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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#151 mazola
April 15 2009, 01:46PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qbQEEOPsb8

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#152 topshelf
April 15 2009, 01:46PM
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@ Chris: Juggle donairs?

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#153 Rob
April 15 2009, 01:48PM
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Oilers site says moreau presser is happening today. Lol, They have this picture of them up with huge smiles on their faces!

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#154 Wanye Gretz
April 15 2009, 01:49PM
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@ Rob:

Always keeping an eye on the context of the bigger picture our Oilers.

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#155 Chris
April 15 2009, 01:50PM
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@ topshelf: You're right though... There was improvemnt: the year before he (Penner) failed his physical... (So the rumour goes) Brownlee to confirm?

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#156 Rick
April 15 2009, 01:54PM
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Rob wrote:

@ Rick: Buying for the sake of buying, explain?

He brought in two players that had the very same problems that the team was already full of.

Which means he either identified the wrong problems (which is a bad sign in itself and counter to the two press conferences this week), or traded for the wrong pieces simply because they were available and good overall value for Cole.

The latter of which is buying for the sake of buying.

Either way he didn't do anything that helped solve the problems of the team.

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#157 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 01:56PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

@ RossCreek H.A.N.F.: Not sure…it just got tweeted by the official Oiler twits.

Hahaha. Seriously?

Possible front runners based on connections to Tambellini in Van: Pat Quinn Marc Crawford Scott Arniel Alain Vigneault Randy Carlyle

The last 2 obviously would need lousy playoff performances from their clubs to be made available. If Gillis likes Arniel down in Manitoba, he could also be in line for Vancouver's job if they're ousted early.

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#158 SquidRx
April 15 2009, 01:59PM
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@ Rick: ~You're right. Carolina actually offered Eric Stahl, but S-Tam turned it down and suggested the 3 way deal instead. LA tried to give us Dustin Brown, but S-Tam steadfastly refused and would only take O'Sully!~ I suspect he was well aware of what the team needed at that time and did the best he could with what he had to work with. I have never GM'd though, but I assume you have?

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#159 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 02:00PM
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Don Lever was a former teammate of Tambellini's as well.

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#160 Rob
April 15 2009, 02:00PM
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@ Rick:

I agree that it didn't really help the team address their current need, although both players we larger than our average and we need some size.

In my opinion, buying for the sake of buying is what Lowe did with Penner. From what I heard, management knew Cole wouldn't be back and therefore wanted to get something in return instead of letting him walk this summer.

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#161 Jason Gregor
April 15 2009, 02:01PM
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RossCreek wrote:

How long til MacT’s working for TSN’s panel?

He was asked and turned it down. Had no interest of doing it.

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#162 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 02:03PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

RossCreek wrote: How long til MacT’s working for TSN’s panel? He was asked and turned it down. Had no interest of doing it.

Ha thanks Gregor. I shoulda phrased that "How long til MacT’s asked to work for TSN’s panel?"

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#163 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:03PM
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@ Rick: To be fair, he got a considerably talented young hockey player for Eric Cole who was more than likely gone at the end of the season. Your argument that he didn't address the needs if this team is fair, but I think he did a good thing by getting a good return for a player that was as good as gone.

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#164 MikeP
April 15 2009, 02:03PM
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Squid, you missed the other player acquired.

Kotalik's not a lot faster than Penner, doesn't work the puck down low very well, but has a hell of a shot and can speak Czech. He also fights even less than Penner; think the next coach will put MacIntyre at #1C to protect Hemsky like everybody wants Penner to?

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#165 Rob
April 15 2009, 02:04PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I would think Mact needs a long vacation away from hockey at the moment. I'm not ruling out seeing him there next season when nobody hires him to coach their team.

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#166 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:04PM
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Why Arniel exactly? I'd prefer someone with NHL experience. Last season Carbonneau breathed life into a wussy, pouty, underperforming Canadiens roster. Let Carbonneau salavage our special teams and get Gagner some playoff experience... I don't see him a long term solution; more like a stop gap, suitable for the current roster should it be difficult to create sufficient turnover.

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#167 Joe
April 15 2009, 02:07PM
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"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"

Wishful thinking...If Keenan cannot take the Flames past the 1st round expect Sutter to take a whirl. This is from a very credible source.

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#168 Rick
April 15 2009, 02:10PM
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SquidRx wrote:

@ Rick: I have never GM’d though, but I assume you have?

Oh please, go back to the kiddie pool if that's all you got to offer.

In the spirit of Brownlee's immortal catch phrase, it is possible to look at things without being Tambellini's fart catcher.

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#169 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 02:10PM
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*wishes HE had a credible source somewhere*

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#170 Rick
April 15 2009, 02:13PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ Rick: To be fair, he got a considerably talented young hockey player for Eric Cole who was more than likely gone at the end of the season. ..., but I think he did a good thing by getting a good return for a player that was as good as gone.

I agree completely. I have no issue with the value he recieved back for Cole.

I just wonder what his primary mandate should be, filling the holes and fixing the problems or winning his trades based on value.

I don't think the two necessarily always go hand in hand.

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#171 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:17PM
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Rick wrote:

I just wonder what his primary mandate should be, filling the holes and fixing the problems or winning his trades based on value.

Today was the first step.

You can't make Orange Juice out of Apples and I think that was the problem at the trade deadline.

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#172 Reggie
April 15 2009, 02:18PM
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@ Joe:

What happens if Darryl Sutter isn't the GM in Calgary past their playoff exit for ... lack or playoff success and for the Salary Cap mess that cost the Flames home ice advantage in the first round ?

What does your source say about that ?

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#173 Don Murdochs Hair
April 15 2009, 02:21PM
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@ Bruthah - NNC: Bruthah - NNC wrote:

His name was Craig Mactavish……. HIS NAME WAS CRAIG MACTAVISH

The first rule of firing Mactavish is: MacTavish doesnt talk about firing MacTavish..

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#174 RossCreek H.A.N.F.
April 15 2009, 02:21PM
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Reggie wrote:

@ Joe: What happens if Darryl Sutter isn’t the GM in Calgary past their playoff exit for … lack or playoff success and for the Salary Cap mess that cost the Flames home ice advantage in the first round ? What does your source say about that ?

Darryl has at minimum another year as an "untouchable" from where I sit. Minimum. Probably more like 2-3 years. Injuries caused that mess.

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#175 SquidRx
April 15 2009, 02:23PM
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MikeP wrote:

Squid, you missed the other player acquired.

I skipped addressing Kotalik's acquisition on purpose. My point was that none of us are privy to what actually goes on behind the GM's door. I can't disagree that that the needs of grit and toughness have not yet been addressed, but to assume that S-Tam doesn't understand what those needs are based on those two acquisitions is unfair. How do we know that he didn't actually get more from Buffalo then what they wanted to give? What if they only wanted to part with Afinogenov, but S-Tam talked them into Kotalik? We really have zero idea what happens so I think we have to give a bit of a benefit of a doubt in these matters.

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#176 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:23PM
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@ Rick: The tradedeadline aquisitions have that knee-jerk reaction smell that has hung over this organization since Pronger left.

We needed a puck moving defenceman. Now we have too many puck moving defencemen.

We needed some skill up front. Now we are skating at laest 8 smallish skilled forwards who seem reluctant to drive the net or shoot the puck.

We need someone to shoot the puck. So BOTH guys at the deadline come with a shoot first mentality.

Thank God Lowe has been forced back... Or this team will start next year with 7 faceoff winning, defensive centermen.

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#177 risto
April 15 2009, 02:24PM
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The graphic is a thing of beauty, and another reason why Oiler nuts come here 1st. So much better than print media.

A beautiful day, and a fresh start.

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#178 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:26PM
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@ RossCreek H.A.N.F.: Injuries are only a part of the problem in Calgary. Darryl is also a part of the problem there. If you don't take my word for it, ask Mike Cammalleri.

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#179 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:29PM
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topshelf wrote:

If you don’t take my word for it, ask Mike Cammalleri.

Maybe Cammalleri is ALSO part of the problem. It's odd to me that a guy with that kind of game will be playing for his third team in five seasons.

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#180 Reggie
April 15 2009, 02:29PM
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@ RossCreek H.A.N.F.:

It sounds to me like Calgary messed up the cap a bit ... to cause the problem to begin with.

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#181 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:30PM
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Perry Pearn and/or Rob Daum should be considered for the new staff. Pearn could even receive consideration for the head coaching gig, although I doubt he'd get it. Might not be a bad choice though.

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#182 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:31PM
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@ Chris: Why? Because he signed a short term contract and then the GM of the team he is doing quite well with screwed up and has no money to offer? I doubt it.

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#183 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:31PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ RossCreek H.A.N.F.: Injuries are only a part of the problem in Calgary. Darryl is also a part of the problem there. If you don’t take my word for it, ask Mike Cammalleri.

Continue.

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#184 SquidRx
April 15 2009, 02:33PM
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Rick wrote:

SquidRx wrote: @ Rick: I have never GM’d though, but I assume you have? Oh please, go back to the kiddie pool if that’s all you got to offer. In the spirit of Brownlee’s immortal catch phrase, it is possible to look at things without being Tambellini’s fart catcher.

Okay then, explain to me which offers S-Tam turned down which would have been better for this team. It's easy to critique the trades from our position of limited knowledge. We don't know what his plan is and what part of the plan he may or may not have satisfied with those trades. We can hope there is more to it than that, but I'm not ready to condemn him until I can see some more of the picture he is painting. Waiting to see some more of what unfolds doesn't necessarily suggest I've got my nose positioned near S-Tam's caboose either.

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#185 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:33PM
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This waiting-for-the-press-conference-to-start music is kinda catchy. I think they Oilers should make it their skate out song this fall.

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#186 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:33PM
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@ The Towel Boy:

Uhh....The* Oilers. ...not they.

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#187 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:34PM
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If the Flames were to decide "hey, maybe we're better off with Cammalleri than Jokinen or Langkow", do you not think maybe they could make a deal and then sign him? Nothing's written in stone.

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#188 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:36PM
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@ topshelf: Rumors persist that Cammalleri is not much of a team guy. Looking at what Cammalleri brings to the ice: that is the only explantion for L.A. letting him go, and for Calagry not keeping cap space available for him. It just doesn't add up.

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#189 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:37PM
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Chris wrote:

@ topshelf: Rumors persist that Cammalleri is not much of a team guy. Looking at what Cammalleri brings to the ice: that is the only explantion for L.A. letting him go, and for Calagry not keeping cap space available for him. It just doesn’t add up.

Plus he's a midget.

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#190 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 02:37PM
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@ Don Murdochs Hair:

Nice tag line, sir! haha

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#191 Chaz
April 15 2009, 02:38PM
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I'm pretty sure the little kid everyone is pointing at in the picture in Neilson after the Burning head of Mac T raised from the center of the Earth and benched him for not playing with enough Jam. That's how I see it anyways....

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#192 freeze
April 15 2009, 02:39PM
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listening to the reporters in the press room is kind of funny. they didn't know the web feed was live.

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#193 Rusty Shackleford
April 15 2009, 02:39PM
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Poor Poor Mac-T. What a sad day in Oil Country. ~ Pour out a little liquor. (Sarcasm... beautiful sarcasm)

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#194 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:39PM
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Moreau and Staios are late... Maybe they are afraid to run into Tambellini in the hall.

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#195 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 02:40PM
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@ The Towel Boy: My super computer has failed me...what are they saying? Just the typical blah blah blah..he will be missed but we understand the motivation for the move. We are just looking forward and not backwards and look forward to next season...blah blah blah...not only his responsibility, but us as a team...blah blah blah?

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#196 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:41PM
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@ freeze:

That CBC guy is kind of being an ass, isn't he.

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#197 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:41PM
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@ I'm a Scientist!:

They're still no shows...as of 2:41PM MST

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#198 freeze
April 15 2009, 02:43PM
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haha, they are making fun of Crawford. awesome!

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#199 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:43PM
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Bwahaha...Some reporter just got up to the podium and said in a Mickey Mouse voice: "Marc Crawford, next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers"

WTF hhaha

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#200 DK0
April 15 2009, 02:43PM
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Oiler's showing up late in the game? NEVER! That's unheard of.

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