Time for a change: let the do-over begin

Robin Brownlee
December 29 2009 11:38AM

I'll admit to being stubborn when it comes to changing my mind on stances I've taken, like the need to tear down the Edmonton Oilers roster and start over with a full-scale rebuild, but the abomination that is the Oilers seven-game losing streak has made a believer out of me.

While the make-up and mix of the roster coach Pat Quinn has to work with has looked wrong to me since training camp broke, I have been of the mind, given injuries and illness, that GM Steve Tambellini should wait 50-60 games to start undoing this edition of the team.

Even then, I wasn't in for a full-scale Dive For Five, but after watching this mis-matched collection of players that's supposed to be a team fade into a nothingness that can only be described as an epic fail, 39 games has me convinced.

Consider me a card-carrying member of the DFF Faction, a convert to the belief that Tambellini, or somebody else if he doesn't have the stomach or wherewithal for the job, has to do whatever it takes to get to square one.

Dan Barnes pulled the trigger by calling for the same thing today in The Journal, so I'm not claiming to be staking new ground here, but I'd rather catch on to what many fans here at OilersNation and elsewhere have been saying sooner rather than later.

It's broke. Time to fix it.

The ugly details

I said a week or so ago my philosophy for the DFF is that landing a 2010 draft lottery pick should be considered an aside to a proper rebuild, not the focus of it. I'm sticking by that because I don't believe a Taylor Hall or a Tyler Seguin is the cure-all for the Oilers, even if it is a start.

The goal for me is freeing up cap space and creating options, rather than throwing the mess Kevin Lowe created on the shoulders of 18-year-old kids coming out of the draft, no matter how talented they might be, in the next couple of years.

  • If I'm Tambellini, I'm faxing the other 29 GMs in the league a list of roster players I'm willing to trade before the New Year. I'm informing them that I'm ready to deal between now and the deadline.
    The only players NOT on that list are Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid, Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Potulny, J.F. Jacques, Dustin Penner, Ryan Stone, Zack Stortini, Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner.
    With the exception of Hemsky and Penner, these players don't put a significant dent in the salary cap now and likely won't in their next contracts. There is no windfall waiting for Cogliano or Gagner this summer, so they aren't going anywhere, at least not yet.
  • While it's unlikely there'll be calls for players at the top of the salary scale like Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray or Lubomir Visnovsky, I'd make them as attractive as possible. Dump their salary for picks and prospects, if possible. Yes, these contracts are next-to-impossible to trade, but you take a shot and see what happens. If one or all of them are back, so be it.
  • I'm especially pushing Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios and Patrick O'Sullivan before the deadline. They could be decent pieces for the right team during the stretch drive, even with some term left.
  • My 2010-11 edition of the Oilers includes Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Theo Peckham and Taylor Chorney.
  • My first moves before hitting the fax machine are, as Barnes suggested, finding out if surgery is the answer for Horcoff's shoulder and Nikolai Khabibulin's back.
    Surgery takes them out of play in terms of trades in the unlikely case that anybody would be interested -- Mike Milbury isn't an option -- but it helps secure a lottery pick. 

At the top

  • If I'm owner Daryl Katz, I'm grading Tambellini on what he does between now and the trade deadline. If I don't see a significant shift in the right direction, he gets a pink slip when the season ends.
  • If Tambellini gets the sack, then Quinn moves from coach to GM, while associate Tom Renney and assistants Wayne Fleming and Kelly Buchberger run the bench. I also look at rescuing Rob Daum from the shit show that is Springfield and adding him to the staff here.
  • The entire hockey operations side gets re-evaluated at the end of the season, and that evaluation begins with the scouting staff, starting with Kevin Prendergast.
  • If I'm Katz, I take a long look at old pal Kevin Lowe, now the president of hockey operations, and ask some tough questions. Does he serve out the term of his extension or take the fall now for the mess he left Tambellini? Either way, Lowe's days are numbered.
  • If I'm Katz, I call Tambellini, Lowe and anybody who has a stake in the decision-making process and inform them in no uncertain terms the do-over starts now. Then, I call a news conference to tell fans exactly that.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#251 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 07:57PM
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@ crash:

Did you even look at his numbers in the playoffs? Kipper as Flame, post-lockout:

2005-06: .921 2006-07: .929 2007-08: .908 2008-09: .884

That's three years where his post-season numbers were better than his regular season numbers.

As for the numbers chosen, they were picked by Lefebvre, not me. Not that it makes a difference, as the playoff numbers you requested show.

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#252 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 07:59PM
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crash wrote:

What do you suppose it will say after this season?...I predict a big difference after this season in the rankings. Especially if the Oil get Hall, Seguin or Fowler

Obviously. I already said the margin would surely widen if/when they get a top pick and the Flames are left without a 1st rounder.

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#253 crash
December 29 2009, 08:00PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

You're not one of those guys that says you'd rather be out of the playoffs to begin with than getting bounced in the 1st round year in, year out. Are you? Clearly they haven't had much success, but it beats missing the playoffs each of those years instead, doesn't it?

No I'm one of those guys that wants a perennial top 4 team...not happy with the same ole same ole. No first round exits are as unacceptable as just missing the playoffs, maybe worse...I guess if you're in the dance you have a chance but after awhile of the same ole same ole it gets rather frustrating

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#254 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 08:02PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Sure it looks like a big step forward. Fact remains that they're probably a bubble team.

Here are the goal differentials for the top eight teams in the West:

  • Chicago: +38
  • San Jose: +29
  • Colorado: +4
  • Phoenix: +15
  • Calgary: +12
  • Los Angeles: +1
  • Nashville: -2
  • Vancouver: +27

It's up to you, but I have trouble seeing them as much more than a bubble team, and I certainly wouldn't be basing my franchise rebuilding effort on their model.

JMO.

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#255 crash
December 29 2009, 08:02PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ crash:

Did you even look at his numbers in the playoffs? Kipper as Flame, post-lockout:

2005-06: .921 2006-07: .929 2007-08: .908 2008-09: .884

That's three years where his post-season numbers were better than his regular season numbers.

As for the numbers chosen, they were picked by Lefebvre, not me. Not that it makes a difference, as the playoff numbers you requested show.

No I didn't look at the numbers that's why I asked you....so tell me...why do they keep getting bounced from the playoffs early with the powerhouse team you all tell us they have?

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#256 crash
December 29 2009, 08:04PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Obviously. I already said the margin would surely widen if/when they get a top pick and the Flames are left without a 1st rounder.

Even without the top pick it will widen

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#257 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 08:04PM
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@crash

And I am frustrated. The Flames had a run of bad luck last season. They suffered many injuries down the stretch, then had to play a Chicago team that was even better than where they finished. Had the Flames been healthy and played the Blues, I'm confident they would've won... that round. There's no way to know that for certain. And they DID lose in the 1st round. That's all that matters.

16W

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#258 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 08:06PM
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@ Crash:

Today's challenge: find where I said they have a powerhouse team. I don't recall saying it (although they've certainly been better than Edmonton /enddamningwithfaintpraise) but if you can find that quote I'd be happy to explain it.

Otherwise, you don't have much right to claim that I ('you all') have been telling you that they're a powerhouse outfit for the last few years.

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#259 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 08:07PM
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crash wrote:

Even without the top pick it will widen

Technically, probably not. If the Oil add Eberle & Svensson, they wouldn't be a part of the prospect pool making them worse. But yes, the Oilers have better prospects.

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#260 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 08:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee:

Sure it looks like a big step forward. Fact remains that they're probably a bubble team.

Here are the goal differentials for the top eight teams in the West:

  • Chicago: +38
  • San Jose: +29
  • Colorado: +4
  • Phoenix: +15
  • Calgary: +12
  • Los Angeles: +1
  • Nashville: -2
  • Vancouver: +27

It's up to you, but I have trouble seeing them as much more than a bubble team, and I certainly wouldn't be basing my franchise rebuilding effort on their model.

JMO.

So that would show Chicago, San Jose and Vancouver are likely the class of their respective divisions. Sounds about right.

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#261 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 08:11PM
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@ RossCreek:

I think so. It's bizarre that Vancouver has yet to lose in OT, and it's cost them. They're nine points back of San Jose, but by wins and losses they're one win back.

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#262 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 08:12PM
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@crash

In fairness, JW never said anything of the sort (that I can recall). It was ~just the know-it-alls~ You know, like McKenzie & Dreger... but what do they know?

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#263 crash
December 29 2009, 08:13PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Crash:

Today's challenge: find where I said they have a powerhouse team. I don't recall saying it (although they've certainly been better than Edmonton /enddamningwithfaintpraise) but if you can find that quote I'd be happy to explain it.

Otherwise, you don't have much right to claim that I ('you all') have been telling you that they're a powerhouse outfit for the last few years.

Not you specifically but I hear constantly from media in Edmonton and across the country....I'd be willing to bet that you claimed them to be a top team but I don't have the actual statement.

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#264 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 08:15PM
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@ crash:

I see. You have no proof, and I've denied it, but you'd be willing to bet anyway.

What's the appropriate response to that? Go to hell? A stronger phrase?

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#265 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 08:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ RossCreek:

I think so. It's bizarre that Vancouver has yet to lose in OT, and it's cost them. They're nine points back of San Jose, but by wins and losses they're one win back.

Although I get what you're saying, to say "it's cost them" is a bit off, no? Technically, they'd have to get to overtime to be able to lose in overtime. Therefore, if they'd lost any of their ot games, they'd be even further back.

But that is a wierd stat (and I know what you meant).

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#266 Mitch
December 29 2009, 08:17PM
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Clean house from the top down starting NOW (kinda). Lowe gone, Prendergast gone, scouting staff gone. Tambo deserves a extra lifeline, but he better start to ship some roster players out. Quinn could move into the Player Development/ Assistant GM role although I feel he's doing a good job as coach. Rob Daum forsure could use a bigger role within the organization. In Edmonton we have to begin to restore the pride (tired of listen to the leadership cores excuses, Moreau is most guilty "Edmonton is a tough place to play")the leaders have been horible in every aspect. Every player on the roster is TRADEABLE. In Edmonton we were preached at for years about the new collective bargaining for competitive fairness, now that it's been in place since 05/06 we have done nothing but fail! (oh I forgot the 06 run sorry Kevin). No need to sugar coat this any longer, we need to develope players, draft correctly, sign free agents at oppurtune times. Let the rebuild start NOW!

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#267 crash
December 29 2009, 08:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ crash:

I see. You have no proof, and I've denied it, but you'd be willing to bet anyway.

What's the appropriate response to that? Go to hell? A stronger phrase?

Holy crap man take a fu*king pill...why don't you tell me then...where did you predict the Flames to finish this year and why?

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#268 crash
December 29 2009, 08:32PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ crash:

I see. You have no proof, and I've denied it, but you'd be willing to bet anyway.

What's the appropriate response to that? Go to hell? A stronger phrase?

Found it, I see you place them sixth but your statement was that they are a very good team hampered by poor goaltending yet now you say Kipper is solid...so which is it? Are they a very good team hampered by poor goaltending or in fact are they only as good as their goaltending?

Jonathan Willis' Predictions

Detroit San Jose Vancouver Chicago Anaheim Calgary Columbus Edmonton Minnesota Dallas Los Angeles St. Louis Nashville Phoenix Coloroado These predictions were extremely difficult to put together. However, that’s not going to stop me from starting at the top and working my way down through the flawed reasoning and poor assumptions that I used to create them.

Detroit’s obviously a very good team, and while most people think San Jose will be better they’ve really done a number on their defensive depth over the summer and I think they might be in some trouble when injuries strike. I almost did something really wild and slotted Vancouver up top, but the Canucks are a little ways back of those first two teams. The other thing worth mentioning about Detroit is that I see Osgood as being significantly better in the regular season this year.

Chicago’s in the same range as the top three teams, but I’d peg them just a little lower than the Red Wings. Anaheim underachieved last year, something that won’t happen again, and Calgary’s a very good team hampered by lousy goaltending. Columbus rounds out the best of the West; I’m banking here on an improved powerplay and no disappearing act from Steve Mason.

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#269 Kevin
December 29 2009, 09:23PM
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Thankyou Robin for this article. I like how you tell it like it should be. Hopefully someone within this oil Brass can see this and start making something happen. I'm tired of listening to all the excuses on oiler radio land. They must think we have no hockey sense at all but rather deep pockets who would continue to support these clowns running this organization no matter what. You are right the time is now. No more excuses. We have been dealt hhis losing hand far to many times. There needs to be accountability amounst all aspecsts of hockey ops. If draft picks don't pan out. Someone has to go this just one example. What is the state of our farm team ? We have nothing of value down there and are basically icing an ahl rooster here in edm. For all these years of drafting top 10-15 we have nothing to show. To date there has been no fall guy for this medicoracy. Who has fallen for the outrageous contracts?? If I recall a Gm was sent walking in Chicago for lesser evils. I commend you Robin for article like this. Keep up the good work. This city needs to hear your words and this organization needs to not turn a blind eye. My only fear is that Katz has you on his payroll so that these sorts of opinions are not made public. Katz has already hired one of the oilers biggest critic. It's really sad to listen to him now. I think you know who I'm talking about. Great piece Robin-keep the heat up !

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#270 JB
December 29 2009, 09:39PM
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Interesting read RB - early for prospective trade suggestions? Moreau to ATL for Thorburn. That's an early tire-kicker I'd try. Maybe it's a bad idea to get speculative this far from the deadline.

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#271 dunciano
December 29 2009, 09:57PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

I'd suggest their recent draft record looks ok. How long has Stu MacGregor been in calling the shots at the draft. It appears perhaps he's one guy the organization should hold on to? Just a thought.

(KP should go in my books.)

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=430008

MacGregor was hired Sept 2007

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#272 Broken One Piece
December 29 2009, 09:59PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

You should check out the 2nd line centers around the league. I'd be Horc would step in as the 2nd line center on more then half of them.

but for the amount of money he makes? im sure he could do alright on another team but i don't know to many gm's who are willing to pay 7 mil or whatever it is hes due to make for a "second" line centre for the next 2-3 years. i don't know, i'm just not sold on the guy myself, never really have been. if he was 2/3 line centre and making considerablly less, maybe 2-3million range(which i could justify for him) i don't think people and sports writers would be bringing his name up in these blogs/articles/etc. i don't know, oilers should do sumthin though

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#273 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 10:00PM
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@JB

I'd try moving Moreau ASAP, Souray around the Olympic break, and Staios, Pisani, Comrie, etc. at the deadline. Perhaps you make a 'hockey' deal involving Gilbert/Grebeshkov somewhere along the way.

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#274 dunciano
December 29 2009, 10:00PM
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So he was responsible for the last 2 drafts (which look pretty good so far)

(Eberle at 22)

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#275 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 10:01PM
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@ crash:

Good stuff. I was way off on some of those, but Calgary's one I got right.

+12 and four games over .500 (four real games over .500) at the midpoint of the season in the West is pretty much definitevly a "very good" team. They were only +6 at the end of last season and they're on pace to quadruple that goal differential by the end of this year - thanks to the improved goaltending.

That's actually one of the few predictions I like ;)

As for why they've been held back by goaltending before, here are Kiprusoff's numbers from the past two years: .906 and .903. Those are average numbers because Kipper's been an average (to even below average) tender the last few years. This year he's at .930.

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#276 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 10:07PM
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dunciano wrote:

http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=430008

MacGregor was hired Sept 2007

So Eberle & Svensson were his picks, and before that he was just one of the scouts for 8 seasons. As I said, he can stay. Kevin Prendergast should be gassed. Rick Olzyck should be gassed. Tambellini's got 40 games. Lowe can stay because what's the difference at this point. Club's 1st draft pick, kept team afloat pre-lockout, architect of 06 squad (and the mess that ensued). As long as he's not calling the personnel shots.

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#277 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 10:14PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ crash:

Good stuff. I was way off on some of those, but Calgary's one I got right.

+12 and four games over .500 (four real games over .500) at the midpoint of the season in the West is pretty much definitevly a "very good" team. They were only +6 at the end of last season and they're on pace to quadruple that goal differential by the end of this year - thanks to the improved goaltending.

That's actually one of the few predictions I like ;)

As for why they've been held back by goaltending before, here are Kiprusoff's numbers from the past two years: .906 and .903. Those are average numbers because Kipper's been an average (to even below average) tender the last few years. This year he's at .930.

Those are also known as the Keenan years (coincidence?).

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#278 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 10:19PM
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@ RossCreek:

I think so.

It may not be, of course, but I haven't seen anything that really convinces me Keenan was to blame for Kiprusoff's miserable save percentage. IIRC, Keenan handled Kiprusoff with kid gloves, regardless of how he played, in terms of both spoken word to the media and playing time.

Do you suspect he was the cause of it?

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#279 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 10:25PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'm not sure. If I'm not mistaken maybe Kent had something on this a while back suggesting so. See if I can find it.

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#280 TigerUnderGlass
December 29 2009, 10:27PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Those are also known as the Keenan years (coincidence?).

Yes.

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#281 TigerUnderGlass
December 29 2009, 10:37PM
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Broken One Piece wrote:

but for the amount of money he makes? im sure he could do alright on another team but i don't know to many gm's who are willing to pay 7 mil or whatever it is hes due to make for a "second" line centre for the next 2-3 years. i don't know, i'm just not sold on the guy myself, never really have been. if he was 2/3 line centre and making considerablly less, maybe 2-3million range(which i could justify for him) i don't think people and sports writers would be bringing his name up in these blogs/articles/etc. i don't know, oilers should do sumthin though

Second line centers cost more than 2-3 million.

They generally seem to fall in 2 categories.

1. Young players who are not well paid but will get raises soon. ie. Duchene

2. 3.5-5.5 million dollar players. This is the most common pay bracket for 2nd line centers. Usually the better teams are right around 5 million. ie. Mike Ribeiro

There are a few outliers who play on really bad teams and don't fit either category, but the above seems to be the norm.

At 5.5 Horcoff would be on the top end of the 2nd line pay scale, but not out of range, and likely his numbers would get a whole lot better playing on a good teams second line.

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#282 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 10:40PM
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@Jonathan Willis

OK, I didn't find it exactly, but here's some comments from 'LawrenceS' over at M&G from Dec. 7/09...

Oh, and if there is reason to crack a beer and cheers tonight it’s this: Kipper for the first time in about 2.5 years is in the top five in every measured goaltender category on the NHL.com stats page. He is also IMHO, due to games played, the league leader in ev sv% at .942. Ultimately, the only goalie who is outplaying our man this year is Super Miller, who is having a nearly unbelievable season-to-date. However, by value…with Miller making 6.25 cap hit, Kipper at 5.83, and Vokoun at 5.7, we arguably have the best goalie in the league again. I wonder how ol’ Mike ‘the goalie-killer’ Keenan feels about that.

Actually, I was curious about my own statement and wanted to back-up the “goalie-killer” claim. For our collective knowledge looking at Miikka Kiprusoff’s 6 season’s with Calgary including this one:
With Keenan: 2899/3174 sv/sa = .913 ev sv% over 2 seasons (07/08-23rd & 08/09-49th)
W/O Keenan: 4022/4289 sv/sa = .938 ev sv% over 4 seasons (T-1st, 2nd, 2nd, 1st now)
By even strength sv% Miikka has never been worse than 2nd in the league without Keenan behind the bench when he plummeted to 23rd and 49th. To put that into context, in the other ‘4’ seasons, which by shots is more like 3 complete seasons, Kipper has averaged a better evsv% than both Brodeur, who many think is the best ever, and Luongo, who many think is the best of the decade, have ever attained in a single season!
Brodeur’s best evsv% – . 933 in 08/09 – low .917 in 01/02
Luongo’s best evsv% – .937 in 03/04 – low .925 in 02/03
Those are just a few numbers to give us the confidence that perhaps this string of play is higher than we will see throughout the whole year for Kipper, but we have no reason to think it can’t last. Without Keenan, Miikka has been the best evsv% goalie in the league since he came to Calgary.

I mean, it can get even more provocative if we really want to stretch it. NHL.com started keeping track of even sv% as we know it today in 98/99. This also happened to be the best statistical year for Mr.Hasek. 1.87GAA and .937sv%. If you take his next four years (cause I don’t have access to earlier years) his shot totals are 4381/4709 which are similar to Kippers over the four year non-Keenan stretch. What isn’t similar is the ev sv% average – .938 for Kipper, .930% for Hasek. All of Hasek’s years where evsv% has been tracked from 98/99-07/08 he averages .931%. Now, these weren’t his ‘prime’ years, but it’s fun to look at those numbers anyway, and imagine.
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#283 BarryS
December 29 2009, 10:52PM
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The assumption behind Brownlee's and Barnes articles is the owner might be/should be unhappy with his team. Since he apparently doesn't talk to any media types, how can anyone know if the current management is not following general orders from above just like they always have?

And another thing. As far as I can tell, this is the first financially solid owner in the history of the Oilers. That alone will take some getting used to by an administration which in its whole history never could make hockey decisions not based on orders from above to the affect when in doubt trade don't pay.

Seems to me, the last sentence in the article is the important one. The owner has to tell the fans and the staff openly, just what his desire for the team is, short term, long term. The history of this team has been the ownership needs a playoff gate or two to make money and thus the goal has always been make the playoffs, not win them, not build for a cup, merely make the playoffs and break even.

If the owner, who in the end,approves or not of any trades, demotions, contracts, etc. does not want to make a public declaration of his goals for the team beyond making a few bucks at the end of the year, then there is no alternative but to believe Lowe, Tambo, Quinn are doing what the owner wants. Until the owner publically announces a radical change in the goals given to management, then we can expect their goal is the same as always, get a playoff gate or two and carry on forever.

Is this team merely a toy for yet another rich guy to hang with atheletes or what, this first of all is what the fans need to know.

The old golden rule applies, the one with the gold makes the rule. I have heard nothing do far to suggest the owner is not in favour of what management is or is not doing so everything here is idle speculation.

I am as unhappy with the team as anybody, in truth its been weeks since I have watched a full game, but experience says there is no such thing as hands off ownership. Until he says differently, we have to assume the team is being run how the owner wants it to be run. Even the EIG seems to have forced decisions on management with finances as the overiding factor on hockey moves.

Until the owner says something official, I see no reason to believe Tambo and Lowe are not following general, if not specific, orders from above. If as some have said or implied, the owner has certain friends among the players, then the likelihood of change is slim.

Say what you want, until the Owner publically says differently, it seems Lowe and Tambo, as good company men they are, are following his orders, guidelines, wishes, call it what you will and are running the team as he desires it to be run. Of course, the fans concentating their unhappiness makes life easier on the owner especially if his goals are the same as a certain H Ballard, less the need to be in the papers all the time, to make the most money with the least possible consideration of the fans.

The joy of private ownership is the owner needs tell no one anything and this owner seems to abide by this.

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#284 BarryS
December 29 2009, 10:52PM
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Double post, sorry.

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#285 Jonathan Willis
December 29 2009, 10:55PM
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@ RossCreek:

That's pretty compelling stuff, but I can't figure out what Keenan would have done (accidentally, presumably) to submarine Kiprusoff's sv%. Especially since those numbers are at even-strength, which rules out special teams effects.

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#286 JackBauer
December 29 2009, 10:58PM
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I agree with Willis that Colorado could still be a bubble team. Hell they are a bubble team! They are only 3 points out from 8th place. And when Detroit and Dallas get their act together as im sure they will, somebody has to leave the top 8. There are only 2 teams in the West, and maybe 3 in the East that I would confidently say are sure fire playoff teams. The rest are a bad road trip away from being on the verge, or out of the playoff picture.

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#287 RossCreekNation
December 29 2009, 11:01PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Could be coincidence. But if his stats remain good this season and next, one would have to think something was up. Then again, it could've just been off years for Kipper leading him to realize the importance of being in shape heading into the season. Sometimes older players learn they need to workout more than in the past to maintain their fitness. Definately compelling though, and something to keep an eye on.

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#288 batman75
December 30 2009, 12:24AM
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The assumption behind Brownlee's and Barnes articles is the owner might be/should be unhappy with his team. Since he apparently doesn't talk to any media types, how can anyone know if the current management is not following general orders from above just like they always have?

And another thing. As far as I can tell, this is the first financially solid owner in the history of the Oilers. That alone will take some getting used to by an administration which in its whole history never could make hockey decisions not based on orders from above to the affect when in doubt trade don't pay.

Seems to me, the last sentence in the article is the important one. The owner has to tell the fans and the staff openly, just what his desire for the team is, short term, long term. The history of this team has been the ownership needs a playoff gate or two to make money and thus the goal has always been make the playoffs, not win them, not build for a cup, merely make the playoffs and break even.

If the owner, who in the end,approves or not of any trades, demotions, contracts, etc. does not want to make a public declaration of his goals for the team beyond making a few bucks at the end of the year, then there is no alternative but to believe Lowe, Tambo, Quinn are doing what the owner wants. Until the owner publically announces a radical change in the goals given to management, then we can expect their goal is the same as always, get a playoff gate or two and carry on forever.

Is this team merely a toy for yet another rich guy to hang with atheletes or what, this first of all is what the fans need to know.

The old golden rule applies, the one with the gold makes the rule. I have heard nothing do far to suggest the owner is not in favour of what management is or is not doing so everything here is idle speculation.

I am as unhappy with the team as anybody, in truth its been weeks since I have watched a full game, but experience says there is no such thing as hands off ownership. Until he says differently, we have to assume the team is being run how the owner wants it to be run. Even the EIG seems to have forced decisions on management with finances as the overiding factor on hockey moves.

Until the owner says something official, I see no reason to believe Tambo and Lowe are not following general, if not specific, orders from above. If as some have said or implied, the owner has certain friends among the players, then the likelihood of change is slim.

Say what you want, until the Owner publically says differently, it seems Lowe and Tambo, as good company men they are, are following his orders, guidelines, wishes, call it what you will and are running the team as he desires it to be run. Of course, the fans concentating their unhappiness makes life easier on the owner especially if his goals are the same as a certain H Ballard, less the need to be in the papers all the time, to make the most money with the least possible consideration of the fans.

The joy of private ownership is the owner needs tell no one anything and this owner seems to abide by this.

What a long and stupid post ,there are tones of owners that are behind and say little but have good teams but guss what you can not aspect him to get it right off the bat do you.He is knew to this.

Maybe he is telling them to help the team win but they have to deal with the Salary Cap.

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#289 Butters
December 30 2009, 12:32AM
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Finally, we are trying to run more than one player out of town at a time. This may bear fruit.

Has it been considered that Tambellini cannot completely blow up a team created by the same guy that is his boss?(At least I think he is, haven't seen the org chart). This might be why Tambellini has appeared hesitant. He cannot speculate that the team cannot compete, the team has to prove it-and is doing so swimmingly.

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#290 batman75
December 30 2009, 12:40AM
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@Butters

or maybe he might have problem dealing with the Salary Cap.Teams are caped out and so there are not that many options for them to trade.

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#291 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 30 2009, 07:59AM
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@BarryS

The assumption behind Brownlee's and Barnes articles is the owner might be/should be unhappy with his team. Since he apparently doesn't talk to any media types, how can anyone know if the current management is not following general orders from above just like they always have?

common sense and half a brain should tell you.

go review the comments made during the presser when he took over the team. you honestly think this is how he wants things?

really?

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#292 Robin Brownlee
December 30 2009, 08:53AM
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@BarryS

Congratulations, you've taken naive right off the charts.

I won't waste a lot of words poking holes in your comments because they are so flimsy they speak for themselves. You honestly think Katz might think things are going well? Everything is good?

Maybe a blogger who never goes near the rink, never sees Lowe, Tambellini, Prendergast and the rest of the people involved in hockey ops on a daily basis can simply make assumptions -- correct assumptions in a lot of cases -- and write anything they like without hesitation.

You think Barnes and I can just pull stuff out of the blue without any basis in fact, be it something we've been told or observations we've made around the rink over time, write something out of left field and then go look the very people we've been writing about in the eye with impunity if we're out to lunch? Really?

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#293 TigerUnderGlass
December 30 2009, 09:26AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Could be coincidence. But if his stats remain good this season and next, one would have to think something was up. Then again, it could've just been off years for Kipper leading him to realize the importance of being in shape heading into the season. Sometimes older players learn they need to workout more than in the past to maintain their fitness. Definately compelling though, and something to keep an eye on.

Another possibility is that he has supposedly "cut back" on smoking this year.

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#294 RossCreekNation
December 30 2009, 09:57AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Another possibility is that he has supposedly "cut back" on smoking this year.

LOL.

Whatever it is he's been doing, its working - keep it up Kipper (until the Canada-Finland shootout that is. Then you just be you and all will be well ;-)

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#295 TigerUnderGlass
December 30 2009, 10:03AM
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@RossCreekNation

It's kind of sad that I'm not even joking. I have never been able to understand why a professional athlete would be a smoker.

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#296 RossCreekNation
December 30 2009, 10:15AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

From Guy Lafleur to Mario Lemeiux to half the league (give or take), its been something thats been "normal" behaviour for athletes in general. Sad - yes, but I guess it just shows they're human.

I still remember when Raffi Torres tried to 'bum' a smoke from me. Dude, first off, do you see any smokes in my possesion? And secondly, don't you think perhaps I should be the one 'bumming' a smoke from you?

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#297 TigerUnderGlass
December 30 2009, 10:44AM
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@RossCreekNation

It is especially prevalent in hockey though.

Something to do with the subculture I guess, because the smoking rate in most sports lines up with society in general, but hockey players smoke at a much higher rate than the general population.

Just for one example, I played basketball at a fairly high level of competition, and I can attest to the fact that, although there were smokers, there was significant pressure not to smoke cigarettes. (although there was plenty of other self destructive behavior that was strongly encouraged lol)

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#298 Librarian Mike
December 30 2009, 10:50AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

I have never been able to understand why a professional athlete would be a smoker.

It's all tied into the "let's go out and get hammered after the game" bar culture. I don't imagine there are that many of those guys left however (at least as far as smoking goes...drinking to excess is another matter entirely). The game is just too fast nowadays for players to be screwing around like that on a consistent basis.

I had a friend who was from Toronto who told me about waiting outside Maple Leaf Gardens in the 80s when Al Iafrate would ride up on his Harley with a joint hanging out of his mouth.

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#299 RossCreekNation
December 30 2009, 11:12AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

You're not implying basketball players like to smoke the reefer, are you? lol (its pretty prevalent in hockey too)

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#300 RossCreekNation
December 30 2009, 11:13AM
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@Librarian Mike

when Al Iafrate would ride up on his Harley with a joint hanging out of his mouth.

That's waaaaay to believable to not be true.

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