January 31 2012 10:05PM
When the rumor mill spit out last week that Steve Tambellini was going to get a contract extension it set off a lot of debate. Should he be extended or not? Does he deserve it? Should Tom Renney be extended as well?
I believe that both Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini should remain in their positions next season. I have been a part of organizations that change coaches and/or GM's frequently. It does not work. Bringing in a new philosophy would mean a change of course for the team.
This could mean a new approach to drafting and free agent signing. It could set the team back at a important time in the rebuilding process. Each GM has a vision of the team he would like to ice. Having a coach that can implement a system that will mesh with the types of players the GM acquires is very important.
Before the lockout I was playing with the Chicago Blackhawks. Mike Smith was the GM and the coach was Brian Sutter.
Talk About a Mismatch
Mike favored european players, specifically Russian so he was always adding that type of player for a coach who believed in meat and potatoes hockey. Telling a Russian skilled forward to dump it in and run someone over didn't work. The team never had a chance at success with that combination.
I believe that Tambellini and Renney are on the same page. The Buffalo Sabres are a great example of a GM and coach duo that works and has brought a lot of stability to an organization that has had reasons not to be (ownership issues). Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff are very good and respected throughout the league.
Before the season, many people expected the Sabres to be near the top of the eastern conference. With all the big signings and trades they did in the off season it was a reasonable expectation. However it has not been a great year for the Sabres. Injuries to key players have killed their record. Now people are demanding changes to the management and coaching positions.
Does this story sound familiar? I think it is near impossible to judge how good a team the Oilers are when top players are out for extended periods. Take a look at the D-man injuries to Whitney and Barker. It put to much pressure of the D-corps. They are both twenty minute guys and you can't replace that for months. Throw in Gilbert's injury and that is three of your top four D-men out.
The consecutive seasons with high man games lost are what concern me. Yes, many of the injuries have been flukes but this has been happening for three or four years now. Is that really bad luck or is it a pattern that has developed? I think more rest days would reduce some of those fluky injuries. Now is the not the time to make radical changes. Stay the course and say your prayers that the injury bug finally moves on to another team next year. A healthy team for 82 games would be a nice change and improve the teams record.
Last night I scored an empty net goal. The first of my career. I thought back door tap-ins were easy but without the goalie between the pipes my chance of goal scoring success goes up at least a few points!