Khabibulin To Have Surgery

Jonathan Willis
January 13 2010 11:25AM

The Edmonton Oilers have finally announced what we all suspected was going to happen: Nikolai Khabibulin will undergo surgery to repair the herniated disc in his back.

I don't really have all that much to say at this juncture.  I've contended that this was a poor signing from day one, for a variety of reasons, despite the popular acclaim that Tambellini received around these parts for finally dumping that cantankerous old Roloson and adding a Stanley cup-winning goalie.

Last week I referenced a Pat Quinn comment - that Khabibulin went through something similar last season in Chicago - and concluded the following:

This is about risk management. Had Steve Tambellini signed Khabibulin to a one-year contract, I couldn’t argue forcefully that he’d made a poor decision; it would have been a short-term bet on a player coming off a fine season. If Khabibulin’s performance wasn’t all that good, or a long-term injury issue popped up, come summer the Oilers would have been free and clear.
Tambellini didn’t sign Khabibulin to a one-year contract. He signed him to a four-year contract, despite the player’s age and injury history. It was a reckless move that showed an utter inability to effectively manage risks – and despite Tambellini’s rather short time at the helm, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if it turned out to be a move that led to his dismissal.

My opinion hasn't changed since then; this was an egregious error on the part of the general manager and it, combined with his other errors, has left me with absolutely no confidence that Tambellini can turn this franchise around. Say what you will about Kevin Lowe; he never iced the worst team in the Western Conference.

Anyone interested in a rehash of the other reasons this was such a poor signing can read any or all of the links below:

  • A Bad Day/Where Do We Go From Here: July 1
  • The Official 2009 NHL Free Agent Thread: July 1
  • A Loser Move For A Loser Franchise: July 1
  • Loser Move, Part II: July 1
  • Relentless Incompetence: July 3
  • As The Dust Clears: July 10
  • NHL Games Missed Due To Injury Since The Lockout: July 12
  • Building A Tandem: July 23
  • The (Almost) top 50 Goalies Over The Last Three Seasons: July 23
  • Most Injury-Prone Starters in the NHL: July 24
  • The Goalie Market And Excuses: July 25
  • Testing Ken Holland: July 26
  • The Best Goalies Since The Lockout: July 28
  • Yet Another Angle on Khabibulin: July 29
  • At Least He's Not Likely To Play On Any Warm Days: September 24
  • Is The President 90 Feet Tall: December 13
  • Fool Me Once: December 16
  • Other Than That, How Did You Enjoy The Play, Mrs. Lincoln: December 19

Signing Khabibulin was a bad decision.  The fact that it was a bad decision was painfully obvious from the moment it was announced.  It's a decision that should probably cost Steve Tambellini his job.

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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#151 Jason Gregor
January 13 2010, 05:42PM
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danjo1 wrote:

I could swear I saw an article by Jason Gregor saying that if he were to retire in the first year of his contract due to injury, his salary doesn't count against the cap... I just can't find the article.

You can't find it because I never wrote it...he signed after he was 35...the Oilers are on the hook for his cap hit. If he retires they don't pay him, but his cap hit counts against the cap....

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#152 Canadian Maniac
January 13 2010, 05:49PM
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So in a worst case scenario, the surgery doesn't have the intended effect and Khabby can't play again, do the Oilers eat that $3.75 mil for three years or buy it out and (I believe this is correct) suffer a roughly $2 mil cap hit for 6 years? Or can we not use that buyout option because of his age?

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#153 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:51PM
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~At least I get to see the Oilers v. Penguins live in person tomorrow for what I'm sure will be a grrrreat hockey game~

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#154 Victoria
January 13 2010, 05:51PM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

I picked him as my goat for the year. But I was wrong.

thecaptainmoreau is not a goat.

He's an Ass

Check out this interview with him and Patrick O'Sullivan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac2yP_DbHxc

Ahahaha! Thanks for the laugh.

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#155 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 13 2010, 05:54PM
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Canadian Maniac wrote:

So in a worst case scenario, the surgery doesn't have the intended effect and Khabby can't play again, do the Oilers eat that $3.75 mil for three years or buy it out and (I believe this is correct) suffer a roughly $2 mil cap hit for 6 years? Or can we not use that buyout option because of his age?

if he cant play again, he will sit on LTIR. at least then the oilers have a chance to at least get some LTIR relief if they need

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#156 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 05:55PM
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fiveandagame wrote:

Well thank you fine sir. A little levity around Oil country is sadly needed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA2B47_l9kg&feature=related

The Super Bowl shuffle it is not... LT havin some fun, lol.

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#157 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 13 2010, 05:59PM
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Canadian Maniac wrote:

I only bring this up because discussing Eklund rumors is only slightly less depressing than discussing the Oil's play this season, but he's updated the details on the trade rumor. He's mentioned that Cogliano and Halak are involved, amongst (unnamed) others.

instead of discussing eklund rumours, you should take a meat tenderizer to your testicles for even going to that "site" to begin with.

it has been shown, more than once, that picking teams out of a hat is more accurate than that fart catching waste of time.

please, for the love of god, stop going there. and, if you do insist on going there, stop polluting the decent sites with that BS

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#158 Mike Krushelnyski
January 13 2010, 06:00PM
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@RossCreekNation

PVR man, PVR.

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#159 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 06:02PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

~At least I get to see the Oilers v. Penguins live in person tomorrow for what I'm sure will be a grrrreat hockey game~

I'll be watching that game at the pub with a Flames fan friend of mine. I'm not exactly thrilled, either.

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#160 Jason Gregor
January 13 2010, 06:02PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Gregor has been known to make mistakes in cap related topics.

I understand that is if he is on LTIR they get releif but not otherwise because he was over 35 when he signed.

Yes...I make them every time. I have no idea of any area of the cap. Go read all my articles they are filled with errors on it.

You have the opportunity to use the Edit button and you still can't spell relief correct. I guess no one is perfect Mr. fish...

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#161 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 06:06PM
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~I knew it. God, Gregor. What is wrong with you?~

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#162 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 06:12PM
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PS The date for the Preds game at the top of the page is wrong.

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#163 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 13 2010, 06:14PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

PS The date for the Preds game at the top of the page is wrong.

does it really matter anymore anyways?

they should just put Feb 29 for every game...

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#164 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 13 2010, 06:16PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

does it really matter anymore anyways?

they should just put Feb 29 for every game...

I was thinking someone had a sports almanac from the future a la Back to the Future II (or was it III?).

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#165 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 13 2010, 06:18PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I was thinking someone had a sports almanac from the future a la Back to the Future II (or was it III?).

II

III was the ollllddddddd west

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#166 bingofuel
January 13 2010, 06:24PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

PS The date for the Preds game at the top of the page is wrong.

OR IS IT?

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#167 Arby
January 13 2010, 06:28PM
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Did anyone catch the media scrum just now? I noticed somthing interesting about Tambo's vocabulary.

I don't think Tambo's definition of "postseason" is the same as the rest of Canada's definition of "postseason". To me "postseason" means that tournament that starts at the end of the regular season. To him "postseason" simply means "after the season is over".

So he's like ".... and i'd rather Khabbi gets it done now rather than POST - SEASON."

And I'm like " Focus for the love of ef! Build a effin team that can make it to the postseason for ef sakes."

Do you see the two opposing contexts there?

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#168 Arby
January 13 2010, 06:30PM
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I'm glad you're here BF. Can you please tell me if ef is as close as i can get to saying how i really feel?

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#169 SirFozz
January 13 2010, 06:41PM
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@RossCreekNation

Food poisoning buddy. Acts up real quick and you're all good for tomorrow night.

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#170 Canadian Maniac
January 13 2010, 07:00PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

I need things to read at work, I actually find his site quite humorous, there is no logic applied to most of the rumors he creates. NTCs, player concerns, and common sense don't exist in Eklund's world. I was not surprised to find that he had posted a lengthy blog defending Auger in the Burrows controversy. It just seemed so...fitting.

Also, I have to wonder if a player could be placed on the LTIR for 3 seasons. I'm sure the NHL has a provision to prevent the cap relief from being abused (I mean outside not being able to activate them for the 10 games or 24 days period)

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#171 Heavyd
January 13 2010, 07:21PM
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@ Jason Gregor

On this website, it says that the rush game is at rexall on the 15 but the play on the road.

Are they playing it on the big screen?

And can you wacth the games on the NLL website?

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#172 Heavyd
January 13 2010, 07:24PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

No its not, we played tuesday which was the 12 of January.

Can you share what your smoking?

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#173 TigerUnderGlass
January 13 2010, 07:53PM
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so I am at the flames game right now because pittsburgh is in town. Have never seen crosby live before today, so I feel.obligated to comment. Watching that kid play is like watching nobody else in the league. Am blown away.

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#174 The Fish
January 13 2010, 08:24PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

does it really matter anymore anyways?

they should just put Feb 29 for every game...

...or April 1st.

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#175 roughneck
January 13 2010, 09:30PM
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Hey.. kewl..... a possible winning team motif on this site. I like it!

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#176 pmg2
January 13 2010, 09:34PM
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Thinking back to Tiger Woods .....maybe Elin Nordgren should have saved that 9 iron to his teeth and jaw instead for a few of the Oiler guys and managers - just to knock some sense and effort into them ! Now that would be worth the price of admission !!

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#178 Canadian Maniac
January 13 2010, 10:07PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Well, that's...just...great.

Thanks, Tambellini.

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#179 RossCreekNation
January 13 2010, 10:15PM
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Since everyone's feeling so great, I found this tidbit I'll share with you's...

-- Kyle Brodziak scored his sixth goal and is on a career-high five-game point streak. - Mike Russo (http://www.startribune.com/blogs/81359692.html)

There, that should cheer everyone up ;-)

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#180 Archaeologuy
January 13 2010, 10:17PM
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@RossCreekNation

*throws up in mouth*

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#181 David S
January 13 2010, 11:52PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Since everyone's feeling so great, I found this tidbit I'll share with you's...

-- Kyle Brodziak scored his sixth goal and is on a career-high five-game point streak. - Mike Russo (http://www.startribune.com/blogs/81359692.html)

There, that should cheer everyone up ;-)

Soooo...how about those Flames?

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#182 RossCreekNation
January 14 2010, 12:08AM
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David S wrote:

Soooo...how about those Flames?

First off, posting that made me feel better. Sure it may be sick when other people's sorrows make you feel better... naw just kidding. I know Kyle and am glad for him. Just found it interesting... you know... with Roli gettin the shutout last night and Schremp on a tear.

Second... http://flamesnation.ca/2010/1/13/01110-flames-v-penguins-fleury-stars-at-saddledome

Come say hi.

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#183 Sandra
January 14 2010, 12:08AM
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This team is where it is because of Khabby not telling the management that he knew he wasn't coming back,Maybe Tambo made him wait. If the Oilers acted sooner, this team would have had Halak. He was offered to the Oilers for a player on the team. Maybe the Oilers would be in a differnt spot then in the standings, You get goaltending and you never know where it leads to, Avalanche as an example, Even the Kings. Players would have played better and the Vets might be into it. This whole management team has to go. As Lowe said all descisions have to go through him. God bless the EIG, they wanted Lowe gone. Nichols changed that. Taylor Hall talk, By the time this kid is ready, Hemsky will be a UFA, there is no way he will stay here. Horc will be Captain, because Lowe won't let the descision to pass to send him into the minors,even though he has passed through waivers with no takers. Khabby will be sitting on the Bench as a backup. Face it Oiler fans we will never see a winning team,(10 out of 30 yrs)we are screwed for a while.

Check out some great dancing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oG2X0wrWQU

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#184 RossCreekNation
January 14 2010, 12:16AM
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@Sandra

Check out some great dancing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oG2X0wrWQU

That's quite the pow wow... literally.

If the Oilers acted sooner, this team would have had Halak. He was offered to the Oilers for a player on the team.

Oh really. And how do you know this? Does the Chief work for Les Habitants?

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#185 mowgli
January 14 2010, 12:21AM
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Khabi was a bad move from the get/go i'm with you JW off with tambo's head and kick it back to van-city.

Khabi played for chacago the top team in the west so i think it's safe to say it wasn't Khabi that got them to the playoffs. Bad move i hate tambo and Khabi has a cup already.

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#186 Sandra
January 14 2010, 12:23AM
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@ RossCreek

"Oh really. And how do you know this? Does the Chief work for Les Habitants?" The Chiefs son!

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#187 mowgli
January 14 2010, 12:27AM
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I hope your wrong, but it sounds about right.

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#188 TigerUnderGlass
January 14 2010, 12:46AM
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@RossCreekNation

I went to the game in Calgary and I thought I should note...

Fleury played well, but there were an awful lot of shots taken which would have required his intentionally diving out of the net in order to go in.

Calgary suffered from an apparent predilection for passes to the backhand, and terrible hands. In the first period alone they missed half a dozen wide open nets.

Also...I used to believe that Crosby was partially a product of hype - I no longer believe that. Has anyone ever seen a guy his size who is that strong on the puck? Plus he is very strong on the forecheck because he seems to get his stick on everything. As a defenseman you need to be very careful making passes in your own end when he is on the ice.

Edit: I posted this over there for you.

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#189 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 14 2010, 05:53AM
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Heavyd wrote:

No its not, we played tuesday which was the 12 of January.

Can you share what your smoking?

It said Jan 13 before.

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#190 danjo1
January 14 2010, 06:29AM
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@Jason Gregor

ah okay, thanks for clarifying.

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#191 Jason Gregor
January 14 2010, 08:01AM
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Heavyd wrote:

@ Jason Gregor

On this website, it says that the rush game is at rexall on the 15 but the play on the road.

Are they playing it on the big screen?

And can you wacth the games on the NLL website?

The Rush are on the road Friday in Everett and Saturday in Colorado. Game time Friday is 9 because it is an 8 p.m. start PST. You can hear the game on TEAM 1260, or you can go to nll.com and watch it...

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#192 madjam
January 14 2010, 08:15AM
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After 3 seasons of a constant rush to Oiler infirmary each season , you'd have thought the Oilers would have realized from the AHL to the NHL ,that you cannot build a contender out of smurf lineups !! The bigger ones are getting hurt trying to hard to cover up for the lack of grit, etc. of these many smurf players the squads are inundated with . Now thats obvious and blunt enough for them to understand lets hope . We need someone like Keenan to come in for rest of season just to clear house and the old useless philosophy . Lets be honest, he can't make us any worse than we already are ,and he has a nose for gritty sized players with some talent and dealings !! Short term Keenan could help - long term i doubt .

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#193 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 14 2010, 08:27AM
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Sandra wrote:

This team is where it is because of Khabby not telling the management that he knew he wasn't coming back,Maybe Tambo made him wait. If the Oilers acted sooner, this team would have had Halak. He was offered to the Oilers for a player on the team. Maybe the Oilers would be in a differnt spot then in the standings, You get goaltending and you never know where it leads to, Avalanche as an example, Even the Kings. Players would have played better and the Vets might be into it. This whole management team has to go. As Lowe said all descisions have to go through him. God bless the EIG, they wanted Lowe gone. Nichols changed that. Taylor Hall talk, By the time this kid is ready, Hemsky will be a UFA, there is no way he will stay here. Horc will be Captain, because Lowe won't let the descision to pass to send him into the minors,even though he has passed through waivers with no takers. Khabby will be sitting on the Bench as a backup. Face it Oiler fans we will never see a winning team,(10 out of 30 yrs)we are screwed for a while.

Check out some great dancing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oG2X0wrWQU

What a bunch of hot air.

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#194 Bucknuck
January 14 2010, 08:31AM
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Did anyone else grit their teeth every time Tambo used the term "MVP" to describe Khabibulin? When was he MVP? I missed that vote.

Is he doing that to pin the blame for this skid on his MVP absence, or is it to play up his effectiveness as a GM in signing the guy. Either way it just makes him look bad.

I hate having my intelligence assaulted. I wish someone else was GM.

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#195 roughneck
January 14 2010, 08:49AM
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@madjam

puhleeeeeeez! as if the oilers arent concerned enough about renewals, you want to bring in a 9 time certified dbag. ugggh.

~the flames have made a trade, to the Edmonton Oilers Ollie Jokinen~

*nightmare*

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#196 Lofty
January 14 2010, 09:05AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Did anyone else grit their teeth every time Tambo used the term "MVP" to describe Khabibulin? When was he MVP? I missed that vote.

Is he doing that to pin the blame for this skid on his MVP absence, or is it to play up his effectiveness as a GM in signing the guy. Either way it just makes him look bad.

I hate having my intelligence assaulted. I wish someone else was GM.

Agreed,

And wasn't Roli the MVP last year?

Tambo is usless... what does he do on a daily basis?

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#197 Chris.
January 14 2010, 09:19AM
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Lowetide wrote: "Steve Tambellini must look upper management in the eyes and say the following: word is out, we're not smarter than everybody else. We don't have a solid foundation of quality veterans, the kids aren't developing and we're wasting a season in which we've spent the cap."...

I totally agree. During the dark times in the early 90s the Oilers had a couple of really bad seasons and spent four years out of the playoffs... Of course, the last two playoffs that those teams missed they were back on the rise. Tambellini's team keeps getting worse. It's not hard to imagine that the Oilers could spend at least seven consecutive years on the outside looking in.

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#198 GSC
January 14 2010, 09:22AM
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I'm a frustrated as anyone, but I'm not quite ready to throw Tambellini into the fire just yet. Remember folks, Kevin Lowe is his boss. It's still the Lowe show, whether the organization wants to admit it or not. The dealings and signings since the end of last season reek of Lowe's presence, and the ridiculous contract situation Tambo inherited here makes changing things that much more difficult. I'm not giving Steve a free pass, as I acknowledge that I was wrong about the Khabibulin signing and have since realized that it was absolutely retarded, but give the man a chance. It's not like he can wave his magic wand and conjure up a deal, esp. in the current NHL atmosphere where trading seldom occurs other than on deadline or draft day.

I'm just as sick and tired of the "we tried" cop outs that have come from the front office in recent years, and I wish the Oilers could show some action instead of "weighing options" and "evaluating" players prior to the deadline...but that's the reality of the situation. So many are hell-bent on instant gratification, that somehow a mass exodus of the several overpaid contracts will occur overnight. It's not that easy and it's not going to happen that quickly, that should be obvious (although I, like many, wish it would).

Again, I'm not at all condoning Tambellini's work as of now (although I liked, and still like, the Comrie signing), but let's give the man a chance to move some salary and free up some space before we crucify him. If you want to direct your vitriol at anyone, it should be the Kevins: Lowe and Prendergast.

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#199 TigerUnderGlass
January 14 2010, 09:41AM
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@GSC

Overnight? I don't think I have heard a single person claim that the necessary changes would or could happen overnight.

I think most people would be satisfied at this point with a simple recognition by Tambellini that the roster has significant problems.

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#200 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 14 2010, 09:46AM
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GSC wrote:

I'm a frustrated as anyone, but I'm not quite ready to throw Tambellini into the fire just yet. Remember folks, Kevin Lowe is his boss. It's still the Lowe show, whether the organization wants to admit it or not. The dealings and signings since the end of last season reek of Lowe's presence, and the ridiculous contract situation Tambo inherited here makes changing things that much more difficult. I'm not giving Steve a free pass, as I acknowledge that I was wrong about the Khabibulin signing and have since realized that it was absolutely retarded, but give the man a chance. It's not like he can wave his magic wand and conjure up a deal, esp. in the current NHL atmosphere where trading seldom occurs other than on deadline or draft day.

I'm just as sick and tired of the "we tried" cop outs that have come from the front office in recent years, and I wish the Oilers could show some action instead of "weighing options" and "evaluating" players prior to the deadline...but that's the reality of the situation. So many are hell-bent on instant gratification, that somehow a mass exodus of the several overpaid contracts will occur overnight. It's not that easy and it's not going to happen that quickly, that should be obvious (although I, like many, wish it would).

Again, I'm not at all condoning Tambellini's work as of now (although I liked, and still like, the Comrie signing), but let's give the man a chance to move some salary and free up some space before we crucify him. If you want to direct your vitriol at anyone, it should be the Kevins: Lowe and Prendergast.

Interesting, I take the exact opposite stance.

I watched Tambellini inherit a team that just finished 9th overall and was widely regarded as one of the young up and coming teams in the league. He also had a top 20 dman and a proven power forward added to the mix before he took over.

The team had it's holes, no question about that. However most of them would be relatively cheap and easy to fill.

Not only were those holes not filled, they were extrapolated by moving some of the few bodies that fill them and adding duplication.

I agree that it's too early to gas Tambellini (who gets 18 months as GM?) but if theirs not a marked improvement by this time next year his position should be open game.

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