January 23 2012 12:17PM
Steve Tambellini is on the verge of an extension? That's what Terry Jones wrote today and I'm guessing I could write a pulitzer prize winning GDB about the Oilers and Sharks and most of you would skip it, and only read the Tambellini stuff.
I'm kind of surprised, but not shocked, that Tambellini will be getting an extension.
I'm certain this won't be received well in Oilersnation.
Tambellini's track record is a mixture of hits and misses.
Nikolai Khabibulin has been a miss, although I've been told his signing wasn't necessarily Tambellini's decision, but I haven't been able to get 100% confirmation on that. I'll keep digging. That previous sentence wasn't a defence of Tambellini, just pointing out that I've recently being informed from a good source that Tambellini was high on Craig Anderson and might have been swayed to take Khabibulin instead. This doesn't make the signing any less forgiveable, just trying to point out facts.
Ryan Jones was a good move.
Chasing Dany Heatley blindly for months wasn't smart, but ultimately ended up being a blessing. It still showed their focus was wrong.
Handling of Souray wasn't right. I always thought it became too personal. It was, however, the one time Tambellini made a decision and stuck with it. Still a miss.
Brule contract extension was wrong.
Acquiring soft players with no desire to play in tough situations like O'Sullivan and Foster were misses.
The Penner trade was a solid move. They turned the pick into Klefbom, and Tuebert might become a 3rd pairing D in the future.
Ryan Smyth trade was a steal, although Smyth made that trade much easier by asking for it.
I don't blame him for Eric Belanger's awful production. No one could have seen that coming based on this consistent previous eight seasons. That is on the player and the coach for playing him in too many situations.
Ben Eager seems to have found his comfort zone. At least he brings some size, speed and lately more offense than the majority of the team.
Trying to fix the obvious lack of depth on the blueline with only Cam Barker. He'd be injury prone before coming here, and while a one-year deal wasn't a major risk, the fact he didn't bring in another veteran really derailed the Oilers chances of being competitive until March, once the inevitable Barker injury happened.
Of course the only stat that matters is wins, and regardless of all the injuries, the fact is under Tambellini the Oilers haven't improved in the standings. He stated that his goal was to play meaningful games until March this year, and the Oilers fell well short of that. It is hard to justify why he would get an extension, and I'll be curious to hear their reasons, if, or when this press conference happens.
My recommendation for Tambellini is as follows. The day they announce your extension, if they do, actually tell the fans what your philosophy for the future is. Don't colour around the edges. Give them the straight, honest truth. At least acknowledge what everyone sees. This team clearly still has too many players who don't know how to compete in the NHL on a nightly basis. What will you do to change that?
I'll have more on Tambellini when they officially announce his extension, I'm not sold they will, but Jones' article did surprise me this morning.
Considering the Oilers have lost to the Ducks, Blue Jackets and Flames recently, and didn't compete in two of those games, they'll be in tough tonight against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are 11-4-2 in their last 15, despite losing three of their last four, so they won't be taking the struggling Oilers lightly.
Expecting a victory tonight would be foolish, but the Oilers better at least show up. I was stunned on Saturday that the biggest story after the Calgary game was how Renney was supposedly an idiot for pulling the goalie.
The players, except for Taylor Hall, were an embarrassment. They didn't compete for the puck, they displayed no desire, they showed no pride in the uniform and they showed zero signs that they have enough players who know how to compete in the NHL. If you think a coaching change will cure all the woes of the Oilers you are kidding yourself. I'm not defending the coach by any means, but the lack of internal desire and drive from the players on Saturday night was pitiful.
If you are focused on pulling the goalie in a 5-2 loss, then you are looking at the wrong things. You'd prefer your coach to just sit back and lose 5-2? At least he tried something, the players did nothing. Many jumped on the fact that Hall clearly thought it was dumb to pull the goalie, when the entire country read his lips after the empty netter went through his feet.
Of course Hall was pissed off, and he wanted to vent his anger, but when he spoke yesterday he was much more annoyed about the lack of effort instead of pulling the goalie. I'm stunned how the fans are so easy to voice their displeasure at Tambellini, Renney and Horcoff, but don't look at the entire picture and realize that this team has had way too many passengers lately.
Do you honestly think they can win with this many players who are mentally soft?
The list of guys who need to look in the mirror and discover what it takes to succeed in the NHL is a long one. Lately only Hall and Ladislav Smid have shown any consistency in being professional and giving everything they have every game. (I'd include 14 and 93, but they haven't played enought recently.) If you believe it is up to the coach and captain to ensure the rest of the team has a heart you are delusional. Clearly, Horcoff needs to wake up, but so does the majority of the team.
The St. Louis Blues drafted Vladimir Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010, in fact they traded their 2009 first round pick, David Rundblad 17th, to the Senators to take Tarasenko in 2010, and the upstart Blues have another very talented and creative player in their organization. The 19 year-old is having a solid season in the KHL, and when he comes to the NHL the Blues will only get better.
That's one of the most creative moves I've seen. Great to see that in an All-Star Game.
Yesterday Ryan Whitney has this to say after practice.
"I did pretty well (on Renney's test) but I still don't know if I'll play tomorrow. When I get back I hope I last the whole year." Whitney.
Whitney won't play tonight, and might give it a go tomorrow. Reading between the lines, I wonder if Whitney plays tomorrow, still doesn't feel well, and then shuts it down for the rest of the year. I won't be surprised if that is the case. He isn't 100%.
At this point it's more of an educated guess as to who will play where tonight. I do know that Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk won't play tonight. Renney wouldn't elaborate why Eager is out, but it sounds like it is more of an attitude issue than production issue. I'm guessing Eager isn't' happy, but at least he's produced something lately.
Sitting Eager and Hordichuk doesn't send any sort of message. If Renney wanted to get the attention of this team he'd sit one of Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth or Ryan Jones. He needs more from those three. They all got off to good starts, but they haven't done much lately, especially Horcoff and Jones. If the coach wants to send a message staple them to the bench for a period if necessary.
Devan Dubnyk will start.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers don't have as much skill as the Sharks, and despite putting forth a much better effort than Saturday, which won't be hard, they come up short 3-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Nation will be bursting with emotion today. If one player doesn't compete tonight he'll be carved repeatedly in the comment sections.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just a hunch, but one of you who reads this today will win the 50/50 tonight. Lately it is the only reason people have stayed past the 2nd period.