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.

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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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#251 Homie
April 15 2009, 04:10PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ 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).

That was Mark Connolly from CBC.

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#252 bingofuel
April 15 2009, 04:10PM
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@ Bruthah - NNC:

Now film yourself destroying a coffee table and we can be friends again...

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#253 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 04:17PM
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@ Homie:

Okay, thanks.

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#254 topshelf
April 15 2009, 04:19PM
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wtf is NNC?

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#255 Bruthah - NNC
April 15 2009, 04:21PM
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Need New Captain

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#256 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 04:24PM
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*as a quiet lull falls over the Nation, he smiles contently to himself as he thinks about the days events. Speaking quietly and more to himself than anyone else he says...*

Pssssst...MacT got fired...FOR REAL!

*Shakes his head in slight disbelief that the day actually happened, puts his empties in the recycle bin, swings his jacket over his shoulder and heads to the door with a skip and goofy look on his face*

It was a good day today. A good day indeed.

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#257 topshelf -- NNC
April 15 2009, 04:30PM
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@ Bruthah - NNC: There. I just signed up.

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#258 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 04:34PM
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@ I'm a Scientist!: That silence we all hear is the sound of satisfaction. It took 8 months but the Oilers finally delivered the Fans what they wanted.

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#259 rob
April 15 2009, 04:38PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Now only 5 months until we can rip into the new coach day in and day out!

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#260 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 04:39PM
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@ rob: YUP! I am almost ready to start FBSNF...

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#261 Reggie
April 15 2009, 04:47PM
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@ Joe: The Flames dressed 16 skaters or less for 4 consecutive games at the end of the year due to cap problems. You don't think that caused them to give up the division title to Vancouver ?

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#262 rob
April 15 2009, 04:47PM
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@ I'm a Scientist!:

NNC will get me by until then. As usual, I wasn't overly impressed with what Moreau had to say today. Boring. NNC.

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#263 Mike
April 15 2009, 04:51PM
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So are we burning phone booths and flipping cop cars on Whyte Ave tonight?

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#264 Mike
April 15 2009, 04:51PM
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P.S. I can renew my season tickets now!

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#265 RossCreek
April 15 2009, 05:12PM
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@ Reggie they played short handed cuz they were injured and couldn't afford to call up replacements because their guys got hurt in the last ten games meaning they got no cap relief. Not because they were too close to the cap and had to sit guys out in order to stay under.

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#266 Tommy
April 15 2009, 05:45PM
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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.

I would say that is a clear shot across Ethan Moreau's bow. His public criticism of MacT's 'northwest title' statement was apparently ill-received.

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#267 offside
April 15 2009, 05:56PM
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Any word on Souray wants out rumors, does this change anything?

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#268 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 05:59PM
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@ offside:

Tambellini denied them.

Personally, that doesn't convince me one way or the other.

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#269 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 06:10PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ offside: Tambellini denied them. Personally, that doesn’t convince me one way or the other.

If what Gregor states in post #206 is correct (and I believe it was based on frustration) then I would say the Souray rumours can be laid to rest..

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#270 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 06:12PM
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Sorry to clarify I meant Souray's unhappiness was due to frustration...

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#271 Bob Cob
April 15 2009, 06:19PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: On Just a Game, Jason Gregor mentioned that he had talked to someone within the Oilers and they informed him that it was more of a case of Souray talking to his agent that he was frustrated with the year and that Souray had not yet out right requested a trade. I put high confidence in Gregors opinion and the infomation he puts out because he seems to be really connected when it comes to the people involved with the Oilers behind the scenes.

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#272 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 15 2009, 06:39PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

Need New Captain

Your darn right's it is. I finally have a two man train. WoooooooT!!!

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#273 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 15 2009, 06:40PM
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Wait.... a three man train. *high fives all around*

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#274 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 06:48PM
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@ Bob Cob:

Gregor actually mentioned that in the comments section on this post too, but I'll forgive you for not picking through every comment to see it ;)

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#275 Harlie
April 15 2009, 07:49PM
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Bruthah - NNC wrote:

Need New Captain

AW! You mean no more Clap Clap after wins?

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#276 Harlie
April 15 2009, 07:50PM
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this team jumped the shark with the private eyes clap clap fiasco. Straight downhill since then. Hockey God's hate the f*ckin Hall & Oates, man.

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#277 Harlie
April 15 2009, 07:52PM
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Smokin' Ray - NNC wrote:

Wait…. a three man train. *high fives all around*

that sounds like a sausage party to me. Dibs out.

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#278 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 15 2009, 09:50PM
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@ Harlie: Wait. What?

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#279 Egon petersen bach
April 16 2009, 07:45AM
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well the oilers need to also look a little higher up the food chain as it were . Mac t has been used as a scape goat for some bad decisions , bad contracts and bad trades . The real problem with the oilers is an abundance of talent but no grit or heart and no coach can give them that . so it is a sad day that some one who has given our city so much became the goat .

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#280 the vagabond
April 16 2009, 10:22PM
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Bottom line is the oilers need to get bigger, tougher, grow some nards and get a heart transplant for some players

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#281 Toicala
October 10 2009, 08:16PM
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How much do you think I could get for a relatively new iphone, with a few very small scratches on the corner. It is in perfect condition other than that. Also, where could I sell it other than ebay? I called at&t already and they don't buy back used phones.

________________ unlock iphone 3gs

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