Dithering about: a Weekend at Tambi's?

Robin Brownlee
January 31 2010 02:12PM

Thank goodness Sheldon Souray busted a bone in his hand in his third-period fight with Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla in Cowtown Saturday. That saves Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini from unwisely rushing into any trades without proper time to assess his team's needs.

Sarcasm aside, and with Tambellini locked into paralysis by analysis with the Oilers now embedded as laughing stocks after 13 straight losses, the injury to Souray has taken the remote possibility of trading him before the March 3 deadline off the table.

While Oilers fans were cursing bad luck after a 6-1 butt-kicking that capped a season sweep by the Flames, taking Souray out of the pre-deadline trade mix isn't necessarily a bad thing -- even framed by the frustration of seeing Tambellini dither to the point of distraction until now.

I'm assuming, of course, the Tambellini we saw sitting in the pressbox at The Saddledome on Saturday night didn't stiff two weeks ago and wasn't being propped up in the cheap seats for appearance sake in a hockey version of A Weekend at Bernie's.

Really, how would we know?

On the slab

First, there's no guarantee Tambellini was going to be able to move Souray, who has two years of a $5.4-million cap hit remaining after this season, by the trade deadline. Of course, there's no guarantee Tambellini is going to move anybody, ever, but I digress.

In theory at least, Tambellini will have more options when it comes to moving Souray after July 1, when his no-movement clause expires. Instead of having a list of 10 teams Souray has agreed to, he'll have 11, or maybe 12. At least geography and veto power by Souray won't be a factor.

While that takes some of the more immediate possibilities -- Dallas and Los Angeles -- out of the mix between now and the deadline, there's nothing that says those two teams might not come calling in the summer if they don't get the pieces they want for the stretch drive. Maybe New Jersey jumps in, too.

Second, it's not like having Souray on the shelf is going to prevent the Oilers from making a trade critical to bolstering their own playoff run -- I know, thank-you Captain Obvious.

With the Oilers a lock to finish dead-last in the NHL by a good margin and set a franchise records for futility in the process, they didn't really need to move Souray by the deadline to assure a Lottery Pick. That said, the injury provides a little insurance that Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin is in the cards, just as trading him would have.

Tambellini, again assuming he's not gargling with embalming fluid, can and should now concentrate on jettisoning more affordable spare parts -- Ethan Moreau, Patrick O'Sullivan, Fernando Pisani and Steve Staios -- between now and the deadline.

The way I see it

-- Say what you want about Toronto GM Brian Burke, at least he isn't sitting around fiddling and blowing formaldehyde bubbles while The Big Smoke burns, as Tambellini seems to be doing here.

Aside from bending over Darryl Sutter and the Flames by getting the best player in the today's blockbuster trade with Calgary, Dion Phaneuf, when his value has been diminished by a poor season, Burke unloaded Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala to Anaheim for J.S. Giguere in a second deal.

Given that Anaheim has been short up front with injuries to Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul, I wonder if Tambellini, at any time, put in a call to the Ducks to see if they'd be interested in, say, O'Sullivan or Robert Nilsson? If Tambellini and Bob Murray were talking about Moreau anyway, as rumour has it, why not run it up the flag pole?

I'm not saying Murray would have done a deal because the new contract he signed Jonas Hiller to made it clear Giguere was on the way out, but you don't know if you don't ask.

-- As hesitant as I've been to criticize Pat Quinn, I don't for a second understand why Zack Stortini and Mike Comrie were in the press box against the Flames while O'Sullivan and Nilsson were in the line-up.

What the Oilers don't need is Shawn Horcoff, who is playing with a bad shoulder, fighting while Stortini sits as a healthy scratch during a game in which the Flames physically ran Edmonton's show. Even with Quinn opting for O'Sullivan and Nilsson, he could have at least yanked J.F. Jacques in favour of Stortini. How bad was Jacques last night?

First Steve MacIntyre was declared expendable. Now, Stortini sits as teams push around a legion of runts incapable of pushing back. Is Quinn making a mistake by under-valuing toughness?

-- With Ladislav Smid, Staios and now Souray out, expect the Oilers to recall Alex Plante from Springfield.

Why? I don't know, seeing as Plante, selected by the Oilers 15th overall in the 2007 Entry Draft, hasn't shown he can play at the AHL level yet, but these are desperate times, after all.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 swany
February 01 2010, 10:46AM
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RB this is getting worrysome, is Tambo going to be able to do anything? What the hell happens if the trade day comes and goes and the Oil don't do a friggen thing? He seems to be sitting on his hands, I understand that trades are hard to make but this is getting redundant.

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#102 Giggsunited
February 01 2010, 10:49AM
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swany wrote:

RB this is getting worrysome, is Tambo going to be able to do anything? What the hell happens if the trade day comes and goes and the Oil don't do a friggen thing? He seems to be sitting on his hands, I understand that trades are hard to make but this is getting redundant.

I dont understand? what do you want him to do right now? please explain.

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#103 swany
February 01 2010, 11:11AM
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Giggsunited wrote:

I dont understand? what do you want him to do right now? please explain.

Something, anything, from RB's blogs he feels the same there must be SOME action comming the Oilers way, I hope Tambi isn't holding out for the homerun on a deal. There's not even any rumours out there about this team, I'm worried because this is the biggest T.D.D. for the Oilers future and if nothing gets done our rebuild could be set back another year or 2

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#104 Giggsunited
February 01 2010, 11:18AM
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swany wrote:

Something, anything, from RB's blogs he feels the same there must be SOME action comming the Oilers way, I hope Tambi isn't holding out for the homerun on a deal. There's not even any rumours out there about this team, I'm worried because this is the biggest T.D.D. for the Oilers future and if nothing gets done our rebuild could be set back another year or 2

We dont have the players to make your so called home run of a deal. Not trying to be a negative prick here but who the hell would want any of our players were offering? Who would you be interested in from the oil right now?

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#105 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 11:25AM
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Giggsunited wrote:

We dont have the players to make your so called home run of a deal. Not trying to be a negative prick here but who the hell would want any of our players were offering? Who would you be interested in from the oil right now?

I bet Maple Leaf fans felt the same about their crappy guys.

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#106 Giggsunited
February 01 2010, 11:33AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I bet Maple Leaf fans felt the same about their crappy guys.

ummmmm, they had/have more then we could offer. Better contracts, timing of contracts, bigger forwards. Blake is the only one they moved that had a crappy contract because of the long term and its still better then Horcoffs, lol.

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#107 Nick Dynasty
February 01 2010, 11:37AM
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Hey Robin,

I heard on the 1260 morning show that there was a rumor that Garnet Exelby might be headed to the OIL. any truth to that at all? would Burke really be willing to make a trade with a team that KLowe still works for?

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#108 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 11:40AM
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@Giggsunited

My only point there was that we often under-estimate the value that other clubs put on our players. Even before Penner proved he could really play in an Oiler sweater he was the center piece in a deal that almost landed Heatley.

So dont assume that no one wants our crappy players, because that probably isnt the case. That's what I was getting at.

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#109 Giggsunited
February 01 2010, 11:48AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

My only point there was that we often under-estimate the value that other clubs put on our players. Even before Penner proved he could really play in an Oiler sweater he was the center piece in a deal that almost landed Heatley.

So dont assume that no one wants our crappy players, because that probably isnt the case. That's what I was getting at.

I never said noone would want them, I asked who would want them? "we often under-estimate the value that other clubs put on our players" are you kidding? most Oil fans over estimate? say Patty O, Nilsson and Pisani for Kovalchuk.

I'll ask you the question then, who would you be interested on the Oil at this very moment?

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#110 Archaeologuy
February 01 2010, 12:08PM
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@Giggsunited

I would probably be asking about Cogs, Grebs, Gilbert, Vis, Penner, Nilsson, POS, Brule, and Moreau depending on what my needs as an organization were.

I might not be offering Kovalchuk for any of them but that's not to say that another team doesnt look at Grebs or Gilbert and say "these guys are pretty young and on the verge", or look at Cogs and say "I think I can get this kid some steady 2nd line minutes and that should really get more out of him than the Oilers have gotten."

Yeah there are guys that over-estimate players, but there are even more guys that say "why would Calgary give us Phaneuf and Aulie for Stajan, Hagman, and White?" Crazy sh*t happens.

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#111 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 12:35PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I would probably be asking about Cogs, Grebs, Gilbert, Vis, Penner, Nilsson, POS, Brule, and Moreau depending on what my needs as an organization were.

I might not be offering Kovalchuk for any of them but that's not to say that another team doesnt look at Grebs or Gilbert and say "these guys are pretty young and on the verge", or look at Cogs and say "I think I can get this kid some steady 2nd line minutes and that should really get more out of him than the Oilers have gotten."

Yeah there are guys that over-estimate players, but there are even more guys that say "why would Calgary give us Phaneuf and Aulie for Stajan, Hagman, and White?" Crazy sh*t happens.

I agree, I'm very fed up with the "no one wants so and so!!!1111!!!!1111!!"

No one is talking blockbuster, we've got our "blockbuster" coming at the draft.

Trade bit pieces for bit pieces that fit.

Move O'sully for a 28 year old Staios.

Move Cogliano for a long term goalie fix.

Move Gilbert for a second liner with size that can score 20.

Move Nilsson for a 3rd pairing dman with size

Move Souray for a 3rd line banger

Small trades to create proper roster balance.

Trade Staios/Moreau for salary dumps and a pick to facilitate the roster space.

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#112 Trenton L
February 01 2010, 12:46PM
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Any chance the Oil pick up Boynton off waivers. Couldn't hurt to test him in our silks and avoid being embarrassed so badly with only 3 NHL d-men in the lineup now. I'm looking at you Willis with you score blog article.

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#113 Robin Brownlee
February 01 2010, 12:47PM
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Nick Dynasty wrote:

Hey Robin,

I heard on the 1260 morning show that there was a rumor that Garnet Exelby might be headed to the OIL. any truth to that at all? would Burke really be willing to make a trade with a team that KLowe still works for?

I had a discussion about Exelby with somebody over the weekend. Yes, I would keep his name in mind as a possibility.

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#114 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 01 2010, 12:58PM
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Trenton L wrote:

Any chance the Oil pick up Boynton off waivers. Couldn't hurt to test him in our silks and avoid being embarrassed so badly with only 3 NHL d-men in the lineup now. I'm looking at you Willis with you score blog article.

I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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#115 swany
February 01 2010, 01:32PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Your not Bob Stauffer are you ???? He's been going on about this guy for 2 weeks already

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#116 Shawner
February 01 2010, 09:07PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Who are you trying to kid? Isn't tough at all? Yes it is -- two trades by Burke doesn't change that (and doesn't absolve Tambellini of doing what appears to be nothing). The absence of trades to this point in the season isn't about GMs being terrified. It's about cap space. It's about fit. It's about trading money as much as it is players.

-- You thought what happened to Souray "should have" happened to Horcoff? You'd like to see him injured? And tell me again about the part where Iginla keeps kicking Souray's ass. I missed that.

So what i was saying about souray was that "it seems that everytime he turns around iggy is there when he gets hurt", and as for horcoff i only said that cause souray is "possibly" worth more on the market than horcoff would be. At this point in the season, i could care less how much either one brings to the table. It just seems like the Gm's are very hesitant to make a move even if their team stinks -i.e carolina, if it wasnt for ward and staal picking up thier games do you honestly think rutherford would make a significant deal??, or how about Minn, or tampa, or NYI or StL or columbus, or even the mighty RED WINGS, and BRUINS, all marginal teams who havent done a thing "YET" to help their teams, so tell me How GM's aren't afraid, one wrong move and their whole team drops OR one right move their a contender again, i don't know you tell me??

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#118 Rob
February 01 2010, 10:09PM
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I'm not sure who I have less faith in, Oiler management or the team. It seems apparent that Tambellini's attempted signings were all horrible efforts to make a lousy team and a worse organization better. I'm not so certain we want Tambellini making trades of any type. He is just as inept as Kevin Lowe when it comes to having even a remote idea of how to build an organization let alone an NHL team worthy of the name.

He got passed over in Van. by Dave Nonis and just about anyone else who came along. I think Van. was happy to see him head for somewhere...lets be honest...anywhere else.

Tambellini is my nominee for for the Sid Dithers award.

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#119 Shawner
February 02 2010, 06:44AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Possibly worth more than Horcoff?

Tell you? I already did. Waiting for the right time to buy a new car or a new house doesn't make you scared to buy a car or a house. It means you're waiting for the right deal. That should be obvious. Caution isn't a negative, it's prudent.

Ok you win, prudence might be the case, but, 7 - 10 teams that are on the bubble being prudent? seems a little fishy too me givin the shelf life of decent players -vs- decent (teams)seasons. but i guess i may be looking too far into it.

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