Tambellini Press Conference Live Blog (Updated!)

Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009 11:51AM

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Steve Tambellini is giving a press conference at 12:00.  Video is available at the Oilers official site .  This is the official OilersNation live blog for the conference, and material will be added as the conference continues.

[11:50] - Dan Tencer seems to be finished playing around with the microphone, so I'm assuming the sound is set up.  Since there's nothing else to discuss as of yet, he seems to be dressed pretty casually for this sort of thing - aren't reporters supposed to wear suits?

[11:52] - The back of Dan Tencer's head is all that I can see from this camera (aside from the two water bottles on either side of the microphone).  The back of his head appears to be itchy.

[11:54] - The zoom function on the camera seems to work.

[11:56] - The feed seems a little choppy.  Hopefully that doesn't continue.

[11:56] - As per the comment below and now confirmed on their official site, Sportsnet is reporting that MacTavish is finished.

[12:01] - The Spector article says that the decision was made by MacTavish to step down, as opposed to being fired.  Still waiting for Tambellini.

[12:03] - He's here.

[12:04] - The season was a disappointment, they aren't where they wanted to be.  Issues need to be addressed - they've had discussions internally.

[12:05] - Tambellini confirms that the Oilers will be pursuing a new head coach.  Tambellini says it was "the right thing for Craig and for the Oilers at this point".  He says the team needs a "new voice", but calls the decision a mutual one between Tambellini, Lowe and MacTavish.

[12:06] - There will be personnel changes; he is not letting the players off of the hook.

[12:07] - Tambellini says that a "commitment to win at any cost" was the hallmark of old Oiler teams.  He agrees that grit and size were issues this season, and says that the team will be identifying players who can add that internally and then acquiring what they need from outside the team.

[12:09] - The ownership, Kevin Lowe, and Craig MacTavish are the three reasons why Tambellini accepted the job.  He thanked MacTavish for his service.

[12:10] - Calls MacT "a quality coach and a quality person, but decisions have to be made for us to get better".

[12:10] - Tambellini leaves the door open, but doesn't expect MacTavish back in another capacity.  He thinks he will be coaching in the NHL next season for another team.

[12:11] - MacTavish's remaining year on his contract is "not an issue".

[12:12] - Tambellini still sees "an incredible amount of potential in this group".  He said that the pressure on this group to perform immediately is "what you want" and identifies how players react to that kind of pressure as a key evaluation of their value.

[12:14] - Tambellini "will not put up with" an "unemotional game".  He says the team needs more strength, energy, and grit, and again hints that trades will be made to acquire those qualities.

[12:14] - He keeps coming back to the theme that there "has been success at times".  He has a specific type of coach in mind, and says that a new coach will be in place "when we get the right guy".  It sounds like a decision won't be made until the options are clear; Tambellini hinted strongly that more options would be available once teams were eliminated from the playoffs.  The first name that comes to my mind when he says that is Brent Sutter.

[12:16] - Tambellini has yet to talk to the assistant coaches but expects to deal with them "within the week".

[12:17] - He wants at least one top-six player, and guys that are hard to play against in general.  He also reemphasizes the need to get more out of players that are currently in the organization.  I'd guess that means that not all of MacTavish's whipping boys are considered irredeemable.

[12:17] - Tambellini identified scouting and development as areas where there is "a lot of work to do", and rather heavily implied there will be changes.  Don't get too comfortable, Kevin Prendergast.

[12:18] - "It's time to stop looking back; we have to look forward."  I'd imagine that the Oilers glory days job offerings are going to become fewer under Tambellini's watch.

[12:20] - "It's important that we take our time right now and that we review all aspects."  No hasty decisions to be made, supposedly.  Tambellini also was asked if any players had expressed a desire to leave.  His response: "No."

[12:22] - Although I'm a little concerned that this team is going to go overboard to pick up size at the expense of other things, on the whole he's saying all the right things.  He seems reasonable and even-handed, and says that there are definitely some positives to the current group that need to be kept.  Change for the sake of change doesn't sound like it's going to be happening here, although I suppose time will tell.

[12:24] - Tambellini says that the coach doesn't neccessarily need NHL experience, but for an inexperienced guy he'd need to be "a special person".  Based on his reaction, I'm guessing the next guy has NHL experience - his face pretty much gave that away.

[12:26] - Tambellini says that he "needs to be wide open right now" with respect to where the next head coach comes from, but I'm rather cautiously optimistic based on what he's said so far that it won't be someone from inside the organization.

Well, that's it for the press conference.  On the whole, I think Tambellini said the right things and got the right message out; the team is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of both players and management, and will set a course going forward to address areas identified as deficient.  Naturally, the G.M. isn't going to criticize ownership, but I really think that for the most part it's a non-issue, and that was the message Tambellini stressed in that regard.

Tambellini praised MacTavish and spoke about him accurately; it does sound like he will be leaving the organization entirely and continue to coach, just somewhere else.  I'm quite confident that there is another NHL job in the near future for MacTavish.  As for his replacement, all the signs were there that Tambellini already has a short list; he said that he had a "specific type" of coach in mind, and it sounds like that coach will both a) have NHL experience and b) come from outside the organization.  It also sounds like that coach is currently in the playoffs, and off the top of my head, my best guess would be Brent Sutter.

Obviously, time will tell, but based on this press conference I think this organization is in good hands.

On Second Thought...

I guessed Brent Sutter off of the top of my head, but Tambellini never specified that the coach had to have experience as a head coach at the NHL level; he just strongly hinted that the next coach would have NHL experience and was running a team with games left to play.  Looking at my short list from the other day (and excluding Sutter), there are four names on the list; three of whom I think are the likeliest bets.  Those three are:

  • Scott Arniel.  The Manitoba Moose coach is currently busy in the AHL playoffs, but given that Tambellini was the Vancouver Canucks executive responsible for overseeing their farm team, Arniel would be a known quantity for him.  Arniel has previous NHL experience as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.
  • Don Lever.  An assistant coach in Montreal, Lever's AHL record is distinguished and he's been an assistant coach in Buffalo and St. Louis as well.  Plus, it would be nice to pay the Canadiens back in kind for snatching up Claude Julien.
  • Paul MacLean.  Stealing Detroit assistant coaches could get to be something of a trend.  MacLean followed Babcock over to Detroit from Anaheim, and he was also previously an assistant coach in Phoenix.  He spent eight seasons as a minor league head coach, putting up a nice record in the IHL and a championship win with the UHL's Quad City Mallards.

Like I said, if I had to bet, I'd bet on one of those three.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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 JRocks247
April 15 2009, 01:15PM
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"WOW...totally out of the blue, who saw this coming." I speak as I crawl out from under my rock.

Tambo is ready, with targets locked...next up

PDP!

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#102 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:15PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Agreed, that is definately likely. But in regards to him coming to E-town ahead of Calgary… NO CHANCE PEOPLE!

Would you want your brother to be your boss... or would you like to COMPETE against him? The Sutters are competaters.

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#103 Ducey
April 15 2009, 01:15PM
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With the picture and time quotes this is becoming a religious experience.

In the future we should start quoting Steve 12:14, "we will not put up with unemotional game"

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#104 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:16PM
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Oh, I almost forgot...

Who saw this coming!?!

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#105 topshelf
April 15 2009, 01:16PM
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Who cares about Brent Sutter. Lets enjoy this glorious day! The day we lost Mac T!

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#106 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 01:16PM
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Rick wrote:

That was a strong PC from Tambellini, he definately managed to say what needed to be said. Now let’s see if he has the aptitude to make the necessary changes. Based on how he dragged his feet over the course of the season, I won’t hold my breath.

I think Tambellini was interested in watching and observing exactly what he had to work with and now knows the cupboards are bare in all spots. I like the moves Tamby did make with his trades so I have faith in him (for now)

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#107 bingofuel
April 15 2009, 01:17PM
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Ducey wrote:

With the picture and time quotes this is becoming a religious experience. In the future we should start quoting Steve 12:14, “we will not put up with unemotional game”

Hahahaha, dude that's classic.

"Yea, though Tambellini sayeth 'Let there no longer be mediocrity!' And MacTavish resigned. And it was good."

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#108 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:17PM
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If this breakup was so "MUTUAL"... why no media availability from MacT?

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#109 baggedmilk
April 15 2009, 01:18PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Oh, I almost forgot… Who saw this coming!?!

*weeps tears of joy, and wraps TB in embrace whether he wants one or not*

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#110 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 01:18PM
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Reggie wrote:

@ freeze: Here’s my take on Brent Sutter. I think it would be awesome to have him here, but here’s why I don’t think it will happen. He signed a 4 year deal with NJ. He is under contract. I could see Lou letting him out of his contract to go back to coach the Rebels or to go to Team Canada, 2010, but I cannot see Lou letting him take on another NHL coaching job in the next 3 years (the remainder of his contract). That’s my two cents worth.

Sutter Signed a 4 year deal in July '07. He has 2 years left, not 3. The only way Brent ends up with another NHL team is if they give Lou some compensation in Jersey. And in all likleyhood, that team would be Calgary. Other than that, I'd expect him in Jersey or Red Deer, NOT Edmonton.

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#111 JRocks247
April 15 2009, 01:18PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

I’m a Scientist! wrote: *glances over at the bandwagon sitting in the corner…a little beat up and broken after this season, but, just as he is about to turn away, the sun glints off the windshied sending a shockwave of hope that one day…one day real soon…the bandwagon will rise again* {slow clap} Way to paint a picture. I can see it now. BUT, you forgot all the spider webs on it too.

and you forgot about the sound of my snoring as I'm still passed out inside with a stained "06 Western Conference Champs" shirt tucked under my head like a pillow.

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#112 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:18PM
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Ducey wrote:

With the picture and time quotes this is becoming a religious experience. In the future we should start quoting Steve 12:14, “we will not put up with unemotional game”

Wow...I actually LOL'd.

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#113 Ducey
April 15 2009, 01:19PM
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Chris wrote:

RossCreek wrote: The Sutters are competaters.

They like to fight over potatoes?

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#114 freeze
April 15 2009, 01:19PM
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@ Reggie: agreed.

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#115 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:20PM
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Ducey wrote:

They like to fight over potatoes?

Jesus, ur on fire.

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#116 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:21PM
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"Thou shalt not look back. Thou shalt looketh forward always." Tambellini 12:18.

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#117 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 01:21PM
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Chris wrote:

RossCreek wrote: Agreed, that is definately likely. But in regards to him coming to E-town ahead of Calgary… NO CHANCE PEOPLE! Would you want your brother to be your boss… or would you like to COMPETE against him? The Sutters are competaters.

Or you could say "family is family". If he wants to "compete" with his brother, there's plenty of other teams he could go to.

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#118 BarryS
April 15 2009, 01:21PM
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Spelling takes to much thought. Gloating in unbecoming. So are personal attacks on players and coaches, team presidents etc. Time to let go of the past and look to the future. Fact the coach is no longer the coach, who did what or how is of no value to the fact. Speculating on new coaches and player moves is the time honoured role of fans. being upset at what changes might or might not be made before they happen is the best examples of foolishness I can think of at the moment.

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#119 Don
April 15 2009, 01:22PM
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What does FMNF mean?

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#120 topshelf
April 15 2009, 01:22PM
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Chris wrote:

“Thou shalt not look back. Thou shalt looketh forward always.” Tambellini 12:18.

Gold Jerry, GOLD!

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#121 Reggie
April 15 2009, 01:22PM
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@ RossCreek: Thanks for the correction about term remaining.

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#122 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:25PM
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Don wrote:

What does FMNF mean?

Finally Mactavish Now Fired?

Well, it used to mean Fire MacTavish Now, F*ckers.

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#123 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 01:25PM
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Reggie wrote:

@ RossCreek: Thanks for the correction about term remaining.

I had to double check because I thought he only had 1 year left.

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#124 alon
April 15 2009, 01:27PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

alon wrote: @ RossCreek: Brent Sutter will end up in Red Deer, and if it doesn’t I would be surprised If I were Katz, I would make an offer for the Red Deer Rebels and threaten to disband the team if Sutter wont coach the Oilers. But that’s just me.

LOL! As long as Katz made some progress down here, I am getting sick of watching the Rebels suck

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#125 Brent Sutter
April 15 2009, 01:28PM
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I WOULD OFFICIALLY LIKE TO REMOVE MY NAME FROM CONSIDERATION. THANKS.

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#126 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:28PM
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Apparently Souray hasn't asked for a trade... yet anyway.

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#127 Greg MC
April 15 2009, 01:29PM
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It's a start...

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#128 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 01:29PM
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@ Brent Sutter: Oh... thanks Brent.

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#129 442Junkie
April 15 2009, 01:29PM
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Don wrote:

What does FMNF mean?

Nothing anymore...it used to mean Fire MacTavish Now F*ckers!

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#130 Milli
April 15 2009, 01:30PM
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Ya, I don't know about Sutter, but, I sure could see him enjoying competing against, not working for his brother. No way he ends up in Cal, long shot that he ends up in Etown. Either way, I like the having an experienced coach and the WE WILL COMPETE. This year, way way to many games where they were totally outworked. And whats up with Moreau not liking the expectations???? Ain't that why you play the games? To win? hey eathan, there's only 1 parade.

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#131 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:30PM
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This just in....

I just saw Dustin Penner purchasing a BowFlex!

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#132 Greg MC
April 15 2009, 01:31PM
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I don't think Tambo answered the question honestly about players asking to be moved.

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#133 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 01:32PM
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@ Brent Sutter: Wow, usually people try us on before they ask to be traded. This is new.

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#134 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 01:33PM
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Hire Arniel Next F*ckers!

??

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#135 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:33PM
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I think I just saw Dennis leaving the press conference still wearing his Pouliot jersey... (I think he's crying)

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#136 Rick
April 15 2009, 01:34PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

Rick wrote: That was a strong PC from Tambellini, he definately managed to say what needed to be said. Now let’s see if he has the aptitude to make the necessary changes. Based on how he dragged his feet over the course of the season, I won’t hold my breath. I think Tambellini was interested in watching and observing exactly what he had to work with and now knows the cupboards are bare in all spots. I like the moves Tamby did make with his trades so I have faith in him (for now)

Not to dampen the party but...

If the trade deadline is an indication of what we can expect in the future, shouldn't we be a little concerned?

Both him and MacT stressed committment, willingness, grit and size as problems that were identified as far back as January, right?

So why does Tambellini go out and get a guy with a reputation of inconsistency and not using his body enough in Kotalik and another small skilled guy in O'Sullivan?

It was a good day in terms of asset management but it was pretty piss poor in terms of fixing what the club needed fixed. No?

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#137 topshelf
April 15 2009, 01:37PM
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I wonder what Tambellini was referring to exactly when he said that the expectations and preparation by the players needs to change.

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#138 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:38PM
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Soo....Moreau and Staios presser at 2:30pm....WTF?

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#139 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 15 2009, 01:40PM
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@ Rick:

Because that was the best available option with the assests we had to trade with?

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#140 Rob
April 15 2009, 01:41PM
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@ Rick:

Maybe Tambellini traded Cole only because he knew he wasn't returning, and the trade that was made was the best option available?? Kotalik played well for us, and could possibly sign with us again. Obviously trades were in the future plans this summer, now we have Sully as another chip.

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#141 Wanye Gretz
April 15 2009, 01:41PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Soo….Moreau and Staios presser at 2:30pm….WTF?

WHAT? FOR REALS??

*can't imagine more excitement in one day. Hopes we are getting an apology like the lucky ducks in Springfield got*

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#142 Rick
April 15 2009, 01:41PM
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@ Jack "FMNF" Bauer:

Or he was shopping off the wrong list.

Bottom line is that he didn't actually solve the problems that needed solving and ended buying for the sake of buying.

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#143 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:43PM
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topshelf wrote:

I wonder what Tambellini was referring to exactly when he said that the expectations and preparation by the players needs to change.

Maybe he means Penner had better come to camp in shape next year... or he can EXPECT to play in Sprinfield for the duration of his contract.

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#144 Rob
April 15 2009, 01:43PM
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@ Rick:

Buying for the sake of buying, explain?

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#145 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 01:43PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Soo….Moreau and Staios presser at 2:30pm….WTF?

Thought I heard that it got postponed til tomorrw?

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#146 topshelf
April 15 2009, 01:44PM
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@ Chris: As far as I can recall Penner wasn't in shape LAST year but showed up this year much fitter and in good shape. Is that not true?

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#147 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:44PM
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Maybe Moreau will explain why he feels it's unfair for the coach, and fans to have high level of expectation for the players to perform.

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#148 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 01:45PM
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His name was Craig Mactavish....... HIS NAME WAS CRAIG MACTAVISH

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#149 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 01:45PM
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@ RossCreek H.A.N.F.:

Not sure...it just got tweeted by the official Oiler twits.

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#150 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:45PM
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@ topshelf: I heard he barely made physical... and he used the offseason to learn how to juggle.

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