B Flat

Ray Bradbury passed away on the same day Steve Tambellini got another contract. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.The Oilers under Steve Tambellini have been a mixture of comedy, horror and fantasy. It looks like we’re in for another wild ride.

Mr. Tambellini’s extension (described as a multi-year deal) comes after two “rebuilding” years and two years of trying that produced poor results. Based on results, the extension seems folly, but the Oilers “scorched earth” approach to procurement has allowed them to acquire Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins since the forced fail was put into place. This “cruel to be kind” approach to the fanbase has resulted in a lotta losses and the promise of a new tomorrow.

Tambellini’s positives might include the amateur procurement department’s success, the Barons in the AHL and the lack of long term contracts since the Souray-Khabibulin era. Much of the negative has to do with constantly offloading useful players for picks and prospects, but the extension suggests the frustration felt by the fanbase stops well short of the owner’s front door. You gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.

There was some sense the team would be better this season, but when they plunged into the second division again it was coach Tom Renney who paid the price. We’re at a point now where Steve Tambellini’s continued employment by the organization should be considered ad infinitum. What could possibly go wrong now to compromise his position? It’s just like the Canadiens and Sam Pollock, except without the wins, the domination and the  Stanley’s. Very similar.

The Edmonton Oilers are rebuilding. Until further notice. Maybe they’ll contend, maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll sign Ryan Smyth, maybe the won’t. Depends.

It’ll all work out. Trust them.

And for God’s sake stay healthy. This might take awhile.

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60 Responses to "B Flat"

  1. voxwah says:

    7 or 8 years is the word. OMG that’s crazyness.

  2. neojanus says:

    Welcome to Hell, Oilers fans.

    The veil has lifted from Mars is Heaven and the Martians are hungry.

    The words multi-year and Tambellini truly strike fear into my soul.

  3. Bad Seed says:

    voxwah,

    You gotta say one thing about the Oilers – they don’t do the popular thing.

  4. neojanus says:

    Although, come to think of it, why should we care? Kevin Lowe is still secretly managing this team. Tambo just has that semi-perma-grin for the cameras… it’s not like he does anything.

  5. bendelson says:

    Excellent.
    Just what was required to kick this rebuild into high gear.
    Playoffs here we come.

  6. DSF says:

    3 year extension according to T. Jones.

  7. Southern Oil says:

    If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. JW over at ON lays it out quite nicely I think.

  8. remember reijo says:

    Maybe Tambo was never given enough rope to hang himself in the first place. I feel Renney was. I thought last summer was going to be the pivotal summer of our rebuild, apparently its this one…..maybe. How much is Tambo handcuffed?
    Who’s franchise is more on track? The Islanders or the Oilers? I think theyre starting to look like east west character foils of each other.

  9. spoiler says:

    voxwah:
    7 or 8 years is the word. OMG that’s crazyness.

    Lowetide

    And for God’s sake stay healthy. This might take awhile.

    These two states cannot co-exist. Blowing blood vessels in one’s brain cannot be considered staying healthy.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Tambellini must have had some input into the Cam Barker hire. So one assumes he feels a Cam Barker type is needed this summer. What could go wrong? Maybe he’ll even get Barker!

  11. Rebilled says:

    Maybe thecaptainethanmoreau gets the call up tonight? Poor 94, one year early.

  12. jake70 says:

    That Quicsilver character (or whatever he goes by now) over ON had a nice line….whatever Tambellini gets in term, half is a severence.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Jake: That’s probably true, but this team is still going to be about development. Lander is a big part of the future, and he isn’t ready–from what we saw–will he break camp with the big team in the fall and effectively denver boot the 4line?

    I’d bet a lot of money the answer is yes.

  14. Bar_Qu says:

    The thing that is nice for an Oilers fan like myself is that as the weather begins to get nice, I don’t have to worry about missing meaningful games. January, February and March are generally difficult, aneurysm-inducing months, but April and May, I get to do whatever I want without worry.

    Vive la Republique!

  15. Bad Seed says:

    Bar_Qu,

    Yeah, those pesky playoffs just get in the way of golf anyway.

  16. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Regardless if 3 or more years, sounds like a typical Lowe signing to me – too much term and expecting the hire to play above their abilities.

    Tambi is undoubtedly a good character in the room though so don’t worry.

  17. spoiler says:

    Okay well 3 years I can live with. He can still be fired, Katz can afford that buyout, there’s probably even a buyout clause. We don’t know what influence Katz had in the Khabby deal, or a lot of the stuff that happens behind the scenes. What deals were there or weren’t.

    But I also can’t see how, if his bets this summer turn out as badly as some of his past few have and the new coach can make no progress in the standings, Tambo can avoid being fired next spring.

    It’s a job that can make you look very foolish very fast, even when you aren’t a foolish person. I’m willing to give him one more kick at the can. The guy signing the cheques is okay with Tambo and has far more information than we have to make a judgement. So this is really whether or not Katz should still get leeway for his own decision-making. I think he does.

    But I also think that if the leash isn’t shorter than that 3 year term indicates, then we need to start worrying about the owner.

  18. jake70 says:

    Lowetide:
    Jake: That’s probably true, but this team is still going to be about development. Landeris a big part of the future, and he isn’t ready–from what we saw–will he break camp with the big team in the fall and effectively denver boot the 4line?

    I’d bet a lot of money the answer is yes.

    wheels a spinnin for Mackinnon? lol

  19. Bar_Qu says:

    jake70,

    I don’t think even Tambo’s excellent guidance can lead the Oilers to a record fourth straight #1 draft pick. The current kids will wreck his every effort by playing above their heads. Again.

  20. Lowetide says:

    They’re playing bizarre for Lazar!

  21. spoiler says:

    Slow, painful death for Seth.

  22. Lowetide says:

    If only there was a player named Andrew Luck at the top of next year’s draft.

  23. spoiler says:

    If he has a brother, I’m more than willing to mis-pronounce Lucic.

  24. spoiler says:

    What are reasonable expectations for Tambo from now through the UFA frenzy?

  25. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    What are reasonable expectations for Tambo from now through the UFA frenzy?

    1. Sign Ryan Smyth.
    2. Acquire ONE veteran defenseman (if Tambellini were more astute he’d go after 2 as Whitney insurance).
    3. A solid goaltending option for the fall of the house of Khabi.
    4. A Pisani, a veteran winger who can PK, mentor the kids and score in G5 OT to send it back to Edmonton for G6.

  26. bendelson says:

    Reasonable expectations?

    1. Draft Murray #1 and keep him in the NHL.
    2. Consider #1 plus a healthy Whitney a HUGE improvement on the back end.
    3. Sign Hordichuk.
    4. Ignore the goalie problem.
    5. Bring Belanger back.
    6. Be nowhere on Justin Schultz’s radar.
    7. Overpay Smytty
    8. UFA? Swing and miss.
    And….
    8. Lottery pick 2013.

    Followed by a glowing review from KLowe and Katz.

  27. voxwah says:

    Lowetide,

    Lowetide,

    … And Justin Shultz just for fun.

  28. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: 1. Sign Ryan Smyth.
    2. Acquire ONE veteran defenseman (if Tambellini were more astute he’d go after 2 as Whitney insurance).
    3. A solid goaltending option for the fall of the house of Khabi.
    4. A Pisani, a veteran winger who can PK, mentor the kids and score in G5 OT to send it back to Edmonton for G6.

    Would Smyth, Yakupov, Wideman, Tootoo do it for you? Use the year of Khabby in a backup role to give Roy a year in the A?

  29. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: Would Smyth, Yakupov, Wideman, Tootoo do it for you? Use the year of Khabby in a backup role to give Roy a year in the A?

    I’d say yes but man Ryan Jones needs to be a mentor and he just isn’t. I hate to bitch and moan and lord knows he’s scored goals but if there’s a veteran out there who could help ease Hartikainen and Paajarvi and Lander into the NHL that’s a vital guy.

    Smyth could do that job, but I’m still convinced he’d be a top 6 W in this group, even with Yakupov.

  30. spoiler says:

    Anyone know what the story is on Ludvig Bystrom?

    He potted 13 more points than Forsberg in 11 less games, as a July-born defenseman playing against men. 6’1″ 208 lbs. How is this kid not a top 10 pick? Does he skate like Robitaille here?

  31. Bar_Qu says:

    OT, but this article suggests robot writers could replace real news reporting in 5 yrs.

    So, there is hope for improvement in the Edmonton beat writer market….

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/04/can-an-algorithm-write-a-better-news-story-than-a-human-reporter/all/1

  32. spoiler says:

    Cancel that. Appears that while TSN has him listed as MODO, it’s actually MODO20. Not against men.

  33. Schitzo says:

    Lowetide:
    If only there was a player named Andrew Luck at the top of next year’s draft.

    After this many years, i’m pretty sure the only rhyme left is bellowing F-bombs at the top of our lungs.

  34. Schitzo says:

    Also, did anyone else die a little inside when they showed the J. Williams empty net from 2006?

  35. Gret99zky says:

    4. A Pisani, a veteran winger who can PK, mentor the kids and score in G5 OT to send it back to Edmonton for G6.

    Lol.

    Ryan Jones IS a mentor. The Nuge lived with him last year. (shot the shit out of the dryer)

    This team won’t finish out of the lottery until Katz sees some real progress on his arena.

    I’ll bet a case of beer the Oilers don’t make the playoffs next year.

  36. Gret99zky says:

    For the record, all things Carolina 2006 should be stricken from the record.

  37. Cactus says:

    Lowetide: 1. Sign Ryan Smyth.

    Assuming he and his agent are willing to be reasonable. From the incomplete information we have, we know that the Oilers offered him a two year deal north of Bertuzzi’s money ($2.075M per). A couple weeks ago, Scott Reynolds had a good look at this at C&B and concluded that this was a reasonable offer for a player in Smyth’s situation (production minus age).

    We may all love Smytty but we can’t criticize Tambellini for overpaying the likes of Barker then turn around and demand that he cave into Smyth. I’d rather him take that money and put it towards a better player, like a Penner, if Smyth won’t accept a reasonable deal.

  38. bookje says:

    LT – Are you the guy who was lauding Sutter in Calgary and Howson in Columbus a couple of years ago? I am not convinced you have put a lot of thought into this ‘analysis’ of GMs

    Are you upset that the Oilers didn’t keep Penner? Why, so they could
    Finish 29th and 28th?

    Yes, the team sucked, but it’s pretty clear that sucking was the plan agreed to by the owner and GM. Tambellini would be a bad GM if he had signed a bunch of NTCs or if there was no young talent on the team. That is what has happened in other cities which will be screwed for a decade. The Oilers are set up pretty nicely at this point and are a vastly better organization than they were three years ago. That is why his contract has been renewed. If they done improve significantly this year Tambellini will be gone.

  39. Lowetide says:

    Bookie: Didn’t you say that last year?

  40. jb says:

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Tambellini+weighs+future+Oilers/6741830/story.html

    Real news!

    What happened to all the taking Murray at 1 talk anyway?

  41. spoiler says:

    I would like to see the following from our management team:

    1. Coaching resolved by hiring either Krueger or Cooper.
    2. Smytty will be signed, so I’m not worried.
    3. Advantage taken of any cap dumps from the likes of NYR, PHI, TOR, BOS.
    4. Listen to MacGregor at the draft table.
    5. Pitch Schultz hard. Give him a fucking tour when the 30 days are up. Hell, let him wear the Batman costume for awhile. Have Katz book him a trip to the international space station or something.
    6. Hopefully after 3 and 5, the defensive situation is taken care of. If not go hard after Carle July 1 with an overpay. I find it difficult to believe though that a proactive GM couldn’t pull Timonen out of Philly for fairly cheap. Or something nice fr NY.
    7. Find a big tough scoring winger to play 2nd line minutes. Or at worst 3rd. See NY thing above.
    8. Get a decent return for Omark, since pumping him after the playoffs were lost was unnecessary.
    9. If Belanger has asked for a trade, sign a cheap defensive UFA centre. There’s a couple available this summer.

    But I’d be okay with what I suggested, disappointed, but okay.

    The 88 record lives.

  42. speeds says:

    Cactus: We may all love Smytty but we can’t criticize Tambellini for overpaying the likes of Barker then turn around and demand that he cave into Smyth.I’d rather him take that money and put it towards a better player, like a Penner, if Smyth won’t accept a reasonable deal.

    For me, this works on a bit of a sliding scale. Overpaying for replacement level or marginal players is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for 2nd/3rd liners and top 4 D, which in turn is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for elite talent.

    So I guess my point is that while overpaying for Smyth may not be a great idea, it’s a less bad idea than overpaying for a guy who plays a smaller role, IMO.

  43. spoiler says:

    speeds: For me, this works on a bit of a sliding scale.Overpaying for replacement level or marginal players is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for 2nd/3rd liners and top 4 D, which in turn is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for elite talent.

    So I guess my point is that while overpaying for Smyth may not be a great idea, it’s a less bad idea than overpaying for a guy who plays a smaller role, IMO.

    I think they were hoping Barker could play top 4. He has the size and the hands, but not the skating or the noodle.

  44. spoiler says:

    Thank you JB.

    That was a very un-Tambellini-like article.

  45. Cactus says:

    speeds: For me, this works on a bit of a sliding scale.Overpaying for replacement level or marginal players is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for 2nd/3rd liners and top 4 D, which in turn is a bigger “mistake” than overpaying for elite talent.

    So I guess my point is that while overpaying for Smyth may not be a great idea, it’s a less bad idea than overpaying for a guy who plays a smaller role, IMO.

    I completely agree Speeds, but I’d rather not justify the Smyth contract based on the fact that it’s a lesser sin compared to something like Barker’s. Obviously, we’re working with incomplete information here, but this seems more a problem with Smyth’s expectations than the Oilers’ willingness to make an offer.

  46. bookje says:

    Lowetide:
    Bookie: Didn’t you say that last year?

    Probably. However, I think this was a borderline call for Katz and that is one of the reasons we see it happening so late (even if it was decided months ago, the norm would be to have it done at Christmas). I honestly think the expectation this past year was to move up out of the lottery and maybe as high as 20th (with some grand hopes of tickling a playoff spot). It didn’t happen. However, there were some signs of serious improvement (the kids, the PP, winning a few more games, etc.). I think that was enough to convince Katz to let Tambellini continue on (along with the improvements in other areas of the organization). I suspect that this year is an ‘or else’ year.

    Knowing some of Katz’ behaviour in the business world, I cannot see him as the bumblefuck that some people paint him out to be, so I try to make an effort to see things from an owners point of view, giving him the benefit of the doubt when doing so (just to see if I can understand his logic). I think there is a logic to keeping Tambellini around. Some other people do as well (all of us with limited knowledge of the behind the scenes information). Katz sees the logic in it and has a much better view of things than we do.

  47. Ducey says:

    spoiler:
    Thank you JB.

    That was a very un-Tambellini-like article.

    Yeah, all the right answers.

  48. Lowetide says:

    bookje: Probably. However, I think this was a borderline call for Katz and that is one of the reasons we see it happening so late (even if it was decided months ago, the norm would be to have it done at Christmas).I honestly think the expectation this past year was to move up out of the lottery and maybe as high as 20th (with some grand hopes of tickling a playoff spot).It didn’t happen.However, there were some signs of serious improvement (the kids, the PP, winning a few more games, etc.).I think that was enough to convince Katz to let Tambellini continue on (along with the improvements in other areas of the organization).I suspect that this year is an ‘or else’ year.

    Knowing some of Katz’ behaviour in the business world, I cannot see him as the bumblefuck that some people paint him out to be, so I try to make an effort to see things from an owners point of view, giving him the benefit of the doubt when doing so (just to see if I can understand his logic).I think there is a logic to keeping Tambellini around.Some other people do as well (all of us with limited knowledge of the behind the scenes information).Katz sees the logic in it and has a much better view of things than we do.

    Okay, then when do we make a decision on Tambellini? I understand the rebuild means miles of suckage but there’s a lot of wasted dollars along the way and I have no confidence Tambellini can find a defenseman or a Pisani.

    And he’s not even (apparently) looking for a goalie!

  49. Maverick says:

    Mikhail Grigorenko has arrived in Edmonton.

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=634053

    I am amazed at how well he speaks English, just a small sample video on the Oilers site but I can see how he did really well in his interview. I don’t think he will be drafted 1st overall, but maybe LT is right and Grigorenko will be drafted earlier than expected. http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/05/draft-profiles-mikhail-grigorenko.html.

  50. bookje says:

    Lowetide: Okay, then when do we make a decision on Tambellini? I understand the rebuild means miles of suckage but there’s a lot of wasted dollars along the way and I have no confidence Tambellini can find a defenseman or a Pisani.

    And he’s not even (apparently) looking for a goalie!

    I don’t believe anything that Tambellini says so I don’t know if he is looking for a goalie until he either gets one or not.

    With that said, I would suggest that my patience for Tambellini could end as early as this summer and I could be headmarshalling the fire Tambellini parade.

    Basically, I can’t see any logic in the team not trying to be competitive this coming year (no strategic reason). A ‘rebuild’ cannot logically continue forever, contracts run out, players lose faith, and fans begin to lose faith. However, I could see logic for sucking in years past and as such, I don’t blame the GM for signing Fraser or getting Brule – those were moves with some potential upside that did nothing to threaten the ‘rebuild’. However, I worry about Eager and Belanger and their role on the team (although I think Belanger was hurt by playing in front of an AHL defence as was MPS). In any case, I will really start to lose faith if I don’t see the defence improved this summer and some kind of goaltending plan.

    Anyway, I promise, if the Oilers suckitude is maintained this fall, I will not be saying things like “The players just need to get used to the new coaching system” or “You can’t blame the GM for the injury/bad play of Dubnyk and Khabibulin sucking” or anything of the sort. I will be advocating burning all of Tambellini’s furniture or whatever it is that we are supposed to be doing as fans.

  51. bookje says:

    Maverick:
    Mikhail Grigorenko has arrived in Edmonton.

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=634053

    I am amazed at how well he speaks English, just a small sample video on the Oilers site but I can see how he did really well in his interview.I don’t think he will be drafted 1st overall, but maybe LT is right and Grigorenko will be drafted earlier than expected. http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/05/draft-profiles-mikhail-grigorenko.html.

    I like Greginko. I don’t know why. I think that maybe it is because he is a large center. I worry that it might be because ‘Playing draft Plinko for Greginko” was such an awesome ‘Fall for Hall’ type rhyme.

  52. Ducey says:

    DD will likely play 60 to 65 games. Its hard to get that excited about the backup.

    I think the key will be hiring a good coach with a defensive system. That will help the G, the D and help a “Pisani” or two gain some footing.

    The Oilers need to understand the Boys on the Bus had the benefit of some of the best players in history. In this day and age you need to grind out the games 5 x 5 and get on the PP.

    If Krueger gets the job, I think things will fall into place.

  53. bookje says:

    Ducey:
    DD will likely play 60 to 65 games.Its hard to get that excited about the backup.

    I think the key will be hiring a good coach with a defensive system.That will help the G, the D and help a “Pisani” or two gain some footing.

    The Oilers need to understand the Boys on the Bus had the benefit of some of the best players in history.In this day and age you need to grind out the games 5 x 5 and get on the PP.

    If Krueger gets the job, I think things will fall into place.

    My worry about Khabi as a backup is not how he will do in 15-20 games as a backup, but rather – what happens if DD gets injured or sucks – what is the emergency plan. If the Oilers pass up on a good #2 because they have Khabi, that is a risk.

  54. Traktor says:

    Edmonton needs to play Hall and the Kids Kovalchuk type minutes, not another Pisani. Jesus.

    This team will only go as far as the Kids take them. Give them the opportunity to succeed or fail.

    Last year Edmonton lost mainly because Horcoff and Belanger played too many minutes and were close to -40 combined. They are closer to AHL players than defensive specialists and they will likely will be worse next year unless they are limited to 4th line minutes/PB.

    I would rather lose and learn with MPS than Jim Dowd or Fern Pisani.

  55. Traktor says:

    Also, I think the idea of Smyth playing ahead of Yakupov is very unlikely unless Edmonton hires Barry Melrose as their new coach.

  56. Brett Gee says:

    After letting the anger subside after a few hours, I think that I’d like to add to this discussion.

    LT nailed it and others have said it elsewhere: when would any other organization give an extension to a manager who has failed so miserably?

    How many other organizations will applaud their manager for “obtaining elite talent” when they finish last and are given the elite talent?

    The way I see it, if Renney served his purpose and was booted out the door, then so should the rest of them. I see it as perfectly logical to say that Tambellini was the GM for the kids, and now to make the next step, the team needs to go in another direction.

    I love the Oilers, but I really can’t stand this guy. If they keep on losing long enough to have him fired, I really won’t be that torn up about it. Seriously.

    If they don’t take Yakupov with the pick then I don’t know what I’ll do because I don’t think that I could be more annoyed, disappointed, angered, depressed about this management situation than I am right now.

    Also, rewarding him with an extension pretty much proves that he was tanking on purpose. All of the evidence is there. Isn’t there some sort of penalty or fine for that kind of behaviour? Embarrassing. Completely embarrassing.

    And now, we wait for another 2 months before they tell us who will be the next coach to shoulder the blame for not winning now, even the there is a lot of confusion as to what the actual goal of this team will be this year. Win and it worked. Lose and it worked because they don’t want to win now. I could see that being the excuse for another 5 years.

    Thanks for the vent.

  57. Schitzo says:

    From the Journal article linked by JB above:

    Matty: When you see how big the Los Angeles forwards (Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Dustin Penner, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter) are, do you think the Oilers have to get much bigger up front, too?

    Tambo: You need big people who can play and mostly you have to draft them.

    Unless you’re lucky enough to inherit a 6’4″ 30 goal scorer, in which case you trade him for Colton Teubert.

    Jesus H. Christ.

  58. rickithebear says:

    Brett Gee: Embarrassing. Completely embarrassing.

    LOL! The owner profits off selling a product people may desperatly need to live.

    Crack dealer! Pharmacy owner! Ones more legal than the other but…………..

    To be surprised by the business process of Katz’s oilers is silly.

  59. prairieschooner says:

    It is tough to dump on Tambi when he was obviously told the objective was to ensure lottery picks for a number of years.
    He should be graded on how successful he was at achieving that.
    The doctor has the cure for what ails us, we just don’t like the medicine

  60. bookje says:

    rickithebear: LOL! The owner profits off selling a product people may desperatly need to live.

    Crack dealer! Pharmacy owner! Ones more legal than the other but…………..

    To be surprised by the business process of Katz’s oilers is silly.

    Rickybear – If it’s so easy, where is your pharmacy? It’s clear that you don’t understand how markets work.

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