A VERY GOOD SUMMER

There’s some tough hombres out there trying to beat the other guy, and staying ahead of the competition is a 24/7 job. Oilers management has had a nice summer. Is their resume improving? Is MacT helping?

The fallback position on the internet for a credible Oiler fan is to poke holes in Oilers management. It’s a fairly safe bet too, based on the seasons 2006+, and despite drafting as high as high can be it wouldn’t take a lot for the Oilers to finish 29th or 30th again. Having said all of that, this has been a strong, logical summer.

Not perfect, God knows the Oilers like to start each season so out of balance that liftoff is a 50/50 proposition. However, when you look at the transactions since May 1, there’s some reason and good sense in most of them:

  • June 11: Oilers hire MacT as Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations.
  • June 19: Signed Lennart Petrell to a 1-year, $825,000 contract.
  • June 27: Named Ralpk Krueger head coach.
  • July 1: Won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes.
  • July 1: Signed Ryan Smyth to a 2-year, $4.5M contract.
  • July 1: Signed Darcy Hordichuk to a 1-year, $850,000 contract.
  • July 1: Signed Yann Danis to a 1-year, 2-way contract.
  • July 5: Signed Jeff Petry to a 2-year, $3.5M contract.
  • July 5: Signed Devan Dubnyk to a 2-year, $7M contract.
  • July 16: Signed Theo Peckham to a 1-year, $1.075M contract.
  • July 20: Signed Sam Gagner to a 1-year, $3.2M contract.
  • August 22: Signed Taylor Hall to a 7-year, $42M contract.

I know they fell ass over tea kettle into Yakupov and I know Ryan Smyth traded himself here and I know Justin Schultz was apparently persuaded by Hall, Krueger and the roster present and future.  However, there are some solid bets and signings in here. During the period June-August the Oilers:

  1. Hired a strong mind in MacT to oversee/advise Tambellini’s work and perhaps disarm some of Lowe’s emotional bent.
  2. Drafted the right guy 1st overall.
  3. Won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes
  4. Hired a coach who seems to have the chops.
  5. Got Ryan Smyth’s name on a very reasonable deal.
  6. Signed Petry to a ridiculous contract.
  7. Set the outer marker for the gifted kids on long term deals with the Taylor Hall contract.

They haven’t addressed the blue (top 4D) or the G (replace NK) and that is frustrating I’ll give you that. But if we go back to previous seasons, there’s also no crazy long term free agent deal and no Cam Barker ‘save the lottery pick’ contract.

I think we may have to start doing one of two things: giving Steve Tambellini absolute credit (and we’ve kind of given him absolute blame) or credit the MacT/Lowe team for giving sage advice.

Too early? Sure. But that’s a much better summer than we’ve seen around these parts in some time. Who gets credit?

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51 Responses to "A VERY GOOD SUMMER"

  1. mumbai max says:

    Yup, if he had gone out and signed Garrison or Wideman or any number of other
    outrageous deals, the same guys who call him Mr Dithers would have been all
    over Tambo for being reckless. Prudence is the right course right now.

  2. gcw_rocks says:

    LT, that’s about as “rose coloured glasses” a spin as you can put on what the Oilers did this summer.

    I give them points for Schultz and the Gagner and Hall contracts, but that’s about it.

    - The Smyth contract is a year too long and should include incentives. The deal isn’t tragic, but its not great either. Who knows if Smyth can play up to that contract next year
    - Keeping Nik is ridiculous. No way he should still be an Oiler. This is a HUGE mistake
    - Signing Hordichuk is a waste of a roster spot. They should have gone hard after Konopka instead
    - They overpaid Dubbey, and when conbined with keeping Nik, really limits options
    - Jury is still out on Krueger
    - Rolling the dice on Whitiney’s health AGAIN is just poor risk management

    They didn’t totally f*&% it up, but they didn’t have a good summer either.

  3. bookje says:

    What about recognizing that the team management that you saw over the last few years was mostly trying to lose and carrying out a 5 year rebuild plan? I remember Tambellini being the one to push Lowe and Katz into a rebuild, although the Internet narrative is now giving that credit to Katz’ son or something.

    I do think it is a team management approach and Lowe and MacT deservestupid share of the credit, but I also think that Tambellini has been key to the overall plan with Lowe and Now MacT.

  4. Jordan says:

    I still like the story that NK was brough into the Oilers specifically to lose, and that his rediculous contract was to make sure he lost badly and never said a word to anyone about it.

    But to be really honest, I’d rather give credit to the wonderful minds around here – I know Bruce spend a lot of time here before COH and the Stats project the Oilers are digging into. I mean sure, we could be humble and downplay it, but the fat of the matter is that this community has done a lot of the heavy lifting building up the Oilogosphere’s intellegencia, in conjunction with other sites asking the questions about what actually contributes to wins, and how to quantify that.

    So, rather than name the 50 or so people I think have played a big role in this, I’ll just say thanks LT – You’ve raised the level of conversation about the Oilers.

    Now, on a completely unrelated matter, about that cheque….

  5. Bushed says:

    LT:

    Yes, some seemingly good things have happened this summer (am still pinching myself on the Schultz signing and breathing an extended sigh of relief on the Yakupov pick), but I still have concerns about our management team, and am not sure how much credit goes to Tambo specifically.

    I’ve read rumors that suggest he’s out there trying to make things happen, but as you point out, we’re still waiting for a top D, answers to G (notice that you didn’t include the Dubnyk contract in your list of positives) and signs of a clear direction in other areas.

    I’m glad we haven’t seen an outright disaster (yet), but doesn’t that seem to support cautious optimism for fans as opposed to votes of confidence?

    Lowe has made some big mistakes in the past, Katz’s role in management is an unknown, Dithers hasn’t shaken his “evaluate forever” reputation, and MacT has made some questionable coaching decisions from time to time. All of that scares the hell out of me as a fan.

    Hope that my concerns are unfounded, but I’ll reserve credit to Tambo for now. Let’s see what happens after the CBA is settled.

  6. bookje says:

    Jorden – When the Oilers signed NK they were very much truing win and I think the signing was part of the effort to get Heatley. I think they still had Lowe’s big game hunter attitude. I think Tambellini was pretty limited in his influence at the time. I think he has somewhat grown Imto the role and the management team has grown to fill in his weaknesses (like talking to people), but I do think he deserves credit for the patience to do this right.

  7. JohnnyRocket says:

    Damn it, LT, you might be right. This HAS BEEN a good summer. The Hall signing really put a cherry on it and relieved much of the anxiety I had about them handing out contracts next year.

    I believe Tambellini deserves much of the credit, with the Silver Fox adding sage advice and calm waters. I don’t know where Lowe fits. Lowe did his best work trading for defensemen, which he demonstrated an uncanny knack for doing. The silence in this department has been deafening. He made the phone calls to Gretz and Coffey, obviously. His new role might be as the link to the past. Regaling the new boss with tales of the Boys on the Bus. I don’t see his finger prints on any of the summers signings, besides Hemsky’s (which was great). There had to have been sour grapes with Smyth, so that was likely Tambo’s.

    Maybe this summer is indicative of Tambellini 3.2 (3.3?). I won’t order a fan pin until I see him make a good trade or free agent signing, though. I’m not counting Justin Schultz or Ryan Smyth. His best signing yet was Belanger. At the time I thought it a solid bet. And when your shrewdest signing is Belanger, you’re not winning any championships soon.

    So credit to Tambellini, with an assist to MacTavish.

  8. JohnnyRocket says:

    bookje:
    Jorden – When the Oilers signed NK they were very much truing win and I think the signing was part of the effort to get Heatley.I think they still had Lowe’s big game hunter attitude.I think Tambellini was pretty limited in his influence at the time.I think he has somewhat grown Imto the role and the management team has grown to fill in his weaknesses (like talking to people), but I do think he deserves credit for the patience to do this right.

    I agree. Tambellini might be growing into the role. And his patience has been admirable. The Hall signing has been the first decisive move in building the future and it was a great one. That is really all we have to go on. All the other signings have been stop gap ones. All the terms end before the winning will truly begin.

    So, as always, we wait. ;)

  9. Woodguy says:

    You have to give credit when its due, and more than anything, the Hall contract is the bright spot of summer.

    A gamble for sure, but one that needed to be made and has a very good possibility of being a value contract for 4+ years.

    I understand not trading until the CBA is done. If you are trading for someone with one year left on their contract (i.e. to fill D hole for a year/Whitney insurance) that price is going to go down the longer the lockout goes. If they are locked out for a year and you gave up any assets for a player who never played for you, its obviously a disaster.

    Re-signing Petrell makes no sense unless they have a trade in the bag and they are waiting on the CBA to pull the trigger. There are too many wingers and he’s one of the lower rungs.

    As for Shultz and Yak, it really depends on how you look at it.

    A) Oilers were horrible and got to pick 2nd, but won the lottery and picked consensus BPA. Some points for not out-thinking themselves, but not many. Shultz was attracted to the Oilers because the Dcorp is sparse and the team is full of high draft picks because they Oilers have been terrible for so long.

    So the two best parts of the summer are due to Tambellini putting together horrid teams for 3 years running.

    B) The plan after Hall’s draft was to suck and rebuild. Its all going to plan and now they plan to not suck. If they didn’t follow the plan, they wouldn’t have RNH, Yakupov and Shultz.

    If they actually make good decisions going forward I’m more inclined to believe B, but never forget they spent to the cap and tried like hell to win they year they signed Khabby and ended up drafting Hall.

  10. bookje says:

    WG – Yep, no doubt that they started this thing by utterly failing at trying hard to win. It was 1/3 of the way through the season when Tambellini noted that they would NOT be going after another goalie after NK went down that I start to give any credit. I think they have done a good job at the rebuild since then, however, they still have to prove that they can put together a competitive team.

    I don’t really give them too much credit for Shultz signing here, but rather see it as a gold star of approval from an objective individual who has something at stake. So, unlike myself or DSF sharing our opinion (not objective with nothing at stake) Shultz choo choo choosing the Oilers matters.

  11. PhrankLee says:

    I think KL has been an albatross around the neck of this club for far too long. Just when I think the boys on the bus attitude is fading they hire MacT back and draft Simpson and Musil!! What’s next? Muckler has grandchildren and does anyone know if Ty Gretzky is interested in being a vice-president in charge of shower shoes?… I think Tom Wilkinson still lives in Sherwood Park so maybe he could talk to George McGowan and put together a cross discipline training regime because they were champions, you know. Like in the early 70′s. Well not George but he was a really really good receiver on a poor team….. Best guy for the job, please.

  12. bookje says:

    I also think that all and any excuses are gone. The team is not ‘trying to lose’ or ‘emphasizing development’ anymore – there are no hidden agendas that can be used as an excuse. The team cannot even blame the ‘nobody wants to come here’ thing anymore. Shultz wanted to come here and other players will want to come here (not all of them, but I would bet Edmonton is closer to an average destination now as opposed to the no way in hell destination for players).

    No excuses – its success or its time to fire them.

  13. gd says:

    My biggest goai for 2012-13 was to show enough progress to get Hall signed long-term so I have to consider the offseason a success.

    The most encouraging part to me is they were able to convince JS and his agents that this was the best team for him to play on. That’s a sign that the team is being perceived better in the agents’ eyes.

    The fact Hall is willing to commit for his entire prime is also a great sign. All indications are he is a winner and when you look at his junior career, I think he is more elite than most people give him credit for because of the injuries. (84 pts in his 15 yr old season, by far the best player on the two time Mem Cup champion powerhouse at 16 & 17, third leader scorer at WJC at 17). I feel the fact the management have convinced him the rebuild is on target is the best vote of confidence the management could get as no one is more invested in this team winning than Taylor.

    I also think Woodguy makes a great point that trading any assets for a vet D is held up by CBA, so the standing pat on that front is hard to criticize, especially when you see the price for Methot and contract Wideman signed.

    I also think it makes sense to make this DD’s sink or swim season, as there are quite a few UFA goalie’s next year like Lehtonen. I just don’t see a lot of available guys worth giving up what TB did for Lindback or who are a sig step up from NK.

    If the biggest criticism is resigning Petrall, instead of signing Winnik and they missed out on Michelak, than that is pretty good offseason in my mind.

  14. spoiler says:

    I get the credit.

    At least that’s what those FREE VISA! letters keep telling me.

  15. Bar_Qu says:

    Woodguy,

    You hit the main points of what I was going to say, so I just say ‘x2′

    As for LT’s second question, I actually think this summer is a validation of the MacT hiring. The best thing to happen was the Hall contract with the JS signing a close second. Both of those fell under the aegis of Mactavish(it was KL and MacT who met with JS, not ST) so I have optimism for the future.

  16. bookje says:

    I posted this earlier this morning but LT has his D S F flag on again so comments saying D S F without spaces get held up.

    WG – Yep, no doubt that they started this thing by utterly failing at trying hard to win. It was 1/3 of the way through the season when Tambellini noted that they would NOT be going after another goalie after NK went down that I start to give any credit. I think they have done a good job at the rebuild since then, however, they still have to prove that they can put together a competitive team.
    I don’t really give them too much credit for Shultz signing here, but rather see it as a gold star of approval from an objective individual who has something at stake. So, unlike myself or D S F sharing our opinion (not objective with nothing at stake) Shultz choo choo choosing the Oilers matters.

  17. slopitch says:

    Its impossible for me to credit MacT and not Tambo based on the information we have. The decisions are made by the group, do we know otherwise?

    Complaining about Petrell or Hordichuk is minor in the big picture. The Hall contract is a beaut IMO and the plan the management team is going with is totally frustrating as a fan but I get what they are doing. The biggest complaint I suppose is that they didnt add a top pairing D (although Schultz could be a year away). But when you look at what Calgary paid for Widemen, Tampa paid for Carle and that they were up against Detroit and Philly (the most aggressive gm in the league) I think its fair to say that the players weren’t available.

    If your goal is to get better every summer then Schultz and Yakapov alone is a stunning summer. I think its fair to say Pheonix, Detroit, Nashville and San Jose got worse over the offseason. Dallas, Colorado, Minnesota and Edmonton will challenge for the playoffs.

  18. Dee Dee says:

    Don Horwood, the retired U of A basketball coach was interviewed on the Team 1260 this week, and the host (forgot who) interviewing him asked for his opinion of the Oilers.

    It was a very interesting answer.

    His view was that the teams intentional tank job did allow the Oilers to pick up some awesome talent but also instilled a culture of players not really having to be responsible or “step up”. He felt that the Oilers were on the very edge of being able to recover from that.

    That has been one of my worries. Having flipped the suck switch on for the last 5 years, it gets harder with each passing year to turn it off.

  19. Moosemess says:

    Any criticisms I would have of Tambellini this past offseason are quibbling at best (giving Smyth a two year deal, resigning Hordichuk and Petrell).

    The market for FA D has been greatly inflated and I’m glad Tambi is patiently exploring trade options rather than pulling a Feester. I suspect they’ll take a view to Whitney’s mobility in training camp and if he’s found to be lacking, that will accelerate momentum on that front. It’s interesting to note that Hall and Ebs are constantly referencing Whitney on Twitter including a recent one that seems to indicate the 3 are sharing a house this year? Seems like a player that’s considered a part of the core internally, if not externally.

    With Khabibulin, I don’t see how retaining him as a backup goaltender stalls the rebuild in any fashion. The team is not going to win the Cup this year. This goalie is still under contract, likely untradeable and I don’t think Katz wants to eat that cost in the minors. Would you? Further, he’s probably a better mentor to Dubie than a younger goalie looking to steal his job. Yes, the games Khabi plays in could be the difference btw this club making the playoffs or not, but I optimistically think he’s got enough left in the tank to perform at a sufficient level with a reduced number of starts.

    In many ways, I would suggest that Dubnyk’s ability to seize the reins is the critical factor for the rebuild now. Everyone cites the fact that the salary cup kiboshed Chicago’s ability as a Cup contending worthy squad (and rightfully so), but I think an equally contributing factor in their slide is the fact that the Hawks never had a legitimate number one tender even when they won the Cup.

    If Dubie can’t step up, then we’re left with hoping a bargain guy can seize the reins (like Mike Smith) or overpaying a proven FA which then impacts our ability to pay and retain the core.

    If Tambi brought in a guy capable of challenging Dubnyk this year, I think that erodes his confidence significantly. IMO, the club is doing the right thing anointing him as the starter now and providing a capable veteran as a non-threatening backup. It’s all up to Dubynk now to keep his job with strong play. Let’s hope he has what it takes.

  20. Showerhead says:

    Moosemess:

    I won’t argue for a second that Dubnyk is a huge factor re: Edmonton’s rebuild. Right now, G is a pretty big question mark and if he could lay down a season or two of league average goaltending a lot of things would take care of themselves.

    I do disagree re: Chicago, though. I think Mudcrutch said it first but it’s been repeated many times: winning in the salary cap era is an efficiency battle. When you completely screw up your qualifying offers and suddenly have to pay UFA prices (or trade your players), the efficiency battle goes out the window. Would they have succeeded with Huet and the players they were forced to trade? I don’t know, but they would have been a hell of a lot better. Just my two cents.

  21. Moosemess says:

    @Showerhead, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. You can also argue the two are interrelated. To keep their forward and D core intact, Chicago has elected to go with bargain goalies. The strategy looked good the year Philly and Chicago both made the final, but I think history has shown that an elite goaltender is a critical component for capturing Stanley more often than not.

  22. Jonathan Willis says:

    I tend to think Tambellini deserves the credit, for good or ill, on this summer. It’s impossible at this distance to differentiate between individuals, and as far as we can tell Tambellini’s still the guy doing the day-to-day decision making.

    As for the summer, let’s look at those personnel moves:

    - Petrell: Bad. He got hammered on the fourth line last year, there’s no reason to expect that to change.
    - Krueger: No idea – the jury isn’t out only because they aren’t even in yet. The press has been good but the only news we’ve been getting is stuff from the organization. His resume looks solid to me, but at this point its far too early to say the Oilers made the right or wrong decision here. Is he a better choice than Jon Cooper? Todd Nelson? We don’t know.
    - Schultz: Superb. The organization made a hard push and was rewarded. I’d argue it wasn’t all them, but there’s no second-guessing on this.
    - Smyth: Superb. They played hard ball and got a solid player on an excellent contract.
    - Hordichuk: Meh. They insist on an enforcer, there are things to like about this one.
    - Danis: Good. They paid a lot of AHL money, but he’s an excellent third option.
    - Petry: Very good. The cap number is sublime, though a longer contract would have been nice in a perfect world.
    - Dubnyk: Not great. That’s a lot of money given track record, but at least they didn’t bet long-term.
    - Peckham: Meh. There’s still a log-jam of high quantity/low quality ‘D’ and he’s one of them. It beats not qualifying him, but they obviously weren’t just going to let him walk.
    - Gagner: Meh. The cap number is good, but on a one-year term… at least it leaves their options open.
    - Hall: Excellent. Money and term are good, given the market.

    Overall, that’s a pretty decent summer. Of course, there are still huge questions on ‘D’, in net, and the forward corps is back in its entirety from last season, so this fits into the ‘good not great’ category of summers.

  23. nathan says:

    bookje,

    DobSonFly misses the net as well.

  24. bookje says:

    mmmm, Bacon!!!!!

    Oh, sorry, my wife just made some bacon, so anyway, off to eat bacon.

    Carry on

  25. cabbiesmacker says:

    Good summer? Relative to what it could have been I guess but a few things fell right into management’s hands that they really shouldn’t get a damn bit of credit for. Are we a contender all of a sudden ? I don’t think so unless the kids go supernova which seems t be exactly what this management group is counting on.

    Kreuger promotion? Yay
    Steal Yak? Yay
    Land Schultz? Yay
    Sign Petry to an extention? Yay

    All the rest? MEH

    It was a good summer albeit with “luck” playing a major role, but it could have been a great one if a trade to improve F’s 7 – 12, the defence, and goaltending had happened.

    Still have no clue what exactly MacTavish’s role is either other than collecting an Oiler “good soldier for a long time” pension.

  26. voxwah says:

    Hall, Ebs, Nuge and N64. A fine fab 4.

  27. Нинтендо 64 says:

    voxwah,

    !!!!

  28. russ99 says:

    N64 is an awesome nickname.

    Happy with all the moves except Petrell and Hordichuk.

    Those roster spots/signings should have been used on experienced NHL third liners, moving all the non-producing bums of last year down a few spots, and make them work for their icetime.

  29. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    russ99,

    ya!))))))))

  30. Woodguy says:

    Нинтендо 64:
    voxwah,

    !!!!

    Awesome.

  31. Woodguy says:

    Jonathan Willis,

    Nice post Jon.

    Nailed it.

    I’d edge towards positive on Krueger given the overwhelmingly positive response from the key players.

    More than one said they are looking forward to him keeping everyone accountable which suggests it was a problem in the near past.

  32. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    Woodguy,

    I you haven’t check out the 14:40 mark of the Aug 21 interview with Don Horwood.

    http://www.630ched.com/Podcasts/Episodes.aspx?PID=2254

    Coach K needs to pull them off the edge.

  33. commonfan14 says:

    Dee Dee,

    I’m sure Horwood is right that courting losses can be dangerous game, but the Lightning are a team that shook it off pretty quickly before Rollie fossilized on them.

    2007-08: 30th place
    2008-09: 29th place
    2009-10: 25th place
    2010-11: 8th place and Game 7 of the Conference Finals

  34. billymadison says:

    If you guys want to read something that will really get you fired up haha, read this. More particularly, the comment section.

    I guess this would be classified as the complete opposite opinion of advanced stats and Taylor Hall?

    http://www.hockeywilderness.com/2012/8/23/3261721/final-jeopardy-answer-taylor-hall-shane-doan-contracts-and-kevin

  35. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    commonfan14,

    Horwood’s point is that that much exposure to losing is very shaky ground and the coach has to lead the way with very specific demands. K pulled the Swiss out that way so we will see very quickly if he can focus this group.

  36. vishcosity says:

    “My first point of business is to announce the departure of Rick Carriere from the Vimy Ridge Academy. As a teacher at the school for several years, Rick was an integral component of our school and of Vimy Hockey. Rick has moved on to the Edmonton Oilers as Senior Director of Player Development. As disappointed as I am to see Rick leave, I believe his move to the NHL speaks loudly of the strength of our teaching and coaching staff here within our programs. We wish Rick the best of luck as he takes on his new responsibilities for the Oilers.”

    From today’s school email announcement. I would like to think that he is exceptionally qualified for the position because last year he coached my kid and seemed to be impressed. Good for the Oilers signing Rick. I have outstanding regard for his balance between tough as nails and compassion for youth.

    Another excellent add, imo.

  37. Ducey says:

    Who was in charge of player development before?

  38. Lowetide says:

    Ducey: I think that was Billy Moores title, could be wrong.

  39. DSF says:

    Ducey:
    Who was in charge of playerdevelopment before?

    Mike Sillinger

  40. VOR says:

    Actually, DSF, I think the correct answer is Billy Moores. We’d have to see an org chart to know for sure. By title anyway Moores was higher in the organization.

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=636311

    The Oilers announced Carriere as Moores replacement on June 28th, 2012.

    Moores was Senior Director Player Development, Sillinger Director of Player Development. Carriere was another positive arrow for the Oilers in any case.

  41. Woodguy says:

    DSF: Mike Sillinger

    Mike’s the Director of Player Development.

    Carriere (and Moores before him) is the Senior Director of Player Development and is one tick higher than Mike on the org chart.

    The SR job is more being in charge of the whole program while Suitcase is still living out of suitcase often and is traveling to see the kids and implementing programs with them.

    Galaxies ahead of where they were in the pre-Batman era.

    Biggest positive change in the Oilers under Tambellini for sure.

    Getting the 1st overall picks has the sour sting of needing to be horrid to get them, the new Player Development arm of the Oilers is all sunshine and Fruity Pebbles covered rainbows sprouting from unicorn horns.

  42. Bruce McCurdy says:

    No, it was Billy Moores. Billy has semi-retired to an advisory position aftera couple of years of really putting on the miles and the hours, and doing a fantastic job in my opinion. (Of course, I’m an old Golden Bears fan, so I’m biased, but not without reason am I biased. Coach Moores is a beauty.)

    The Moores->Carriere announcement was made during summer camp, I think it became effective right on July 1 during that camp, but was lost in the midst of the Krueger & Schultz hires. The latter alone makes the Krueger hire a good gamble IMO, because by all accounts Krueger was a huge part of the winning bid.

    Mike Sillinger is still in place, but down the ladder from Carriere, who is Senior Director of Player Development, while Sillinger doesn’t have the “Senior” in his title. See: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33068 and scroll down.

    * * *
    EDIT: Or read Vor & Woodguy directly above. Forgot to refresh.

  43. DSF says:

    Mibad

  44. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Biggest positive change in the Oilers under Tambellini for sure.

    I agree with this. I’ve had a chance to interview quite a few of these young bucks in the system, and they seem universally positive about communication from the org, and about knowing what’s expected of them, what specific parts of their game and skill set they are emphasizing, etc. I don’t get the sense it’s just lip service either.

  45. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    My comment was in moderation because I quoted D S F.

    Now that its out of purgatory it gets to sneak in front of yours.

  46. Bruce McCurdy says:

    bookje: Yep, no doubt that they started this thing by utterly failing at trying hard to win. It was 1/3 of the way through the season when Tambellini noted that they would NOT be going after another goalie after NK went down that I start to give any credit. I think they have done a good job at the rebuild since then, however, they still have to prove that they can put together a competitive team.

    Yes, you nailed it exactly, bookje. The decision not to bring in a goalie from outside to replace Khabibulin was the moment of conception of (the current version of) the rebuild. Instead of trying to find Wade Dubliewicz or somebody, the call went to Devan Dubnyk.

    The previous summer the org certainly wasn’t (intentionally!) tanking. They had signed NK and tried to trade for Heatley and that was the very last of the whale hunting. Since then Tambellini’s approach has been as cautious and methodical as Lowe’s was go-for-broke bordering on reckless. The two seem different as chalk and cheese to me, I haven’t gotten the “puppet” talk since very early days of ST’s tenure.

    I remember the road trip just after Khabi went down when JDD got hot and so did the line of Nilsson-Stortini-Stone (with Zorg in the middle for pete’s sake) and the Oil won five straight, all on the road. We had a hell of a debate here in this comments section; I for one was cheering the boys on and was getting bashed by all sorts of folks around here who already wanted the team to tank. And you know what, those folks were right, although I too was right that there was still plenty of season left for tanking. ;) So forgive me for still enjoying that winning streak; that season went south right after when Quinn broke up his newly effective fourth line and JDD stopped shoving it up the critics’ backsides and, well, you know the rest. Taylor Hall, here we come.

    But I have to admit that it’s puzzled me at times that some of those who preached patience and losing then didn’t seem to have the stomach for three years of it, even as that poor standing has netted the Oil three more elite talents to flank Hall. The team and especially its fans have prepaid the piper with too many winters of bad hockey, but the Oil are flush with young talent the likes we haven’t seen here since, well, you know that too.

    JohnnyRocket: Tambellini might be growing into the role. And his patience has been admirable. The Hall signing has been the first decisive move in building the future and it was a great one. That is really all we have to go on. All the other signings have been stop gap ones. All the terms end before the winning will truly begin.

    Bingo. I wrote a CoH piece on this subject about a month ago, which summarized:

    “It’s not for me to say whether Tambellini’s strategy of loading up on short-term, moveable contracts is the right one, but it’s certainly an identifiable modus operandi and an interesting one at that. One thing for sure, when the time does come to lock up some of those young core players for the longer term, the Oil will be relatively unencumbered by prior commitments.”

    With the first of those young core players now under lock and key for what most consider a pretty darn good cap hit, term, and precedent, I think that after years of pain Phase Two is, at last, officially underway.

  47. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: My comment was in moderation because I quoted D S F.

    Oh right, so did Vor. That explains how I didn’t see his 6:51. I was wondering if I’d had a blackout or something.

    /reaches for Caol Ila

  48. Bruce McCurdy says:

    PS: I think “caol ila” is Gaelic for “optimism in a bottle”.

  49. Reg Dunlop says:

    billymadison,

    Thanks for the link to that very inflamatory article. Maybe wild fans are getting worried about the oil. Or maybe it’s just the uninformed opinion of a know-nothing jagoff american.

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