Gut-check time for you...

Jason Gregor
January 19 2010 09:11AM

I think it's fair to say that the last 16 games have really tested the loyalty of many Oiler fans. One win in 16 games will do that to you; so don’t fret — you aren’t alone.

The final 26 games of 2007 were tough when the Oilers went 4-19-3, and they won their last game of the year to finish 25th and draft Sam Gagner 6th overall. In those 26 games, the Oilers were shut out seven times, scored one goal nine times and were outscored 85-37  the Oilers did win two shootouts so you could give them 39 (but it was only 37 goals in regulation).

Fast forward to now and I wonder if you feel the same way? That team was decimated by injuries and had Sebastien Bisaillon and Bryan Young playing defence for goodness sakes. Joffrey Lupul finished at -29, Shawn Horcoff and Matt Greene were -22 and Petr Sykora was -20.

Ryan Smyth led the team with 53 points despite only playing in 53 games before being traded. It was a dreadful final 43 days of the season, but here we are on Jan 19th, the drought is already 35 days old and looking like it will extend another 86 days until the season ends on April 11th.

Many of you said you could handle a season or two of re-building if it meant getting a franchise player or two. Do you still feel that way? This is a test of your endurance, mettle, loyalty and passion for your mighty Copper and Blue.

You thought 40 days and 40 nights was tough, hell you're five days away from kicking Josh Harnett’s ass and could destroy that by reaching 119 days by season’s end.

The fact is, Oiler fans, for most of you these next 86 days will be the toughest test of your fanhood. Even if you were around during the 92/93 season — the lowest point total in Oiler history — you can’t compare because the three previous years you saw your team win the Cup in 1990, and lose the conference championship in 1991 and 1992.

The 1995/96 season is the closest comparison to the despair you are witnessing right now. Back then it was also the fourth straight season of missing the playoffs. However the previous three years saw you draft Jason Arnott 7th overall in 1993, Jason Bonsignore 4th and Ryan Smyth 6th in 1994, Steve Kelly 7th in 1995 and you were once again in the hunt for a top-five pick, which turned out to be Boyd Devereaux, 6th overall in 1996.

At this point in 1996 you still didn’t know for sure that Kelly and Bonsignore would be busts, and Doug Weight was on his way to 100 points, Zdeno "No chin" Ciger and Arnott were on pace for 30 goals... Arnott got hurt, missed 18 games and finished with 28 goals while "No chin" potted 31. Even that season wasn’t this much of a test.

We are in hell right now

I wonder if Quinn will make a speech similar to this to get the boys through the rest of the season. While the rest of this movie was unrealistic, Al Pacino’s speech was spine-tingling.

You guys are the players. You won’t make it through the next 86 days alone. You’ll need Nation readers to get you thought it. You’ll need the humour, the stupidity, the asinine trade requests, the reasonable replies and the level-headed responses.

You’ll need to know that there are many feeling the same pain while watching your team get pummeled again. Now is not the time to be a quitter or a bandwagon jumper. Hell, now is the time to be more vocal than ever. It would be easy to slip into the shadows of real life, start helping around the house or spending more quality time with the missus, or taking that cooking class you always wanted to or reading a self-help book. But what good will that do you? Nothing I tell you, NOTHING.

Because the minute June 1st rolls around you will be playing catch-up, trying to immerse yourself in the knowledge about the upcoming draft on June 25th. Oh sure, you’ll go to a house party and proclaim you watched the horror of the final 86 days, but you’ll do it with a guilty conscience because deep down you’ll know you couldn’t stomach the horror of those days. You didn’t dig deep down and play through the pain, like you expect the Oilers to do themselves.

If you walk away now you’ll be giving up on the one thing that brings you true joy, but also a pain that only compares to when your first girlfriend dumped you for the guy with a cooler hockey jacket. (Don’t pretend it didn’t hurt because we’ve all been there... in grade seven or eight, or last year for my buddy, but we’ve all been there).

Giving up now and turning off the TV, or not listening to sports shows or not reading the Nation would be easy, but like in life, doing the easy thing is sometimes the wrong thing. It will be hard to drag yourself to the game, or watch it at home without channel surfing, and you might cut down your visits to this lovely site that Wanye built from two batteries, some hair from his ex, and a mixture of a 1993 BL and a half a glass of White Zinfindel.

But why?

Because the team sucks?

Because you know that JDD and DD are overwhelmed at this point and will give up a questionable goal or two?

Because the veterans have decided that taking penalties is the only way they’ll get on the score sheet?

Because Pat Quinn’s pressers aren’t as emotionally charged as they were two months ago?

Because the PPVs are more painful than the games?

Because you truly don’t know who will be better in the long run for this team: Patrick O’Sullivan, Robert Nilsson or Andrew Cogliano?

Those are just excuses; they aren’t real reasons to abandon your love of hockey.

While you ponder what to do instead of watching the Oilers remember that you wouldn’t be the fan you are today without those inconsistent, infuriating bastards...

And things could always be worse. Watch one of the most inspirational sports-related speeches of all time right here:

"If you laugh, you think and you cry that is a full day, that is a heck of a day," Jimmy Valvano.

Keep your dream alive that the Oilers will one day return as a powerhouse in the NHL and that they will do so in your lifetime.

That sums up exactly what it is like to be an Oiler fan right now, I’d bet. You laugh when your buddy tells you they will win. You think hard about which players Steve Tambellini should keep for next season, and then you cry when you watch another trouncing like last night in Colorado.

But wow what an emotional day you will have by maintaining your loyalty to the Nation, the Oilers and hockey talk in general.

And the silver lining is that while the Oilers lost last night, the Leafs, Blue Jackets and Flames all lost. The Oilers have a six point bulge on the Leafs for 29th, and a ten point lead on the Blue Jackets, while the Flames got crushed 9-1 in San Jose and are two points from being out of the playoffs.

And don’t fret if you thought about packing in the season, there are lots of people who have much more stupid ideas than that every day. Check it out and feel good about your decision to get back in the shallow end of the pool with the rest of the true fans.

You’ll feel better about it on June 25th... Unless of course the Oilers go on a winning streak and finish out of the top three.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 RossCreekNation
January 19 2010, 11:42AM
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Flames...

No Vaseline

...ouch!

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#102 Matt Henderson
January 19 2010, 11:43AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

You can hardly compare last year's team with this year anymore.

NO Hemsky

NO Starting Goalie

NO Cole

NO Kotalik

NO Brodziak

Instead, we have Stone, Jacques, JDD, Dubnyk, POS (who only decided to show up recently), and Comrie (who hasnt played since we still had hope that Gilbert would get out of his funk). The roster has been decimated by injury and illness all season.

You're trying to compare apples and oranges there are so many things different this season.

I have already stated that MacT wasnt the only thing wrong with the club last season, and that obviously the problems were much greater to do with the players, but that in no way absolves him of his mistakes.

You're just trolling me about MacT when I didnt even bring him up. He has nothing to do with the fact that Buchberger hasnt done anything in his coaching career. I have no egg on my face for saying that Buchy hasnt impressed me. I have no egg on my face for saying that MacT was making too many mistakes last year. Both statements are still true.

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#103 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 11:45AM
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@BUCK75

Not sure how much Hockey Canada should really mean. After all they have hired the likes of Gretzky, Yzerman and Messier simpy on name alone.

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#104 JeffG
January 19 2010, 11:50AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Jason Gregor:

I look at where Tambellini wanted to spend his money this summer, and outside of the Heatley trade his two big targets were Khaibulin and Neil.

Khabibulin's injury history has come back to haunt the Oilers, and deservedly so. Signing him to a four-year deal was an incredibly risky, and stupid, move on Tambellini's part.

Neil at the kind of money getting tossed around this summer would have been as big a mistake. He'd be a fourth liner on a contending team, and those guys aren't worth overpaying.

More importantly, though, Tambellini has never - in his entire tenure - made a move calculated to address the penalty kill. The one guy he added (O'Sullivan) came at the expense of another guy (Cole) and then to make matters worse he moved Brodziak away over the summer, ostensibly to make room for one of the AHL players currently hanging out on the big club.

I have no issue with tying a big part of this to Tambellini, because every move he's made - with the possible exception of the Comrie signing - has made matters worse rather than better.

To me, the move that brought POS in and Cole out was a pre-Cap world move.

A good move to replace an asset that was leaving. But in the Cap world, dropping a contract can be a good thing.

Mind you, I think living in the cap world is a problem for many of the teams. I don't think that the GM's get "it" yet.

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#105 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 19 2010, 11:50AM
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@Matt Henderson

i think the one thing we can agree on is, like last years team, the makeup of the roster still sucks balls.

re-arranging the kernels of corn in a pile of poo doesnt change the fact you are still dealing with a pile of poo

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#106 Petr's Jofa
January 19 2010, 11:53AM
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Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

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#107 VMR
January 19 2010, 11:54AM
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There not buying anyone out because while these guys may be overpaid they're better than anything we have to replace them with. If we sat Horcoff in the minors we'd be tanking the season, same with Souray or Moreau or whoever the latest whipping boy of the fans is.

The problem with this team is management swung all out for home runs with Hossa and then Heatley. They ended up whiffing and now we're picking up the pieces. We missed out on valuable small moves we could have made to improve the club and so now we're going to have to sit back and wait for this team to develop for a few seasons. Depending on how quickly Khabibulin gets back in shape after surgery we could be looking at another good part of a season with JDD and Dubnyk in net, if one of them doesnt suddenly turn into a #1 netminder next year could be a long season as well.

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#108 Darwic
January 19 2010, 11:54AM
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Hey Gregor,

In my opinion,there is overwhelming proof, edmontonians are loyal fans . If we were the radical all or nothing fan, we would stop buying season tickets, buying ppv and purchasing every other jersey available. Has this ever happened to an extreme?...no.!! The ownership knows this and regardless of the product on the ice or rebuilding needed...the tickets will be bought and jerseys sold.

So unless we boycott or go on "strike" and show "physically" via sales etc...nothing will change and at the end of the day...and being the mild mannered fans we are....the past will continue to represent the future!!

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#109 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 11:56AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

You can hardly compare last year's team with this year anymore.

NO Hemsky

NO Starting Goalie

NO Cole

NO Kotalik

NO Brodziak

Instead, we have Stone, Jacques, JDD, Dubnyk, POS (who only decided to show up recently), and Comrie (who hasnt played since we still had hope that Gilbert would get out of his funk). The roster has been decimated by injury and illness all season.

You're trying to compare apples and oranges there are so many things different this season.

I have already stated that MacT wasnt the only thing wrong with the club last season, and that obviously the problems were much greater to do with the players, but that in no way absolves him of his mistakes.

You're just trolling me about MacT when I didnt even bring him up. He has nothing to do with the fact that Buchberger hasnt done anything in his coaching career. I have no egg on my face for saying that Buchy hasnt impressed me. I have no egg on my face for saying that MacT was making too many mistakes last year. Both statements are still true.

Hilarious, you want to evaluate coaching based on record while ignoring roster and now when the record is abysmal you want to look at roster.

Your claim wasn't simply that he was part of the problem, your claim was that he was incompetent as a coach. Your stance was an epic failure.

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#110 Bucknuck
January 19 2010, 11:57AM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

x2 - great post

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#111 Bill Rizer
January 19 2010, 11:59AM
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I don't think the puppy dog face describes how I feel about this team at all. I am happy if not ecstatic that the Oilers are finally fully tanking a season and not pretending their way to a 9th place finish. It disturbs me that it may not have been intentional as the Khabby signing would indicate, but nonetheless I am thrilled by the outcome. I have been disappointed with management for years and if having a season is what it takes for them to figure this thing out then great. Dump anyone and everyone you can for cap space and give some kids a chance. Heck I’d even take failed early round picks that are out of favor with their current teams.

The biggest thing is getting a top draft pick that we can add to the pile of seemingly good youth in our system. I realize any pick can be a bust and to be honest I’m not sold that Hall or Seguin are in the same category of some of the recent #1 picks, but at least they project to be legitimate #1 centers. When Shawn Horcoff is forced into a number one role you know you’re in trouble.

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#112 VK63
January 19 2010, 12:03PM
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well done... love the title of Millions youtube clip, apparently the posters mom wasnt looking over his shoulder, the blonde is a most excellent touch.

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#113 PaperDesigner
January 19 2010, 12:07PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Reality is that most rebuilds ARE accidental, because what general manager, while he has a team good enough with a chance to win (IE, top eleven in the conference) tries to lose. It just doesn't happen. We all like to cite the Penguins, but remember the season after the lock-out, just after Pittsburg won the Crosby sweepstakes? They tried to win! They signed Gonchar, Leclaire, Recchi, and a few other veterans to fill out key positions and to surround Crosby with a winning cast. It didn't work, and they ended up drafting Staal second overall. Chicago gets plenty of praise for the players they drafted, but what kind of "rebuilding" team signs Khabibulin for a nearly seven million, four year contract?

Right or wrong, the only time a team tries to rebuild is either when they realize halfway through a season they're not good enough (IE, this year's Oilers) or after a bad previous season and an off-season of futility, resign themselves to the same fate again.

I think the problem with rebuilding is that if you don't switch soon enough into "win now" mode successfully, you end up in a constant cycle of rebuilding, ala the Florida Pathers, and with only seven years between a player and free agency, that's a dangerous road.

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#114 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:11PM
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On the rebuild thing. When is the last time a team that didn't have financial problems was forced into a rebuild mode. Philly comes to mind but that was only a one year rebuild.

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#115 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 12:14PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

X2 I've been saying the same thing for months.

Re 1. I'm not exactly sure why, but peopel seem fixated with matching up the teams payroll to it's performance, as in 29th place with a 46 million dollar payroll is good while 29th place with a 56 million payroll is bad.

Re 2. As much as people don't want to admit it, the NHL really has instituted a soft cap. Also, most of the players we needed were available for peanuts.

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#116 Oilerryan26
January 19 2010, 12:15PM
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Gregor how was the rest of Any Given Sunday unrealistic except for the speech??? That is by far the best football movie ever made and going by the stories i've heard about the Cowboys of the 90s, it seems pretty realistic.

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#117 Jasmine
January 19 2010, 12:16PM
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@Petr's Jofa

Good post. It was Tambellini, not Lowe that went after Heatley. It was Tambellini, not Lowe who wanted to trade Penner, Smid and Cogliano for Heatley. It was Tambellini, not Lowe who waited a month when Heatley didn't waive his NMC in July. Another frustrating thing is why some people are blaming Lowe for Tambellin's mistakes.

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#118 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 12:20PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Good post. It was Tambellini, not Lowe that went after Heatley. It was Tambellini, not Lowe who wanted to trade Penner, Smid and Cogliano for Heatley. It was Tambellini, not Lowe who waited a month when Heatley didn't waive his NMC in July. Another frustrating thing is why some people are blaming Lowe for Tambellin's mistakes.

And to top that off Lowe handed Tambellini an 89 point team that need 2-3 role players and instead Tambellini duplicated the small players that were already here. And now we have what looks like a 60 point team.

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#119 Petr's Jofa
January 19 2010, 12:21PM
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@PaperDesigner

I disagree, some re-builds are planned.

I think Fletcher was doing a great job in Toronto and was worried that he had the Leafs on the right tracks.

1 - He came in and traded for young players and picks.

2 - He convinced the fans that it was going to get ugly before it got better.. And they were on side.

3 - After doing the hatchet work, he stepped asided an let someone else do the aquiring/re-building.

4 - Burke signed some NHL vets to some medium term contracts so that it looked like he wasn't just throwing in the towel on the NHL season. These contract will be off the books before the young prospects were NHL ready. If it were me, would have also tried to sign some vets to 1 year contracts so that you can trade them to playoff contenders at the deadline for picks.

However, it all fell apart when Burke started to believe some of the crap he was spewing and traded the future away for Kessel (thank god).

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#120 mowgli
January 19 2010, 12:22PM
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Dman169 wrote:

But if you look at Hemsky outside of games, even the coach has said that he is always the first person off the ice during practice and the first to leave the rink. On top of that Quinn was also quoted as saying that he doesn't give nearly as much effort during practice as the other players. That paired with his inconsistency and turn overs from show boating lead me to want to get rid of him.

It's practice, it's practice! not the game i live and die for it's practice!, practice!, what are we talking about practice!,we are talking about practice man, PRACTICE!

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#121 Chris.
January 19 2010, 12:24PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

X3... Last season I bought into the hype (most talent I've ever coached; N.W. contenders... blah, blah,blah) I was very disappointed... I really hate being played for a fool. So what happens? Tambellini fires MacT and gives a post season speech full of empty promises.

I spent all offseason feverishly debating the relative value/potential of this player vs. that player... endlessly building and rebuilding the roster in my mind... but in the end nothing happend. Inexcusable. There were at least three simple, relatively easy holes in the roster that could have easily been addressed... This is on Tambellini. This offseason Katz should be up there; voice full of emotion; announcing Tambellini's dismissal and an aggressive plan to hire the very best management team money can buy... let's face it: Tambellini wouldn't trade a burning jacket for a bucket of water: ~it takes time and patience to evaluate the merits of such a move.~

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#122 swany
January 19 2010, 12:26PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

See Bob MacKenzie's thought's on the Oil I believe he said "we are a last place team with a 1st place payroll, the reason shipping out contracts is to get to the rebuild. If the players wont help this team 2 or 3 years from now move them bring in the guys that are close. IE Chorney and Peckham and Eberle, MPS and 1st overall pick after that our cap should be around 46-48 mil. With all the young guys in the lineup next year we still might suck but atleast the future gets to play and grow together (ending the locker room crap) and we have cap space to go after someone when this team is ready to go for the top.

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#123 Banger
January 19 2010, 12:27PM
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Zig wrote:

I'm wondering (out loud), how much of this is a simple sales pitch to give the disillusioned a reason to keep listening to "Just a Game" or read articles on this site (aka keep advertising revenue up).

If it isnt, and you actually are serious about the above, I'm also wondering how you can possibly make that argument and still expect some credibility. What's needed now is not unconditional support for the Oil, but a sincere apology from the organization to season ticket holders as well as a rebate to the effect of AHL prices. If they plan on tanking and underperforming the rest of the way (and with the current state, that's their best play), and if they plan on playing with an AHL skill level then fans should only be expected to pay that much.

The

This has gone on long enough. A 3-4 year rebuild doesn't start today, it should be concluding come April. This organization has been dwindled down to the laughing stock of the NHL and it's about time upper management and ownership addressed this. Katz can hide no longer.

Because your a ticket holder means you get an apology? Thats the chance you take. Its not like the team wants to suck, thats just how it is. The season ticket holder card is bush and gets used way to much. Because im a season ticket holder the world owes me something.... blah blah blah. News flash for ya, if you dont like it then give them up cause there are many people that will take them no questions asked, even with the team like this.

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#124 Chris.
January 19 2010, 12:28PM
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Just to expand: I'm a fan of prudence. Knee jerk reactions rarely work out... It's just that after months and months of careful evaluation Tambellini decided to ink only Comrie and Rehabibulin? Really?

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#125 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:31PM
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swany wrote:

See Bob MacKenzie's thought's on the Oil I believe he said "we are a last place team with a 1st place payroll, the reason shipping out contracts is to get to the rebuild. If the players wont help this team 2 or 3 years from now move them bring in the guys that are close. IE Chorney and Peckham and Eberle, MPS and 1st overall pick after that our cap should be around 46-48 mil. With all the young guys in the lineup next year we still might suck but atleast the future gets to play and grow together (ending the locker room crap) and we have cap space to go after someone when this team is ready to go for the top.

We played what 8 rookies 3 years ago didn't seem to work then why would it work next year?

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#126 Offthebandwagon
January 19 2010, 12:33PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Question #1 Can someone explain why so many Oiler fans are all obsessed about shipping out contracts? What does shipping contracts do besides free up cap space? Cap space doesn’t make the team any better and we all know the success Edmonton has had in landing UFAs when they have had cap space. I can only assume that it’s only going to be harder now that Edmonton is at the bottom of the standing.

I’m not opposed for trading players for picks, prospects, or players that address a need on this team. I just don’t understand what the benefit is to trade a contract just to trade a contract. I guess I feel that by the time that this team is back in the hunt, most of the bad contract will have expired and be off the books, or the cap will be higher so the contracts won’t be as bad, or they players may not suck so much when they get to play on a more balanced team.

Question #2 I’d also like to know how exactly Lowe handcuffed Tambellini. Which Oiler contracts were untradable last summer? The only two I can think of are Nilsson and Horcoff (the Gomez trade makes me doubt if Horcoff was unmovable).

After watching the team for a season, Tambellini decided not to do anything last summer and instead he iced basically the same team. Tambellini’s the one who chose to keep Gilbert & Grebeskov when they both had some value instead of looking to add grit on the back end. Tambellini’s the one who chose to sign another small forward in Comrie to instead of looking for a 3rd line center who could win a faceoff. Tambellini’s the one who decided to let the team MVP walk so that we could pay an injury-prone goalie twice a much for twice as long.

Sure Horcoff sucks right now. Sure he may be overpaid by a million or two, but other teams get around their bad contract. Tambellini, not Lowe, is the one who has his name next to the contract that will handcuff this team the most over the following 3 seasons.

/RANT

One good reason is to open up roster spots for up and comers. This year was tight and we would have had to send players down if not for some key injuries. Another reason is to make sure we can sign the RFAs we want to keep. As it stands, the team is so capped it may be a challenge to keep Brule, Cogs and Gagner, all of whom we'll probably want to hold on to, especially if we can ditch some of the other smurphs.

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#127 Word
January 19 2010, 12:33PM
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swany wrote:

See Bob MacKenzie's thought's on the Oil I believe he said "we are a last place team with a 1st place payroll, the reason shipping out contracts is to get to the rebuild. If the players wont help this team 2 or 3 years from now move them bring in the guys that are close. IE Chorney and Peckham and Eberle, MPS and 1st overall pick after that our cap should be around 46-48 mil. With all the young guys in the lineup next year we still might suck but atleast the future gets to play and grow together (ending the locker room crap) and we have cap space to go after someone when this team is ready to go for the top.

I'm with you. What's the worst that could happen? The Oilers ice a roster with a $10 million reduction in payroll and still finish 29th or 30th? Basically that means no change except for $10 million in the DK's pocket, potentially decreasing the need for an increase in ticket prices (I won't even joke about the beer prices going down, let's be honest...).

If the Oil are gonna suck, they may as well suck affordably.

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#128 Petr's Jofa
January 19 2010, 12:34PM
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swany wrote:

See Bob MacKenzie's thought's on the Oil I believe he said "we are a last place team with a 1st place payroll, the reason shipping out contracts is to get to the rebuild. If the players wont help this team 2 or 3 years from now move them bring in the guys that are close. IE Chorney and Peckham and Eberle, MPS and 1st overall pick after that our cap should be around 46-48 mil. With all the young guys in the lineup next year we still might suck but atleast the future gets to play and grow together (ending the locker room crap) and we have cap space to go after someone when this team is ready to go for the top.

Oh, so we have to move contract because Bob MacKenie made a joke about the payroll?

I'm all for swapping out bad players for better players, but swapping out Moreau, Staios, Horcoff, ect for Eberle, Chorney, Peckham, and MPS does not make this team better. All it does it get teach these young prospects how to accept losing. These prospects can progress and learn to play together in the minors where they would get more ice time.

When they are ready to enter the NHL the Vets are there to teach them and to take the focus of the fan's ire.

Losing is losing, it doesn't matter what the payroll is. Infact, if Edmonton was losing with at $46 Million payroll the fans would be screaming at Tambellini to do something.

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#129 JB
January 19 2010, 12:36PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

X2 I've been saying the same thing for months.

Re 1. I'm not exactly sure why, but peopel seem fixated with matching up the teams payroll to it's performance, as in 29th place with a 46 million dollar payroll is good while 29th place with a 56 million payroll is bad.

Re 2. As much as people don't want to admit it, the NHL really has instituted a soft cap. Also, most of the players we needed were available for peanuts.

The reason fans want to move out contracts is not to match payroll with performance; it's to allow flexibility to address the roster. Cap space is gold and can allow a team to pick up good players on the cheap (Erhoff to Van forgive the spelling) and rebuild more quickly. If the Oil cannot move contracts, they will lack the flexibility to make the team better for next season. Returning largely the same roster due to cap constraints once again would be a massive mistake.

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#130 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 12:37PM
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swany wrote:

See Bob MacKenzie's thought's on the Oil I believe he said "we are a last place team with a 1st place payroll, the reason shipping out contracts is to get to the rebuild. If the players wont help this team 2 or 3 years from now move them bring in the guys that are close. IE Chorney and Peckham and Eberle, MPS and 1st overall pick after that our cap should be around 46-48 mil. With all the young guys in the lineup next year we still might suck but atleast the future gets to play and grow together (ending the locker room crap) and we have cap space to go after someone when this team is ready to go for the top.

See here's the thing: it's not the cap space that facilitates the re-build (which for some reason everyone wants to talk about it). If the idea is to re-build, it's not the cap space, it's the roster space.

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#131 Crash
January 19 2010, 12:37PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

We played what 8 rookies 3 years ago didn't seem to work then why would it work next year?

Better rookies, including a number one overall pick....is that not possible?

Why is it working for Colorado?

You seem to know everything...where did you slot them this year?

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#132 Chris.
January 19 2010, 12:38PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

We played what 8 rookies 3 years ago didn't seem to work then why would it work next year?

Bingo. Look at Phoenix. Keep only a few talented prospects in sheltered roles and surround them with journeyman talent... the results are usually superior to just throwing your future to the wolves.

There should never be more that one rookie d-man and maybe two rookie forwards in your starting lineup. Injuries will allow the rest of the youth to find plenty of playing time anyway.

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#133 Petr's Jofa
January 19 2010, 12:39PM
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@Offthebandwagon

YOu've solved your own problem. You stated you want to hold onto Cogliano, Brule, & Ganger if Edmonton ditches the other smurfs... Well by ditching the other smurfs, you've made cap space for the guys you want to keep.

I'm not saying stand pat. This team has too many of the same player. Tambellini needs to move some, and that will make cap room for the players he wants to keep. I'm saying ditching players just to ditch them doens't get you anywhere.

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#134 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
January 19 2010, 12:39PM
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JB wrote:

The reason fans want to move out contracts is not to match payroll with performance; it's to allow flexibility to address the roster. Cap space is gold and can allow a team to pick up good players on the cheap (Erhoff to Van forgive the spelling) and rebuild more quickly. If the Oil cannot move contracts, they will lack the flexibility to make the team better for next season. Returning largely the same roster due to cap constraints once again would be a massive mistake.

have we seen proof that any potential moves have been restricted because of cap space?

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#135 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:40PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

See here's the thing: it's not the cap space that facilitates the re-build (which for some reason everyone wants to talk about it). If the idea is to re-build, it's not the cap space, it's the roster space.

I want the roster space, but at the sametime the guys I want moved have bad contracts. So it's an added bonus for the future.

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#136 Jasmine
January 19 2010, 12:41PM
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Another question I have is if Tambellini has even tried to make a trade. When Khabbi went down in November and by the middle of December still hadn't played, why didn't Tambi make a deal for a goaltender. It's too late now to make a deal but he should have prior to the Christmas trade deadline. It's Tambi's fault that the team is in this situation.

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#137 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:42PM
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Crash wrote:

Better rookies, including a number one overall pick....is that not possible?

Why is it working for Colorado?

You seem to know everything...where did you slot them this year?

Slot who? And did you forget the build up that Cogs, Nilsson, Gagner, Smid, Pouilot and others had going into that year?

Worked for Colorado because they had a solid core, there biggest issue was goaltending and injuries last year. This year they got Anderson and haven't had injuries?

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#138 Hunter5
January 19 2010, 12:43PM
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The Minnesota Wild just put Sykora on waivers and he's making 1.6 million.

Tambellini is only delaying the inevitable. There are a few players on the Oilers that just are simply not tradeable, period. They are the same guys that take stupid penalties and bring nothing to the table. Does Tambellini really think he can trade Moreau at 2.0 Million? No team in their right mind will take Moreau for that kind of cash, not to mention his terrible play. If he doesn't go on waivers does he come back as captain and a fourth line winger next year? Isn't that something to look forward to, all the young guys and Taylor Hall can learn from Moreau.

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#139 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 12:45PM
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Crash wrote:

Better rookies, including a number one overall pick....is that not possible?

Why is it working for Colorado?

You seem to know everything...where did you slot them this year?

Other then this years pick, you're simply guessing that the current crop of rookies are better then the crop from 2/3 years ago.

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#140 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 19 2010, 12:46PM
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Hunter5 wrote:

The Minnesota Wild just put Sykora on waivers and he's making 1.6 million.

Tambellini is only delaying the inevitable. There are a few players on the Oilers that just are simply not tradeable, period. They are the same guys that take stupid penalties and bring nothing to the table. Does Tambellini really think he can trade Moreau at 2.0 Million? No team in their right mind will take Moreau for that kind of cash, not to mention his terrible play. If he doesn't go on waivers does he come back as captain and a fourth line winger next year? Isn't that something to look forward to, all the young guys and Taylor Hall can learn from Moreau.

Gregor and Brownlee have both reported that teams have inquired about Moreau.

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#141 Offthebandwagon
January 19 2010, 12:47PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

YOu've solved your own problem. You stated you want to hold onto Cogliano, Brule, & Ganger if Edmonton ditches the other smurfs... Well by ditching the other smurfs, you've made cap space for the guys you want to keep.

I'm not saying stand pat. This team has too many of the same player. Tambellini needs to move some, and that will make cap room for the players he wants to keep. I'm saying ditching players just to ditch them doens't get you anywhere.

So you want to keep Souray and Visnovsky, despite the fact that we need a genuine shut-down D man and could use some cap space? The cookie cutter, one dimensional player problem of both offence and defence means getting rid of specific players, not everybody. Nobody's suggesting dumping Gagner or Penner at this point, but overpaid contracts should be shopped (ie: Horcoff, O'sullivan, Souray, etc) Oh, and if they bring Comrie back I'll snap.

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#142 swany
January 19 2010, 12:47PM
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Petr's Jofa wrote:

Oh, so we have to move contract because Bob MacKenie made a joke about the payroll?

I'm all for swapping out bad players for better players, but swapping out Moreau, Staios, Horcoff, ect for Eberle, Chorney, Peckham, and MPS does not make this team better. All it does it get teach these young prospects how to accept losing. These prospects can progress and learn to play together in the minors where they would get more ice time.

When they are ready to enter the NHL the Vets are there to teach them and to take the focus of the fan's ire.

Losing is losing, it doesn't matter what the payroll is. Infact, if Edmonton was losing with at $46 Million payroll the fans would be screaming at Tambellini to do something.

Don't put Eberle, MPS and the 1st overall pick in the minors it's been stated many times IE Brownlee that MPS already plays against men in the SEL and he won't play in the A, Eberle is already ready to play up here and when was the last time you saw a 1st overall pick play in the minors. the only 2 woild be Chorney, Peckham, and from what I saw of Chorney when he played here he isn't any wore than Gilbert or Grebs for 1/2 the money, if this is a rebuild you don't swap out vets for vets, you trade them for picks/prospects, now I'm not saying we can't trade for a coiple guys around 26-27 that have WON something to help the kids, but to me I rather see Hemmer passing to MPS or Eberle and see our future rather than not playing the kids because we might lose next year and still have a capped out team. Look at the Avs 2 rookies playing major roles and a cap of 46 mil. If you are telling me that Duchene, and O'Niel are better players than Eberle, MPS, or Hall I would have to disagree. And as for ice time all three of these guys will get top 6 minutes. Look at Stamkos (many say Hall is better) when he started the coach only played him 8-12 min a night when Toccet came on it went to 15-18 min a night and look at the improvement. Play them let them learn and grow as a team

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#143 JB
January 19 2010, 12:48PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

have we seen proof that any potential moves have been restricted because of cap space?

Only if you take into consideration GMs constantly bitching about how hard it is to make trades and roster moves because of the cap. It stands to reason if you've space under the cap you have more flexibility to make moves.

I suspect we won't find any GMs being terribly specific about moves they couldn't make because of their cap situation. The last time a trade went public before it was finalized it didn't go terribly well for the participants (see Heatley, Dany).

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#144 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:49PM
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Tencer and Gregor seem to be having a good time watching the bag skate.

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#145 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:51PM
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@JB

There have been far less complaining then there are guys complaining. The only ones that complain are the morons that put themselves in that spot to begin with.

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#146 Petr's Jofa
January 19 2010, 12:54PM
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@Offthebandwagon

No,

I have written a few time in this blog that I am open to trading anyone if it makes the team better. To answer your question, yes I would keep both Souray and Visnosky rather than give them away for nothing but cap space. Depending on who is coming back, if the trade fills a need and makes sence, I would trade either of them in a heart beat.

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#147 Bucknuck
January 19 2010, 12:54PM
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JB wrote:

The reason fans want to move out contracts is not to match payroll with performance; it's to allow flexibility to address the roster. Cap space is gold and can allow a team to pick up good players on the cheap (Erhoff to Van forgive the spelling) and rebuild more quickly. If the Oil cannot move contracts, they will lack the flexibility to make the team better for next season. Returning largely the same roster due to cap constraints once again would be a massive mistake.

Tambellini had nine million in cap space to start the season, and he signed Grebs, Strudwick, Comrie, and Khabibulin.

Nine million is a fair amount of cap space; this argument about Lowe's "constraining" contracts doesn't hold water in my books.

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#148 Jasmine
January 19 2010, 12:56PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

If they actually make it to 60 points. I have my doubts they'll even get to 50 points.

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#149 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 19 2010, 12:57PM
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@Bucknuck

Interesting way to think of things. I guess this off-season he has 12mil if the cap stays the same. Granted some of that has to be used to re-sign Gagner and whoever else, but instead of re-signing Pouilots and Stones he could go for the sure fire upgrades.

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#150 swany
January 19 2010, 12:58PM
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OBJ when we played those 8 rookies wasn't that after Smitty was traded and then everybody got hurt, I hope your not comparing Brian Young and the like to Eberle, MPS and a 1st overall. Hell you can't compare those rookies to Chorney or Peckham, if you don't remember we had to bring in guys from the ECL, that's not fair to compare them to this group comming up.

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