HOCKEY OPS

A few months ago, Darryl Katz hired MacT as the minister of “are you sure you want to do that?” and since then the club’s decision-making is following a more logical set of train tracks.

Jonathan Willis has an article up about Steve Tambellini and his job security, and I think it is possible that the Oilers make a change this summer. It’s also possible everyone in management likes the current situation and we’ll see business as usual .

Last summer, the Oilers spent their big money on the following:

  • 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.
  • August 30: Signed Jordan Eberle to a 6-year, $36M contract.

Since then, the club acquired Mark Fistric and claimed Niko Hovinen off waivers. They’ve also passed Darcy Hordichuk through waivers, and these are all small moves designed to improve the Oilers and Barons quality and depth. Reasonable moves. The waiver wire has been a goldmine for the NY Islanders, why can’t the Oilers find a player or two there?

I know Steve Tambellini is an easy target, but if you take the summer decisions and combine them with the more recent news, you get:

  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. Committed to Devan Dubnyk as the #1 goalie with a strong contract.
  6. Got Ryan Smyth’s name on a very reasonable deal.
  7. Signed Petry to a ridiculous contract.
  8. Set the outer marker for the gifted kids on long term deals with the Taylor Hall contract.
  9. Added some depth with the Fistric deal.
  10. Gave themselves another goaltending option for no money down in Tovinen.

There are ALWAYS going to be things that we as fans bitch and moan about, that’s the nature of the beast. The fact remains that a summer that saw Yakupov and Schultz arrive has to be ranked with the best in memory.

And, like it or not, Steve Tambellini was a part of it. We can discuss how much impact he had on those things, and honestly the channel changer fiasco does not build confidence, but I have a hard time giving Tambellini no credit at all.

It seems unfair and untrue. Thoughts?

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93 Responses to "HOCKEY OPS"

  1. gangplank says:

    You almost gave me a heart- attack. Eberle is 6yrs 36 millions and not 46.

  2. Lowetide says:

    lol. I write these morning ones upstairs without my glasses (which I now wear for reading). So there are moments when things are not as they appear.

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    What this team needs is a few more hangers on… re-hire Pat Quinn as associate pencil pusher and give Scott Howson a job making coffee. I’d also seriously consider giving Ron Low a job… maybe head of internal communications… he can co-ordinate all the other guys.

  4. Ben says:

    Tambo’s greatest weakness is surely the impression that he gives off through the media. He really does not come across as a smart, savvy man.

    But how important is that in a GM? If he signs players to reasonable deals and doesn’t get kicked in trades, should we care that he sweats and jumbles his way through tv interviews? (And I hear derision of the Eberle deal coming…)

    And for those who complain that he hasn’t been swift or decisive enough in addressing immediate needs in past seasons – well, has that really been the MO?

    If he does enough THIS year to get them close to the playoffs (ie: upgrading Whitney), I don’t see why they turf him.

  5. gangplank says:

    Giving Tambellini credit is fair. However you cant ignore the fact that we essentially started the year with 3 Nhl d-men, a rookie defenseman and 3 #7 d-men. Think how much trouble we would have been in had Schultz the younger taken time to adjust to Nhl?

    We dont talk about Petry’s ridiculous sh sv% and its eventual regression. That sv% is also as likely to regress as the top line sh%.

    Since taking the helm in 2008, Tambellini hasnt truly addressed the club weaknesses at the same time. He brought in Belanger one season- did not address defense. In fact he systematically dismantled our defense. We went from
    Souray- Visnovsky
    Gilbert-Grebeshkov
    Smid- Staios

    to

    Schultz- Schultz
    Smid-Potter
    Petry- Fistric

    WOW. just WOW.

  6. gangplank says:

    Lowetide:
    lol. I write these morning ones upstairs without my glasses (which I now wear for reading). So there are moments when things are not as they appear.

    Hehe. I guess its a testament of faith that I believed those numbers and had to check Taylor Halls salary to see why he is getting paid less than Eberle. lol

  7. gangplank says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    What this team needs is a few more hangers on… re-hire Pat Quinn as associate pencil pusher and give Scott Howson a job making coffee. I’d also seriously consider giving Ron Low a job… maybe head of internal communications… he can co-ordinate all the other guys.

    I misread you as giving Rob Lowe a job. He can certainly work to draft Tambellini’s speeches. Or we can hire the guy who wrote Rob Lowe’s lines in the West Wing.

  8. blackdog says:

    He and Lowe should have been fired after his first year. Cap team, dead last. Their job is to evaluate talent and they failed miserably and completely. You can slag him or credit him for whatever since then but I would guess no other GM has gotten so little bang for his buck ever although those Ranger clubs before the second lockout might be in the range.

  9. gangplank says:

    Ben,

    But he does get his ass kicked in trades.

    Pitkanen-> Cole -> Patty O lanterns -> Sutton -> …….

    Visnovsky -> Whitney->……

    Brodziak -> 5th rounder?

    Gilbert-> Schultz->

    The only trade we ‘won’ was Smyth for Fraser where Smyth essentially bullied his way into edmonton

  10. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    gangplank: I misread you as giving Rob Lowe a job. He can certainly work to draft Tambellini’s speeches. Or we can hire the guy who wrote Rob Lowe’s lines in the West Wing.

    He’d fit in perfectly!

    He was, afterall, integral to the biggest clusterfuck in recent Hollywood history!

    It’s long, but well worth the read! (great and fucking nutty story):

    http://www.lamag.com/features/2010/03/01/snow-job

    short version for the time thrifty:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/2010/03/youtube_treasur_24.php

    video evidence:

    http://videos.sapo.pt/lKZQghUeztLnH6Q2mWhl

  11. bookjLe says:

    gangplank:
    Ben,

    But he does get his ass kicked in trades.

    Pitkanen-> Cole -> Patty O lanterns -> Sutton -> …….

    Visnovsky -> Whitney->……

    Brodziak -> 5th rounder?

    Gilbert-> Schultz->

    The only trade we ‘won’ was Smyth for Fraser where Smyth essentially bullied his way into edmonton

    Don’t forget

    Dustin Penner traded to Los Angeles for Colten Teubert, 1st round pick in 2011, conditional pick (2nd or 3rd round) in 2012

    Even as a fan of Dustin Penner, that’s a clear win for the Oilers given that he could probably be had now for a 2nd round pick.

    Steve Staios traded to Calgary for Aaron Johnson and 3rd round pick in 2010 or 2011.

    That was a nice way to dump a player.

  12. gangplank says:

    bookjLe,

    Dustin Penner trade is odd. At the time, I would say the trade was even. However if you go by now, Tuebert has amounted to nothing and Klefbom’s injuries are a huge concern. So I am not going to give a W in that column.

    Steve Staois trade was just that. A dump.

  13. bookjLe says:

    Also, while many other teams have been handing out NTC and NMC’s to worn out players, the Oilers have resisted doing so.

    One of the things I like about Tambellini and co is that they haven’t made a bunch of stupid knee-jerk moves and they have set this team up well for the future. I agree with criticisms that they should have made a number of small moves for some additional ‘up and coming’ talent and for some lower level vets who would add to team depth. I also think that Tambellini has some key weaknesses as a GM, but I think these might be balanced well by MacT and Lowe. I hope Katz is mostly out of the room – he is not a hockey guy and should not be involved in Hockey decisions other than giving the final OK (with the notion that if he does not give the final OK, he is basically telling his management team that they are on the way out).

    WG is always correct when he points out that the Fall for Hall was not planned at the outset, but that the team was trying to win a cup (chasing Heatley, signing Khabibulin, etc) and failed impressively. My respect for management begins when about 6 weeks into the season, they didn’t scramble to get a goalie with NK broken they announced the beginning of a 5 year rebuild.

    Now, they have not yet succeeded and should have done better over this past summer, but I like the fact that management is moving ahead with a goal in mind and are not throwing away picks and prospects just to make fans happy.

    A lot of the critisisms of management are fair (WG’s is good, IceCastle provided a really good critique a few days ago), its only when people bitch about things like the Foster signing or the Brule trade that I get frustrated. Why would a team that is trying to finish 30th pick up really good players.

    While some managers have proven themselves incompetent (Feaster, Sutter as GM, andBurke in TO), I think the Oilers have done well to set this team up to be competitive. They have not proven that they can fill in the gaps or address the shortcomings, but Lowe did well at that when he was GM, so I am hoping that they can now that the goal of the team is to make the playoffs.

  14. RMGS says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. As the collection of brilliant “rebuild” first-round draft picks starts to bear fruit, we’ll see increasing rationalization of the team’s dismal management decisions over the last several years. Should the wins start to mount, I look forward to forgiving and forgetting!

    At the end of the day, the buck stops with ownership. Katz has to be all in if the GM that oversees three consecutive miserable seasons is retained.

  15. bookjLe says:

    gangplank:
    bookjLe,

    Dustin Penner trade is odd. At the time, I would say the trade was even. However if you go by now, Tuebert has amounted to nothing and Klefbom’s injuries are a huge concern. So I am not going to give a W in that column.

    Steve Staois trade was just that. A dump.

    You have to look at trades at the time they were made. The Oilers gave 18 months of a player that nobody really wanted (Penner) and that proved to be an utter failure as soon as he arrived in LA (i.e. the Oilers were getting way more out of him than LA managed) and got back a 1st round draft pick, a questionable prospect, and a 2/3rd pick. Everybody in the league with the exception of Oiler fans knew right at the moment that the trade was a win for the Oilers.

  16. bookjLe says:

    RMGS,

    Are you saying that we should fire Katz if the team fails? You do know that’s not possible, right?

  17. RMGS says:

    bookjLe:
    RMGS,

    Are you saying that we should fire Katz if the team fails? You do know that’s not possible, right?

    Come on, now. I’m new around here and everything, but …

    Of course not. Just pointing out a fact and possible explanation for why such obvious failure (if success in pro sports is measured by winning anything other than draft lotteries) by management would be rewarded.

  18. bookjLe says:

    RMGS,

    I should have added a :) . I wasn’t really being serious.

  19. RMGS says:

    bookjLe:
    RMGS,

    I should have added a .I wasn’t really being serious.

    Or a few ~~~ !

  20. gangplank says:

    bookjLe: You have to look at trades at the time they were made.The Oilers gave 18 months of a player that nobody really wanted (Penner) and that proved to be an utter failure as soon as he arrived in LA (i.e. the Oilers were getting way more out of him than LA managed) and got back a 1st round draft pick, a questionable prospect, and a 2/3rd pick. Everybody in the league with the exception of Oiler fans knew right at the moment that the trade was a win for the Oilers.

    Where is it said that no one wanted Dustin Penner? When Penner played on the Oilers, he was one of the few on Oilers who was pushing the play in the right direction. As i said, the Dustin Penner trade at its time was an even trade as far as asset for asset goes. We got his market price. What went wrong in LA? i dont know. However Dustin Penner was a good player on the Oilers and we could use a player like him right now.

  21. gcw_rocks says:

    Man, I really had trouble figuring where this article was going.

    If the point was to illustrate the impact of MacT on decision making, it does not make a good case.

    Pre-MacT
    - Suspect defense
    - Useless goon
    - Making bad gambles on injury prone players
    - Limited action in free agency to address weaknesses
    - Minor trades only
    - Draft defense and skill
    - Questionable head coach

    Post-MacT
    - Suspect defense
    - Useless goon
    - Making bad gambles on injury prone players
    - No action in free agency to address weaknesses (excluding Schultz) I am talking veterans here
    - Minor trades only
    - Draft coke machines
    - Better but unproven head coach
    – Won Schultz sweepstakes

    The Schultz thing was huge, but outside of that we are looking at little improvement under MacT. A savior he is not…

  22. bookjLe says:

    Now, back to LT’s original article.

    First, the video of the remote control thing is an example of taking a perfectly normal situation and blowing it up to fit one’s narrative. I have my TV set up through different sound systems and computer systems, I basically have to give any individual visiting me a remote control lesson when they arrive and usually, I just change everything to dumb it down for them. I get that the TV remote video is fun to poke at, but anyone who uses it in their evaluation of ST is not a critical thinker.

    Second – I think Tambellini has been ‘partially fired’ already and that he is ok with it. Unlike Burke, I don’t think Tambellini is a particularly independent or arrogant individual. I think he found the job of being fully in control (following Lowe truly stepping back) a bit overwhelming. Lowe has come back into management after a break and MacT has joined the team. I think this truly is management by committee. I think Tambellini plays a big role still, but that he is one of three who make decisions. I have been in many management situations like that and if the personalities are right and well matched it can work very very well. It tends to avoid ‘king’ syndome where the leader starts to over-think things and go a bit crazy and it also helps to ensure a more steady form of management.

    Third – While I am sure to be seen as a management shill here on this site, more than anything I am a reactionary to people who make arguments that Tambellini is a puppet, Lowe is an idiot who knows nothing about hockey, etc. When people argue that this management team is a failure like Icecastles did a few days ago (I think it was at this site – I will try and find it) I can fully accept that form of well thought out critique. He may be right and in 18 months maybe management will be cleaned out for making the Oiler’s the NYI’s. I think the Oilers management has done well to not do that by avoiding taking a bunch of ‘easy fixes’. I hope that the Oilers finally start filling all of the holes and build around the core of the team that they have developed.

  23. gangplank says:

    I think it will be funny if Tambellini is fired and replaced by MacT.

  24. bookjLe says:

    gangplank,

    I think its quite possible that at some point we will see Tambellini because special advisor to the GM and MacT be the GM.

  25. gcw_rocks says:

    http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2013/2/4/3938826/why-the-maple-leafs-should-offer-sheet-ryan-oreilly

    Nice article on how to structure an offer sheet to O’Reilly. Only thing you have to add for the Oilers is a summer time buy out of Horcoff to create the cap space.

    Then you do something really radical like try for three scoring lines:

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Hartikainen – Gagner – Yakupov
    MPS – o’Reilly – Hemsky

  26. gangplank says:

    gcw_rocks,

    Would we really have to buy out Horc this summer?
    Why not next summer?

  27. Bar_Qu says:

    bookjLe,

    I hope you are able to get work done today, because, as you have explained quite nicely, you do take umbrage to people pot-shotting the mgt.

    I am pretty much apathetic about the GM. If something happens, great. If nothing happens, it is outside my control, therefore not worth expending emotion on. And as Willis pointed out at CoH, there is really not a lot which can be done about the roster prior to the trade deadline or really this summer. So I feel kind of stuck with what we see on the ice currently.

  28. gcw_rocks says:

    gangplank,

    If you have O’Reilly, the Oilers don’t need him. I mean do you really want to pay your now 4th line centre a cap hit of $5M the one year the cap is likely to fall and take away your flexibility to sign free agents who can help in more impactful positions than the 4th line or to make deals during the season (given the Oilers injury history, this could be important)?

    Its nothing against Horcoff, but if you offer sheet O’Reilly, you are declaring you are “all in” and so I would expect the Oilers to spend every free dollar on defense to round out the roster.

  29. gcw_rocks says:

    gangplank,

    If you assume Smid gets $4M, MPS gets $1.75M, Harti gets $1M, Gags get $4.5M then your top 9, plus your top four defenders plus Dubby eat up $54.4M of cap space with 3 forwards, two defenders, and a back up goalie yet to sign, and Smyth is guaranteed $2.5M of the remaining space even if he retires.

    There is no room for Horcoff’s cap hit if O’Reilly is signed unless you are willing to trade Hemsky instead. Who would you keep?

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookjLe: While some managers have proven themselves incompetent (Feaster, Sutter as GM, andBurke in TO), I think the Oilers have done well to set this team up to be competitive.

    ST and Burke are like Matter and Anti-Matter insofar as their styles are radically different.

    I think with the Kessel deal (which there is no doubt they lost) you have to factor in that there is no way Burke thought he was going to field such a loser of a team… and that shows how out of touch he was and how much impact he thought Kessel would have… but it does mitigate that decision somewhat… he didn’t think he was trading Seguin and Hamilton.

    gcw_rocks: Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Hartikainen – Gagner – Yakupov
    MPS – o’Reilly – Hemsky

    I’m guessing most would put O’Reilly at #2 and Gags at 3… it would be amazing to have all three though!

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bar_Qu: And as Willis pointed out at CoH, there is really not a lot which can be done about the roster prior to the trade deadline or really this summer. So I feel kind of stuck with what we see on the ice currently.

    but… minor moves could be made… there have been interesting waiver players and there are players sitting around the league that might be pried out…

    also the price is going to go up at the deadline.

    I guess mostly I reject the fatalism of waiting till the deadline… but in equal measure to rejecting hasty decisions.

    A gm should be working everyday to make the team better, even on days when the market isn’t very active.

  32. FastOil says:

    I get the impression that ST is the public face of the group that makes decisions, and ST likely does at least the big deals. As long as he is thought by the others to be doing that well I guess his job is quite secure. I can’t judge his performance clearly at this point because I don’t see management as actually trying to begin climb up in a committed way, they’ve just been doing the lottery jig for fans so far. If anything happens to ST he gets a new title in the “club” (maybe director of finding the best steakhouse on the road) and less work to do.

    I suspect he’s also seen as having done a good job weathering the storm of awfulness the team has been in his time so far. I doubt he has been charged with turning things around, as of yet.

    I think it is fair to say that it won’t be long, in fact we could say after this draft ( when they know what they got) that the rubber meets the road with direct contact. There can’t be anymore excuses. They either get the roster in order, or if they don’t it would be hard to argue that a good job is being done.

    Going into another season with depth issues etc that are completely obvious to everyone outside the brain trust will catch up with them at some point. I for one won’t accept the rebuild (lottery) mantra after this draft (although I hope for another high pick again this year). There will be enough talent in place, and what will potentially be missing are support pieces that don’t have to be home grown, as many other teams show time and again. Also those players aren’t the hard or expensive ones to sign, the GM only needs to spot the players that can contribute what’s needed, and/or make prudent trades.

  33. Woodguy says:

    Why would MacT want to be GM?

    With Lowe as Pres and MacT as Vice Pres of various shite they get to have the fun of making all the decisions and not being on the front line.

    I wouldn’t change a damn thing if I were them.

    If Tambellini goes, its just for optics, nothing in the decision making will actually change.

  34. Woodguy says:

    Another reason that Tambellini might go is if a conversation like this happens:

    MacT : “Looking at all the moves we made, none of the ideas originated in Steve’s office”

    KLowe: “You think that’s a problem?”

    MT: “Well if would be nice if whoever sits in that chair added value outside of being the one in the line of fire”

    KL: “Let’s find someone else then”

    If that conversation isn’t happening and Klowe and MacT are happy with what’s coming out his office, then no change coming.

  35. gangplank says:

    gcw_rocks,

    I would buy out Belanger this summer, if I can get ROR.

  36. gcw_rocks says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I wanted O’Reilly’s line to be able to handle tough minutes. Could re-order the lines though:

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    MPS – o’Reilly – Hemsky
    Hartikainen – Gagner – Yakupov

    In fact, that is probably more realistic, with Hemsky’s line going against the toughs, Gagner’s line getting soft minutes (and hopefully eating them up) and Hall’s line up against second toughs. With other year under their belts, you would hope Hall’s line could handle the load by then.

  37. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    Another reason that Tambellini might go is if a conversation like this happens:

    MacT : “Looking at all the moves we made, none of the ideas originated in Steve’s office”

    KLowe: “You think that’s a problem?”

    MT: “Well if would be nice if whoever sits in that chair added value outside of being the one in the line of fire”

    KL: “Let’s find someone else then”

    If that conversation isn’t happening and Klowe and MacT are happy with what’s coming out his office, then no change coming.

    I wonder what an efficiency expert would discover if they audited the Oilers.

    The city of toronto is constantly getting KPMG or some such to review for redundancies only to do nothing and file another lengthy report down the memory hole…

    still it would be interesting to see an external reviewer’s take on who does what and what value they actually bring and whether their skills/activities are reproduced elsewhere within the organization.

  38. gcw_rocks says:

    gangplank,

    I would trade him. He is playing his way into value this season. Even if he brings a later round pick, its still better than buying him out.

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    gcw_rocks,

    the ever elusive three scoring lines!! does one dare to dream?

  40. gcw_rocks says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    My firm does that. I would LOVE to do that kind of review on the Oilers. Be a hoot.

  41. denny33 says:

    First, thanks to LT for this great forum. I should be more grateful oiler fans like me have a place in which we can safely vent….

    In fact, LT has provided some perspective on what Oiler managemenet has done recently. There are a number of legitimate points. ( the DD moves, head coach, etc )

    However, selecting the consensus #1 overall pick ( again ) will not garner any kudos from anyone around the league. That seems like a pretty simple task to most people. Same goes for the GM that selects Seth Jones this June – no great skill in that…

    After all of the years of rebuilding, our best defenceman is a Anneheim draft pick we signed away for nothing. Our 2nd best dman Smid was obtained in 2006 for Chris Pronger.

    Outside of Smid and J. Schutz – after years of rebuilding – I am not sure we have a lot of quality defenceman. J Petry is really all over the map.

    Maybe we have to be patient as they are trying to turn some of our top forward assests into a blue chip defenceman….and to be candid, I do like the stocking of draft picks – 2 – 2nd round picks in deep draft this year.

    I think this management team has to execute on turning some small forwards into quality defenceman….

  42. cabbiesmacker says:

    Well of course Tambo was instrumental in bringing Hall, RNH, and Yakupov to Edmonton. Finishing 30th – 30th – 29th will do that for a fella.

    I wonder how many different ways a guy can conjure up to say “I’m so fuckin’ proud to be standing here after another dismal season and selecting the consensus #1 overall”…

    He’s also been quite instrumental in allowing those new shiny toys to hit the ice minus any real support, pretty much insuring a poor conference finish and wasting some EL contract years in the process. Bringing a knife to a gunfight. Well done Steve.

    As for MacT I only have a couple of thoughts……Toby Peterson… and whilst dicussing talent around the league just prior to the 2010 Olympics hearing “I don’t know a lot about Toews but I’ve always been a fan of Mike Ribeiro. Brilliant stuff that. A guiding light for sure.

    Is there any way the Oilers could just have every member of the last cup winning team on board in some BS, meaningless position? Cuz hockey players make the best executives right?

  43. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I wonder what an efficiency expert would discover if they audited the Oilers.

    The city of toronto is constantly getting KPMG or some such to review for redundancies only to do nothing and file another lengthy report down the memory hole…

    still it would be interesting to see an external reviewer’s take on who does what and what value they actually bring and whether their skills/activities are reproduced elsewhere within the organization.

    No redundancy in the OIlers org.

    Its the DETROIT MODEL!!

  44. Woodguy says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    gcw_rocks,

    the ever elusive three scoring lines!! does one dare to dream?

    Even Stauffer has started down this road.

    He was talking yesterday about 3 scoring lines and one line of checkers who PK and one energy guy on the 4th line, not an energy line.

    Nice of them to catch up.

  45. Woodguy says:

    Stauffer was also talking about how only 2 OIler D can move the puck by skating or passing, those being 2 and 19.

    He talked about needing all 6 D having to be able to move the puck.

    He also connected the dots to some of the out shooting that is going on with the inability to get out of the Dzone.

    The zone exit problem rests with both the F and the D, but there is too much off the glass and out when certain Dmen are on the ice.

    It was the most refreshing Stauffer show that I’ve heard in a while because it was all basically the same stuff we’ve been saying for years.

    This summer will be very interesting.

    The summer of MacT.

  46. bookjLe says:

    denny33,

    Actually, my hope is that the Oilers finish 1 point out of a playoff spot and win the draft lottery due to the ‘Oiler Rule’ – that would make my day just on irony points alone – never mind another 1st overall.

  47. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    denny33: Outside of Smid and J. Schutz – after years of rebuilding – I am not sure we have a lot of quality defenceman. J Petry is really all over the map.

    I wouldn’t be so hard on Petry. He’s still young and has blossomed above reasonable expectations (IMO).

    this year he seems to be struggling to find his complete game. He overcompensates for offence at times (and maybe isn’t finding the protection from his pals?)… but he’s got the best shot of playing all three disciplines at an equally high level of the bunch… give him time.

  48. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: Stauffer was also talking about how only 2 OIler D can move the puck by skating or passing, those being 2 and 19.

    That echoes with Bruce’s early findings…

    but I wonder about whether its a kind of set play to have 5 and 15 grind the boards, retrieve the puck, pass to 2, 19 or a forward and have them carry or pass out… i.e., maybe they are being coached to compartmentalize events? or maybe they just naturally perform certain events based on abilities…

    either way, more complete players in the d-zone would be a nice bonus. but getting 5 and 15 to start worrying about puck carrying/passing might confuse them… that’s probably a knock on them.

  49. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookjLe:
    denny33,

    Actually, my hope is that the Oilers finish 1 point out of a playoff spot and win the draft lottery due to the ‘Oiler Rule’ –that would make my day just on irony points alone – never mind another 1st overall.

    that’s high on theatrical!! does ST pull a Paul Hogan and walk on top of people to get to Seth Jones at the end?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3O4IOaKZqU

  50. RMGS says:

    As much as I’m hoping they do the sensible thing and try to replace Whitney this year, the plan is likely to wait for another rookie magic solution:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=655598&navid=DL

  51. Ducey says:

    gcw_rocks:
    http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2013/2/4/3938826/why-the-maple-leafs-should-offer-sheet-ryan-oreilly

    Nice article on how to structure an offer sheet to O’Reilly.Only thing you have to add for the Oilers is a summer time buy out of Horcoff to create the cap space.

    Then you do something really radical like try for three scoring lines:

    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Hartikainen – Gagner – Yakupov
    MPS – o’Reilly – Hemsky

    So the Oilers should give up a first, second and third round picks and pay $6 million a year for a guy who has has one good year and is a marginal (if any) improvement on Sam Gagner?

    This is not directed at you GCW, but I find it ironic that the same fans that are critical of management are often the ones that insist management go out and get the flavour of the month. Its something thats typical of Leaves Fans and to a large extent, the Leaves Management. As soon as the Leaves show that they can make the playoffs, they have enormous pressure to “go for it” and trade young assets for aging vets. There have to be lots of other options than O’Reilly to upgrade. These are likely to cost less than gutting a draft year and messing up the Cap. This includes just drafting and developing.

    Is Tambo the best GM out there? No. But his style of player development and patience is what is needed right now.

  52. russ99 says:

    It seems that the moves made this summer were made to kick certain problem spots down the road another year. Be it a plan or due to lockout/cap uncertainty.

    When Oilers brass stops doing that, and sufficiently addresses those issues such as defense, a real shutdown line and goaltending, then we’ll be competitive.

    The problem is that management’s kicking things down the road doesn’t match up with the progress the paying customers are increasingly expecting.

    And yet again i wonder it those two twains may not dovetail until the new arena is built.

  53. hunter1909 says:

    Oilers could have Brian Burke – who inside a month will have traded half the young kids away for some of the greatest depth players and plumbers ever seen…

    “The Edmonton Oilers are one of the most storied franchises in professional sport. I just thought the fans deserve more than lottery picks – which is why Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, and Nail Yakupov are being traded for veteran leadership….etc” ; this being followed by endlessly outrageous blustering remarks that stroke the whatever’s of the Don Cherry set.

    Come to think of it, no wonder The South lost the Civil War – too many loud mouthed celts, lol.

  54. Woodguy says:

    Lines at practice as per Stauffer:

    4-93-14
    56-89-83
    94-20-64
    55-54-37

    91 looks to be the odd man out for Saturday

    Interesting and weird place to put 64.

    I would have gone with the same top 2 lines but:

    91-20-64
    94-54-37

    Eager was a team worst -11 Corsi last game.

    I guess they want his truculence in there.

    Meh.

  55. cabbiesmacker says:

    hunter1909:
    Oilers could have Brian Burke – who inside a month will have traded half the young kidsaway for some of the greatest depth players and plumbers ever seen…

    “The Edmonton Oilers are one of the most storied franchises in professional sport. I just thought the fans deserve more than lottery picks – which is why Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, and Nail Yakupov are being traded for veteran leadership….etc” ; this being followed by endlessly outrageous blustering remarks that stroke the whatever’s of the Don Cherry set.

    Come to think of it, no wonder The South lost the Civil War – too many loud mouthed celts, lol.

    Yeah I’d be PO’d if the Oilers were 8 – 5 (16) with a +6 goal differential too.

    Not.

    I guess we’re planning on all these kids coming to the fore sometime in the next 3 – 4 years. Was there a problem with trying to be a lot better “this” year? Gotta wait til those second contracts kick in I guess. No sense in rushing things along.

    Next years excuse for the suckage will likely be “well just wait til these boys are 25 -27. we’ll be winning cups like crazy.”

  56. Lowetide says:

    4-93-14
    Yes, that’s the line we want out there as much as possible! love this trio!

    56-89-83
    I don’t know why Yakupov is off this line. Look, rookies mean growing pains and mistakes will be made, but there’s no reason to wait on this kid. Let him get comfortable, let Gagner and Hemsky find him. All it will take is time, but you can’t bury him.

    94-20-64
    I don’t know what this means. This is kind of Quinn line, if Belanger was a “stick optional” type. You could make a case for mentorship but that’s available farther up the chain.

    55-54-37
    Bah! Paajarvi is scratched.

    Not good.

  57. Lucinius says:

    Scratching Paajarvi is idiotic, he’s been playing pretty well lately (better than Harski, Eager, Petrell, Smyth). Were it me.. I’d go with the simple;

    4 – 93 – 14
    64 – 89 – 83
    56 – 20 – 91
    94 – 54 – 37

    Sit Eager. When Horcoff comes back, you drop VVD back to OKC. When Jones comes back you ease him into the line up by rotating him in at home in place of Petrell and occasionally maybe MPS.

  58. rickithebear says:

    gangplank: Gilbert-> Schultz->

    Dubnyk Save% with
    Gilbert .907
    N. Schultz .939

    Does this > mean something diffrent on the internet or did you confuse it with <.
    My 5 year old does that! ;)

  59. dessert1111 says:

    bookjLe:

    I tend to mostly agree with you. I think people are a little overly critical of Tambellini, but that’s what happens when you run a team that sucks. I think if this team is in the same spot a year from now the verdict will be out, unless he makes really good moves this summer. I find it hard to judge a guy in his situation.

    He could be awful or better than we realize, I’m not really sure.

  60. Lucinius says:

    Well, according to Rishaug both Yakupov and MPS were odd men out today in practice, being rotated in and out, as Jones practiced. He says not to put too much stock in the lines from practice today (but who knows). If Jones is real close to coming back I’d be tempted to try and trade Eager for something (anything?) and put Jones together with Smyth, resting Petrell for a game.

    Also, supposedly Schultz may have been hurt during practice and the coaches shut him down for the day. Which Schultz? Not sure, but it being the Oilers you can wager it being on Justin.

  61. RMGS says:

    Lowetide: 56-89-83
    I don’t know why Yakupov is off this line. Look, rookies mean growing pains and mistakes will be made, but there’s no reason to wait on this kid. Let him get comfortable, let Gagner and Hemsky find him. All it will take is time, but you can’t bury him.

    94-20-64
    I don’t know what this means. This is kind of Quinn line, if Belanger was a “stick optional” type. You could make a case for mentorship but that’s available farther up the chain.

    Agree totally about Yakupov and the second line, but if there’s a positive in the move it’s that he’ll be on the right side with 20 and 94.

  62. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    56-89-83
    I don’t know why Yakupov is off this line. Look, rookies mean growing pains and mistakes will be made, but there’s no reason to wait on this kid. Let him get comfortable, let Gagner and Hemsky find him. All it will take is time, but you can’t bury him

    I think it has to do with zone exits.

    They are non-existent on the left side of that line.

    I’d run a couple games with 58 there and see if the entries/exits get better.

    Nothing wrong with taking the heat off of a rookie for a few games when he’s over his head.

    Putting him with 94 and 20 on the other hand is a head scratcher.

    Who knows, maybe it works.

    Keeping 55 in the line up instead of 91 is a crime.

    91 must have grown his side burns back.

  63. godot10 says:

    Tambellini should get credit for the GM and coaching hires in OKC. Scott and Nelson and the assistants are more than competent AHL operatives and coaches.

    The AHL and farm team was sort of an afterthought before Tambellini came on board.

  64. gcw_rocks says:

    Ducey,

    If you look at O’Reilly’s possession metrics, he is a much better overall player than Gagner.

  65. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Re: lines

    just want to remind everyone RK has — in his short history as coach — a tendency to role lines in practice only to revert to the mean in the games…

    remember when we first thought he was going to ice the 89-4-83 line because of a practice and then he started 93-4-14 only to switch to 89-4-83 two or three shifts into the game? (did I remember that right, it was like 4 games ago or something)

    at any rate, I’m not yet convinced practice lines are as definitive as we might think

    also, scratching 91 would be grounds for divorce around here.

  66. denny33 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    denny33: Outside of Smid and J. Schutz – after years of rebuilding – I am not sure we have a lot of quality defenceman. J Petry is really all over the map.
    I wouldn’t be so hard on Petry. He’s still young and has blossomed above reasonable expectations (IMO).
    this year he seems to be struggling to find his complete game. He overcompensates for offence at times (and maybe isn’t finding the protection from his pals?)… but he’s got the best shot of playing all three disciplines at an equally high level of the bunch… give him time.

    Romulus – You are right he definitely has shown signs of maybe having a very good all around game. He definitely has some upside potential yet….

  67. dessert1111 says:

    Re lines today: If that 3rd line from practice is, in theory, a 3rd scoring line, I think it makes more sense to swap Arcobello and Vande Velde on the farm, throw Arco at 3C to see if he can have a better showing and put Belanger on line 4 with Petrell and Paajarvi to see if they can survive in a tough minutes role. Vande Velde didn’t have a bad game last game but I wouldn’t trust him with tough minutes and he’s certainly not a scorer.

  68. spoiler says:

    Apparently we’re reading a lot into today’s lines despite Rishaug’s warnings not to do so.

    Good news… The last tweet from him advises that J. Schultz had some tightness and the OIl are just playing it careful.

    As for GMs and this season’s expectations, I think these three points from Elliote Friedman’s last column are relevant:

    5. There’s a lot of angst in Minnesota about the Wild’s 5-5-1 start. After the free-agent bonanza, several opponents said Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher’s biggest challenge would be managing expectations. While Parise and Ryan Suter are big upgrades, the roster has holes. The organization is stocked with talented youth, but in different stages of development. “They will not be a contender until their young players are ready,” said one executive. “But that will be hard for ownership to hear.”

    6. A scout had an interesting take on the Wild: “Parise is an aggressive, attacking player. This is an organization without much of a history playing that way. He’s playing very well. But they’re going to have to get used to each other.”

    7. It’s interesting to hear executives talk about some of the struggling teams. “This is a tough year to make an honest appraisal of your group,” one said. “Everything is so screwed up by the lockout.” Players showed up in different degrees of conditioning and the injury situation is already ugly. As you can imagine, there are coaches, GMs and players who feel they will be unfairly judged by this 48-game mess.

  69. B S says:

    gcw_rocks,

    Possession metrics are great and all, but scoring is better. O’Reilly will cost us a wonderkid, not Gagner. He’s apparently been holding out for a Hall-like contract; not that anyone thinks he’ll get it (including him) but at 5 mil./ year I’m not sure we can afford him plus keep Yak, Ebs, Hall, Nuge, and J. Schultz. Gagner at 4 mil./ year is a much better deal and has shown excellent off-ice composure. It’s like Dubnyk. There are better Goalies out there, but if we’re going to field a complete, deep team, then we’ll take the one we can get for the best value.

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Agree, I wouldn’t put much into those line combinations, and there is no way MPS should be scratched.

    Re: MPS, someone yesterday posted that he should be playing center on pp and staying in front of the net (the Horcoff role). I’ve been wondering about that for some time. He’s big, tough (not physical, but when 200lb players bounce off him when they try to hammer him into the boards he’s no wimp) and he has excellent hand-eye coordination. Day 3 of training camp, after everyone else had left except Yak and Schultz, Paajarvi and Harti were practicing one-timers and tips in front of the net. Magnus missed roughly one in ten tips, from any angle and at any height, he was giving Harti advice when they switched roles. I would love to know if he can win faceoffs because it would be like having a young Ryan Smyth with speed and hands.

    Regarding his one-timers, his timing was off but his shot was fast, and accurate (Harti was making his one-timers on the move and was picking off corners, but with a weaker shot). My point is that Paajarvi’s shorthanded goal was no fluke, the guy can shoot, but he seems to aim for the logo and the pads. I think his biggest problem is a lack of confidence, not a lack of skill.

    On the Cooke fiasco: I’m just going to finish up my rant before get on topic about the management.
    First off it’s Cooke, the guys track record speaks for itself and it isn’t there by accident. Second, analysing the actual play Cooke tries to take Karlsson hard into the boards away from the play (i.e. it was a dirty play to begin with), Karlsson pushes back. This is where it becomes a problem, and why I personally blame Cooke, and why I think it was intended to injure (not necessarily the Achilles). Cooke is trying to push Karlsson into the boards (for relative purposes lets call this forward), if Karlsson is pushing back, then Cooke needs to lean into him to apply more force, instead he lifts his leg forward to counter Karlsson’s backward force, were this to balance any backward motion it would also counter Cooke’s forward momentum (it would effectively counter any motion).

    What I’m saying is that lifting his leg would have countered the force Cooke was using to board Karlsson (if he was being pushed over, the better option would have been to stick his skate back and dug in). I think that Cooke intentionally brought his leg in to order to step on Karlsson’s leg.

    On to Management: Not a fan of any of them (including MacT, interesting personality, great short-term planner, never shown much for long-term thinking), but as has been said numerous times, the goal under most of Tambi’s reign has been to lose and lose badly. The Oilers have been crap since they traded Smyth away (At the time I honestly thought (through the tears of course) that this would be the perfect opportunity for a Pen’s style rebuild, imagine Tavares and Hall and Ebs, you could put a pylon in net and just win games 15-13), but when Tambi came in they put a genuine effort into the support and development within the organization, no more trial by fire for rookies, and I’ll give him credit for that, for everything else I’ll wait.

  70. freeze says:

    I give Tambi all kinds of credit… just for getting to office in the morning. That takes a lot of assessing!

  71. hunter1909 says:

    Yakupov’s been as effective as Whitney recently. Best to try to teach the kid something before he goes ballistic and from that point on, uncoachable.

    These aren’t the 1972 Montreal Canadiens.

  72. hunter1909 says:

    Let this blog be the first to run a poll: At what point does Yakupov become a superstar? By which, opposition defences are shitting themselves every time he’s on the ice. Kind of like the way Scott Stevens scared to opposition, since fear is a universal constant.

    1 – Never, because he blows
    2 – By early 2013-14 season.
    3 – By early 2014-15 season.

    I wanted to run one about Taylor Hall, but he’s due to break out anytime from 3-30 games from tonight.

  73. B S says:

    hunter1909,

    4- later this season

  74. Zipdot says:

    Scratching Paajarvi??

    BAD Krueger. Official demerit issued. Deduct two points from his coaching score.

  75. denny33 says:

    MPS – had nearly 12 minutes of ice time against the Dallas Stars ( see what the Flames did ) and was unable to register a single shot on net. Not one.

    He has played 10 NHL games so far this year and has registered 1 point. That one point is a goal on a great set up by Sam Gagner. I will concede it was great shot. But the play was created by Gagner.

    And as far as the swedish winger being physical…hoping that someone was kidding about that…

    Not exactly sure what the team would be missing if he is scratched…..maybe he is good on the PK – not sure.

    If he is a healthy scratch, hopefully whoever draws back into his spot ( Smyth ) will be able to pick up the offensive slack…

    Does anyone have any insight on how bad Ryan Whitney is taking the new of being a healthy scratch?

  76. Bar_Qu says:

    Hasn’t RK already indicated he doesn’t tip his hand with practise lines? I really wonder if he is actually planning what is being said he’s planning, or if he is simply using practise as a non-game situation to explore chemistry and ability matches. JMO

  77. godot10 says:

    I am pretty much the biggest Paajarvi booster around. Krueger is going to mess around with the bottom of the roster. I expect a lot of guys wil have to sit on occasion.

    When Jones is healthy, I expect Paajarvi gets another stint in OKC because he is one of the few waiver eligible guys.

    He’s beginning to show enough, and Hartikainen is showing enough, that Petrell and Jones will possibly not get new contracts, or the Oilers will use a penalty free buyout of Eager to free up a contract to re-sign Jones.

    Considering the events of the last week, I guess we should check if the penalty-free buyouts apply to the 35+ contract of Smyth.

  78. bookjLe says:

    godot10,

    Don’t worry – Ralph is going to fix Smitty. He gonna be alright.

  79. godot10 says:

    bookjLe:
    godot10,

    Don’t worry – Ralph is going to fix Smitty.He gonna be alright.

    You can’t fix age. I know. I try really hard to stop the clock, but it keeps on ticking.

  80. Jesse says:

    Gosh, Ralph Krueger’s press conferences are fascinating. Ive gotten into the habit of not missing even a single one.

  81. Magnus says:

    gangplank:
    Ben,

    But he does get his ass kicked in trades.

    Pitkanen-> Cole -> Patty O lanterns -> Sutton -> …….

    Visnovsky -> Whitney->……

    Brodziak -> 5th rounder?

    Gilbert-> Schultz->

    And this is a perfect example of why I don’t buy the whole “MacT is such a smart guy and great addition to management ” argument. It completely ignores MacT’s history on the team. As the coach of the team, he had as much influence on who was traded and which players were coming back as anyone. All trades are discussed by the GM, Lowe, the coach and pro-scouts.

    Pitkanen was a good defenceman. The exact type of defencman the team was lacking at the time. Yet MacT couldn’t get the best out of him and it became clear he had given up on Joni. So off he went to Carolina, where he became a valuable addition to the team.

    We got Cole in return, who was a good forward. But again, MacT wasn’t able to get the best out of his player, often playing Cole on his off wing. Cole went on to have the worst season of his career. He got shipped out and resumed playing well again on another team.

    He wasn’t able to bring development out of Smid. In fact I’d say Smid’s development was hindered by MacT. I remember he even had Smid playing wing at times. It wasn’t until MacT left that Smid started blossoming as a defenceman.

    MacT wasn’t a fan of Brodziak and along with Penner, was one of the players he called out publicly. And I’m pretty sure that’s why Brodziak was shipped out. The coach felt he was replaceable. We all know how that turned out.

    We can also bring up his tendency to play favourites with players and over-play and over-value the players he liked, while devaluing the players he didn’t like. We remember his hate-on for Penner, even though Penner was usually an effective player. We remember his love-in for Marty “Sakic” Reasoner. I remember being livid every single time the Oilers were down by a goal in the dying minutes of the 3rd period. MacT would pull the goalie and over the bench would come… Reasoner. Often while guys like Hemsky, Penner, Stoll, Gagner and Nilsson sat on the bench. I remember the despair at seeing Toby Peterson playing the point on the powerplay over and over again, when it had become obvious to the rest of the world that he wasn’t effective in that role.

    This is why I shudder at the thought that this guy, who had a history of not being able to judge talent or players effectively, could become the GM. And I have to laugh at people who credit him for any positive moves the team makes now with ZERO evidence that he actually influenced the decision.

  82. Woodguy says:

    Gregor has Whitney playing Saturday v. COL.

    Who comes out Potter or Fistric?

    Probably Potter I’d think.

  83. bookjLe says:

    Woodguy:
    Gregor has Whitney playing Saturday v. COL.

    Who comes out Potter or Fistric?

    Probably Potter I’d think.

    Given the record so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is Smid or Petry – expect the unexpected…. With that said – probably Potter.

  84. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Crap.

    Cs are going down left, right and left:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=415994

    Looks like it could be career ending…

  85. BlacqueJacque says:

    I think that by any measure, it’s obvious that Tambellini is a significant improvement over Lowe.

    1. No embarrassing chasing of players not interested in coming here.
    2. No embarrassing barn fight feuds with other GMs.
    3. Has yet to sign a third line centre to a superstar contract.

    About the only thing Kevin did right, as GM, was to let Smyth walk when he wanted ridiculous money.

  86. jonrmcleod says:

    Could the Oilers get a 3rd round pick from Ottawa for Whitney? If they could, would they then try to flip that pick plus a prospect to the Islanders for Streit. I think Streit is a UFA at the end of this year, but perhaps with Kreuger’s Swiss connection, Streit would be willing to sign an extension. The fact that Stauffer mentioned Streit by name on his show yesterday leads me to believe that the Oilers have real interest in acquiring him. Normally Tambellini would probably wait until the summer to sign him without giving up any picks or prospects, but perhaps he will try to make a trade if he feels he is in danger of losing his job if the Oilers don’t make the playoffs.

  87. BlacqueJacque says:

    jonrmcleod,

    I can’t figure out Mark Streit. Advanced stats have him as a decent defenceman, but his +/- is beyond abysmal.

  88. Lois Lowe says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=415994

    The talk last night on local sports radio was that Malholtra isn’t injured per se; it’s that he knows he’s no longer effective and doesn’t want to hurt the team. The presumption is that Kesler is really close to being back and that they don’t want to send Schroeder down to the AHL.

  89. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    jonrmcleod,

    I can’t figure out Mark Streit.Advanced stats have him as a decent defenceman, but his +/- is beyond abysmal.

    team effects.

  90. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lois Lowe: The talk last night on local sports radio was that Malholtra isn’t injured per se; it’s that he knows he’s no longer effective and doesn’t want to hurt the team. The presumption is that Kesler is really close to being back and that they don’t want to send Schroeder down to the AHL.

    I’ve heard more sinister things at TSN’s boards (empty assumption), i.e., Gillis is putting him on the IR to clear cap space… though I’m not sure why that would matter this year…

    at any rate, whether it’s his decision or not… it sucks to see a young fellow lose his career like that.

  91. BlacqueJacque says:

    Lowetide: team effects.

    The Islanders aren’t that bad this year. Sure, they’re 14th in the East, but they’ve only been outscored 36-43.

    Streit is -9.

    That’s really, really bad.

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