Steve Tambellini: Not Making Sense

Jonathan Willis
April 25 2010 11:08AM

<NHL Draft Lottery Drawing

Steve Tambellini's comments on the firing of three members of the Oilers' support staff don't make much sense to me.

There’s a disconnect between Tambellini’s assessment of the job done by Ken Lowe, Barrie Stafford, and Lyle Kulchisky and the rationale behind firing them. Tyler Dellow picked up on it the other day (and also trashed the Journal’s John MacKinnon sloppy logic in his coverage of the move), but I couldn’t resist making some comments on it.

First, what Steve Tambellini thinks of the three men, from the Oilers official website:

  • “There is absolutely no question Kenny, Barrie and Sparky have done a remarkable job here over the past three decades and more.”
  • “These three guys have been terrific contributors to this franchise through thick and thin.”
  • “I use the words great people to describe all three, and that’s exactly what they are and all three will continue to contribute to the Oilers.”
  • “This has nothing to do with their work, their effort, their passion, or their dedication. “
  • “We all know you couldn’t find three more hard working, dedicated or passionate people in this industry.”

Great people. Hard workers. Dedicated. Passionate. Terrific contributers. Have done a remarkable job over the past three decades or more. Those sound more like comments made by a manager hiring those three then the comments of a manager firing those three.

Of course, there must be some reason to dismiss such wonderful people from the job they’ve executed efficiently for the vast majority of the franchise’s history. Steve Tambellini, again from the Oilers’ official website:

“However, at the end of the season and for some time now I have been communicating our plan for the future. Part of that plan is to change the culture in our dressing room, and this is the right moment to bring a fresh energy to the medical, training and equipment area and Ken, Barrie and Sparky understand that.” 

It’s a cultural issue. You see, to build a winning team, Steve Tambellini needs to make sure he gets the right kind of culture in his dressing room. Step One in that process is eliminating “great people” who are unparalleled in their work ethic, passion, dedication, and have a rich history of commitment to the team, through thick and thin. These are qualities that must be eliminated if the Oilers are to relentlessly climb out of the cellar and contend for the Stanley Cup.

There's no sense to that combination of comments. People of such excellent character make positive contributions to culture – as Tambellini shows when he credits those men as contributing to the culture of teams that won World Championships and an Olympic medal, and since they’ve been contributors to the culture of Cup-winning teams in the past.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Tambellini wasn't being completely honest. It’s possible these weren’t such great guys, although there’s precious little evidence of that.

Another interesting point: in initial reports on this story, Oilers head trainer Ken Lowe was described as “stepping down” from his position. Robin Brownlee had Lowe’s comment on that for Oilers Nation:

"If that's what they're saying, then that's what I'm going to stand by," said Lowe. "The Oilers have been good to me."

The Oilers’ latest story on the firings doesn’t contain that helpful little assertion. Steve Tambellini takes credit for ‘bringing fresh energy’ to the position of head trainer, so perhaps the initial implication was wrong.

At this point, I hope the rationale Tambellini stated publicly is different than the one behind the scenes.

UPDATE TO ADD: And, based on the comments, it appears the majority feel I've been too critical of Tambellini here (likely) but I think the biggest problem is that I didn't make my point very well: the basic logic of Tambellini's statement doesn't make sense to me.  Praising an employee's character to high heaven and then citing 'culture' as the reason behind firing just strikes me as nonsensical, and thus I'd suspect he's being less than honest in his public statement.  Of course, he's also under no obligation to be completely honest with the public, either, but I felt the apparent contradiction deserved pointing out. 

FINAL UPDATE: I've toned down the article to be less critical of Tambellini because in this specific instance I was being needlessly inflammatory.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Jim
April 25 2010, 10:26PM
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@Hemmertime

Perhaps he has his reasons to let these people go but (a) doesn't want to make them public and (b) wants to take the high road - why kick 84 years of service in the ass on their way out the door?

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#102 Aleslav Smidsky
April 25 2010, 11:10PM
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Sylvan James wrote:

Law degree? Are you kidding me? Tambellini may not even have a high school diploma. This guy is utterly incoherent; for the life of him, he can't string together a complete sentence. Anyone who is paying attention and has got any sort of clue realizes this is not a smart man. He hasn't made a single good trade or signing since he's been here. He's utterly incompetent and if you don't understand that well then your name must be Daryl Katz or Kevin Lowe. This team is going nowhere as long as Steve Tambellini. This guy is the next Mike Milbury. If he is here much longer, this team won't have a chance of recovering for another 10 years no matter how good the next GM is.

Thanks Knowstradamus.

Unfortunately for Steve and the Oilers, the answers to their problems unlike yours aren't found at the bottom of the bottle.

Whitney was a good trade.

I really dont know what peoples problem is with him and where the nerve is found to insult him and his work? You aint in his shoes, never have never will be. So what clue or clues do you have thinking you are much or could do better?

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#103 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2010, 12:02AM
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Sylvan James wrote:

Law degree? Are you kidding me? Tambellini may not even have a high school diploma. This guy is utterly incoherent; for the life of him, he can't string together a complete sentence. Anyone who is paying attention and has got any sort of clue realizes this is not a smart man. He hasn't made a single good trade or signing since he's been here. He's utterly incompetent and if you don't understand that well then your name must be Daryl Katz or Kevin Lowe. This team is going nowhere as long as Steve Tambellini. This guy is the next Mike Milbury. If he is here much longer, this team won't have a chance of recovering for another 10 years no matter how good the next GM is.

Staios was a good trade, Vish for Whitney is looking like it may be a good trade. Getting POS for an expiring asset was a poor fit, but good value.

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#104 nakedmike
April 26 2010, 01:25AM
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Getting sick to death of Tambi being blasted for doing the job everyone has been begging him to do for nearly 2 years.

He's cleaning house. He's trying to build an empire from the ground up. Let the man work!

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#105 SK13
April 26 2010, 03:40AM
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They're not making sense because they're not telling the truth. They're not telling the truth because every company lies, internally or externally, about why an long-term employee (or employees) was/were let go: It's the decent thing to do for someone with personal ties to the company. It's the "future endeavors" well-wishing that's all too common in corporate life.

In this case, Tambellini bumped them upstairs instead of firing them. That says to me that the fact they've overseen a group that's suffered over 1000 man games lost to injuries since October 2006.

At the very least, it's a new set of eyes on a problem area and nothing changes. At the most? It's transferring some good company men and upgrading on a department that might have been a problem area for the Oilers.

Either way, Tambellini gushing over them was the smae attempt at class many $200 million dollar companies make when enough people care to notice.

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#106 Reagan
April 26 2010, 06:55AM
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nakedmike wrote:

Getting sick to death of Tambi being blasted for doing the job everyone has been begging him to do for nearly 2 years.

He's cleaning house. He's trying to build an empire from the ground up. Let the man work!

Agreed, it's been all of three months and the guy is under the microscope for every move, on ice or off ice. I said this a while back, grab some patience and quit bitching (whining).

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#107 Rick
April 26 2010, 09:05AM
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I tend to agree with your take on this one Jonathan. Some of my reasons may differ but the general point remains.

Right now I honestly don't know what to make of it.

There is part of me that thinks a complete tear down, including support staff, isn't the worst thing for this franchise.

There is also a part of me that looks at what Tambellini has done in his two years at the wheel (I only see one good move to date) and thinks that if he is the guy doing the tear down, it will take 10X longer for the team to get built back up and could very well be in worse shape when all is said and done.

I have virtually no confidence in Tambellini and that is concerning enough from a player perspective, now that he is napalming damn near the whole organization it leaves me with little hope that we will see a turn around in the next few years...if at all during his employment with the Oilers. The word quagmire seems appropriate here.

They talk about changing the culture and making the organization a place that people want to be a part of, I believe at one point they talked about creating a family type environment, for the life of me I can't figure out how giving three long standing employees the pipe does anything along those lines. It sends a cut throat message, not a family one. Atleast two of these guys seem close enough to retirement that a "promotion to consultant" should have been the first option if there was a need to get these guys away from the dressing room. It solves all of their problems, the so called culture change is achieved, the loyalty of the employees in question is rewarded and the PR aspect is golden.

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#108 blue31
April 26 2010, 09:19AM
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Sylvan James wrote:

Law degree? Are you kidding me? Tambellini may not even have a high school diploma. This guy is utterly incoherent; for the life of him, he can't string together a complete sentence. Anyone who is paying attention and has got any sort of clue realizes this is not a smart man. He hasn't made a single good trade or signing since he's been here. He's utterly incompetent and if you don't understand that well then your name must be Daryl Katz or Kevin Lowe. This team is going nowhere as long as Steve Tambellini. This guy is the next Mike Milbury. If he is here much longer, this team won't have a chance of recovering for another 10 years no matter how good the next GM is.

@Sylvan Hanes You wrote: Tambellini may not even have a high school diploma. This guy is utterly incoherent; for the life of him, he can't string together a complete sentence. This team is going nowhere as long as Steve Tambellini.

Pot. Meet Kettle.

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#109 Ender
April 26 2010, 10:01AM
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blue31 wrote:

After 84 years of combined service to the Oilers, these trainers have earned all the accolades that Tambellini can publicly espouse, and then some. They've also earned the right not to have any (possibly) dirty laundry aired . They've been good footsoldiers.

Tambellini did the correct and gracious thing. Move on.

After reading the article and the over 100 comments on it, I am left with the statement above as summarizing the situation the most neatly in my mind.

As an analogy, if a loyal and, indeed exemplary, employee is fired after 20 years because you found out they were trafficking porn from their office computer, you might not bring that to the attention of everyone you know. While many of their service qualities may have been excellent and you may need to now replace those exact same qualities, you need someone who isn't going to have the same problems. When you let them go, your official line will focus on their good qualities; you will likely omit their shortcomings.

OK, that's the part I can say I know to be true. Now I engage in a bit of speculation. Normally when an employee disagrees with the boss, there is a discussion that takes place between the two. If at the end of that discussion there remains a difference of opinion, (barring legal or safety issues) the action taken is the one the boss proposed. He's the boss for a reason and right or wrong the decision is his to make.

Suppose Tambellini asked Ken Lowe to do something at some point and Ken disagreed with him. Let's further suppose that Ken, instead of just doing it, went to Kevin with it. I'll point out that this decision is on Ken, not Kevin. Whatever the outcome, Tambi would have been ticked when he found out about it. It erodes his authority in the organization. This could have happened one or several times over big issues or tiny ones but the result could have been the same. If the equipment guys were tighter with Ken than Tambi (and of course they were), they may have said some things to the wrong people that sided with Ken over Tambi. This would have put targets on their backs as well.

Over time, I could see how Tambi might well have seen a need to change the culture if 'his' people were questioning his decisions and looking over his head when they disagreed with him. While they may have been good at what they did, Tambi may have finally decided that it wasn't working toward a cohesive structure to have them remain. In that vein, Tambi might be viewed as callous on first examination but when his underlying motives are viewed he may well have done what he needed to do, from his point of view at any rate.

While the scenario I have described above may not be exactly right, there are any number of related reasons why Tambi may have felt the need to replace Lowe and Company with people who were very similar to but not exactly like them.

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#110 TigerUnderGlass
April 26 2010, 11:39AM
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Ender wrote:

After reading the article and the over 100 comments on it, I am left with the statement above as summarizing the situation the most neatly in my mind.

As an analogy, if a loyal and, indeed exemplary, employee is fired after 20 years because you found out they were trafficking porn from their office computer, you might not bring that to the attention of everyone you know. While many of their service qualities may have been excellent and you may need to now replace those exact same qualities, you need someone who isn't going to have the same problems. When you let them go, your official line will focus on their good qualities; you will likely omit their shortcomings.

OK, that's the part I can say I know to be true. Now I engage in a bit of speculation. Normally when an employee disagrees with the boss, there is a discussion that takes place between the two. If at the end of that discussion there remains a difference of opinion, (barring legal or safety issues) the action taken is the one the boss proposed. He's the boss for a reason and right or wrong the decision is his to make.

Suppose Tambellini asked Ken Lowe to do something at some point and Ken disagreed with him. Let's further suppose that Ken, instead of just doing it, went to Kevin with it. I'll point out that this decision is on Ken, not Kevin. Whatever the outcome, Tambi would have been ticked when he found out about it. It erodes his authority in the organization. This could have happened one or several times over big issues or tiny ones but the result could have been the same. If the equipment guys were tighter with Ken than Tambi (and of course they were), they may have said some things to the wrong people that sided with Ken over Tambi. This would have put targets on their backs as well.

Over time, I could see how Tambi might well have seen a need to change the culture if 'his' people were questioning his decisions and looking over his head when they disagreed with him. While they may have been good at what they did, Tambi may have finally decided that it wasn't working toward a cohesive structure to have them remain. In that vein, Tambi might be viewed as callous on first examination but when his underlying motives are viewed he may well have done what he needed to do, from his point of view at any rate.

While the scenario I have described above may not be exactly right, there are any number of related reasons why Tambi may have felt the need to replace Lowe and Company with people who were very similar to but not exactly like them.

Why do people keep referencing the airing of dirty laundry? I still have yet to notice a single post calling for anything of the sort. Let's leave the straw men out of this.

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#111 Ender
April 26 2010, 12:03PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

People in general and this thread in particular are being critical of Tambellini for the things that he said regarding the training staff ie: implying that he was being less than honest in his statements.

Whether he was being honest or not, there were presumably other reasons the men were let go. Reasons that Tambellini chose not to discuss. 'Dirty laundry'. I'm not sure what the 'straw men' is in reference to, but there are several posts on this thread that call for Tambellini to have said something different from what he did.

TigerUnderGlass wrote:

The problem is that instead of a vague "well done, good work," he specifically outlined that they possess the very characteristics he is supposedly looking for in an employee. How can that not raise questions?

Tiger, as demonstrated by some of your other statements, you actually get the bigger picture better than some people. The thing is, Tambi couldn’t have said less than what he did without raising even more questions. If he let them go with only a perfunctory “Thanks for your service and good luck,” people would wonder what awful thing they had done to merit only that token respect after 20 years. There wasn’t really any way for Tambi to phrase this that wouldn’t raise questions. He chose the way that would raise the fewest. We have to accept that there are things we’re not being told that offset the perhaps completely deserved high praise they received during their exit.

People may not be calling for dirty laundry, but they are calling for him to have said things differently from how he did. I don’t think those people have really looked at his options before doing so.

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#112 dunciano
April 26 2010, 01:57PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Pretty sure Lowe has been called out by most writers a thousand times already. Tambellini has been in charge for 2 seasons now, Lowe hasnt. If Tambellini didnt want to be held accountable for the product he shouldnt have taken the job.

Remind me of an article flat out calling for firing Lowe since the end of the season.

None.

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#113 Archaeologuy
April 26 2010, 02:04PM
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@dunciano

News Flash. Tambellini is in charge this year, not Lowe. The Lowe articles arent coming anymore. He isnt relevant.

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#114 dunciano
April 26 2010, 02:07PM
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Reagan wrote:

Agreed, it's been all of three months and the guy is under the microscope for every move, on ice or off ice. I said this a while back, grab some patience and quit bitching (whining).

Ya man!

Love some of what Tambellini is doing.

Hiring a player development guy was a good move, getting rid of stale, poor performing staff (Pendergast/Mactavish) was good. Getting our own AHL team.

Some good ballsy moves.

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#115 dunciano
April 26 2010, 02:09PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

News Flash. Tambellini is in charge this year, not Lowe. The Lowe articles arent coming anymore. He isnt relevant.

He is still trying to influence personnel decisions.

He is out scouting Hall/Seguin. Going for dinner with Hall. Why would he do that if he has no influence on the decision? He's still relevant but he shouldn't be. I don't want him influencing the future.

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#116 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2010, 02:39PM
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dunciano wrote:

Remind me of an article flat out calling for firing Lowe since the end of the season.

None.

What would be the point of "calling out Lowe" now.

Grrrr, I'm mad Lowe gave a 9th place team with two upgrades to Tambillini 2 years ago..... Grrrr bad Lowe.

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#117 dunciano
April 26 2010, 04:48PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

What would be the point of "calling out Lowe" now.

Grrrr, I'm mad Lowe gave a 9th place team with two upgrades to Tambillini 2 years ago..... Grrrr bad Lowe.

The point is, as I've said, the future.

For the good of the future - rid yourself of proven poor performers.

He's the President of Hockey Operations. It would be ok if he was in accounting or sales or something but this employee with a proven track record of bad judgement and under performance is in a position of great influence on the FUTURE of the hockey team.

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#118 David S
April 26 2010, 04:52PM
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Not to intentionally boost another site, but you guys might want to read this. It provides some additional insight that might be beneficial to the conversation. Or not. You be the judge.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/4/26/1442214/chad-moreau-sometimes-theyre#storyjump

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#119 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2010, 05:03PM
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dunciano wrote:

The point is, as I've said, the future.

For the good of the future - rid yourself of proven poor performers.

He's the President of Hockey Operations. It would be ok if he was in accounting or sales or something but this employee with a proven track record of bad judgement and under performance is in a position of great influence on the FUTURE of the hockey team.

Sounds good but it's just a bunch of hot air.

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#120 dunciano
April 26 2010, 05:09PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Ha - nice argument!

Sound reason.

pfff

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#121 Ender
April 26 2010, 05:19PM
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David S wrote:

Not to intentionally boost another site, but you guys might want to read this. It provides some additional insight that might be beneficial to the conversation. Or not. You be the judge.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/4/26/1442214/chad-moreau-sometimes-theyre#storyjump

Wow. That is a really insightful article. Thanks for posting, Davie-boy.

[hat tip]

Score another point for the people who think Tambi is only mostly crazy but may have gotten this one right.

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#122 mharco
April 26 2010, 05:20PM
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I think Tambo makes good sence. If you want to change the culture you generally have to change the people if they are good or bad. He is running around trying to get fresh people in by trading players and switching coaches. It seems obvoius you would try to switch the support staff too.

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#123 Archaeologuy
April 26 2010, 05:20PM
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dunciano wrote:

The point is, as I've said, the future.

For the good of the future - rid yourself of proven poor performers.

He's the President of Hockey Operations. It would be ok if he was in accounting or sales or something but this employee with a proven track record of bad judgement and under performance is in a position of great influence on the FUTURE of the hockey team.

His track record is filled with both good and bad moves. He left the team at a better place than where Tambellini has taken it since then. It's easy to look at the team and blame everything on him, but we're talking about the same guy that acquired Pronger, Peca, and Roloson. He got the team Pitkanen, Lupul, Smid, Lubo and the pick that turned into Eberle. He was responsible for bringing in a lot of talented players. I fault him for being way too loyal to a select few people, but as a whole his GM record isnt exactly disasterous.

He was so loyal to MacT that he was ready and willing to ship off players like Pitkanen and Lupul before they even had a chance. He was too loyal to guys like Horc and Moreau, but he didnt compound things by signing Rehabibulin. He didnt make his team smaller and worse in the faceoff circle by dumping Brodziak for nothing. He didnt try to trade the teams best goal scorer and most consistent defenseman along with a 21 yr old speedster for a single 7 million dollar sniper that barely outscored Penner despite playing with Thornton and Marleau all year.

He screwed up on a few important things, but he doesnt have a track record of only bad judgement. Only Tambellini has that bad of a track record as a GM.

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#124 dunciano
April 26 2010, 06:26PM
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@Archaeologuy

Kevin Lowe is responsible for the shambles that is the Hockey Operations of the Oilers. Its a train wreck. Tambellini is piecing it together.

Lowe let the structure crumble.

Lowe was a large part of the pursuit of Heatley.

Sounds like Tambellini only got permission to implement his own vision this season after it becoming abundantly obvious that Lowes vision has failed.

Lowes vision has failed.

Who keeps around the visioneer of the old failed vision?!

PS-Brodziak trade was great - got a 4th and moved up from 6th round to 5th round. (Got Bigos and Roy). Great trade.

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#125 THEBIGD
April 26 2010, 06:33PM
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@Ender

Good piece thank you as you have a lot of good reasons why this was done.We may never know but I have to agree with you.He must have had his reasons to do this.

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#126 Sylvan James
April 26 2010, 07:06PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

His track record is filled with both good and bad moves. He left the team at a better place than where Tambellini has taken it since then. It's easy to look at the team and blame everything on him, but we're talking about the same guy that acquired Pronger, Peca, and Roloson. He got the team Pitkanen, Lupul, Smid, Lubo and the pick that turned into Eberle. He was responsible for bringing in a lot of talented players. I fault him for being way too loyal to a select few people, but as a whole his GM record isnt exactly disasterous.

He was so loyal to MacT that he was ready and willing to ship off players like Pitkanen and Lupul before they even had a chance. He was too loyal to guys like Horc and Moreau, but he didnt compound things by signing Rehabibulin. He didnt make his team smaller and worse in the faceoff circle by dumping Brodziak for nothing. He didnt try to trade the teams best goal scorer and most consistent defenseman along with a 21 yr old speedster for a single 7 million dollar sniper that barely outscored Penner despite playing with Thornton and Marleau all year.

He screwed up on a few important things, but he doesnt have a track record of only bad judgement. Only Tambellini has that bad of a track record as a GM.

Try listening to Archaeologuy - he is actually one of the few guys who has a clue what he's talking about and actually gets it. Lowe wasn't the GM when we had the worst season in the history of the franchise. Although the worst move he ever made was actually hiring Tambellini, so you can blame the team's misfortunes on him indirectly from that standpoint. Lowe needs to go, but as a GM, he was certainly miles ahead of The Retarded One.

Tambellini hasn't made a single good trade. He made two "acceptable" trades, but by no means were they good. Trading for POS was one of them, but I won't give him much credit for that one since it's obvious he could have had Justin Williams who, before a knee injury, looked to be a guy who would become a 40 goal scorer. A smarter man would have realized that Justin Williams was the obvious choice. Even now, I would still take Justin Williams over POS. The second "acceptable" trade was the Steve Staios trade, and not because it was a value trade but because of the salary dump.

Tambellini traded away Garon for nothing even though he had value. If you can't get value, you don't make the trade. Pretty simple. The problem is Tambellin can't assess value because he hasn't got a frickin' clue.

Tambellini traded away Cody Wild for a guy who can't play and never will.

Tambellini traded away Grebeshkov for practically nothing.

Tambellini traded away Visnovsky for Whitney and a 6th rounder which was not a fair value trade. Why didn't that fool trade away Souray for Whitney earlier when it's clear Anaheim wanted a shooter for their PP?

The only two defensemen it made sense to trade were Souray and Staios. Instead, the guy has gone about gutting our entire defense. How the hell does he think he's going to replace these guys? It's not like we're going to be able to attract UFAs easily, and if we do, it will be an overpay anyway. This guy was trying to trade Gilbert before the deadline and it wouldn't surprise me if he tried traded him away for nothing again this summer.

Last summer he signed Comrie, a guy who was redundant on this team instead of getting a centre with some size who can win face-offs and play on the PK.

Now for Tambellini's crowning glory - he signs our "MVP" Khabibulin at more than twice the rate of Craig Anderson and he's still not smart enough to realize that was a mistake a year later. People with half a brain knew that was a moronic signing to begin with. And now, instead of trying to dump Crappybulin and his ridiculous salary he is going to trade away either DD or JDD for nothing.

Now watch Steve Tambellini buy out players who have a single year left on their contracts and end up compromising our salary cap situation the next year even though there is no way we will be able to be competitive next season anyway.

None of these criticisms are ones that I've made with the benefit of hindsight. I've believe every one of these moves were incredibly stupid from the start.

By the way, it would be smart to get Pat Quinn out of the role of head coach and either try bringing in a guy like Hitchcock or moving Renny up to that position. I didn't criticize the coaching move last summer but right now it's clear that Quinn isn't capable of coaching this teme properly. I doubt it's clear to a dunderhead GM, though.

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#127 dunciano
April 26 2010, 07:42PM
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@Sylvan James

I agree, "Lowe needs to go".

Its not either Lowe or Tambellini. It may be both, but FOR SURE its Lowe needs to go.

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#128 nakedmike
April 26 2010, 08:40PM
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I'll chip in my two cents here.

You've neglected to mention that Lowe is the one who signed Horcoff to one of the worst contracts in NHL history. He signed Moreau, Staois and Pisani to inflated 3-4 year contracts after the cup run that are plaguing us to this day.

After witnessing the value of Pronger's abilities on the blueline during the playoffs he tried to sign every decent puck moving d-man he could and left us paper thin on defense and in the faceoff circle. He failed to see the value in Stoll, Reasoner, and Matt Greene in return for a handful of fancy Dan's on the blue line.

He played chicken with Ryan Smyth and let the face of our franchise walk in exchange for Robert Nillson and Omarra.

These 'horrible' trades that Tambi is allegedly making is nothing more than him cleaning up Lowe's mess and making room for the huge list of unsigned RFA's that he needs to sign in the off season.

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#129 Sylvan James
April 26 2010, 08:55PM
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"He played chicken with Ryan Smyth and let the face of our franchise walk in exchange for Robert Nillson and Omarra."

How are you going to complain about the Horcoff signing and then in the same breath suggest that Lowe should have signed Ryan Smyth to a bloated contract? He was right to trade Smyth. I wouldn't have signed him for that kind of money either.

Yeah, Lowe made some really bad signings and trades. But he also made some good moves and good signings. His record is nowhere near as bad as Tambellinis.

So signing Khabibulin was "cleaning up Lowe's mess?" I'd say Tambo sh@t the bed pretty thoroughly on that one and created a much bigger mess. It would be pretty hard to find another GM that would be dumb enough to pick up that contract unless we can get Tambellini's twin installed as a GM somewhere else. Man, I'd swear Tambellini was sent here by the Calgary Flames to destroy the Oilers.

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#130 nakedmike
April 26 2010, 09:17PM
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@Sylvan James

"How are you going to complain about the Horcoff signing and then in the same breath suggest that Lowe should have signed Ryan Smyth to a bloated contract? He was right to trade Smyth. I wouldn't have signed him for that kind of money either."

Smyth, aka Captain Canada, was at least worth the gamble of a 'bloated contract', unlike Horcoff whose only feather in his hat is being a PPG for half a season and in a meaningless all star game which he shouldn't have even been part of.

I'm not defending Tambi, I'm just trying to shine some perspective on the magnitude of Lowe's blunders. At the time of Khabi's signing I was one of many convinced that he was a more reliable option over Roloson but no one predicted back surgery or a DUI, or him letting in the worst goal known to man in his first game of the season.

I just feel hes starting to actually get a kick at the cat without Lowe's hand up his rear end, so let's not crucify him yet.

When the time comes, I'll help you build the cross.

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#131 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2010, 10:35PM
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It's mind numbing how many people can't grasp this.

If you want to blame Lowe for building a bubble team, more power to you.

Throwing out statements like

"Kevin Lowe is responsible for the shambles that is the Hockey Operations of the Oilers. Its a train wreck. Tambellini is piecing it together."

however, is complete non-sense.

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#132 nakedrobber
April 26 2010, 11:48PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

But it is a train wreck and it went off the rails before Tambellini was even involved, it just finally came to a grinding halt this season. If Kevin Lowe isn't largely responsible for it, who is?

No one is saying Tambi is a savior, but at least hes shaking the foundation and making some much needed changes.

The link that David S posted is a good read and quite revealing.

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#133 RossCreekNation
April 27 2010, 12:40AM
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David S wrote:

Not to intentionally boost another site, but you guys might want to read this. It provides some additional insight that might be beneficial to the conversation. Or not. You be the judge.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/4/26/1442214/chad-moreau-sometimes-theyre#storyjump

VERY interesting article. MUST-read.

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#134 RossCreekNation
April 27 2010, 12:43AM
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I wonder why Norm Lacombe never got on with the Oil.

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#135 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 27 2010, 08:24AM
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nakedrobber wrote:

But it is a train wreck and it went off the rails before Tambellini was even involved, it just finally came to a grinding halt this season. If Kevin Lowe isn't largely responsible for it, who is?

No one is saying Tambi is a savior, but at least hes shaking the foundation and making some much needed changes.

The link that David S posted is a good read and quite revealing.

How on earth did it go off the rails before Tambellini was involved? The team Lowe handed him had just finished 9th and was considerd one of the young up and coming teams in the league.

The team is a train wreck because:

A. No NHL goaltending

- Tambo traded Garon and signed Bulin

B. Hemsky injury

- No ones fault

C. Poorly balanced roster

- Tambo traded 2 of proven forwards with size (one that won face offs) and brought in two more small forwards

- Tambo had four offensive Dmen that are at a premium all coming off solid years, yet he chose to stay status quo, three of the 4 then imploded their trade value.

- Lowe gets some blame on the roster balance, but Tambillini compounded the problem

Lowe certainly doesn't get a free pass and like I said, if you want to blame him for handing off a bubble playoff team then have at it. But Tambillini has been at the helm for 2 full years now (well almost). He had a disasterous summer last year. I've been marginally impressed with what he's done since TDD, lets hope he can keep it up.

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#136 Biowolf
April 27 2010, 11:03PM
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Tambellini in chargeis Lowe´s worst move.

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