STEVE TAMBELLINI 11-12: ALBUQUERQUE

Steve Tambellini is the star of one of the longest runnings shows in modern television: the draft lottery. It must seem like Groundhog Day, but he’s still smiling.

  1. So you’re going to do this, eh? Yeah.
  2. Nothing good will come from this. Well, maybe it’ll be cathartic.
  3. Why not just punch the wall? Already did that, the day they traded Messier.
  4. It’s been a long 20 years. True that.
  5. You take this too seriously. Yeah well, I’m not alone.
  6. Clearly. Doesn’t make it healthy. Are we talking about Tambellini at some point?
  7. Fine. He has a vision. So did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  8. You’re just being impatient. Yeah. A decade of one thing will do that to a man.
  9. It hasn’t been a decade. It’s been every year of the new CBA save the first one.
  10. You can’t blame that on Steve Tambellini. One of the things we do as Oiler fans is spend too much time worrying over where to lay blame. I think it’s time to stop worrying about which guy did what thing and assess the project in its entirety without parsing the sins into categories.
  11. These aren’t sins, they’re parts of a plan. Okay, plan.
  12. What is Steve Tambellini’s biggest error. Probably Pat Quinn, although Nikolai Khabibulin and staying stubborn on Nikolai Khabibulin may win the race eventually. The Cam Barker signing and the Tom Gilbert trade were evidence of the team’s continuing ability to make unusual and questionable moves.
  13. What was his best move? Smyth trade, he’s stayed the course with the draft and the Barons look like they might feed some talent to the next level this decade.
  14. A lot of people think you’re pumping MacGregor’s tires without cause. That’s fine, a lot of people re-write history and adopt it as the truth. The Jordan Eberle selection is now described as “obvious” but MBS made the pick and he should get full value. No one talks about his “inconsistent work ethic” anymore but it was an issue when the pick was made. We’ll see, I’m fine with my bet on MacGregor.
  15. What did ST do wrong on July 1? The Cam Barker signing was a disaster from day one. We all knew they needed a solid top 4 even with Ryan Whitney healthy and they hired Barker. That was a noxious bet, an absolute sin.
  16. Maybe Tambellini was just the guy pulling the trigger. We’re not doing that, this is not the New Jersey hair-splitting convention. If you want to substitute Kevin Lowe’s name when it feels better to do so have a lash; otherwise save it.
  17. Grump. Okay, the draft is good what else? The AHL team seems to be moving forward nicely and the contract signings are shorter in term which gives the organization more room to move. The Oilers haven’t done too many crazy things aside from the Tom Gilbert trade in the last 5 months.
  18. So the future is better than when he took over. Number one overall picks have that effect on teams.
  19. Didn’t you once say that there was no way to bugger this up? Yes, and I still believe it. However, the bell curve is not moving in a good direction quickly enough, so that the high point will be lower than expected and there will be no sustain. It’s a terrible beginning, a disaster.
  20. In your opinion. What do you think Taylor Hall thinks of the rebuild?
  21. No, no. You’ve got it wrong. They needed to fail in order to win. I want you to say that back really slowly and then tell me what’s wrong with it.
  22. Oh ha ha. Ass. The Oilers have real horsepower now. Yes, they do. The futures of Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, etc are real and spectacular. But the organization is burning daylight finding the right 6′s and 7′s and 9′s and it appears to me that we’re on the verge of another craptacular summer.
  23. Craptastic. Right. Craptastic.
  24. You’re just making fun of Tambellini because he doesn’t come across as smoothly as some other guys. I don’t think that has anything to do with it. Ken Holland doesn’t look or sound polished but his words have intelligence and iron in them. The Oilers as a group use phrases like “expect the unexpected” or “hold on this could be huge” like a parent three days before Christmas. Here’s an idea: stop being a chatterbox and make good bets.
  25. Do you think Tambellini will be back? I don’t think it matters. Until Mr. Katz feels a sense of urgency there’s not much to discuss.
  26. When will that happen? When Mr. Katz sees Rick Nash traded this summer and counts the age gap between Nash and Hall, that might ignite something.
  27. So what do we do until then? We wait.

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64 Responses to "STEVE TAMBELLINI 11-12: ALBUQUERQUE"

  1. spoiler says:

    Add CMHC to Freddie and Fannie. Same vision, same policy.

    I was asking about Gilbert and Team USA hoping there was a story there that could explain the trade. But some issue in Gilbert’s personal life aside. I wonder if the org has an off-season trade arranged at the deadline that makes the move make sense, or if they have insider info as to Schultz Jr wanting to play for the Oil. Coz otherwise it was stupid.

  2. Lowetide says:

    It was also typical. “we know more than the other guy.” I remember the whole Oiler table giggling when they traded down to 15 so Montreal could grab Chris Higgins. Meanwhile they’re drafting a pencil from Finland who buggered up the karma between Edmonton and that wonderful country.

  3. nathan says:

    Send out a search party.

    “Lets see now… South Pole? Oh, I get it. I should have turned left at Albuquerque”

  4. bookje says:

    CMHC and Freddie And Fannie are very different

    LT – two years ago you were lauding Sutter’s management of Calgary while hammering ST. Tambellini’s plan looks much better than Sutter’s did, yet you still appear to prefer the Sutter model.

  5. Lowetide says:

    bookie: I genuinely believe Sutter would have addressed the defense sooner and better. In this way, Sutter was certainly superior as a judge of talent.

  6. Henry says:

    I promised I wouldn’t take a dump on ST after the Hemsky signing but reliving this litany of mediocrity is making it hard. Tambi won the Penner trade i guess. The big man had an awful last year of his contract. I didn’t like it at the time but it looks good now.

    Did Tambi or Lowe do the Brodziak trade?

  7. bill needle says:

    Gee, Tambellini has had about as bad a run as a GM could have, stacking yet another poor decision on top of the others, and yet you choose to not tag him with the Neil Young song “Piece of Crap”? Does this verse not aptly describe hiring processes and trading decisions of the Oilers over the past decade or so?
    “Got it from a friend
    On him you can depend
    I found out in the end
    It was a piece of crap”
    Just about says it all. Thanks Neil.

  8. bookje says:

    Lowetide:
    bookie: I genuinely believe Sutter would have addressed the defense sooner and better. In this way, Sutter was certainly superior as a judge of talent.

    And the Oilers’s would have finished 10th – no RNH

    Tambellini may totally blow this thing moving forwards and there are really good reasons to question his ability to succeed, but it’s hard to asess a GM when the goal is losing.

    In any case, I think this summer/fall will settle the issue one way or another.

  9. Gret99zky says:

    I expect to hear a trade request from Hall if things don’t start looking better than the lottery.

    And I expect he will indeed be traded for less than full value making Eberle, RNH, and Yaks the new pictures on the billboard.

    Then Tambi gets the axe and Lowe spends his time badmouthing Hall in the MSM for dissing the franchise.

  10. bookje says:

    And I should add – I hope in two years we all think Tambellini is a genius. Not confident it will happen, but for the sake of Oiler fans, I hope it does,

  11. stevezie says:

    Well, I lost a bet with myself. I was really expecting to see my personal favourite Neil song, track 3 on the seminal Ragged Glory, “F*!#in’ Up”. It might have been overly harsh, but it sure would explain where we are now.

    It’s not that I hate him- big league General Managers usually aren’t as 100% terrible as we like to make them out to be- but Tambo sure doesn’t give you a lot to hang your faith on. The Hemsky signing was a definite uptick. That grin suggests he thinks he knows something that we don’t. Well, he had just better.

  12. Lowetide says:

    The choice of Neil Young songs is probably a generational thing. I’ve missed a thousand great ones though, from “Harvest Moon” to just about everything recorded by Crazy Horse. And I can’t believe only two Zuma tracks and just two from Tonight’s the Night.

    That’s actually shameful.

  13. spoiler says:

    bookje:
    CMHC and Freddie And Fannie are very different

    Not in the important ways, they’re not.

  14. spoiler says:

    bookje: And the Oilers’s would have finished 10th – no RNH

    Tambellini may totally blow this thing moving forwards and there are really good reasons to question his ability to succeed,but it’s hard to asess a GM when the goal is losing.

    In any case,I think this summer/fall will settle the issue one way or another.

    You have a good point here though. I’m not sure anyone could put a face on losing as successfully as Tambo has (with the general public).

    And he has some serious skills with lottery balls.

  15. Gret99zky says:

    Why is it hardly anyone in MSM outside Alberta has anything negative to say about Tambi and the direction the team is heading?

  16. fuzzy muppet says:

    Ribs,

    beauty. *slow clap*

  17. Woodguy says:

    Maybe Tambellini was just the guy pulling the trigger. We’re not doing that, this is not the New Jersey hair-splitting convention. If you want to substitute Kevin Lowe’s name when it feels better to do so have a lash; otherwise save it.

    You say potatoes, and I say potatoes

    What is Steve Tambellini’s biggest error. Probably Pat Quinn


    Steve will make the recommendations as to what he thinks the team needs to do moving forward, and he and I will discuss them as we have done for the last number of years. When Steve made the recommendation to hire Pat, and I thought that was a good idea. I admired Pat. I had worked with him.

    Its Lowe.

    Its been Lowe since 2000.

    12 years.

    I don’t feel better though.

  18. jb says:

    Gret99zky,

    Likely because they realize the organizations goal was to tank. You couldn’t have asked for it to be executed any better really. Local fans wanna see moves that improve the team or the GM isn’t doing his job.

  19. Cactus says:

    Since Ducey might be on vacation I’ll pick up his torch for the moment.

    It seems that some of Tambellini’s critics are missing the mark going after things like the Barker move or the Gilbert trade. The Barker signing remains a poor, if low impact lottery ticket. Barker was not the difference between this team and the playoffs last year. Many teams are going to harbour the conceit that perhaps they can reclaim a fallen prospect, especially one that used to be highly regarded. Moreover, it’s not like last year was a bumper crop for UFA d-men. Anyone here want to trade places with Buffalo and have taken Christian Ehrhoff and his $40M over 10 instead of Barker’s one year chance? His reputation is also not helped by the good moves he’s made that haven’t worked out well. Belanger was supposed to be a saving grace and instead, he had a very poor year.

    Part of the problem here is that we can’t ever be sure about the moves that weren’t made. There might have been a deal out there for a number 3-4 D-man, but the price was Gagner. There seem to be some people here who just want something done, but I’d rather have Tambellini “evaluate” than act like a panicky idiot.

    If there’s legitiimate criticism or cause for concern, it can be found in the team’s acquisitions prior to the 2009-10 season, such as Khabibulin. The saving grace here is that with the kids in the fold, there’s no need for big game hunting. The GM’s role is finding the complimentary pieces to go with the core. Unfortunately we don’t have enough data on Tambellini to say whether he’s up to the task. Let’s hope he shows well.

  20. Crooked says:

    Tambi’s trades, signings and hirings have mostly been bad ones, which have led to the team sucking their way to success through the draft. On one hand, I’m glad he’s capable of being awful enough at his job for it to benefit the team. On the other hand, is ineptitude will only be beneficial for so long. At some point the team actually needs to start winning, and if he continues making the type of moves he has been, the team is more likely to become the Islanders, Blue Jackets or Thrashers than the Penguins, Blackhawks or Kings.

    This summer will be huge in finding out which direction this team is headed. I just hope if Tambi is the guy, he steps it up in a big way, and fast.

  21. DSF says:

    Cactus:
    Since Ducey might be on vacation I’ll pick up his torch for the moment.

    It seems that some of Tambellini’s critics are missing the mark going after things like the Barker move or the Gilbert trade.The Barker signing remains a poor, if low impact lottery ticket.Barker was not the difference between this team and the playoffs last year.Many teams are going to harbour the conceit that perhaps they can reclaim a fallen prospect, especially one that used to be highly regarded.Moreover, it’s not like last year was a bumper crop for UFA d-men.Anyone here want to trade places with Buffalo and have taken Christian Ehrhoff and his $40M over 10 instead of Barker’s one year chance?His reputation is also not helped by the good moves he’s made that haven’t worked out well.Belanger was supposed to be a saving grace and instead, he had a very poor year.

    Part of the problem here is that we can’t ever be sure about the moves that weren’t made.There might have been a deal out there for a number 3-4 D-man, but the price was Gagner.There seem to be some people here who just want something done, but I’d rather have Tambellini “evaluate” than act like a panicky idiot.

    If there’s legitiimate criticism or cause for concern, it can be found in the team’s acquisitions prior to the 2009-10 season, such as Khabibulin.The saving grace here is that with the kids in the fold, there’s no need for big game hunting.The GM’s role is finding the complimentary pieces to go with the core.Unfortunately we don’t have enough data on Tambellini to say whether he’s up to the task.Let’s hope he shows well.

    I would think Dale Tallon’s performance over the last 24 months should provide a pretty clear measuring stick.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Cactus: In the period 79-83, the Oilers were procuring and adding some really good young talent on the blueline. Lowe and Coffey were high picks, but Huddy was not; THAT’S the kind of acquisition I’d like to see from Edmonton.

    Justin Schultz signing would be an ENORMOUS step forward for the rebuild imo. And then they still need to add through trade and free agency.

  23. Woodguy says:

    He was really bad at his job for 4 years. Then all of a sudden he was really good at his job.

    -Almost no one, talking about pretty much everyone

  24. Rebilled says:

    ST has been trying to lose.

    It’s either this summer or next summer.

    Katz didn’t have his arena deal sealed by this time last year.

    We wait and suffer.

  25. Cactus says:

    Lowetide:
    Cactus: In the period 79-83, the Oilers were procuring and adding some really good young talent on the blueline. Lowe and Coffey were high picks, but Huddy was not; THAT’S the kind of acquisition I’d like to see from Edmonton.

    Justin Schultz signing would be an ENORMOUS step forward for the rebuild imo. And then they still need to add through trade and free agency.

    Agreed LT. I think this summer will be very telling. I was simply trying to suggest that I don’t think this is an irredeemable GM (yet).

  26. Cactus says:

    Woodguy:
    He was really bad at his job for 4 years.Then all of a sudden he was really good at his job.

    -Almost no one, talking about pretty much everyone

    Bad for 4 years? I’ll give you the Heatley/Khabibulin summer, but I think it’s been pretty clear that they’ve been intentionally bottom-dwelling to get good picks since then. Last summer was (in my mind) an excercise of trying to achieve a moderate improvement to placate the fans and aid player development, but it certainly wasn’t a serious effort to become truly competitive.

    Seriously though, for Woodguy and others: what would you have done differently last summer to make this a playoff team WITHOUT mortgaging the future? I’m taking last summer as the starting point because I don’t believe any effort before that would have yielded positive results. If the extent of your response is “buy out Khabby and don’t sign Barker,” well congrats on 10th in the West.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Cactus: Agreed LT.I think this summer will be very telling.I was simply trying to suggest that I don’t think this is an irredeemable GM (yet).

    Yeah, could be. As mentioned above it’s hard to look intelligent when the camera pans to you after every loss. And there’s 50 of them.

    WG: Yeah, agreed. I do think the Oilers would benefit from a completely independent GM but Kevin Lowe has certainly been where the buck stops for a dozen years.

  28. DSF says:

    Rebilled:
    ST has been trying to lose.

    It’s either this summer or next summer.

    Katz didn’t have his arena deal sealed by this time last year.

    We wait and suffer.

    I’m curious.

    Several posters have indicated Katz has been waiting to get his arena deal before producing a winner on the ice.

    To me, that is counter intuitive since I think the Oilers, Katz and the arena would be much more palatable if the team was an on ice success rather than a civic embarrassment.

    How do you draw the conclusion that only now will there be a real effort to improve the team?

  29. gd says:

    I find it hard to believe this many years in that ST is still a blank slate. All I can say with any certainty is he is the greatest lottery winner in sports history. I have no idea if he is a complete bafoon or an evil genius.

    My hope as a fan hoping for the best is he hasn’t really made any disastrous moves since the NK signing and the Quinn hiring. Barker was a low risk bad move and the Gilbert trade is at worse a 7 for a 6. They did somehow tank in the last few years while still selling out and not feeling like we are a complete joke. The drafting in the last few years has been impressive to me, and OKC succeeding is encouraging.

    My feeling is this has to be the year the Oil finishes in the top 10 just so that the losing doesn’t become an epidemic, so we should be done with drafting in the first 10 so I believe next year’s pick should at least be a potential trading chip.

    I hope the reason there has been no announcement on Renney is that he is taking a job in mgmt and not that they are being pricks. The coaching hire will be the biggest move ST will make to give me some confidence he knows what he is doing. He should be swinging for the fences as this team should be a cup contender in 3 yrs. My pref would be a Viganault/Tippett type winner if available, followed by MacT, followed by one of the AHLers (Nelson, Cooper, Nelson), followed by Sutter.

    Schultz is such a perfect fit here that it would worrisome if ST can’t close that deal. If he ends up in Van, Tor, NYR or Det I will accept that that’s where Schultz was going all along, but anywhere else would tell me ST got out hustled.

    It truly is a buyer’s market for Dmen this year so he better come out with a legit top 4 and a legit top 6. If you look at least 20 of the teams will either have no cap space or budgets to bid, so my belief is they should target a 2nd tier guy like Carle, while teams like Det & Minn are going after Suter.

    All I know is using the rebuild as a convenient excuse for failing is over and if they don’t finish in at least 10th, then I will want him gone after next yr.

  30. PunjabiOil says:

    The last 2 years have been about tanking.

    Re-signing Strudwick, signing Barker, not spending to the cap, only trading for Smyth after pressure mounted with rumbles of him going to Calgary, signing 4th liners (Eager, Hordichuk) and calling it a day.

    “This is only year 2 of the rebuild. These are the years to acquire the pieces that will set us up for the next decade” – Steve Tambellini, draft day, June 2011.

    I don’t think they intended to finish last, but nor do I believe they intended to fully compete for the playoffs.

    This summer will be the litmus test for Tambellini. They better not waste any more bullets, and they should be very aggressive this summer in improving their team.

  31. Gret99zky says:

    From a Katz point of view it makes good business sense not to make the playoffs until the arena starts getting built. The concrete, steel, and fumes of the heavy machinery will get everyone excited about the future, the team, the new digs.

    It might cost Katz a player or two because of dissention or impatience but so what. He likely envisions a few more high first round picks on the horizon. Or has mandated it.

  32. godot10 says:

    DSF: I would think Dale Tallon’s performance over the last 24 months should provide a pretty clear measuring stick.

    That Jovanoski contract is going to make it very difficult to sign Garrison. And dammit, he drafted a defensive defenseman 3rd overall. If Tambellini did that anywhere in the first round, the Oiler blogosphere asks for his head on a platter.

  33. godot10 says:

    Lowetide:
    Cactus: In the period 79-83, the Oilers were procuring and adding some really good young talent on the blueline. Lowe and Coffey were high picks, but Huddy was not; THAT’S the kind of acquisition I’d like to see from Edmonton.

    Justin Schultz signing would be an ENORMOUS step forward for the rebuild imo. And then they still need to add through trade and free agency.

    They were also picking up Barker-like reclamation projects like Lee Fogolin and Pat Price.

  34. bookje says:

    Woodguy:
    Maybe Tambellini was just the guy pulling the trigger. We’re not doing that, this is not the New Jersey hair-splitting convention. If you want to substitute Kevin Lowe’s name when it feels better to do so have a lash; otherwise save it.

    You say potatoes, and I say potatoes

    What is Steve Tambellini’s biggest error. Probably Pat Quinn


    Steve will make the recommendations as to what he thinks the team needs to do moving forward, and he and I will discuss them as we have done for the last number of years. When Steve made the recommendation to hire Pat, and I thought that was a good idea. I admired Pat. I had worked with him.

    Its Lowe.

    Its been Lowe since 2000.

    12 years.

    I don’t feel better though.

    It might be Lowe again, but for at least a couple of years, I think he stepped back. Lowe admitted making mistakes after the cup run and I think he got fed a pretty good helping of humble pie when the team was in last when he thought they could compete.

  35. bookje says:

    Cactus: Agreed LT.I think this summer will be very telling.I was simply trying to suggest that I don’t think this is an irredeemable GM (yet).

    I agree, Tambellini has done things that concern me and make me question his competence as a GM over the last couple of years, but it does not include things like trading Penner or signing guys like Foster. The goal was to lose and perhaps find some reclamation projects that work out. How people slam him for leaving ‘holes’ on the third line or defence when the stated goal was to finish 30th, I don’t know.

    With that said, I don’t see many successes in the reclamation side of things despite quite a few efforts, and I don’t see the longer term guys, such as Belange, working out as of yet. So there are concerns.

    With that said, I will be watching the summer and early fall to see what happens.

  36. bookje says:

    Gret99zky:
    From a Katz point of view it makes good business sense not to make the playoffs until the arena starts getting built.The concrete, steel, and fumes of the heavy machinery will get everyone excited about the future, the team, the new digs.

    It might cost Katz a player or two because of dissention or impatience but so what.He likely envisions a few more high first round picks on the horizon.Or has mandated it.

    I think that the risks of going any longer without competing are great. Katz does not want to be hated in this town, nor does he want people turning against the Oilers . People need to be excited about the Oilers to help grease the politicians willingness to cough up the funds.

    So, I fully agree with DSF, I see no logical reason for waiting for an arena to build a competative team.

  37. David S says:

    Tambellini’s contract is up for renewal this spring. If he gets re-signed, then it’ll be pretty obvious we’ve been witnessing the NHL version of “Greatest Tank Battles”. You keep management that has met or exceeded your (internally stated) business objectives. You get rid of the ones that don’t. Katz is a very, very good businessman.

    In order to make the ruse legitimate, you might have to sacrifice a pawn or two. To that end I’d be very surprised if Renney was extended.

  38. Bar_Qu says:

    The whole rebuild philosophy is, imo, the nexus of why ST is a bad GM. It is an easy, thoughtless way to improve your hockey club. Rather than try to ice a competitive team and improve in incremental moves (high risk, high reward) you do little and collect a high draft pick. Although I hasten to add, year one of the rebuild was an attempt to do the former, which should count against the current GM’s record as much as anything since.

    I probably hate the lazy way the org has gone about it, b/c it feels like when a student hands me an assignment where they just took the guiding information I gave them to get started and reworded it as a response. No attempt to put your own stamp on it, claim a little bit of intellectual territory for your own.

    Yeah, that’s what I don’t like about those guys.

  39. Bar_Qu says:

    “I know, let’s follow the Chicago model!”

  40. Captain Obvious says:

    In other news, 33 year old career minor league Keith Aucoin who also happens to be a 5’9″ offensive first player has been taking a regular shift on Washington’s fourth line. This is why Edmonton will never win. Aucoin could never play on Edmonton because he doesn’t fit their misguided conception of what a fourth line player does.

    Smart teams play the best players they have. Dumb teams fit players into roles.

  41. VOR says:

    I was thinking reading all of this, not to aplogize for Tambellini, that perhaps you are all either over-estimating the importance of the GM or underestimating how hard a job it is.

    1. Consider, under the heading of it couldn’t possibly have been planned: a team enters the NHL season with a cobbled together defence that averages 25 years old and have an average 249 games of experience in the NHL, two were never drafted, one is a failed first rounder, one is a third round career AHLer, two are legitimate first rounders. One guy has a total of 80 games of pro experience, previously he had played for the hockey power house Kokudo of Japan. He isn’t even sure he wants to play hockey.

    They are, of course, going to end that improbable season skating around the ice with a Stanley Cup. Could anybody have predicted that? That the guy with 80 games of NHL experience and a former career in Japan would have 40 points and be +40? Or that the other undrafted guy would have 42 points and be +50. If it hadn’t happened you would think it was impossible.

    If the impossible happens in the NHL (and I saw it with my own eyes) then how can you ever failry determine a GMs performance? What is luck and what is skill?

    2. How about this, anybody want to guess which active GM (with well over 2000 games as GM) has the highest winning percentage in NHL history, what it is, and how many Stanley Cups his teams have won?

    The answers are David Poile, .571, and zero. It is a tough job even if you do it well. Winning is never a sure thing.

  42. bookje says:

    Bar_Qu:
    The whole rebuild philosophy is, imo, the nexus of why ST is a bad GM. It is an easy, thoughtless way to improve your hockey club. Rather than try to ice a competitive team and improve in incremental moves (high risk, high reward) you do little and collect a high draft pick. Although I hasten to add, year one of the rebuild was an attempt to do the former, which should count against the current GM’s record as much as anything since.

    I probably hate the lazy way the org has gone about it, b/c it feels like when a student hands me an assignment where they just took the guiding information I gave them to get started and reworded it as a response. No attempt to put your own stamp on it, claim a little bit of intellectual territory for your own.

    Yeah, that’s what I don’t like about those guys.

    Yes, they should have followed the more honorable path of Calgary.

  43. bookje says:

    VOR,

    Vor – its an easy job, loads of guys post here and every night and they always get it right…

  44. rich says:

    I can’t say that Tambellini has made many moves that impress me, but I am curious about 1 thing. When the real power behind the thrown says the rebuild is going to take anywhere from 5-6 years, how can any of us say that this summer coming up is any more important than the last one for the GM?

    It seems to me that the org has given the GM a long-term pass. We all said how important last year was, the FA signings were sub-par, but we see no consequences because procurement continues to add high end assets because of poor results on the ice.

    Smyth forces himself on the GM and yet some give him credit (and who knows maybe Tambellini wanted him back and had to fight Lowe). Penner gets trade for picks and prospects (or suspects). Pushes the clock back on doomsday, that’s all. Vishnovsky for Whitney? Too bad poor Whitney is hurt more than healthy. Can’t blame the GM for not forseeing that one. Gilbert for Schultz? Hey, we made fewer mistakes in our own zone.

    But while the GM is hanging the coach out to dry as he assesses whether he should return, and plays the fans for fools w/his comments on Khabi in the season ending presser, I’ve stopped wondering when someone is going to finally call a spade a spade and be held accountable for poor results. It’s simply not in the cards.

  45. stevezie says:

    VOR:
    I was thinking reading all of this, not to aplogize for Tambellini, that perhaps you are all either over-estimating the importance of the GM or underestimating how hard a job it is.

    1. Consider, under the heading of it couldn’t possibly have been planned: a team enters the NHL season with a cobbled together defence that averages 25 years old and have an average 249 games of experience in the NHL, two were never drafted, one is a failed first rounder, one is a third round career AHLer, two are legitimate first rounders. One guy has a total of 80 games of pro experience, previously he had played for the hockey power house Kokudo of Japan. He isn’t even sure he wants to play hockey.

    They are, of course, going to end that improbable season skating around the ice with a Stanley Cup. Could anybody have predicted that? That the guy with 80 games of NHL experience and a former career in Japan would have 40 points and be +40? Or that the other undrafted guy would have 42 points and be +50. If it hadn’t happened you would think it was impossible.

    If the impossible happens in the NHL (and I saw it with my own eyes) then how can you ever failry determine a GMs performance? What is luck and what is skill?

    2. How about this, anybody want to guess which active GM (with well over 2000 games as GM) has the highest winning percentage in NHL history, what it is, and how many Stanley Cups his teams have won?

    The answers are David Poile, .571, and zero. It is a tough job even if you do it well. Winning is never a sure thing.

    Well, yeah, but where’s the fun in admitting that?

    I once saw a legends of hockey with Sather and he said that if you can watch a hockey game with two teams you’ve never heard of, and pick out the one or two guys who can really play, you can be an NHL GM.

    Bullfeathers, he said politely. This is the guy who drafted Jason Bonsignore (and then ruined him on purpose, apparently). There’s so much luck involved it is ridiculous.

  46. stevezie says:

    Lowetide:
    The choice of Neil Young songs is probably a generational thing. I’ve missed a thousand great ones though, from “Harvest Moon” to just about everything recorded by Crazy Horse. And I can’t believe only two Zuma tracks and just two from Tonight’s the Night.

    That’s actually shameful.

    Any chance you could post a quick recap of everyone (just player and song)? Both for posterity and bcause I wasn’t always in the position to play the song, and I had onyl heard about half of them. Dude’s got one helluva a catalogue.
    If you don’t have a list handy I suppose I could just got through the posts, but I figured you might have a list handy.

  47. Ryan says:

    DSF: I would think Dale Tallon’s performance over the last 24 months should provide a pretty clear measuring stick.

    Okay, I’ll step on a grenade here and challenge DSF (to a degree and sort of).

    Two key differences. One, I’ve been to the BankAtlantic Center to watch several games which is one hell of a rink by the way.

    Watching live hockey in what for an Edmontonian feels like the dead of summer while wearing shorts takes a little adjustment.

    Back to the BankAtlantic Center. My realtor back in 2006 used to rent a skybox (yes this was prior to the meltdown of the South FLA economy precipitated by Freddie and Fanny, Lehman Bros, etc).

    Even during the booming economy at the time (no, he wasn’t wearing an onion belt), he had to beg people to watch games for free in his skybox. On that note, I’d suggest that the Panthers are not a team that would tolerate a rebuild.

    The Panthers basically are in the same situation as the Coyotes in that their rink is a LONG drive from anywhere people actually live. Unless, of course, you happen to reside in Sunrise.

    The first game I ever watched with him was the 2006 FLA Panthers vs. the Leafs. Watching that game almost made me forget that I’m a hockey fan.

    The other issue is the cap flexibility Tallon had this summer. Sure, this summer wasn’t a buyers market for much of any position, but the cap flexibility along with the lack of tolerance for any type of rebuild are two big differences relative to Tallon’s role.

  48. Woodguy says:

    So are most agreeing that Tambellini must improve the team this summer?

    The tanking days are over?

    If he actually adds good players through trade and FA signings and cuts bait on Khabby, I’ll be the first to applaud.

    I’m not holding my breath though.

  49. Ryan says:

    Cactus,

    I’ll put on my Ducey hat and play devil’s advocate for my own (Woodguyesque, Dellowesque, Mitchellesque) view of Oilers management which can basically be summed up as there’s about as much evidence for an outside of observer of intelligence within the Oilers organization that the SETI project has found for the evidence of intelligent life on other planets.

    see: khabibulin, Nikolia; Brodziak, Kyle; Barker, Cam; Foster, Kurtis; Souray, Sheldon; Heatley, Danny; Penner, Dustin; Paajarvi, Magnus (count to six); etc…

    On that note, one thing that gets neglected by our myopic view is where the team was at in 2009-10. Let’s take a look at that roster:

    # Nat Player Pos
    8 Dean Arsene D (AHLer)
    67 Gilbert Brule  C
    41 Taylor Chorney D (AHLer)
    13 Andrew Cogliano C
    91 Mike Comrie C (pre-mono)
    38 Jeff Deslauriers G
    40 Devan Dubnyk G
    89 Sam Gagner  C
    77 Tom Gilbert D
    83 Ales Hemsky (A)  RW
    10 Shawn Horcoff (A) C
    22 Jean-Francois Jacques  LW
    2 Aaron Johnson D
    28 Ryan Jones LW
    35 Nikolai Khabibulin  G
    36 Charles Linglet LW
    18 Ethan Moreau (C) LW
    12 Robert Nilsson LW
    19 Patrick O’Sullivan C
    49 Theo Peckham  D
    27 Dustin Penner LW
    34 Fernando Pisani RW
    16 Ryan Potulny C
    78 Marc-Antoine Pouliot C
    5 Ladislav Smid  D
    44 Sheldon Souray (A)  D
    32 Ryan Stone  C
    46 Zack Stortini RW
    43 Jason Strudwick D
    6 Ryan Whitney D

    In consideration that the Oilers were then a capstrung team with very few useful pieces in their core, one can at least see the roster turnover as some evidence from the SETI project.

    Several of the players that are gone no longer play in the NHL due to retirement or are at the fringe (JFJ, Pisani, Moreau, Neilson, Strudwick, Stortini, Stone, Potulny, Pouliot, POS, Comrie, Deslaurier…)

    Of course, it’s hard to get over the mistakes of dumping Brodziak, the Khabi signing, and bringing in Quinn. After that, there has definitely been some signs of a pulse.

  50. Ryan says:

    Last thought…

    In so far as we know very little about Katz other than that he’s an extraordinary wealthy and successful businessman, we know that he’s a whale hunter. On that note, he succeeded in the likes of Hall, Nuge, and ?Yakupov obtained thru the draft.

    That being said, I agree that this summer is going to go a long way in telling the fanbase whether we’re using the Chicago or CBJ model.

  51. bookje says:

    Rich – a 5-6 year rebuild involves an upward trajectory over the final 3 years.

    WG – Agreed , the tank job must be over. Even this year, I think the goal was 20-25th and they missed it. I don’t see the logic of another tank job as you need to start to attract FAs and you need to keep your team and fans loyal.

  52. DBO says:

    Leonis? in Washington likes shiny things. If we want to accelerate this thing, would anyone be against dealing the #1 for Carlson and say Chimera (our fascination with old Oilers needed of course)? Carlson is a legit younger top 2 RH dman with some offense and some D. A younger version of Gilbert with more overall skill. Add him and one of their more expensive pluggers (I think they are tight to cap if they want Semin back) and it helps us along greatly. Would they do it? doubt it. Knowing Tamblowe they would go for Green and his expensive deal. I’d take him for a 2nd, not the 1st.

  53. Bar_Qu says:

    bookje,

    Are you suggesting there are only two paths? I’m confused. Edmonton’s complete failure to compete or Calgary’s complete failure to achieve? That’s it? Hmm, well, when you put it that way, I guess it makes a lot of sense to tank by accident and then on purpose, and then a little bit more by accident.

    Thanks for helping me see the light.

  54. Ryan says:

    Woodguy:
    So are most agreeing that Tambellini must improve the team this summer?

    The tanking days are over?

    If he actually adds good players through trade and FA signings and cuts bait on Khabby, I’ll be the first to applaud.

    I’m not holding my breath though.

    No, I disagree with you.

    I do agree that someone must improve this team over the summer, but I don’t agree that it has to be Tambo. :p

  55. Bar_Qu says:

    Woodguy,

    Yes, this is the correct answer. Failure to have some level of compete ‘built’ into the team is an admission of inability to manage an NHL team at the level of your 29 peers.

  56. Cactus says:

    Bar_Qu:
    bookje,

    Are you suggesting there are only two paths? I’m confused. Edmonton’s complete failure to compete or Calgary’s complete failure to achieve? That’s it? Hmm, well, when you put it that way, I guess it makes a lot of sense to tank by accident and then on purpose, and then a little bit more by accident.

    Thanks for helping me see the light.

    Well Bar_Qu, perhaps you’d like to take up the challenge I put forward earlier in this thread. If you think tanking to rebuild is an unimaginative mess, then what is your alternative? And please be specific about how you would’ve taken the disaster that was the team between 2008-2010 and managed to turn it around in a market that lacks any special, intrinsic appeal beyond hockey.

    Arguably, there should have been more accountability for Lowe for his post-2006 moves. I think he did a pretty good job until then, but it seems that the shock of Pronger wanting out threw him for a loop.

  57. DSF says:

    godot10: That Jovanoski contract is going to make it very difficult to sign Garrison.And dammit, he drafted a defensive defenseman 3rd overall.If Tambellini did that anywhere in the first round, the Oiler blogosphere asks for his head on a platter.

    Not sure why Florida would have trouble Garrison since they have $23M in free cap space.

    That third overall pick you’re ferrying to was QMJHL scoring star Jonathan Huberdeau unless you men the prior year when he selected Gudbranson.

    He made the team right out of junior so it appears he was a pretty good bet.

  58. bookje says:

    Bar_Qu:
    bookje,

    Are you suggesting there are only two paths? I’m confused. Edmonton’s complete failure to compete or Calgary’s complete failure to achieve? That’s it? Hmm, well, when you put it that way, I guess it makes a lot of sense to tank by accident and then on purpose, and then a little bit more by accident.

    Thanks for helping me see the light.

    You’re welcome, and don’t worry, it just takes some people a little longer to understand things than others. You will be just fine.

  59. Bar_Qu says:

    Cactus,

    Strangely enough, it is actually not my job to build a successful hockey team. I don’t get paid (very well) to do it. I am, however a fan who pays money to watch my team, and therefore have every right to compare the relative performance of my team and it’s mgt to the other teams in the league.

    There have been numerous posts by other bloggers (CnB notably) that point out the Oilers have been the worst team since the lockout. Generally the same people are in charge now as have been in place since 2006. As a fan, it is not my job to plot what should be done, but I do get to question why it was done. Telling me I couldn’t do better does not absolve them of responsibility. It is simply deflecting, and I don’t accept this as an excuse.

  60. Cactus says:

    Bar_Qu,

    I’m aware it’s not your job (or mine or even LT’s) to phantom manage this team. However, if we’re going to have a public discussion of these matters, our opinions must be open to examination by others.

    You stated earlier in this thread that you think the rebuild strategy is unimaginative and that it reflects poorly on management. I argue that such a stance is only justifiable if there was a better and more plausible alternative. Some of Zona’s work at C&B in the offseason was interesting, but it was not enough to make this a playoff team.

    I understand that people are tired of all the losing ( know I am), but personally I’d rather see them get this right than sell out for a couple of years of finishing 7th or 8th. We lived through that in the late 90s and it got old, fast. Now is the time to make adjustments and build for a winning season. If they don’t do that, I’ll happily join the angry mob.

  61. Bar_Qu says:

    Cactus,

    I think the goal is to make the playoffs with the best team you can cobble together. With the parity imposed by the current points system, 8th place is only a tie-breaker away from 3rd (ie the Kings this year).

    In fact, despite the poor draft position 10th place gives, I still think it is preferrable to be competing into March for a playoff spot and just miss it, than to be out in December.

    I know we both agree on the need to win going forward, we just disagree on the path it took to get here. If I was really cornered I could come up with some scenarios (ie signing Craig Anderson to the same contract as NK got, instead of NK and looking at some middling defenders that would have kept the boat above water the last few years) but I don’t have the time to do that and still be an effective teacher (which is another entirely debatable point!). Its not that I am dismissing your challenge, it is just that I am not up to meeting it between the months of Sept to June.

  62. DeadmanWaking says:

    Woodguy: The tanking days are over?

    That’s my hypothesis. If they don’t turn the corner this summer in a significant way, all this painstaking incompetence will have gone for naught. Future RFA contracts are gathering in Mordor as we speak.

    My view of politics (which corresponds to everything I’ve seen in two seasons of Yes Minister) is that you don’t have to make the pols who dole you public money look good until after you receive their largess. In the post-construction photo-op there needs to be ten pennants or Stanley cups seated attentively beside the minister every time the camera turns his way. Meanwhile, nothing short of bumless seats will force Katz’s hand. Middling success is an expensive mode to bide time.

    Yeah, they could have brought in more mid-level free agents at the price of fresh lettuce in Barrow, Alaska. Would we be further ahead? Chicken and egg syndrome. What decent free agent trusts Tambi enough to sign here as the first of half a dozen essential moves? Now that we have Hall, Eberle, Nugent, and Nail we’re only short two or three essential pieces. Having now primed the pump with multiple waves of procurement, it should prove possible at long last to attract talent without paying an Alaskan airlift surcharge.

    Tell me, why would Hall be impatient after just two seasons? The Joe Sakic Rules of Acquisition:
    34) Losing builds character.
    35) Winning builds character.

    It’s not like winning was out of sight last season. They were passably competitive on home ice. Next year if they add Nail, he can almost be properly sheltered for road games if our maturing studs are spread across several lines. Really, I think this is the summer of raging hooves.

    Mr Dithers the White: Three hundred lives of men I have walked this earth and now I have no time.

    Yes, to legitimately compete in the new rink, as of this summer they have no time.

    From LOTR: Why does it take Mr Dithers the White so long to figure out Bilbo’s ring is the ring of power?

    For sixty games, Tambi let the matter rest because of Renney’s assurances. By the time he realized something was seriously wrong, Gagner was playing like butter spread over too much bread. So it wasn’t until the draft-ball came into Stu’s possession that he actually started looking into the history of the tank. It took 17 months to put all of the pieces together because he basically had to sift middle earth several times over before anyone returned his calls. By the time he came back to Nugent’s hobbit hole and did the final test, he pretty much knew what it was.

    Well, I kind of edited that with a Magic Eight Ball. [[Substitute your fable here.]]

    Here’s a story I’ve heard from the golden era. The new guy in town trailing the rush into a gaping hole bangs his stick for a centering pass. The bench erupts in a collective face palm.
    New guy: What?
    Everyone: He knows.
    New guy: I was trailing the play.
    Everyone: He knows.
    New guy: But I was open.
    Everyone: He knows.
    New guy: What then?
    Everyone: Keep your stick on the ice, crash the crease, collect $200.

    After years of nothing, Tambi knows. Not with eyes in the back of his head–with the ordinary eyes in the front of his face. Two disciplined Urak-Hai on the blue and a Jason Voorhees with a quick glove, that’s all we need. He knows. But I have to admit I’m just guessing. It’s hard to know from nothing. Infuriating really. Yet clearly you can only declare “This is a good blade, Barker, son of IceHogs” amidst a desperate retreat so many times. Another summer like last summer, I say off with his head. Even this Ent-moot root-dragger is growing restive.

  63. russ99 says:

    Tambi gets a bit of a raw deal.

    We all knew this wasn’t a playoff team before FA, even if that skinny 18 year old center plays most of the season.

    He fell for the Barker draft pedigree as a low risk move, and two other NHL GMs made much more high-risk moves for him.

    His other signings in the summer smack of giving Renney the type of players he likes, and they were applauded at the time.

    He made good moves on Smyth and Hemsky, even though he “dithered” to the last possible second.

    And the Gilbert deal, IMO while unpopular, was necessary to improve the defense. This will be more evident when the other shoe drops and a puck-mover (who puts up points) who can also defend and hit is brought in.

    If Tambellini is brought back, I’d hope he and the (hopefully) new coach have some sense of urgency moving this team forward more quickly.

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