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, Sportsnet, 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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#201 Joe
April 15 2009, 02:43PM
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Reggie wrote:

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 ?

Trust me - Darryl is safe for at least another 2-3 years. My source, and as I say he is very credible, knows that Ken King is a little intimidated by Sutter and will keep him on board for this time.

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#202 Chris
April 15 2009, 02:44PM
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J.W. has started a new blog roll.

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#203 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:44PM
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Charlie Huddy __________: a) is the new coach b) stays on as an assistant c) takes the head coaching gig in Springfield (or Oil Kings) d) stays within the organization in another capacity e) moves to Phoenix as Gretzky's new assistant f) moves to New York as Tortarella's new assistant g) goes wherever MacT goes h) none of the above i) who cares

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#204 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:45PM
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@ RossCreek: Because he screwed up with their cap space this year. The teams he has put together hasn't made it past the second round in how long? If you are going to be winning divisions you should be at the very least winning a single playoff round I would think.

Every team has injuries. I don't buy that excuse.

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#205 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 02:46PM
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DK0 wrote:

Oiler’s showing up late in the game? NEVER! That’s unheard of.

well played sir... well played indeed.

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#206 Jason Gregor
April 15 2009, 02:47PM
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Chris wrote:

Apparently Souray hasn’t asked for a trade… yet anyway.

Here is what I got regarding Souray. He expressed concern/disappointment to his agent about the situation in Edmonton.

It was not a flat out TRADE ME request, but he expressed concern. With the coach moving on now, I have been told that some of the frustration/concern has been addressed.

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#207 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:50PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Here is what I got regarding Souray. He expressed concern/disappointment to his agent about the situation in Edmonton. It was not a flat out TRADE ME request, but he expressed concern. With the coach moving on now, I have been told that some of the frustration/concern has been addressed.

Thanks Gregor.

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#208 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:50PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ RossCreek: Because he screwed up with their cap space this year. The teams he has put together hasn’t made it past the second round in how long? If you are going to be winning divisions you should be at the very least winning a single playoff round I would think. Every team has injuries. I don’t buy that excuse.

Its the timing of the injuries. Sarich, Regher & Phaneuf all went down in the last 10 games keeping the Flames from getting any cap relief. Thats $14 Million. Tough to replace. Mistakes may have been made, but who woulda thought that predicament would present itself? Obviously not Darryl. And I never heard it mentioned anywhere prior to it actually happening.

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#209 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 02:50PM
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What happened to the other Press Conference live blog????

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#210 topshelf
April 15 2009, 02:51PM
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Chris wrote:

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.

I've never heard that. That would make sense though if it's true.

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#211 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:51PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

What happened to the other Press Conference live blog????

You BROKE IT.

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#212 Joe
April 15 2009, 02:52PM
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@ Reggie:

"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?"

Forgot to mention that the salary cap issue with the Flames had absolutely nothing to do with the Flames losing home ice advantage in the 1st round. Not sure where you linked those two.

How bout the fact that the Flames were missing Giordano, Langkow, Bourque, & Bertuzzi for a lengthy period of time and even when Bert and Langkow returned they were not fully healthy.

How bout missing Regehr, Sarich, Giordano, and Bourque for the last couple of games?

How bout the Flames completely abandoning their defensive game in the 2nd part of the season?

I think one or any of these factors had much more to do with the Flames decline than any salary related issues.

I remember last year Oiler's fans were talkin smack about the Flames cap issues and it didn't seem to affect our ability to reach 98pts this season.

Thanks

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#213 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 02:53PM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

Bruthah - NNC wrote: What happened to the other Press Conference live blog???? You BROKE IT.

Shuddup, did not! WANYE, TOWEL BOY SAID I BROKED IT!

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#214 DK0
April 15 2009, 02:54PM
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JW, bring back the live blog!!! where else are we supposed to comment on the random ass crap thats happening in the press room.

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#215 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 02:54PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

What happened to the other Press Conference live blog????

The site keeps crashing; I can't post a live blog because the server simply has too much traffic right now.

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#216 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 02:54PM
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So did someone really go to the mike and make fun of crawford, or was that pretend? I missed it.

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#217 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 02:54PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

You BROKE IT.

*glares at Bruthah*

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#218 bingofuel
April 15 2009, 02:55PM
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@ Bruthah - NNC:

You're ALL breaking it. It's because you keep hitting refresh and the creaky ON server's getting more hammered than Wanye on Christmas eve morning. J-Dub will be posting a summary of the presser afterwards. Then you can all have your say!

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#219 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 02:55PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The site keeps crashing; I can’t post a live blog because the server simply has too much traffic right now.

Wow, Oilernation really did break the internet.

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#220 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 02:56PM
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I'm taking notes, guys. A summary will be up after the press conference is concluded.

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#221 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:57PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

The Towel Boy wrote: Bruthah - NNC wrote: What happened to the other Press Conference live blog???? You BROKE IT. Shuddup, did not! WANYE, TOWEL BOY SAID I BROKED IT!

Yep. I seen it

*Lets get 'em Towel Boy*

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#222 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 02:57PM
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someone lost a contact

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#223 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:58PM
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K what's up with that presser?

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#224 Rusty Shackleford
April 15 2009, 02:58PM
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Are they coming? "We don't know"

Maybe they should turn the feed off until they're ready?

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#225 DK0
April 15 2009, 02:59PM
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FFS, we lost audio.

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#226 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 02:59PM
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The presser seems to have turned into a scrum. What the hell happened?

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#227 mazola
April 15 2009, 02:59PM
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While you wait for the press conference, please enjoy this video celebration:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qbQEEOPsb8

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#228 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 02:59PM
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bingofuel wrote:

@ Bruthah - NNC: You’re ALL breaking it. It’s because you keep hitting refresh and the creaky ON server’s getting more hammered than Wanye on Christmas eve morning. J-Dub will be posting a summary of the presser afterwards. Then you can all have your say!

Who? Me? Naw. Not me. I didn't hit any refresh button.

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#229 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:00PM
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Rusty Shackleford wrote:

Are they coming? “We don’t know” Maybe they should turn the feed off until they’re ready?

How's radio going to get this? -Who cares?

Funny.

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#230 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 03:00PM
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is there supposed to be sound?

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#231 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:02PM
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Typical Oilers professionalism. Can't have a presser. Can't ice a team.

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#232 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 03:04PM
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It's just as well I didn't do a live blog; it would have looked like this:

- Random guy says "Marc Crawford to be the next head coach of the Oilers" in a squeaky voice. - Waiting. - Waiting. - Ladies and gentlemen, the comedic stylings of Ken Reid! - Ethan Moreau appears; sound coincidentally disappers - Video goes away

Great stuff.

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#233 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:04PM
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Rusty Shackleford wrote:

Maybe they should turn the feed off until they’re ready?

Maybe they should turn the feed back on! C'mon! LOSERS!!!!

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#234 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:05PM
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Bush League!

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#235 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 03:06PM
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I dont know what Moreau is saying so this is how i imagine it's going down.

Mor: Well we just found out today what happened and to a man we're all emberrassed *smirks, lets out a muffled laugh*

Reporter X: Were you surprised?

Mor: No. We've been trying to get this guy fired all year, by the end of the season we just gave up, but deep down we all knew it would eventually happen.

Rep X: Seriously?

Mor: Yeah, couldnt you tell?

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#236 DK0
April 15 2009, 03:06PM
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Now what am I supposed to do? These deadlines won't miss themselves.

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#237 The Towel Boy
April 15 2009, 03:06PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

You forgot the multiple self promoting plugs by random CBC guy.

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#238 TDSM31
April 15 2009, 03:06PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It’s just as well I didn’t do a live blog; it would have looked like this: - Random guy says “Marc Crawford to be the next head coach of the Oilers” in a squeaky voice. - Waiting. - Waiting. - Ladies and gentlemen, the comedic stylings of Ken Reid! - Ethan Moreau appears; sound coincidentally disappers - Video goes away Great stuff.

Yeah, that was John Sexsmith with the Crawford quote...do these idiots even realize this is on the air? And how about the tool that keeps coming up with the witty CBC quips....looks like nerd central over there.

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#239 TDSM31
April 15 2009, 03:08PM
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Pendergast must have orchestrated this presser....total shit show.

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#240 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 03:08PM
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@ TDSM31:

Pretty sure Ken Reid was the guy doing the CBC plugs.

I'm guessing that every reporter longs to be on the other side of the microphone, which is why those guys kept doing it (kidding, Robin, kidding).

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#241 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:09PM
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What happened. It's just over... and I have to listen to Bryan Freakin HALL! AAAAAUUUGGHHTGGFF! I waited HOURS for this. Tambo: review THIS aspect of your organization also please!

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#242 Let the rampant playoff speculation begin - OilersNation.com
April 15 2009, 03:12PM
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[...] Tambellini had a press conference at noon today, but it’s he didn’t give much insight into who will be the next head coach. It would have made [...]

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#243 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:14PM
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Well I left the Oilers website. Turned off 630Ched for the Team, and came back to Oilersnation for the info. Oilers rights holder station and sanctioned website: 0. Team 1260 and Oilersnation: 2.

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#244 Harlie
April 15 2009, 03:23PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

isn't Ken Reid in T.O?

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#245 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 03:24PM
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Rick wrote:

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?

Say what you will about O'Sullivan's size but the kid has grit and fight and pretty good hands perhaps he was hoping O'Sullivan could give some of the other kids lessons. With Kotalik I honestly think they picked him up to work the point on the PP to make up for the loss of Vis and to give us another option on the first or second unit PP.. plus Kotalik was one of the few bright points goal wise at the end of a dismal year..not Tamby's fault MacT never used him in the proper capacity right away.. If you considered he got both players for an impending UFA and a second round draft pick that is pretty good asset management.. plus he also got something back for Garon when goalies were being let go on waivers through out the year.. The guy has shown a key eye for trades and has shown to come out on top.. Now compare this to Lowe and I bet you it would have cost us a second round pick and Cole to get Kotalik if Lowe had swung the trade..

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#246 Harlie
April 15 2009, 03:26PM
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Tambo stressed the point about not tolerating a non emotional game. Double negative can turn to a plus, right?

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#247 Chris
April 15 2009, 03:31PM
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@ Harlie: "Thou shalt not put up with a non emotional game." Tambellini 12:14

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#248 Matt N
April 15 2009, 03:34PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Chris wrote: Apparently Souray hasn’t asked for a trade… yet anyway. Here is what I got regarding Souray. He expressed concern/disappointment to his agent about the situation in Edmonton. It was not a flat out TRADE ME request, but he expressed concern. With the coach moving on now, I have been told that some of the frustration/concern has been addressed.

Great stuff Jason. TY.

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#249 TDSM31
April 15 2009, 03:50PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Chris wrote: Apparently Souray hasn’t asked for a trade… yet anyway. Here is what I got regarding Souray. He expressed concern/disappointment to his agent about the situation in Edmonton. It was not a flat out TRADE ME request, but he expressed concern. With the coach moving on now, I have been told that some of the frustration/concern has been addressed.

Thanks JG...now I can at least get two hours of sleep tonight.

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#250 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 04:01PM
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bingofuel wrote:

@ Bruthah - NNC: You’re ALL breaking it. It’s because you keep hitting refresh and the creaky ON server’s getting more hammered than Wanye on Christmas eve morning. J-Dub will be posting a summary of the presser afterwards. Then you can all have your say!

I'm so sorry that your website is "INTERESTING" and "A PLEASURE TO READ" and "THE FIRST SOURCE I CHECK FOR INFORMATION REGARDING OUR BELOVED HOCKEY SQUADRON".

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be down in MY VAN, DOWN BY THE RIVER!

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