much time in the NHL too soon (MPS, Lander, etc.). That’s all on ST, not on Renney.

  23. batfink says:

    Well, there’s some guy in NY with a French name who is a special assistant to the GM there. I think even Montreal fans will like him because he’s a winner and demands that from everyone else in the organization. In between marathons, I’m sure Katz talks to him.

  24. batfink says:

    Missed it but came close.

  25. Woodguy says:


    When I write “very good friend”, its not just a turn of phrase.

    Katz spent a pile of money on Messier’s 50th birthday party. Hired the Tragically Hip to play in the restaurant/bar they rented for the night, etc.

    These guys were/are very tight.

  26. Woodguy says:

    Messier wants to live in NY, not EDM.

  27. Woodguy says:

    That’s just a guess, not knowledge or gossip about Messier.

  28. "Steve Smith" says:

    Definitely. But as somebody with a little experience as a (not very good) manager, the issue is not deciding to hire the smartest GM, smartest pro-scouts, and smartest capologists: it’s identifying them (the Rangers probably thought they were paying a premium to get the smartest GM a few years ago).

    And you can say that it’s easy, because you just have to look at who’s already succeeding, but those guys are probably disproportionately happy where they are. Moreover, it can be hard to pick out individual contributions from a team’s success.

    And, of course, the importance of dumb luck cannot be overstated – do the Penguins have any Cups this century if they don’t win the Crosby lottery?

  29. FPB94 says:

    Cammalleri for Hemsky?

  30. Woodguy says:

    Given that he worked hard to get an MBA I’d say he’s made his choice. Coaching the Wolves may just be a way of staying in the game.

    Would would be really interesting is if VAN get bounced from the playoffs and Gillis punts Vigneault.

    Coaching the VAN would be a pretty sweet gig and seeing as MacT’s perennial 16-21st place team went straight to the basement once he left, he might have the goods to get VAN over the top.

  31. shane leavitt says:

    The professional scouts are responsible for Barker, and the inadequacy of the off-season free agents the last two years, are the old (Lowe) regime’s guys. Tambellini has not cleaned that part of the organization out yet.

    Is this accurate?

  32. DSF says:

    james duthie
    tsnjamesduthie james duthie
    Cammalleri to Calgary is confirmed.
    32 seconds ago

  33. Lowetide says:

    Calgary has really done everything they can to improve this season WITHOUT mortgaging the future. If they add Cammaleri without giving up a big item for the future well then it’s been a helluva intro for Feaster.

  34. DSF says:

    Bob McKenzie
    TSNBobMcKenzie Bob McKenzie

    A Montreal player says Cammalleri has been traded to CGY for Rene Bourque. Wait to see what else is involved.
    1 minute ago

  35. Lowetide says:

    Ha ha ha. Good for Feaster, that’s a helluva trade.

  36. FPB94 says:

    Better be a 1st/2nd coming back too.

  37. DSF says:

    Dave Hodge – TSN
    TSNDaveHodge Dave Hodge – TSN

    When Randy Cunneyworth found out that Cammalleri was no longer on the bench, he apparently said, “I guess Mike was interim, too.”

  38. LMHF#1 says:

    The thing to do is to replace the ‘C’ squad with the ‘A’ squad. (if it is people who’ve been Oilers before)

    Kurri, Gretzky, Messier, Fuhr, Coffey and Anderson for a bit of crazy. If Lowe must stay around, I want him coaching. At least he was good at that.

    MacTavish couldn’t manage a beer league squad…MBA or not.

  39. El Guapo says:

    Along with Bourque, he gave up their second round choice in 2013 and Patrick Holland. He already gave up the 2012 second round choice to Buffalo to rid themselves of Kotalik. Looks like he has given up a fair bit of the future just to finish10th in the conference this year.

  40. bookje says:

    I tthink there is ample evidence to support that guess.

  41. Woodguy says:

    MacTavish couldn’t manage a beer league squad…MBA or not.

    What evidence do you have for that?

  42. DSF says:

    Benjamin Massey
    Lord_Bob Benjamin Massey

    Ha! Look at the Canadiens, trading their malcontent talents instead of buying them out and getting nothing back but a cap hit!
    29 minutes ago

  43. bookje says:

    I would like to submit that beer league squads do not have managers, ergo MacTavish could not manage a beer league squad.

  44. FPB94 says:

    We got a guy who’s bigger and can style add a scoring touch. Sure Cammalleri’s a better scorer but he’s a line-killer and a pussy.

    And we got a nice prospect/pick

  45. Lowetide says:

    I think Gauthier gave up a pretty good goalie prospect, no?

  46. FPB94 says:

    Nah Ramo’s been a subpar goalie for TB, and never intender to come over.

  47. Ducey says:

    All the Flames cheerleaders (sorry “broadcast crew”) on Sportsnet keep mentioning is that Cammaleri had 82 pts.

    That was 3 yrs ago! Bourque has done just as well the last two years.

    At $6 million per year, Cammaleri better do more than score 50 pts.

    Just treading more water in Cowtown. Stanley won’t be visiting anytime soon.

  48. OilLeak says:

    Love Massey’s approach to the OIlers, his post-game write-ups are pure gold.

  49. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, as I look at this trade a little closer the Flames didn’t exactly make out like bandits. I don’t think the pick is a huge deal but the gap between Camm and his money and Bourque and his isn’t what I thought it was initially.

    Interesting deal.

  50. OilLeak says:

    I don’t think he’s that bad, he was rushed to the show at a young age and has posted good numbers in the KHL last year and so far this year.

  51. OilLeak says:

    I like Ramo, if he’s interested in coming back to the NHL, he could be a decent 1B or backup.

  52. El Guapo says:

    Any Flames trade that amounts to re-arranging deck chairs is a win for Oilers fans.

  53. DSF says:

    Look like Calgary could use Cammalleri.

    They have 6 shots on goal…through two periods…against the Ducks.


  54. McKillWrath says:

    Lowetide, I am suprised Stu Macgreggor is not getting more mention for GM. He is a character who may have that certain “Chutzpah” to be great GM. I see him as much more of a leader then Tambo is. His resume does speak volumes. What do you think?

  55. Ducey says:

    Are there any comparables that have played in the KHL and been useful in the NHL?

  56. Lowetide says:

    I don’t know that it is a job MacGregor is interested in, but certainly he’d be a comp for Holland who also came up through the scouting side {after retiring as a player). I think MBS is a strong talent evaluator but have no idea if he’d be good at the other disicplines.

  57. bookje says:

    Some things don’t add up for me, such as Renney matching lines for 20 games (with success) and then totally abandoning the effort to do so and going back to what he did last year. If the goal really is to win, then why do that?

  58. Lowetide says:

    I think he tried to protect the kids as long as he could but when the bloodletting started there wasn’t a lot of depth. You can’t win a hockey game with that bottom 6 they ran out the other night and I don’t care if you’re Scotty freaking Bowman.

  59. regwald says:

    A couple other points about the line matching. Renney had much success at the start of the season due to large number of home games at the start of the year.

    Also, Renney worked those vets hard, real hard to line match. I think you saw the dip in play of Horcoff and Smyth as a result. You can`t kill penalties and match against the toughs all the time without having the wear and tear add up.

    Lack of depth and lack of enough real NHL players has caught up with the Oilers – especially when you include the injuries now.

  60. McKillWrath says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but, did he not have great success in the Dub as a manager?

  61. OilLeak says:

    Unique situation with Ramo, as he is a Finn from the SM-Liga and was pushed into a role he wasn’t ready for in the NHL and then went to the KHL.

    I haven’t found a comparable considering that Ramo is still a young goalie and not a journeyman goaltender.

    Emery played in the KHL and made it back to the NHL.
    Yann Danis played in the KHL and is back in North America (Posting good numbers in the AHL this season)

  62. bookje says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t thinking that line matching would lead to more wins (the team is unbalanced and full of holes right now), I just wondered why he seemed to abandon coaching all of the sudden. As you and Reg say – the vets were getting worn down and the 3rd and 4th line options disappeared.

    There’s always next year, right?

  63. Ribs says:

    Steady as she goes. I can’t see Tambellini or Renney going anywhere. Tambellini is on his rebuild mission and is untouchable. Renney is still in development mode letting the kids play.

    The Oilers weren’t supposed to be a good team this season and, surprise, they are not. The original plan was to let Quinn play the kids free willy style during the growing years but I think it was a good move to get Renney in there as soon as possible. He’s going to take a bit of a beating for coaching a lousy club, but it’s not really his fault. It’s all part of the plan.

  64. Ribs says:

    Fussies latest offerings….

    Penguins have interest in both Hemsky and Smyth, willing to part with Alex Velischek and a roster player(forward)

  65. Captain Obvious says:

    The fact that Bourque is bigger than Cammalleri is a non sequitor. The only thing that matters is whether he is better and I find it hard to imagine that Bourque is a better player.

    The Canadians are the worst organization in the league and it isn’t close. This season has been a trainwreck. The Pearn firing, the Cunneyworth situation, the Kaberle catastrophe. Our management is bleak but it could always be worse.

  66. rickithebear says:

    The last two years Bourque scored 54G total 31st in the league just behind Penner 55G, Kane, Toews, Gionta 57G.

  67. Dahoosman says:

    Not much to add to the conversation …. just wanted to congratulate you on the new diggs Lowetide. Also, way to save a bombshell for the new address.

  68. cabbiesmacker says:

    All I have for evidence is a convo I had with him 2 years ago a month or so prior to the Olympics. We were discussing players we really liked who were kinda flying under the radar a bit at the time. I threw out Jon Toews…MacT countered with Mike Ribiero and said he hadn’t seen much of Toews. Huh?

    We both did agree on Pacioretty though so he’s not a complete putz.

    Start at the top. Fire Lowe. Most damning evidence is St’s very own quote that when he arrived the place was in a shambles. What more does Katz need?

    If Tambo really is a GM and working on his lonesome, which I do not believe is the case for one second, then he should go as well.

    Then can anyone whoever wore an Oiler jersey in the days of yore. Except Huddy. He can come back.

  69. Lowetide says:

    Yes, but that was a long time ago.

  70. RexLibris says:

    Nice site. Takes some getting used to, and I’ll miss the old look, but onwards and upwards…

    Re: the Flames trade, I think the next GM of Montreal has done very well in getting the 2nd round pick for next year. It could be a pretty decent pick. And the prospect, Holland, is a decent prospect. Likely a better bet than Ramo. The 5th round pick just replaces the one Feaster lost in acquiring Pierre Luc Letourneau Leblond, so take that for what it’s worth.

    As an Oiler fan, I like this trade. It makes the Flames better right now which means they won’t be rebuilding or drafting better talent in the immediate future. It also further depletes their draft and prospect stock. As well, next year with Tanguay, Cammalleri and Iginla all on the aging side of things, it means that they will have a tougher time moving in either direction: up (winning a Cup) or down (better draft pick). The longer they maintain the status quo, the older Iginla becomes and the more value he loses, and thus the more catastrophic the crash will be when everything that they have spent nearly a decade trying to maintain comes to a close. Many fans there still have Iginla at ’04 value, and refuse to consider that his odometer has been run up considerably.

    Personally, my wish is for the Flames to make it to the 8th seed (and maybe trade a few more picks and prospects to ensure this) and knock off the Canucks in round one before bowing out to Chicago in the second round (again). Meanwhile, we’ll just keep quietly building a roster of talented young players that will, in good time, bring Cup #6 strolling down Jasper Avenue.

  71. DeadmanWaking says:

    I don’t think you can legitimately “smell test” the timing. In entrepreneurship, changing your game plan on the fly according to present circumstance is called a “pivot”. Every entrepreneur plans to tear up the original plan, usually more than once. What makes this even harder to assess in retrospect is that in the business of selling hope, what management says is always modulo what is most palatable to the ticket holders, until it just won’t fly any longer. Even if the management knows that the season is in the tank in October, not every ticket holder figures this out until December. Furthermore, you often don’t know how the season will unfold, but whichever way it goes, it pays to position yourself to take credit when it happens. What if Ryan Smyth actually carries the team into the playoffs? Speak too soon about another rebuild year, if the impossible happens, it will appear to have come despite management, rather than because of management.

    I tend to take the view that 100% of what management proclaims about their agenda is reactive rather than proactive. A shrewd manager positions himself to take credit when things go well, and play victim of circumstance when things go badly (see the banking industry).

    It’s tempting to play penny wise and pound foolish in retrospective evaluation. Eberle top ten league-wide in his sophomore season, if you felt the coach had much to do with it, he’d survive five other blunders on that alone. Or you can say that our young stars have become so successful because they are, after all, young stars, and the coach has nothing to do with it; yet the coach really matters everywhere else—despite the fact that everywhere else matters a hell of a lot less to the team’s ultimate future.

    Problem is, you don’t know what you had ’till it’s gone. OTC was magic pixie dust to Dustin Penner. You think, now Penner gets it, and it’s not the coach. Yet whatever he “got” in his dominant run has yet to manifest itself under any other regime.

    I think these evaluations are almost impossible from the outside looking in until the ship flounders completely (when Hall is tracking like Gagner come year three). My biggest criticism of Renney this season was keeping the Nuglets together on momentum and chemistry heading into the first road trip. It’s a bit gutless in a way, because it’s mostly about optics: not being accused of becoming a line blender if the road trip goes badly despite having taken the logical action of splitting them up—unless the purpose was to give the kids a taste of being in way over their heads, but that would say something about whether this season was really for competing or not in the first place.

    I don’t know whether Renney is good or not. All I know is that the battles we can’t afford to lose haven’t been lost (the big three are all progressing nicely).

    I’ve been reading about the Leigh-Mallory vs Dowding and Park controversy in the Battle of Britain. In the versions I like, Park won them the war, while Leigh-Mallory was more concerned with padding their stats, which would have saved pilots and aircraft, and cost them runways instead (the Big Wing was too slow to assemble and the Germans were making target before the L-M juggernaut arrived on the scene). Yet the L-M argument was compelling to most involved, and resulted in a coup later on.

    I now see that Godot has posted beneath me on the theme that the coach is only responsible for the second rate, which I’m largely rebutting. I’ve liked some of Godot’s posts in the past, but not this one so much.

  72. cabbiesmacker says:

    Which is one of the problems unfortunately. Good hockey player does not = good coach / GM. Sucks that our owner still has stars in his eyes from the 80′s.

    When he starts running this ship like he does his drug business we’ll be a lot better off. He wouldn’t take this sort of ineptitude from John Karvellas or one of his other high profile advisors . They’d be out the door in seconds.

  73. bookje says:

    Ribs, I generally agree, but if Tambellini told Katz that the plan this year was to see some improvement and finish somewhere between 18th and 25th and the team finds itself at the bottom of the heap again, then Katz may start wondering. I know that in Rexall, he is not at all afraid to fire people who work for him – not sure if that translates to the NHL toy that he bought …

  74. blackdog says:

    Nice new look LT.

    I think this summer is a big one in the process. I don’t love Renney’s work but again he has been given little to work with, especially on the back end.

    I think he gets canned but that will be three coaches in four years. If Tambo doesn’t go as well I would be surprised.

    The whole reshuffling idea has merit and is attractive.

    Here’s a question. How do I ad an avatar to my username? Dumb it down as much as possible please. Thanks!

  75. regwald says:

    Go to and create an acct there with the same email address used here. Mine is the same one used at OilersNation which has the same link to

  76. blackdog says:

    Thanks Regwald, appreciate it.

  77. OIL4LIFE says:

    How many years have you watched eberle? I have been watching him close since before he first played for the world junior team. This year is nothing special, he has done this thru every level of hockey. And i dont think Renney had much to do with him at any other level of hockey. So i say to you do you have any proof that renney has done much to push Eberle to a new level? Yes your coach always helps players better them selves to some small degree. But i think you are vastly underating Eberle’s Natural Talent. I am not saying Renney’s not doing his job. But i am saying Eberles year is more about him pushing himself than Renney’s Magical powers. lol

  78. LMHF#1 says:

    Oh come on WG, that’s a little weak. We both know where I’m going with it ( player choices as a coach, his commentary on players and talent, the fact that he doesn’t exactly appear to be the management type), etc.

    Obviously he hasn’t had the chance to put his take on team building into practice yet, but I see no outward signs in anything he’s done to this point that suggest he’d be a sound choice for the most important non-player job on the team.

  79. Ribs says:

    Injuries to the teams top players is an easy thing to sell at this point. If you’re aiming to be a 25th place team and your top 4 scorers all miss time, along with your two best defensemen, it’s not hard to slip down the hill to 30th.

    Also…hating the nested comments. Might have to start boycott (nests, not commenting).

  80. Geeezeus says:

    Stauffer? Noooooooo!!!!

  81. gcw_rocks says:

    I sure as hell hope he is not the successor. MBA or not, its time for fresh blood, not another of Lowe’s cronies.

    Hell, I would love to see the Oilers go so far as to go to a modified blue and silver Mcfarlane jersey (swap the meteor and the “Oilers” stylized logo on the shoulders) as a definitive statement sayin g those days are behind the team and its a new era.

    Lowe and Mctavish can join Messier in NY.

  82. gcw_rocks says:

    If you are changing the GM, you might want to keep Renney so the new GM has someone to fire as their “statement” during or after season one. Look how well changing up both at once as worked for the Jets.

  83. NHL Blog Beat – January 13, 2012. | Spectors Hockey says:

    [...] LOWETIDE: Who gets the blame for the Edmonton Oilers struggles this season? Should the GM or the coach stay or go? Inquiring minds wanna know. [...]

  84. gcw_rocks says:

    Heard on the radio the other day that Todd Felton, Assistant GM out of Nashville is supposed to be a sharp guy and a likely candidate for a GM job next year. Nashville seems like a well run organization on the hockey side. He would be someone I would consider for the GM job, or someone like him – smart, good reputation out of a well run organization.

  85. jb says:

    How much power does Lowe truly possess? I don’t know, but if we had competent management our team would imo still have
    Pitkanen (yes Pitkanen)



    Instead, these 4 solid NHL players have been replaced by very little, netting us 1 injury plagued player in Ryan Whitney, Jim Vandermeer, 2009 4th rnd pick, 2009 5th rnd pick.

    my question is WHY??? Every one of these deals left me thinking WTF at the time. Edmonton Oilers asset management at it’s finest.

  86. IceDragoon says:

    The thought of MacTavish coaching the Canucks terrifies me. With all those tools at his disposal, his in-game instincts would be deadly.

    Gaawwd, how I miss those instincts. Renney doesn’t appear to have any… that he trusts. Trust? Yeah… right. He may be top drawer in Xs & Os, but he’s as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs when he’s calling the shots for points. Is it any wonder his team “panics”? Stuff flows down hill, coach.

    Interesting timing to this discussion. When daughter #1 was home over Christmas, we revisited the possibilities in MacT’s future now that he is confident in his health. The range of emotions we anticipate is somewhere between terrified and thrilled.

  87. LP says:

    Good question JB.

    However, had we kept Visnovsky, Glencross, Pitkanen, Brodziak, its quite possible we would not have finished last 2 years in a row, meaning no Hall / RNH.

    Just sayin.

    The Ryan Whitney trade looked OK last year, but this year? man… Hard to see Lubo leave, especially when the guy you get back is always hurt.

  88. Master Lok says:

    - been unable to find a spot for the entirely useful Linus Omark (although injury has played a part here)
    - shown a strong preference for Anton Lander despite a lack of evidence that the young man is performing at a high level in his current role.

    I think these two comments are inconsistent with each other. I would say that there is a lack of evidence that Linus Omark is performing at a high level in his current role (i.e. scoring) while Lander has been pretty useful (4th line role, not getting scored on, playing on the PK).

  89. Master Lok says:

    LT: also, any chance that you could increase the font-size? It’s not the easiest to read and I work as a computer programmer so I’m used to ridiculous small fonts on black background.

  90. jb says:

    True, though I think the injuries still pile up and guarantee us those last place finishes. Hedja should be on that list too..

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