Tambellini: "I’m not concerned about next season at this point."

Jonathan Willis
November 30 2009 05:26PM

Steve Tambellini addressed the media earlier today; the video above comes from the Oilers' official website. The quote in the title doesn't come from that video, it comes from the longer audio version of his conference.

I've quoted out the portion of the audio segment that jumped out at me:

Reporter: Do you give it another month Steve, and if Khabibulin is long-term, and we know Ales is long-term, do you say ‘well, maybe we have an opportunity to build for the season next’, and see where this one goes with the kids and things might turn out better than expected…
Tambellini: Yeah, I’m not concerned about next season at this point. We’ve got two young goaltenders that are very skilled. I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t do the job.
Reporter: You like the young goalies? That seems daunting.
Tambellini: There’s a lot of teams that you take out a number one goaltender on an NHL roster, and you never can replace a legitimate number one goaltender, whether it’s Brodeur or Khabibulin, or Luongo or things like that. We have two people in there that have proven that they can play, and I feel no reason why they couldn’t do the job.
Reporter: So anyone out there thinking that they should start building for the future – as in next year – you say, (inaudible).
Tambellini: It’s November, and we’ve got a long ways to go here, we’ve got a long ways to go as far as improving our team, whether it’s Springfield or people that are here, we’ve got a long ways to go.
Stauffer: Steve, are you frustrated or pleased that some of the guys who have come up from Springfield have outplayed some of the guys that are here?
Tambellini: Overall, Bob, I’d say I’m pleased. I thought specifically O’Marra and McDonald that came up have played very well, I thought Chorney when he came up played well. I feel good about that, that players are coming up and able to jump in our system right away and produce, so it shows that they’re playing with confidence down there.
Reporter: You think your leadership group is going to keep this group together, keep them in a positive frame of mind?
Tambellini: I see no reason why not.

Is Tambellini spinning things here, or is he giving an honest appraisal of the situation?  Given how some of these remarks (particularly the one in the title) will play, I'd guess he's being honest; if I were spinning I'd say something to the effect of "we always have an eye to the future, but right now my focus is on winning this year".  Regardless, Tambellini's public comments are the best look we have into what he's thinking.

My personal take on his comments basically boils down to this:

  1. "I'm not concerned about next season" has to be a slip of the tongue.  Only a prize idiot could look at moves and not try and calculate the ramifications for the season after this one, and given how long Tambellini's been employed by NHL teams I have trouble believing he's a prize idiot.  A good G.M. is always concerned with next season.  Long-term planning is an obvious requirement of the job.  I'd suggest that he meant something more along the lines of what I wrote above; namely that the primary focus is on this year.
  2. Tambellini seems to contradict himself on the goaltenders; in one sentence he says that you can "never replace" a Khabibulin, and in the next he says he sees no reason why Dubnyk and Deslauriers can't do the job.  Presumably he thinks they'll be good enough to give this team a shot at the playoffs.  I'm not sure I buy that assessment; this strikes me as a team that needs above-average goaltending to win.
  3. Tambellini continues to refuse to say anything negative about the players on the team; a far cry from what he was doing in the off-season when he basically called everybody out.  I don't actually have a problem with this; if he wants to keep those things behind closed doors, power to him.
  4. Tambellini started the interview by discussing how difficult it is to make trades, and near the end he talked about "whether it’s Springfield or people that are here" as the answer, so whatever help is coming would seem to be coming from inside the organization.

In short, at this point I simply hope that what he says to the media doesn't mirror what he says behind closed doors.  This team may be a contender in the future but it isn't now; therefore all moves should be made with an eye to the future.  This team probably needs to be bailed out by the goaltenders; average won't get the job done.  There are definite problems on this team, and they need help from outside to get the job done.  All of those statements are at odds with what Tambellini said today.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 RossCreekNation
November 30 2009, 11:14PM
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Cogliano for Byfuglien?

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#102 Chris.
November 30 2009, 11:20PM
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@esa tikkanen

Nothing has kept the Oilers from trading for high picks... I mean you can tank for an entire season to get a good pick... or you can do what Boston did: Develop good overall organizational depth with secondary picks so you can afford to trade a quality roster player (Kessel) to a struggling franchise for what may end up being the first overall pick. The Oilers just can't seem to ever develop or maintain good overall organizational depth... Guess it's tank job time.

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#103 RossCreekNation
November 30 2009, 11:20PM
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What happened to Peter Mueller? I thought this guy was gonna be something special. Was I off or does he just need a change of scenerry.

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#104 BarryS
November 30 2009, 11:20PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I said YES Barry!

So thirteenth in scoring and at -10 number 19 place for worst +/- makes you a superstar in this league and worth 7+ million a year. Like he's on the last of the seventeen pages of individual +/- stats. That means there are like 650 and fifty or so better defensive players in the league than him. Given they got beat 5 -0 tonight he could be even worse. Wish I could get a job like that.

By the by, he's tied in +/- with Shawn One Arm Horcoff, which is not saying much.

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#105 BarryS
November 30 2009, 11:25PM
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Chris. wrote:

Nothing has kept the Oilers from trading for high picks... I mean you can tank for an entire season to get a good pick... or you can do what Boston did: Develop good overall organizational depth with secondary picks so you can afford to trade a quality roster player (Kessel) to a struggling franchise for what may end up being the first overall pick. The Oilers just can't seem to ever develop or maintain good overall organizational depth... Guess it's tank job time.

I believe even now the season ticket holders, you know, the guys who really pay the freight, would string up the GM at the mere mention of tanking the season. And don't think they will now, when they haven't for twenty years.

And did you forget, Boston did not make the trade because they wanted to, the player forced them two. And who was to know, the great Brian Burke would suddenly revert to minor leaguer manager and offer two firsts and a second for a player he would have to overpay to keep? Hardly an example to use. And given where the Human Rake is, and where Penner is, we even won that forced trade, strange as it may seem.

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#106 Chris.
November 30 2009, 11:26PM
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BarryS wrote:

Don't know much about Nash, perhaps he is one of those guys who dosen't like the pressure of a true hackey market, or likely couldn't turn down 7+ million a season? Even though the team is doing better, the place is basically empty until after College and High School Football Season is over.

I agree on the direction, but they hold the same place in their division we do in ares. Not we are better than them, but they are not yet in a playoff spot, and have Vancouver and the Ducks right behind. So,realistically they need three or four teams above them to drop from the race so they can get in. Anything is possible, eggs counted as chickens tend not to hatch.

P.S. It is ok to be a columbus fan, just don't try to justify it by slagging the Oilers.

I'm not a Columbus fan. I'm an Oiler fan who believes the club would be in a better position right now had Howson been handed the keys back in 07.

BTW, Columbus has 30 points in 26 games. That projects to a 95 point season and a seventh seed playoff berth. I know it's early, but it's not a stretch to say the BlueJackets are a better overall club than the Oilers. That's not slagging. That's my honest evaluation.

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#107 BarryS
November 30 2009, 11:33PM
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Chris. wrote:

I'm not a Columbus fan. I'm an Oiler fan who believes the club would be in a better position right now had Howson been handed the keys back in 07.

BTW, Columbus has 30 points in 26 games. That projects to a 95 point season and a seventh seed playoff berth. I know it's early, but it's not a stretch to say the BlueJackets are a better overall club than the Oilers. That's not slagging. That's my honest evaluation.

Never claimed they were not better than the Oilers, just your trumpeting of Howson was misguided. By the by, what do the points of the twelve teams ahead of them project to? At the moment, likely more than 93. All I'm saying the season is to young and the likely hood of Nash or any other star getting cheap shotted into concusion to start projecting playoff positions.

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#108 Chris.
November 30 2009, 11:41PM
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BarryS wrote:

I believe even now the season ticket holders, you know, the guys who really pay the freight, would string up the GM at the mere mention of tanking the season. And don't think they will now, when they haven't for twenty years.

And did you forget, Boston did not make the trade because they wanted to, the player forced them two. And who was to know, the great Brian Burke would suddenly revert to minor leaguer manager and offer two firsts and a second for a player he would have to overpay to keep? Hardly an example to use. And given where the Human Rake is, and where Penner is, we even won that forced trade, strange as it may seem.

Did you actually say Lowe "won" the Pronger trade? Pronger was traded to Philly with only one year left on his contract for a return comparable to what Annaheim gave up for him in the first place. Essentially, the Ducks aquired Pronger (who was signed long term to a value contract in the prime of his career), won a cup with him, and then traded him for the same quality back several years later. The Oilers clearly got screwed.

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#109 BarryS
November 30 2009, 11:48PM
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@Chris.

Stats say Anaheim has the same points we do, tonight so which quality players did you mean? Pronger only helped them win one cup, so did Carolina and they never had Pronger. Since we still have Penner and the same points, even as the most injured team in the league, as the Ducks, run that by me again?

Oh, yes, and who signed Pronger to that good contract?

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#110 Chris.
November 30 2009, 11:52PM
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@BarryS

You said: "And did you forget, Boston did not make the trade because they wanted to, the player forced them two. And who was to know, the great Brian Burke would suddenly revert to minor leaguer manager and offer two firsts and a second for a player he would have to overpay to keep? Hardly an example to use."

I think it's a perfect example to use. Boston is a contending club that will also have a lottery pick this summer. That's good quality management... Just like Sather unloading Gomez is an example of good managemet, or Burke bilking Lowe for Pronger and so on...

I need sleep. Will check this thread tomorrow.

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#111 RossCreekNation
November 30 2009, 11:53PM
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@BarryS

Penner wasn't part of the Pronger deal. They got Smid, Lupul & two 1st's. Lupul turned into O'Sullivan. The Ducks got Lupul, Szibisa & two 1st's.

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#112 Chris.
November 30 2009, 11:59PM
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BarryS wrote:

Stats say Anaheim has the same points we do, tonight so which quality players did you mean? Pronger only helped them win one cup, so did Carolina and they never had Pronger. Since we still have Penner and the same points, even as the most injured team in the league, as the Ducks, run that by me again?

Oh, yes, and who signed Pronger to that good contract?

Lowe cashed in on the once in a lifetime salary cap contraction coming off the lockout to aquire Peca and Pronger... He then used the uncertainty to ink Pronger long term (Yay!), nearly won the cup, and then utterly failed to get enough return for the key assets that left since then. The Pronger that was under contract for four full years in his early thirties should have landed the Oilers more via trade than the mid thirties Pronger with only one year left...

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#113 Chris.
December 01 2009, 12:00AM
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Now sleep.

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#114 roughneck
December 01 2009, 12:02AM
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@RossCreekNation

yup... a first that is Bobby Ryan as it turns out.

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#115 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 12:04AM
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roughneck wrote:

yup... a first that is Bobby Ryan as it turns out.

huh?

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#116 BarryS
December 01 2009, 12:06AM
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@RossCreekNation

I stand corrected, that's right Penner was the RFA contract, the same one Burkie could have used and decided to screw the team more by trading two firsts and a second instead of an RFA tender for the same money, no way Boston could match.

Remind me, How did we get bilked? The Ducks won one cup, with Pronger to join Calgary and Carolina as one cup wonders. They should have had more before and after Pronger came. They have what left after Pronger left? We got Smid 6 points + 7 Eberle ? Riley Nash ?

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#117 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 12:13AM
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@ Chris

Your using a very short mesuring stick to proclaim Howson > Oiler managment.

Also, as much as I hate the injury excuse. Barry is right, the Oilers record you see today is skewed due to all the injuries. Mirror our injuries onto the BJ's and I'm sure they would be equally under-performing.

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#118 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 12:14AM
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Want to know the difference between the two Pronger trades?

Leverage. We didn't have it, the Ducks did (in both trades)

Also, our Lupul >>> more value then the Lupul the Ducks got back (he was basically a salary dump the second time around)

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#119 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 12:32AM
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@BarryS

Chris Pronger to the Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Riley Nash & Jordan Eberle.

Dustin Penner to the Oil for Tyler Myers, Justin Schultz & Kirill Petrov.

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#120 mowgli
December 01 2009, 12:51AM
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I would like to see the oilers make some sweet plays (tic tac toe goal)get hat-tricks, Show stoping saves, Maybe some big open ice hits that make you think it should be reviewed by the NHL. A good fight from our fighters that put fear in the eyes of other teams. Shut-outs, blow-outs and shoot-out wins or last second goals for the oilers would be great to see. Maybe those are the little things we can work on until Hemsky gets better.

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#121 Phil
December 01 2009, 12:54AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I'm thinking one of Visnovsky/Souray should be moved. Purely an age/contract thing. By the time this team is ready to compete for a Cup, both players will be on the decline of their career, and on a new contract.

I've said it all along, I don't think the Visnovsky trade was the right trade for THIS team. It's not to say "Visnovsky sucks", but moreso that guy's like Stoll and Greene are exactly what this team needs. Not only the fact that their style of play, but their character and they're the age/experience group that is needed to take over the leadership role.

Stoll was pegged as the future captain of this team. He almost got the nod ahead of Moreau, but he wasn't ready for the responsibility yet. If he were here now, not only would he help Horcoff out on the ice, but he'd help the transition of leadership.

Greene is a glue-guy, a physical shut-down type this team lacks that has assumed a leadership role in LA. When this team lost character guys like Greene, Reasoner and Smith, they lost a whole lot more than their respective on-ice games. Those guys were important in the dressing room (from everything I've heard & read and everything that I know about hockey players inside the dressing room -- perhaps Gregor or Brownlee could verify that sentiment as they've actually been in that room).

Would I take a do-over on the Stoll/Greene deal... yes. I know its been debated many times before, but perhaps the picture is a little different now for those who've said they wouldn't change a thing?

"I've said it all along, I don't think the Visnovsky trade was the right trade for THIS team. It's not to say "Visnovsky sucks", but moreso that guy's like Stoll and Greene are exactly what this team needs. Not only the fact that their style of play, but their character and they're the age/experience group that is needed to take over the leadership role." -RossCreek. Hindsight = 20/20. I liked the deal at the time and was still under the illusion of this team being headed in the right direction, things were looking up, bought into the various hype(s) etc. etc. Might not necessarily have been a "bad deal" per say but ultimately wasn't the right deal, wasn't necessary, shouldn't have been done, period. Comes back to having a sh*tty/non-existent/unrealistic plan to begin with. Given the current state of the team, I would much rather have both Stoll and Greene over Visnovsky now, even though Vis is an absolute beauty and probably one of the 2 best players on the team. Stoll & Greener are having good years and good careers in LA so far.

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#122 BarryS
December 01 2009, 12:54AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Chris Pronger to the Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Riley Nash & Jordan Eberle.

Dustin Penner to the Oil for Tyler Myers, Justin Schultz & Kirill Petrov.

Given we have one traded guy on the roster from that trade and they have none, seems we get the edge. As well, our Pronger got us further with less talent and thus was more valuable to us, than Pronger was to them, seems he got suspended a game in the finals, on a team that should have had at least one cup before he came, and one more after, hardly seems a pillaging to me.

As well, Penner being on the roster and being a "star" on it and Myers, Schultz, and Petrov, still in the minors, junior, or whatever, but not on the 50 contract roster, hard to make a case Lowe didn't win that one as well.

That is as of tonight, not next year or whatever.

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#123 Phil
December 01 2009, 12:55AM
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Woops, did not intend to bold that entire piece, my appologies.

Need an edit button and some space in this m*therf*cker. That would be str8 cash homie.

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#124 BarryS
December 01 2009, 01:04AM
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Anybody else notice Quinn seems to have no clue about how to organize the Shoot Out. To me, this seems his prime weakness, giving away the extra point on shootouts as if they don't matter. And that includes Gagner who seems to over think his moves or else all the goalies are on to him. Anyway, at the moment he should no more be a first three pick than Penner.

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#125 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 01:08AM
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@Phil

You can call it 20/20, but I questioned the deal at the time too.

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#126 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 01:09AM
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@BarryS

Myers is actually a 6-7 defenseman in line to win rookie of the year in Buffalo.

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#127 RossCreekNation
December 01 2009, 01:10AM
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Phil wrote:

Woops, did not intend to bold that entire piece, my appologies.

Need an edit button and some space in this m*therf*cker. That would be str8 cash homie.

There is an EDIT button. Look up to your right on your last post.

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#128 BarryS
December 01 2009, 03:29AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Myers is actually a 6-7 defenseman in line to win rookie of the year in Buffalo.

But not for the Ducks which is my whole point, And the only point is, Lowe was perhaps not as bad a GM as people like to believe.

I.E. Horcoff at 5+ million and - 10 and playing injured is not as bad a signing as Nash at 7+ million and -8 on the +/- tables, means among other things he can score but he can't even check his hat.

I goals sell tickets, while being a + in the +/- only helps win championships.

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#129 Chris.
December 01 2009, 06:57AM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

@ Chris

Your using a very short mesuring stick to proclaim Howson > Oiler managment.

Also, as much as I hate the injury excuse. Barry is right, the Oilers record you see today is skewed due to all the injuries. Mirror our injuries onto the BJ's and I'm sure they would be equally under-performing.

Two points.

First, Short measuring stick? Life is short. Hockey careers are shorter. I'm simply saying Howson has helped turn Columbus around since assuming GM duties in Columbus. By comparison, Tambellini has done virtually nothing as GM of the Oilers... IMO, replacing Roli and bringing in Comrie and O'Sullivan did nothing to fill holes or bring balance to the lineup.

Second, are we really sure the Oilers are underperforming? (Have we really been "under-performing" for so many years?) Quinn himself has indicated the Oiler may not be in a "funk", but rather their record is an indication of where the team is at. Hossa is better than Hemsky... but the Blackhawks still dominated without him. IMO, Injuries have a greater impact on poor organizations; exposes them more... Injuries can prove that the appearance of competativeness is akin to a house of cards.

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#130 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 08:48AM
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Chris. wrote:

Two points.

First, Short measuring stick? Life is short. Hockey careers are shorter. I'm simply saying Howson has helped turn Columbus around since assuming GM duties in Columbus. By comparison, Tambellini has done virtually nothing as GM of the Oilers... IMO, replacing Roli and bringing in Comrie and O'Sullivan did nothing to fill holes or bring balance to the lineup.

Second, are we really sure the Oilers are underperforming? (Have we really been "under-performing" for so many years?) Quinn himself has indicated the Oiler may not be in a "funk", but rather their record is an indication of where the team is at. Hossa is better than Hemsky... but the Blackhawks still dominated without him. IMO, Injuries have a greater impact on poor organizations; exposes them more... Injuries can prove that the appearance of competativeness is akin to a house of cards.

Well consider the team is far below where they were at any point last year (with basically the same roster), they are either:

A. Underperforming

B. Quinn is an absolute idiot/MacT was briliant

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#131 Digger
December 01 2009, 09:08AM
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@Chris.

Not to totally excuse Tambellini, since as time goes on this mess will have his fingerprints on it more than Lowe's...but there are a couple of differences between Howson and Tambellini's GM reigns:

1) Howson's had 1 extra year to turn that ship around, so I'm willing to give Tambellini this one season to do the same before I fully partake in the hate.

2) As far as I can tell, Howson didn't have nearly as bad a cap situation to deal with as Tambellini did when he took the job.

The thing that really frustrates me is this uncertainty as to who is really running things around here...is Tambo really the GM when it comes to making the decisions, or is Lowe still steering this ship while Tambo is there to do the GM-specific day to day grunt work so Lowe can have that gigantic brain of his free to concoct his latest grand scheme.

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#132 Ogden Brother
December 01 2009, 09:15AM
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Digger wrote:

Not to totally excuse Tambellini, since as time goes on this mess will have his fingerprints on it more than Lowe's...but there are a couple of differences between Howson and Tambellini's GM reigns:

1) Howson's had 1 extra year to turn that ship around, so I'm willing to give Tambellini this one season to do the same before I fully partake in the hate.

2) As far as I can tell, Howson didn't have nearly as bad a cap situation to deal with as Tambellini did when he took the job.

The thing that really frustrates me is this uncertainty as to who is really running things around here...is Tambo really the GM when it comes to making the decisions, or is Lowe still steering this ship while Tambo is there to do the GM-specific day to day grunt work so Lowe can have that gigantic brain of his free to concoct his latest grand scheme.

#2

The BJ's aren't a cap team, so we really don't know what his $$$ restrainst are.

ie cap space is worthless if you aren't able to use it.

Poor poor Tambs, what a bad cap situation. Some guys are overpaid, some guys are underpaid

Horc 1.5 Staios .7 Moreau .5 Pisani 1 O'sully .5

Nilsson should have been sent packing to Europe...other teams do it, not sure why we are so reluctant.

So not even counting the "underpaid" players, is this team a 4.2 million dollar player away from being a Cup contender?

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#133 mowgli
December 01 2009, 10:09AM
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@Ogden Brother

B

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