TAMBELLINI EXTENSION OFFICIAL

Robin Brownlee
June 06 2012 11:37AM

It's been obvious for weeks that the Edmonton Oilers have extended the contract of general manager Steve Tambellini. Today, the team made it official by way of its Twitter feed:

Edmonton Oilers?@NHL_Oilers

"President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announces the #Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for GM Steve Tambellini"

Still waiting on a news release from the team. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: TAMBELLINI RELEASE

OILERS AND GM TAMBELLINI AGREE ON NEW CONTRACT

"President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for General Manager Steve Tambellini.

Kevin Lowe says, "Three years ago we asked Steve to begin a rebuild which we all know hasn't been easy.  However, Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers."

This past season saw Tambellini and the management team make Edmonton's second number one overall draft pick with the selection of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

After winning the 2012 Draft Lottery, the Oilers will have the opportunity to select first overall for the third consecutive time. Two years ago they chose Taylor Hall with their first ever number one pick.

Tambellini joined the Oilers on July 31, 2008, after 17 seasons as a member of the Vancouver Canucks management team. The 54-year-old native of Trail, British Columbia, served as the Canucks' Vice President and Assistant General Manager for three seasons (2005-06 to 2007-08). In his role with the Canucks, Tambellini was involved in all aspects of the team's hockey operations including contract negotiations, scouting and minor league affiliates.

Tambellini and Lowe have previously worked together as members of Team Canada's management team, helping lead Canada to success on the international stage. As Director of Player Personnel, Tambellini helped put together the roster that won the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was also a member of the management team for Team Canada's gold medal triumph at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He also served as the General Manager of Team Canada at the 2003 and 2005 IIHF World Hockey Championships, winning the gold medal in Finland in 2003 and silver in 2005.

Inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, Tambellini played 10 seasons in the NHL after being selected 15th overall in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Islanders. A member of New York's 1980 Stanley Cup championship team, the centre played 553 career NHL games with five NHL teams between 1978-79 and 1987-88. After scoring his first NHL goal with the Islanders in 1979-80, he went on to score 160 goals and 150 assists for 310 career points with 105 penalty minutes with New York, the Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks.

Tambellini's hockey roots run deep with Team Canada. Prior to working as a member of the management staff for Team Canada, he represented his country three times in international play. He won a bronze medal with the 1978 Canadian National Junior Team and finished fourth at both the 1981 IIHF World Hockey Championship and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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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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#2 dawgtoy
June 06 2012, 11:38AM
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Ok now prove us wrong Mr. Dithers

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#3 Senator Theo
June 06 2012, 11:39AM
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I still have hope that he was trying to finish last the past 3 years. OK, maybe just the last 2 years.

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#4 Matt Henderson
June 06 2012, 11:43AM
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Am I blind or does it not say how long the extension is for?

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#5 freeze
June 06 2012, 11:44AM
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*groans, bangs head on table*

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#6 Matt Henderson
June 06 2012, 11:52AM
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Either way, I tell you what. When he was hired and given the mandate to build a horrible club, One so bad that it would spend years as the laughing stock of the West, he took it to heart. Some might say that he was so keen on that mission that he started doing it BEFORE Katz even MENTIONED the word rebuild.

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#7 David S
June 06 2012, 11:54AM
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So the gist of the press release seems to say "Steve has had an outstanding record of failure leading to the team draftng Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and (soon) Nail Yakupov. Oilers real GM President of Hockey Operations was quoted as saying "Yay Steve!""

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#8 Scottie
June 06 2012, 11:54AM
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Help us all if it's for longer than 2 years...

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#9 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
June 06 2012, 11:59AM
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***heavy sigh***

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#10 The Farmer
June 06 2012, 12:00PM
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The positive of this announcement is that either the team will now be significantly better, or it will be the last extension he gets from the Oilers.

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#11 freeze
June 06 2012, 12:01PM
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"GM Tambellini will address the media this afternoon at @RiverCreeCasino where he's on-hand for the #Oilers pro scout meetings" - NHL_Oilers

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#12 oilersinsider
June 06 2012, 12:03PM
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His extension is whatever, but the rationale is insane. There is nothing challenging about what Tambellini has had to do. In fact, he's probably had the easiest GM job in the NHL.

#1 picks three years in a row are easy and he's really only been a supervisor not having to make the decision himself. He's made no trades of value, (in fact his trades have worked out poorly) he's signed no real difference makers in terms of UFA (in fact his signings have been suspect) and he's been lucky to not have to answer for the teams poor performance because they've been "rebuilding".

The initial stages of a rebuild are easy -- tank it and select high. It's the middle stages where everything counts. He better make sure he's ready to actually make some calls.

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#13 Clarko
June 06 2012, 12:03PM
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"Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers."

Well, anybody could have led this team to consecutive last place finishes along with finishing 29th this season. The question is, other than the easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick, what has Tambellini really done to improve this team? What talent has been acquired since he took over that anyone can envision playing a key role in the future when this team is contending?

Rewarding mediocrity should be the Oilers management's motto over these past 6 seasons.

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#14 MVParkerknox
June 06 2012, 12:06PM
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Yayyyy (like how Eric Foreman would say it) *Rolls eyes*

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#15 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 12:07PM
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David S wrote:

So the gist of the press release seems to say "Steve has had an outstanding record of failure leading to the team draftng Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and (soon) Nail Yakupov. Oilers real GM President of Hockey Operations was quoted as saying "Yay Steve!""

Meow I think the term "rebuild" implied that the team was gonna tank, and Oiler fans were directly told it would take some time.

Since that is exactly what happened I dont think anyone can use the term "failure".

The GM has successfully tanked on purpose 3 years in a row. With out this happening, the Oilers would not have Hall, RNH, and soon Yakupov.

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now in (a somewhat sarcastic) defense of Dithers, with the salary cap floor where it is, is it really that easy to get the first overall pick in 3 straight years? I mean to finish last or second last 3 straight years either takes genius or sever incompetence...   With Tambo unfortunately I'm pretty sure it’s the latter

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#17 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 12:16PM
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Clarko wrote:

"Oilers fans can take some consolation in the fact that Steve and his staff have acquired some amazing talent which will most definitely be the cornerstone to future sustained success for the Edmonton Oilers."

Well, anybody could have led this team to consecutive last place finishes along with finishing 29th this season. The question is, other than the easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick, what has Tambellini really done to improve this team? What talent has been acquired since he took over that anyone can envision playing a key role in the future when this team is contending?

Rewarding mediocrity should be the Oilers management's motto over these past 6 seasons.

Meow here is the most annoying question heard over and over and over again that makes absolutely no sense...

"The question is, other than the easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick, what has Tambellini really done to improve this team?"

The point was NOT to improve the team. If he had improved the team then the "easy part of taking the consensus #1 overall pick" would not have happened. The "easy part" was the outcome of not improving the team.

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#18 David S
June 06 2012, 12:18PM
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@Lead hands.

I agree. In this case I'd call the strategy "purposeful failure".

Also, that "Meow" thing is creepy man. Damn creepy.

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#19 oilersinsider
June 06 2012, 12:20PM
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@#94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

Unfortunately, by that rationale then, we're rewarding a guy with an extension for coming in last place 2 years in a row and second last for one when a monkey could have done better.

Not exactly glowing when teams that are willing to barely spend any money can do better than an Oilers team who is actually paying players "not" to come in last place.

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#20 Pronger's Wife
June 06 2012, 12:21PM
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It will be interesting to see how long the term is. It will likely be for three years, as they wouldn't sign the new coach to a contract that's longer than the GM's would they?

If it's only two years, what coach would want to sign a contract with a new team for only two years?

Or maybe Klowe went all Horcoff on Tamby and signed him for 6 years...

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#21 Kevin
June 06 2012, 12:21PM
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Reward for failure- Hmmm we will be expecting more of the the same results as long as we have the Klowe and Tambo duo running the show. This has to go down as a sad day in Oil history.

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#22 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
June 06 2012, 12:23PM
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3 years of pure failure and the result is a new contract? Is there any better indication that Tambo is just doing Katz's and Lowe's bidding? As far as being a puppet, Tambo is excellent.

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#23 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2012, 12:25PM
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@Brownlee loves the word meow

That's not accurate.

The G.M. has successfully tanked for two years in a row (and by his own statements expected significantly better results this year).

2009-10 was not a deliberate tank job. 2009-10 was a team built with the objective of making the playoffs finishing last in the NHL.

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#24 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 12:31PM
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David S wrote:

@Lead hands.

I agree. In this case I'd call the strategy "purposeful failure".

Also, that "Meow" thing is creepy man. Damn creepy.

Meow I know that it is creepy.. but I am in too deep now to go back.

Meow Meow

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#25 Will
June 06 2012, 12:38PM
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Has he made any good signings? I think his improvement of our AHL affiliate, his depth defensive signings (which in time will show to be brilliant picks) and signing (maybe not re-signing) Ryan Smyth were all great. Also, good call on Ryan Jones. The guy gets paid nothing, hardly plays, and still puts up respectable numbers.

I think we're all getting a little too impatient. True, being praised for loosing is kind of ridiculous, but I still think Tambo has done a nto horrible job with the rest of the club, and has a much further vision than the average fan.

I mean, we've been bad for a while, but there are other teams around the league that have been far worse for far longer. Maybe this will be the year maybe it won't. Regardless I bet in a few years from now someone here will write an article tracing how Tambo actually built the team we bring to the cup. Much in the same way it wasn't Brian Burke that built the Ducks who won, it was the previous general manager who I'm sure at the time of his firing was being crucified for having done a terrible job.

I see the mantra of, we're a better team than the standings suggest, coming true this year. Both St. Louis and LA were much better teams than initial standings suggested. It took a coaching change in St. Louis, and maybe LA to simply read their team roster, to demonstrate the same situation. In other words, it might not take much to be the team the players think they are capable of being.

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#26 madjam
June 06 2012, 12:40PM
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There goes the future ? No one left to blame but Katz perhaps ?

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#27 Quicksilver ballet
June 06 2012, 12:44PM
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We can only pray more than half of this contract turns out to be a severance package. Katz figured Tambellini could help take the Oilers to the next level in 2009, long before the rebuild went into action. How is he going to be the guy again at it if he's already failed once?

The optics of rewarding failure could carry a heavy price. Katz had a chance to bury the other half of the Souray debacle. The shaming of this franchise continues...

Thinking there was a legitimate concern about Tambellinis performance amongst season ticket holders. This is probably why they waited till the lions share of renewals were completed before making this announcement.

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#28 russ99
June 06 2012, 12:44PM
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"President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announces the Oilers have agreed to terms on a new contract for my puppet GM Steve Tambellini"

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#29 steelymac
June 06 2012, 12:45PM
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LOL 23 posts and not one defending dithers.Somewhere Tom Renney is mumbling to himself "that f#*$*n moron".

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#30 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 12:50PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Meow it is hard to judge if it is accurate or not.

I think the real shift was not getting Heatley and subsequently the plan changed. The brakes were tapped after that happened. They tried to win with what they had to work with after that and realized it wasn't going to work. Did they try and acquire people at the trade deadline that year? Or did they decide to tank it?

Visnovsky gone Staios gone Grebeshkov gone

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#31 russ99
June 06 2012, 12:51PM
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I do like much of what Tambellini has done this year, but have very little confidence that he's the guy to bring us to the next level.

The other issue is if he were let go, who would you bring in?

If you bring in an outside guy, he'd likely clean house with his own people. Stu does a great job with the draft, but who's to say if he'd be a good GM, and I can't think of anyone else in the organization short of Lowe (who doesn't want the job) that can do it.

IMO, this is part of Katz's plan. Status quo until the new arena opens...

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#32 Jonathan Willis
June 06 2012, 12:59PM
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@Brownlee loves the word meow

I don't see it as a difficult call. By the deadline they were selling, but in the summer they added Quinn and Khabibulin - hardly the pieces a rebuilding club goes after.

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#33 etownman
June 06 2012, 01:00PM
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Tambellini is doing fine! Acquire mega young assets first few years, put them in a position to learn & succeed & then fill the holes! Starting this year or least by the trade deadline Tamby will start filling the holes with players that want to play with these young stars! I'm prepared for a 7th to 10th finish in the West this coming year & making the playoffs for sure the next!!

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#34 Lexi
June 06 2012, 01:02PM
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I'm okay with the extension as long as they have no problem with firing him after this year if there is no significant improvement.

My observation in hockey is there are about 100 guys qualified to be NHL coaches and only about 5 guys qualified to be GM. The hard part is I have no clue who is the next great GM. Botterill is supposed to be an up and comer, but he is supposedly a cap genius and they have Martin and Michelak on Horcoff like contracts, and had no viable backup in the playoffs when Fleury collapsed. Fenton looks smart, but Nashville have drafted pretty mediocrely since the Suter, Weber year.

I was happy they got rid of Renney, because at least it shows the org wasn't satisfied with the last few years and now the focus is on ST. I believe getting two top 5 dmen and not screwing up the first rd pick and this team should be top 10 in the West unless DD falls apart.

The one thing I'm happy about is that as of now ST hasn't done anything colossally stupid that ruins this team's rebuild if they do have to get rid of him, like bad long term contracts or trading one of the kids for a veteran. To me the most important thing for this franchise in the next two years is to show enough progress, so that Hall will be willing to take a hometown discount to help the team win in the long run.

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#35 oilers2k12
June 06 2012, 01:14PM
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As long as he picks Yakupov I will be happy. Thats what matters..after all

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#36 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 01:23PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Meow you left out the other superstars that they grabbed to make this playoff push you are talking about... Chris Minard, Matt Nickerson, Dean Arsene, Mike Comrie(PR Move).

Like I said... AFTER the Heatley fiasco, plans changed. They went with what they had, knowing full well they were not going to be good enough to make the playoffs. Did they tank harder than expected? maybe. Did they make a choice to tank harder before the deadline? absolutely.

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#37 HockeyFan
June 06 2012, 01:23PM
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@oilersinsider

Dude, building a hockey team isn't easy! You must be the smartest man in the world. Tell me what you would do and lay out your plan. Let us know that you could do better with UFA's. Oh, that's right, your just on a blog site, not in Oilers Management. I think ST could have done worst, and by my estimation, he was a big part of building one of the most promising young hockey teams in the NHL. That goes far beyond drafting #1 over the past 3 years. Look at what's in the system and not just what is playing in the NHL. There is substance there.

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#38 oilersinsider
June 06 2012, 01:26PM
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I'll tell you what. If Tambellini can somehow pry Justin Schultz from Anaheim or convince him to play here (even if perhaps Schultz already wants to), I'll completely forgive any crappy moves Steve has made prior.

I only wish Schultz was available for signing on June 21 instead of June 24th so the Oilers had a clearer indication of whether or not they needed to draft by need instead of BPA.

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#39 The Soup Fascist
June 06 2012, 01:32PM
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Kudos on the extension, Steve! As a small token of congratulations, you have been presented with a consensus 1st overall draft pick - may we note, your third in a row. Do not even think of REGIFTING! We will view this as a huge slight and sign of disrespect which will result in us condemning you and your little squad to continued futility that will make the Leafs' 45-year Cup drought seem like a day at the park. In short, don't fu ... er ... foul it up!

Yours truly, The Hockey Gods

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#40 Clarko
June 06 2012, 01:33PM
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My question is if they were "intentionally tanking" the past three seasons, then why did they fire Renney? Did he lead the team to an "overachieving" 29th place when Tambo had designed this team for a clear cut 30th place finish?

It was clear to most of us that management had wanted to at least compete for a playoff spot this past season. They failed and reverted back to "we're in permanent rebuild mode" statements.

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#41 DieHard
June 06 2012, 01:37PM
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Katz, Lowe and Tambellini put together a re-build plan which included more than improvement in the standings. It's everything from drafting to proper player development to who gets contracts to cap issues and a lot of other things that are unseen by the casual fan. That's the infrastructure that must be in place before the "Open for Business" sign can be put up. They saw the FACT that UFA's are not coming just for the money. They had to do something else. It's a long term plan with the goal of being a top-shelf organization for many many years to come with a continuous stream of top prospects (even with late 1st round picks) and willing UFA's. The plan must continue. Solid players are here and more are coming. We just have to have patience. And if I'm wrong, I'll eat my comment at center ice.

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#42 oilersinsider
June 06 2012, 01:43PM
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@HockeyFan

Am I "smartest man in the world"? Of course not. I'm not even the most interesting which is reserved for the Dos Equis guy.

An NHL GM? Nope. But if you read the whole post, I'm not against the Tambellini signing. I'm against the rationale for the Tambellini signing.

To answer your question though, and provide just a couple examples, I'd never have given an over 35 yr goalie on the decline a 4 yr contract. I'd not have traded Erik Cole at the deadline instead asking the coach to play him in the right position. I'd have addressed the blue line last year with much more aggressiveness than Cam Barker. I'd have signed some veteran depth in case of injury which has killed this team. And I'd have let Stu MacGregor do his job, like Steve Tambellini has done.

MacGregor and his scouting staff are to thank for the AHL and international hockey depth. Not Tambellini.

To give any credit to Tambellini might be in the Potter, Jones or Dannis picks up. That's about it.

And Tambellini hasn't begun building a team yet. He's torn one down, let his scouting staff build one and is now at the point where building the pieces around the current draft picks becomes critical.

Time will tell if he can do that.

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#43 sizzler
June 06 2012, 01:43PM
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Rolling the dice.....meeting the scout at rivercreek

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#44 Quicksilver ballet
June 06 2012, 01:46PM
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Bhah, why are we getting so worked up about this. Steve isn't in charge here, he's just the cardboard cutout the Oilers throw out there in front of the media a couple times a year. Nothing gets done around here till it passes through the Oilers tribal council meetings they hold. Steve gets only one of possibly a dozen votes, hardly controlling interest as far as decisions go. This signing is much ado about nothing.

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#45 vetinari
June 06 2012, 01:56PM
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Worst kept secret in hockey. We all knew that he had an extension. It's a shame that Renney lost his job while Tambi continues on (I think that they needed to be treated as a pair and either kept or released on the same basis).

I disagree on the use of the phrase "[A]fter winning the 2012 Draft Lottery..." because, although it is technically true, we were the 29th best team in a 30 team league last year and never actually "won" anything (not points, not wins and certainly not any respect from around the league).

Let me help Tambi out for a minute... when January comes along and we are either mathematically eliminated from the playoff race or just simply "underperforming" in the standings, he can dust off one of these convenient excuses to explain our performance:

1. injuries to key players (the "go to" chestnut);

2. underperforming star players, including the kids (there is always a convenient slump or two to blame team perfomance on);

3. underperforming veterans (reserved for Belanger, Eager, Horcoff, Whitney, Khabibulin and Hemsky); and,

4. players getting adjusted to the new coach and vice versa (a guarantee at some point).

Certainly, none of this is the GM's fault for failing to sign, trade or develop players to meet team needs.

My question is: what will Tambi's performance in 2012-13 be measured against? Is the goal a 10-15 point increase in the standings? Is the goal a playoff spot? What is the real benchmark for 2012-13?

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#46 CaptainLander
June 06 2012, 01:59PM
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Not really to upset about it, he is a bit of a Dark Knight, being the GM the Oilers need not the one the fans want. The key to what Lowe said is "sustainable success" Personally I will bite my tongue for 2 more years if it provides a Detroit like playoff longevity. Using previous teams as a model you can see how his do nothing approach can work. Now at the end to 2014 if we do not see 10 years of consistency with having a solid winning team. Even 2 cups would be a huge success, well get out the tar and feathers. But for people 3 years ago to say "yes burn it all down and start from scratch", then turn around 3 years later and say it was "3 years of failure because we did not make the playoffs, and were at the bottom" Well now you just sounds like a fan of a professional sports team. 2 years ST, 2 year to be my Dark Night.

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#47 Brownlee loves the word meow
June 06 2012, 02:09PM
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Clarko wrote:

My question is if they were "intentionally tanking" the past three seasons, then why did they fire Renney? Did he lead the team to an "overachieving" 29th place when Tambo had designed this team for a clear cut 30th place finish?

It was clear to most of us that management had wanted to at least compete for a playoff spot this past season. They failed and reverted back to "we're in permanent rebuild mode" statements.

Meow they didnt fire Renney. His contract was up. They had a choice to make... obviously they think someone better is out there for the current spot of the rebuild.

P.S. Every team says they are expecting/wanting to compete for the playoffs. Depth signings dont get the last place team into the playoffs. Actions speak louder than words.

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#48 book¡e
June 06 2012, 02:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's not accurate.

The G.M. has successfully tanked for two years in a row (and by his own statements expected significantly better results this year).

2009-10 was not a deliberate tank job. 2009-10 was a team built with the objective of making the playoffs finishing last in the NHL.

This is as overly simplistic as those who call that season a tank job. When Khabbi went down Tambellini announced the tank was on. He could have chose to pick up a goalie and a few parts to perhaps end up 23rd or something. So, yes, that was a failed effort at building a competitive team, but 2/3 of the season was an intentional tank.

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#49 Glenn Schwarz
June 06 2012, 02:30PM
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Doesn't matter how long he gets (3 years most liely) if he doesn't get this team close or into the playoffs he's done simple as that. He has this year to prove he can do the job if not i expect he'll get shown the door.

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#50 glenn schwarz
June 06 2012, 02:34PM
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don't agree that he's lowes puppet. When Lowe was GM he didn't sit on his hands he made deals some good ie2006 some bad ie 2007 but he didn't just watch on the sidelines if he was still pulling the strings i think we would see a more proactive

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