I spent the day in Seattle with my wife and we had a wonderful time. About 4pm we got in the car and started heading back to Canada, with Fleetwood Mac on the car stereo. Sang along all the way to the border and into Richmond where my auntie and uncle told me about the tornado. They’d been trying to get through to my Mom and Dad for a long time when we got to their house on Udy road, but everyone must have been doing the same thing and we couldn’t get through.
Early the following morning, I talked to my Mom. She was very upset, my Dad refused to leave the apartment (they lived on the 10th floor at the Village at Southgate) and Mom finally had to go without him. I could hear the strain in her voice, the difficulty she’d gone through and there wasn’t one damn thing I could do about it.
When it comes to feeling helpless, that phone call was the gold standard until the day my wife gave birth to our son (and then two years later, our daughter). Sometimes in life you’re emotionally invested but don’t get a chance to impact the outcome, and sometimes that can be painful.
In our second installment of Steve Tambellini as GM, we have to remember the club was still looking to contend for the playoffs. There was no mention of rebuild, they were spending most of the cap and the idea was to win hockey games. However, between September 2009 and March 2010, the club did nothing to aid the fortunes of the hockey team and by the time the new year (2010) arrived, Darryl Katz had uttered the ‘rebuild’ word.
As galling as it is, the transactions below have to be viewed in such a way. The Oilers were gathering young assets and sending NHL players away. It would become a miserable fact for Oiler fans: the big event of the year was the NHL draft.
- March 1, 2010: Oilers trade D Denis Grebeshkov to Nashville for a 2010 2nd rd selection (Curtis Hamilton). Grebeshkov had some health issues that spring and was not able to help the Preds much. He did score 2 points in 2 playoff games for Nashville. Hamilton has been a disappointment, but a 2nd rd pick is a good return for a UFA of Grebeshkov’s calibre.
- March 3, 2010: Oilers claim R Ryan Jones off waivers from Nashville. I always thought this was part of the Grebs deal, but either way Jones has been solid for Edmonton since his arrival. His 37 Oiler goals have come from (mostly) the 3rd line, making him very productive from that slot in the order. Although I have my issues with Jones as a player, this is easily Tambellini’s best waiver pickup.
- March 3, 2010: Oilers trade Lubomir Visnovsky to Anaheim for D Ryan Whitney and a 6th rd draft pick (D Brandon Davidson). This is maybe the saddest day for me during the ST era, I loved Lubo so much. Whitney was terrific before losing many games and possibly a large portion of his career to injury. Lubo was so much fun for everyone but Pat Quinn. I have been told by enough people to believe that this trade was made by Kevin Lowe to believe it.
- March 3, 2010: Oilers trade D Steve Staios to Calgary for D Aaron Johnson and a 3rd rd pick (Travis Ewanyk). Staios had been a strong and loyal soldier for the Oilers, and the club got a pretty nice pick for him. In typical Staios fashion, he worked hard to deliver for his new team. The current Oilers could use a Steve Staios.
- June 22, 2010: Oilers elevate Tom Renney to head coach and move Pat Quinn to the mumble mumble department. I think this was one of the better moves during the ST era, Quinn’s Mairzy Doats press conferences were funny and charming but he was not an effective NHL coach in Edmonton.
- June 23, 2010: Oilers trade 2010 6th rd pick (Mirko Hoefflin) to Chicago for C Colin Fraser. This trade worked out pretty well, as the Oilers cashed in with a productive 4line C for very little cost. Injuries would impact his Oiler career.
- June 26, 2010: Oilers trade C Riley Nash to Carolina for 46th overall selection (Martin Marincin). Nash took his time arriving in the NHL and is not yet established in the league (but has played 16 games and has 6 points this season). Marincin is progressing but will take some time. I don’t think there’s a clear winner at this time, and the positions (center-defense) are both important.
- June 28, 2010: Oilers do not tender offers to Marc Pouliot, Colin McDonald, Ryan Potulny, Bryan Lerg, Geoff Paukovich and Slava Trukhno. Edmonton’s depth would become an issue in the ensuing months and years, and late June 2010 saw the club offload a large number of young players. McDonald has emerged as an NHL player, while Pouliot and Potulny played in the NHL after leaving Edmonton.
- June 29, 2010: Oilers place Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson on waivers. Oilers further cleaned house with these moves, although Moreau was collected by Columbus and the club ended up dealing O’Sullivan to Phoenix for Jim Vandermeer. Either way, the team once again flushed players who had at least played in the NHL for nothing.
- July 1, 2010: Oilers sign D Kurtis Foster to a 2-year, $3.6M contract. It didn’t work out, but this signing looked good at the time and did address need.. Foster had played in ideal circumstances in the previous season and delivered, and his performance in Edmonton did not follow for various reasons.
The Oilers flushed many veterans and untold prospects and young pro’s, then installed a new coach and gave him Colin Fraser and Kurtis Foster. Only the Russians did scorched earth better. Up next, the rebuild’s biggest story.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
- Coach Krueger: “Our five on five game just didn’t have enough passion to match what Nashville was coming with. It’s not enough to play in Nashville for 20 minutes. You have to come here and play 60 minutes. We didn’t do that and it’s a painful result.”
I’ve been very supportive of coach Krueger this season, for me he’s done a fine job of sussing out the roster and finding out who can play. Among his biggest positives are finding a role for Paajarvi, patience with the struggling Nuge, finding a second scoring line (which would have come anyway but this one looks very good) and using his entire roster.
However, the 4th line has been playing too much the entire season. Part of the problem with Eager and Brown and Petrell are playing too many even strength minutes. Especially last night, when getting a point was so vital. If there was ever a time to shorten the bench this is it. The Oilers need to ride the following players until they drop: Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, Paajarvi, Hemsky, Horcoff, Schultz the younger, Petry, Smid and Dubnyk. Starting now.
The Oilers are apparently locked and loaded on Dan DeKeyser, the organization spending a lot of assets and brain power on wooing him to the great white north. Is anyone spending time working on a Ladislav Smid contract? Just asking. One hopes the Oilers can gather in DeKeyser, but that probably means two rookies (Soze and Klefbom) for 2013-14.
Are you all ready for this?
Some talk in the previous thread about the offense being poor among the Oilers top 6F’s. I honestly don’t see it. Gagner and Hall are having career seasons, Eberle has stepped back but is on par with what we established as reasonable back in the fall. Hemsky, J Schultz and Yakupov are contributing and Horcoff has 5 goals in 14 games. Magnus Paajarvi is having a comeback season, really all but the Nuge among the heart of the order are doing fine.
The Kids are Alright, folks.