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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#1 Rob
April 15 2009, 11:53AM
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just had a text from sportsnet that said mact is done

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#2 baggedmilk
April 15 2009, 11:56AM
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Yeah, Spector is reporting on Sportsnet that he's gone.

*baggedmilk million dollar happy dance*

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#3 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 11:57AM
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Look closely, when he uses words with hard stops like "B"s and "P"s you can see Lowe's mouth move.

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#4 jeanshorts
April 15 2009, 11:58AM
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God damn work computer. I can't even watch the damn thing!

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#5 Tyler
April 15 2009, 11:58AM
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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?

Not until they turn 14.

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#6 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 11:59AM
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@ Archaeologuy: haha, nice

FMNF! it'll actually come true this time I write it.

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#7 17
April 15 2009, 12:00PM
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@ jeanshorts:

Me too except I'm on a conference call.

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#8 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:03PM
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This music makes me want to do something with my life...uh its over

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#9 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:04PM
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BOOOOYAAAAH

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#10 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:08PM
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is that Gregor's bald head in the shot?

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#11 Jodes
April 15 2009, 12:08PM
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Personnel Changes? Right.. Sorry Steve, you're stuck with the likes of Horcs, Penner, Staois, Pisani for a while longer.

Nobody in their right mind would pay that much for those guys!

Thanks Kevin!

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#12 baggedmilk
April 15 2009, 12:09PM
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Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

*old man from six flags (is it six flags?) commercial dance*

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#13 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 12:09PM
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damn I cant connect to the feed!!! GRRRR

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#14 jeanshorts
April 15 2009, 12:11PM
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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.

With the obvious need for some big, strong bodies up front, what's your opinion on who you think we should draft Willis?

I think they should take a hard look at Zack Kassian and Carter Ashton. Two giant wingers. But as my associate BM said, if they do draft one of those two, hopefully they don't turn out to be flops like JFJ has been so far. Thoughts?

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#15 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:12PM
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he didnt answer the question

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#16 David S
April 15 2009, 12:13PM
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Tambellini looks PISSED. God help Dustin Penner and Robert Nilsson.

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#17 Jodes
April 15 2009, 12:13PM
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Now how about the REST of the coaching staff? Shouldn't they be given their walking papers as well?

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#18 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:15PM
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yay aggressive

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#19 Jodes
April 15 2009, 12:15PM
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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.

Because you sure as hell won't be able to sign anybody thats for sure!

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#20 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 12:16PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

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. With the obvious need for some big, strong bodies up front, what’s your opinion on who you think we should draft Willis? I think they should take a hard look at Zack Kassian and Carter Ashton. Two giant wingers. But as my associate BM said, if they do draft one of those two, hopefully they don’t turn out to be flops like JFJ has been so far. Thoughts?

Depends if the team is going to rebuild or try and win now.. If it is a win now they need to get NHL players via trade or free agency who show grit and desire if it is a rebuild then they can get the youngsters and give them time to mature. Personally I am hoping for a balanced approach and that they should just get teh best player available when they draft..

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#21 jeanshorts
April 15 2009, 12:16PM
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@ Jodes:

That's more or less up to the new coach. Whoever it is will have a long talk with Tambo about it, and I'm guessing, given the performance of our PP and PK this season, new people will for sure be brought in.

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#22 Jodes
April 15 2009, 12:18PM
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@ jeanshorts:

I sure hope so.. but you'd think they would have taken a "clean house" approach to the whole situation.

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#23 Boundz
April 15 2009, 12:18PM
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I'm glad Tambo sounds Pissed-Off. Good on him to hold the players accountable.

B

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#24 Wanye Gretz
April 15 2009, 12:18PM
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ZOMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DID WE JUST READ M GOT F'd just N F'ers??

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#25 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:19PM
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@ Wanye Gretz: indeed

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#26 nboilerfan
April 15 2009, 12:20PM
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Thank you, Johnathon for posting the live blog for us that can't access the live broadcast.

Appreciated!

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#27 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 15 2009, 12:20PM
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WOW, brownlees rumor got shot down HARD

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#28 BGH
April 15 2009, 12:20PM
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Is it just me or did the stop looking back comment "Imply" no more relying on the glory days and old boys club?

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#29 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:20PM
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He said, quite racistly (Flight of the Conchords reference, in no way an actual reflection of the GM)

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#30 jeanshorts
April 15 2009, 12:21PM
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Tambo is giving me a boner right now. From the looks of this he is EXACTLY what this organization needs to get back to being reputable once again.

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#31 freeze
April 15 2009, 12:22PM
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It seems like Tambo has been holding this in all year. I am STOKED for next year. Fun times.

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#32 AO
April 15 2009, 12:23PM
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Now is the time to trade for Tavares... Gagmer, Cogs and Hemsky should be considered part of the offering... All would be a bit much but we are in a much better position to acquire Tavares then say Toronto.

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#33 Zamboni Driver
April 15 2009, 12:24PM
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[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.

Hallelujah!

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#34 freeze
April 15 2009, 12:25PM
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He's really letting the players now what the score is too.

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#35 Boundz
April 15 2009, 12:25PM
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How do players react to a coach being let go/resigning..

Tambo: "I hope they feel some accountablity..."

Nice!

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#36 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:25PM
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@ freeze: It really does look like he had this planned out for a while. I have accused him of being a ghost wandering Rexall this year, only seen out of the corner of your eye. But he's making his presence felt now. He needs to do this every other week!

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#37 Word
April 15 2009, 12:27PM
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AO wrote:

Now is the time to trade for Tavares… Gagmer, Cogs and Hemsky should be considered part of the offering… All would be a bit much but we are in a much better position to acquire Tavares then say Toronto.

The only reason that's a good idea is that it would cause Burke to have a stroke.

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#38 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:27PM
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And back to the wicked music. I am going to go on a hike or build a playground or something!

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#39 Phil
April 15 2009, 12:28PM
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"THEY SAID THIS DAY WOULD NEVER COME"

Praise Tambellini

Praise Baby Jesus

All due praise to Allah

Praise whoever it is that made it possible.

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#40 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 12:29PM
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*puts down his tools and picks up a monster sized case of bud light*

It's a celebration bitchesssssss!

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#41 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 15 2009, 12:29PM
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I tell you. You can read into that as much as you want, but he sure looked like he had an axe to grind.

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#42 The Pestival
April 15 2009, 12:30PM
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YYYYYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

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#43 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 12:31PM
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Looks like he is finally driving the ship too... things are already changing and the off season just started!

*shakes up a can of BL and sprays it around the room*

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#44 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:33PM
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*thrusts groin in your direction in an awkward celebratory dance never before seen on the Disney Channel.*

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#45 Peter Pan
April 15 2009, 12:34PM
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Please fire bucky!

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#46 Wanye Gretz
April 15 2009, 12:35PM
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SQUEE! SQUEE!

*dances a death to the old boys club dance*

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#47 buffalo farmer
April 15 2009, 12:36PM
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Now if van and calgary can get swept in the first round all will be right with the world!

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#48 humantorch
April 15 2009, 12:36PM
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Peter Pan wrote:

Please fire bucky!

This cannot be said loudly enough.

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#49 Wanye Gretz
April 15 2009, 12:36PM
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*kisses new receptionist on the lips in celebration, realizes receptionist is 62 years old and was never attractive to begin with*

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#50 baggedmilk
April 15 2009, 12:37PM
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I am fired up about Tambo right now. I'm thinking the Oilers let MacT go and not him resigning. Why else would he not speak at the press conference? Regardless, see ya later MacT missing the playoffs 5 of 7 years just couldn't keep you around.

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