November 23 2009 09:11AM
The Oilers get schooled by the Chicago Blackhawks, combined with an article by Dan Rosen and suddenly some people — including OilersNation's Jonathan Willis — believe that Steve Tambellini is an awful GM and that his job should be in jeopardy. I love a good story, but if anyone thinks that Steve Tambellini will, or should, get fired a year and a quarter into his tenure as GM, they're enjoying too much of the hippie whiskey.
News flash, people: if you expect the Oilers to improve overnight, it won’t happen.
Anyone who believes organizations plan to lose is kidding themselves. The Blackhawks look solid right now, but until making the playoffs last year, the Hawks had made the playoffs once in ten seasons. Did they purposely tank it for that many years, just so they could be a contender now?
Do you think they planned to be that bad?
Duncan Keith was a 2nd rounder in 2002, and then Brent Seabrook was taken 14th overall in 2003. Dustin Byfuglien was an 8th rounder in 2003. Cam Barker was 3rd overall and Dave Bolland was 32nd overall in 2004. Then Jonathon Toews, 3rd overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane, 1st pick in 2007 were the big pieces.
It has taken seven years for the Hawks to be this good, not to mention they’ve signed big tickets like Cristobal Huet and Marian Hossa, and because of the salary cap this might be their best shot to win, before they have to make some tough choices this off-season.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but signing Sheldon Souray and trading for Lubomir Visnovsky weren’t bad moves, and they aren’t the reason the Oilers sit in 12th place in the west.
Up until this year the, Dustin Penner signing looked like a disaster, and there is no guarantee that if they didn’t make that offer that they’d somehow be better. Would Penner’s absence have made them a bottom three team, and out them into a position to draft Zach Bogosian, Steven Stamkos or Drew Doughty?
No one knows, because there are so many other intangibles in play that you wouldn’t know where they would have finished, but the odds are they wouldn’t have gotten a top-three pick. And so far, outside of those three, no other player in that draft looks like a bonafide star, so how can anyone say that the Oilers would be better off without Penner?
The part that makes me laugh the most is that many feel if the Oilers had a 4th line faceoff guy, that they’d be in the playoffs right now. Do you honestly believe that?
Of course the Oilers could be better, since they are 30th in the league in FO% at 45.8, but the Colorado Avalanche are 29th and the Flames are 28th, yet they're 3rd and 4th in the standings.
Philadephia (17th), Ottawa (21st), LA (22nd), New Jersey (23rd) and Pittsburgh (24th) all struggle in the dot, yet they are all comfortably in the playoffs right now.
Don’t you think all the injuries have had a bigger impact on the team’s current standings than a 4th line faceoff guy?
Rob Niedermayer is 50.8% in the draw, Blair Betts is 49.5% and both have taken over 200 faceoffs. Would they really make the Oilers better?
There are much bigger problems with the Oilers than a freaking 4th line centre.
Tambellini needs to change the culture, and if you don’t think he is then you haven’t been paying attention. He brought in a new coaching staff, and has given them the reins to try and make this team accountable.
I said it, and wrote it, repeatedly last year that Craig MacTavish wasn’t holding back this team. No doubt it was time for MacTavish to go, but now that he is gone, many of the same problems still exist.
If you thought they would all evaporate in one year, you were dreaming. Injuries to physical players like Stone and Jacques have hurt this team, but they are just a small piece of the puzzle similar the absence of a faceoff guy. This team still has too many guys who don't consistently out-work the opposition — either physically or mentally. They still make too many mistakes. They still miss too many passes, they still lose too many one-on-one battles.
Did you think that a new coach would magically fix all of these problems, or that Tambellini would be able to rid himself of all the problems with a few phone calls.
The changes need to continue. Pat Quinn and Tom Renney are trying to find out which guys have the character, smarts and skill to play their system. If they can’t after 40 games then I’d expect to see Tambellini start to make some changes.
Any suggestions that Tambellini’s job is on the line is grossly premature and that would be another knee-jerk reaction, which is exactly what got this organization in this situation to begin with.
Nikolai Khabibulin's back injury will keep him out for at least a few more games, so the Oilers have recalled Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has played well in the AHL so far with a 9-8-1 record and a respectful 2.77 GAA and .924 SV%.
If Khabibulin is out for an extended period of time you will see Dubnyk play, but if it is just a few games expect Jeff Deslauriers to get his 3rd and 4th consecutive starts.