Pressing the advantage

Jonathan Willis
August 21 2012 09:58AM

Nail Yakupov (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Edmonton Oilers have had a pretty good summer, all things considered. Nail Yakupov is a nice addition to the group of talented young forwards already on the team. Justin Schultz is exactly the sort of player the team needs – a top prospect in the same age range as the current cluster, the kind of guy who should help a bit now and a lot more over the long haul. Bringing back veteran forward Ryan Smyth helps.

For all the good, however, things could have been better.

The problem is that with all due respect to the Oilers efforts with regard to the three players listed above, in each case it was a situation where good things fell into their lap. The NHL draft lottery provided the chance to pick Yakupov, rather than Ryan Murray. In the case of Justin Schultz, every team in the league wanted to sign him, and while the Oilers made the hard sell it was more a case of the player choosing the team than the team choosing the player. Ryan Smyth’s deal didn’t get done until the 11th hour, when Smyth took a modest two-year deal to stay with the team he had orchestrated a trade back to.

The Oilers did good work in all three instances – taking Yakupov rather than being tempted by a defenceman, pushing hard for Schultz, and getting Smyth to sign a bargain contract – but none of the moves involved taking the initiative to go out and improve the team. There was no ‘this team is looking at playoff hockey, and to get there will do X’ moment – they took what was handed them and left it at that.

Thus, the problems of last season look likely to be the problems of this season as well.

In net, where Devan Dubnyk will be the incumbent starter, there is no insurance policy. The Oilers could have cheaply bought out Nikolai Khabibulin and upgraded the position but instead they’re going to stick with the same tandem, even though it means there’s no reliable insurance policy if Dubnyk falters. Khabibulin’s the number two, and Yann Danis is a good number three, just like last season.

On defence, just like last season, the team will lean hard on Ryan Whitney and hope that this time he’s 100% healthy all season long. Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid performed well when thrown to the wolves last year, so they get to try and repeat that success. The only addition is Schultz the younger, despite the fact that it’s remarkably easy to imagine a situation where the team is in trouble on the back end right out of the gate:

Consider the following scenario: Ryan Whitney’s injury problems flare up in training camp, Justin Schultz struggles early, and at age 37 Andy Sutton loses a step from last season. It’s a pessimistic scenario, to be sure, but also entirely plausible. If that happens, suddenly the Oilers eight-deep defensive group has just three legitimate top-four defensemen (none of them in the ‘#1 NHL defenseman’ mold) with the fourth spot in the top four a toss-up between a struggling Justin Schultz and Corey Potter. The lesser of that duo gets to pair with either a slowing Andy Sutton or Theo Peckham on the third pairing.

Up front, it’s the same group as last year. The young core should (with health, and barring slumps) all continue on an upward trajectory. The depth players of a year ago – including two guys in Darcy Hordichuk and Lennart Petrell that were major contributors to one of the worst fourth lines in hockey – are all back. The status quo rules, barring the addition of Yakupov.

Could things have been different?

A Brief-ish Historical Interlude

This subject change is going to feel a little jarring, but give it a moment and everything will tie together. Most people are probably aware that Horatio Nelson is generally seen as the best naval commander of his age, possibly in history. His strategic brilliance and his ability to inspire loyalty and even love in his subordinates (the term “band of brothers” was coined by Nelson initially referred to a tight-knit group of captains who served with him) are often cited when singing his praises, but he’s far from the only tactically brilliant or inspirational officer the Royal Navy produced. At the heart of Nelson’s legend was a unique gift he had for pressing home the advantage: when given any opportunity, he made the absolute most of it.

It is important to understand that sea battles in that age were generally a game of cat-and-mouse: intelligence gathering was uncertain, and it was often difficult for the commander of one fleet to know where his enemy was. Additionally, once a fleet had reached a safe port, it was virtually unassailable. With the support of shore batteries, a strong defensive position and often a choke point which limited the ability of attacking vessels to concentrate their strength, blockades became more common than actual battles. Adding to the risk for the attacker was the fact that charts were often inaccurate – a defender knew exactly how close to shore he could get without running aground, while the attacker rarely did.

Nelson, however, always forced a battle when handed an opportunity to engage.

At the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, he disobeyed an order from his commanding officer and engaged the Spanish fleet headlong: within 10 minutes of leaving the British formation, his 74-gun ship was directly fighting with seven Spanish opponents, with three of those boasting more than 100 guns. Nelson’s crew captured two Spanish vessels and led to the rest of the fleet coming to his support.

At the Battle of the Nile, he attacked a French fleet in a nearly unassailable position immediately after spotting them: the French admiral was so surprised by the move that he initially assumed the British were confused, since no enemy would risk an attack under such conditions. Unfortunately for the French, they had anchored too far from shore and Nelson was able to split his fleet and attack from both sides – the French fleet ultimately lost 11 of their 13 ships of the line (the British lost none) and suffered roughly six times as many casualties as the British. In Nelson’s words as he surveyed the aftermath: “Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene.”

At the Battle of Copenhagen, his superior argued for limiting Denmark’s ability to engage through a blockade; Nelson instead convinced him that the ideal approach was to sail into Copenhagen harbor, give the Danes an ultimatum and if it were turned down then to “annihilate” their fleet. That’s what they did. At one point, the battle was going so poorly that Nelson’s superior gave the signal to withdraw, reasoning “If he is in condition to continue the action, he will disregard it; if he is not, it will be an excuse for his retreat and no blame can be imputed to him.” Nelson, naturally, chose to disregard the order (famously holding his telescope to his blind eye and saying “I really do not see the signal!”) and instead told the Danes that they could surrender or he could start burning the ship he’d already disabled with their crews still aboard. The Danes surrendered, and their ships were either taken as prizes or destroyed.

At the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson made perhaps his boldest decision. The tactical thinking of the day suggested that each fleet form into a line and exchange fire; unfortunately for the superior fleet, such a tactic also typically made it easy for an enemy to disengage once it was clear they had lost. Instead, Nelson organized his ships into two lines and aimed to split the French/Spanish formation. Because of the way ships were built (with guns on the sides, not the front) the tactic exposed his fleet to the massed firepower of its opponent while they closed the gap, and they were unable to inflict any real damage in that time period themselves. It was a terrible risk, but Nelson was justified by the result: a decisive victory. The French and Spanish lost 22 ships, the British none; the British side suffered less than 2,000 casualties while their opponents (including men captured) took seven times that number. Nelson died in the fighting, but the battle established Britain as the world’s only dominant power at sea.

Back To Hockey

Nelson was, above all else, not content to allow things to develop in an ordinary fashion. He was always pushing, always pressing, always actively looking to improve his situation.

It’s something the Oilers could have done this summer, to some extent even something they could still do. An ambitious general manager, one reaching out to grab hold of a playoff spot rather than idly sitting back and waiting for his team to rise to the challenge, would have had a busy off-season.

In net, Nikolai Khabibulin would be gone. He’s been hurt or playing poorly for the majority of his three years in Oilers silks. A particularly crafty general manager might possibly have dealt the veteran, but failing that a buyout and replacement via trade or free agency would have made good sense. The Oilers could have somebody on the team to push Dubnyk, somebody to lean on if Dubnyk falters early. They don’t, and that’s on management.

Another defenceman would have been added – even if it meant trading or waiving a Corey Potter or Theo Peckham. The Oilers have strength in numbers but they lack top-end ability on the blue line and the depth guys – the Potters, Peckhams and Suttons – aren’t the kind of players anybody wants to see in the top-four. The addition could have been made via trade or free agency – for that matter, given that Carlo Colaiacovo and Michal Rozsival and Milan Jurcina are all still unsigned the team could still shore up the position. They haven’t, and if injuries hit early they will regret it.

Up front, bringing back the same fourth line from last year is hard to defend. While the individuals involved – Lennart Petrell, Darcy Hordichuk, Ben Eager and Eric Belanger – all have good points, the unit got hammered last year. How hard would it have been to make an upgrade there – or higher up the lineup, bumping a guy like Ryan Jones down a slot to start the season? Would it have been that difficult to let Petrell walk, demote Ryan Jones to the fourth line (until injuries hit) and bring in a veteran to play with Smyth and Horcoff?

These are things an aggressive general manager might have done. The fact that the Oilers didn’t isn’t the end of the world – they still added good players, and with the heart of the team being quite young they ought to be better in 2012-13. All the same, an opportunity was missed.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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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#1 The Soup Fascist
August 21 2012, 11:30AM
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"Most people are probably aware that Horatio Nelson is generally seen as the best naval commander of his age, possibly in history."

...you give us too much credit. I would have sworn he was the d-bag on CSI Miami.

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#2 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 21 2012, 10:09AM
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No excuse for not landing a platoon goalie, a veteran Dman and a bottom 6 winger... Tambillini fails once again(though I guess the off season isn't over yet)

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#3 Wax Man Riley
August 21 2012, 05:53PM
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With this roster,it is the same team we looked at last year with a new coach. The key will be what system the coach has them playing. They need a system of team oriented systemic systemness. With a team all playing a system we will see a system of team play that utilises the systems of offense and minding the defense system. With a system of gaps systemically playing team system defense, the team will improve.

If the offensive system, combined with a defensive system and a team oriented system of thinking, is combined with a new system of gaps and space control, then any team can be good. We can have the Oil Kings playing am offensive system but concentrating on a defensive system and compete to be competitive in a system with a Stanley cup. In my system I put all rookies and unproven players against the top lines since the system they play means they don't have to move to play defense and all buying into the system will mean systems of winning with offense.

Once the system is implemented then a system of winning would constitute a systemic defense of victory along with a team oriented system of offense. Then the systems being used now would no longer be systems. In my system, the best players stay on the bench and the worst players play against the best players since the defense system is combined with an offense system to systematically systematize the systematic systonian systeminites.

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#4 BurkeTheTurd
August 21 2012, 10:49AM
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Tambo had a few easy pickups and one resign but he needed to do more. Yes the team will get better slowly which is good, but why not help speed up the process. Frustrating....

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#5 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 09:59AM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Maybe Big George got bored with the radio show?

I worked the non-union Oilrigs for years and then worked Uniononised construction for years and can simply say that I never quite accepted the Union system.

I was a Job Steward on several different jobs,I was once in an archaeic motion actually voted in to the position by my peers ,by the members themselves,in the construction Union I was in NO ONE did this,the Hall sent out their patsys to spew propoganda down our throats.There are rules that allow members to choose their own Stewards through an onsite vote displaceing the official Hall choice of representative,but the vote must be unanimous to stand.This only happened once in my years in the Union and some members with decades in the Hall had never seen this type of vote work out because of the need for a 100% consensus,imagine trying to get a room full of construction fellas on the same page at the same time long enough for them to collectively agree on whats for lunch never mind an administrative action.

Well I managed to bring them together,and lets just say I opened up a real can"o"worms for myself there,I had the privilage of earning myself a fast track course in Union supported labor dynamics,lets just say I have left it at that for many years,even I wont go into the dynamics behind those Union money machines,there is a certain personal safety line that it is a good idea not to go over.

I learned years after I joined my union that there was an even more efficient similar system,in that indusrty it was call C.L,A.C,but there are other similar group agreements [Costco}that are not unions that can achieve amazeing and substantial goals when utilised properly,and these organisations are cheaper to run and not as aggressively postured as a union is.

It is always nice to see a system at work if it is efficient ,and every group needs a starting point so Kudos to those involved on the ground floor,dont expect to be hearing much from Big George for the next few years if he stays iinvolved,this aint no radio show George,you are in for a ride,but you seem like a smart cookie,strap yourself in big guy and slip in a mouth guard ,things are going to get bumpy,ha ha ha,no wonder you are finding yourself there George ,there is a challenge there as big as you are,good luck George and all the fellas involved,i gaurantee you something,you will be fast tracked on the learning curve undoubtably.

Personally I prefer systems if possible which tactical minds have NOT had a long and storied history of picking apart.Unions are long and historied,other less structured organisations may seem weaker at first glance,but when you consider flexability and manouverability there is something left to be desired in a Union dynamic,something that is still present in a non-union organisational agreement dynamic.

I swore off of this Union addiction years ago after they shafted me completely,at the end of the day there was no cohesive effort to support me,when the chips were down the Union fell back on its self-serveing structure and told me that there were so many other members working on the site I was on that it was a loseing proposition for the Hall to file grievances for one member when the action would cost the jobs of two hundred{then my rep took pro-active aggressive steps to undermine me the member} ,so as I said at the end of the day should you be hurt or disadvantaged by your employer,your union will be in bed with your enemy, if you pull back the covers.I was severely injured and havent worked in almost seven years,i have been fighting WCB,my ex-employer and my ex-union,but they have worked together to cumultaively disempower me as an individual,each of the three groups have their own fiscally motivated agendas and they are HAPPY to be able to work together to screw as many injured or wronged employees as they possibly can,after all its money in the bank for everyone.All they do is work together to indirectly crush you fiscally by denying and delaying your insurance moneys through coersive manipulation of data resulting in denial of benefits for mutually supportive but BS reason{and you cant sue them so they run rampant on your butt--so they actually outright lie--there is no in house discipline and remember you cant sue if you join a Union they get that call}--till you are to broke and fiscally devestated to fight back,till you cant even feed your family and yourself,it is a sick sick dynamic,sorry George,but methinks you are on the wrong team,but thats just my take on the issue,had I personally investigated the Union I joined I wouldnt have joined it on principal,but it was job-attatched,you want the money you sign here,that in itself is a captive dynamic that I shouldnt have had to face,but everyone does.

I suffered a bi-lateral subluxation of my hips,believe it or not it is almost always a sports injury and the way I suffered the injurys wasnt even remotely similar at first glance and as a result of a combonation of a difficult initial diagnosis, typical medical oversight combined with Employer lies and WCB lies,and Union timely INACTION, the proper diagnisis took almost three years and it was done my me myself ,and then verified by my G.P.and then by two ortho specialists,one the leader in Alberta.I was 100% dead on with my own diagnosis that SIX prior doctors includeing specialist couldnt come to due to the provision of BS and the timely execution of a few adminisrtrativre tactics by the trifecta of evil,which resulted in innaccurate and misleading data provision,intentional goose chases and missed deadlines and the such.Each action causeing me to suffer incredible pain and suffering and further injury,I was still forced to work a construction job after partially dislocateing BOTH hips and severly injureing my spine on the job because my employers and WCB and my Union all absconded from their responsibilitys and took pro-active action to supress data related to my injuries,their severity and their responsibility of supporting an injured person as they were all paid to do in one form or another.Yes,sure,litigation is pending,ha hahaha,havent you been paying attention to the Occupy movements??I cant sue because I have been immobilised fiscally,Most of the world is past the conspiracy stage and believes and pays attention to the vast and criminal organisations who are running our world today,I am the victim of several of them but I am still fighting.

You think hockey convention even makes me blink,after spending this many years fighting real dragons???HA!!Do you think going up against an NHL coach is any harder than takeing on a WCB paid assasin orthopedic speciallist who is useing 40yrs of medical fraud experience to screw me?HA!!CHALLENGE!! Do you think I got a shiny little trophy after I jammed the BS diagnosis down that specialists and five other professionals throats and forced them to capitulate to me and my own brand of medicine based on data??All I got was more legal ammunition I may never be able to use.

I am sorry for the long post but really,I would be remiss to just sit on the fence,run like hell from the union as players,dont let that monster near you,Unions are dieing out anyways as their traditional powerbases are fadeing,they were really something that benefitted the boomers and their generation,there are to many ways for the truth to be discovered today,so a Union is a waste of money,everyone will be in court all the time,dont assume Unions are not just another way to manipulate the working man by simple riseing above his head and paying off a few of his true brothers to screw him in the ear.

Look up the history of unions and you will find that they are just simple communication conduits,another layer of complication,a way to negotiate the workers out of decision makeing power individually indirectly,a huge war chest of money that makes the little guy happy but does essentially nothing for him,the days of there being so many workers that there was a concern over fair wages and conditions ARE OVER,there are going to be severe labor shortages until i die,what dont you think mexicans can play NHL hockey,get my drift,we are short of everyone right now not tomorrow,unions are actually regressive now and to form one now just lets the employer have his hands in your pudding a little longer thats all,why wouild you want to create a new union when all the old ones are dieing off naturally because the dynamic that validated their creation had disappeared??

The need for a paid communication conduit is not there any more,so what good is a Union??

Its like trying to use the trap against the NHS,it wont work,it USED to work,but isnt that the feeling you always get when you fail to count your rounds and finally get a clear shot only to hear that hollow metallic click of a fireing pin snapping into an empty chamber??

Sometimes if you get caught up in the action you fail to recognise that the reason you have been missing is because dureing the heat of the action your target has moved a little.Thats why you hear the term "double-tap"it means short controlled bursts between which you visually reaquire your target ensureing a better overall accuracy percentage from your clip of ammo.

Form a non-union loose collective group,not a union,then let that be a shot over the bow of the NHL,then pause and reaquire your target,dont empty your clip in the heat of the moment,your target is experienced and a trophy.And they have way more money than you do.

I have a headache,I am outta here,jesus,unions again.Run Forrest ,run.

Can you go into a little more depth please.

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 21 2012, 11:11AM
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BurkeTheTurd wrote:

I always wanted to give him a fair chance and after 4? seasons with the Oilers I haven't seen him do too much. That said, he is losing favour with me. I really want a goalie upgrade and a new D man or two..haha

Might be time to be re-born as TambiliniTheTurd

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#7 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
August 21 2012, 02:17PM
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The status quo in goal is unsettling. Handing Dubnyk the starting job before he's shown he's capable, along with the pay stub is premature. Outside of the 10-15 strong games a yr we'll receive from Khabibulin, there's nobody to push him.

Weak in goal and on the blueline....hopefully the boobie prize will be worth another yr of this. Tanking is very much alive and well during the offseason in Edmonton, Steve has become the master of it during his time here.

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#8 Wax Man Riley
August 21 2012, 03:57PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Horatio Horatio where art thou? We need you and need you now.........our GM is gloating having landed the biggest catch of our recent history, but truth be known the fish jumped into the boat!

Tamby was given the thumbs up by Vancouver because they knew he was totally useless, incompetent, and risk adverse.........so when the Oilers came calling Vancouver played the jilted girlfriend routine to perfection. We should do the same and encourage others to look at our crafty, visionary, GM as a legitimate option for their team.

This only people that take this guy seriously are KLowe and Katz, everyone else has figured out that the emperor has no clothes!

There are no deals coming to improve our options at defense or goal, yea he may have a hundred coals in the fire, but never a deal.

My guess, and it comes from watching KLowe follow Tambo around everywhere, is that they don't take him seriously.

KLowe built a cup contender. I don't think he is an idiot. I think he and Katz decided on a rebuild and thought "We need a patsy to frame this on..."

Tambo is the perfect patsy. He reminds me of G. W. Bush when he speaks. He is just clueless.

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#9 BurkeTheTurd
August 22 2012, 10:03AM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Maybe Big George got bored with the radio show?

I worked the non-union Oilrigs for years and then worked Uniononised construction for years and can simply say that I never quite accepted the Union system.

I was a Job Steward on several different jobs,I was once in an archaeic motion actually voted in to the position by my peers ,by the members themselves,in the construction Union I was in NO ONE did this,the Hall sent out their patsys to spew propoganda down our throats.There are rules that allow members to choose their own Stewards through an onsite vote displaceing the official Hall choice of representative,but the vote must be unanimous to stand.This only happened once in my years in the Union and some members with decades in the Hall had never seen this type of vote work out because of the need for a 100% consensus,imagine trying to get a room full of construction fellas on the same page at the same time long enough for them to collectively agree on whats for lunch never mind an administrative action.

Well I managed to bring them together,and lets just say I opened up a real can"o"worms for myself there,I had the privilage of earning myself a fast track course in Union supported labor dynamics,lets just say I have left it at that for many years,even I wont go into the dynamics behind those Union money machines,there is a certain personal safety line that it is a good idea not to go over.

I learned years after I joined my union that there was an even more efficient similar system,in that indusrty it was call C.L,A.C,but there are other similar group agreements [Costco}that are not unions that can achieve amazeing and substantial goals when utilised properly,and these organisations are cheaper to run and not as aggressively postured as a union is.

It is always nice to see a system at work if it is efficient ,and every group needs a starting point so Kudos to those involved on the ground floor,dont expect to be hearing much from Big George for the next few years if he stays iinvolved,this aint no radio show George,you are in for a ride,but you seem like a smart cookie,strap yourself in big guy and slip in a mouth guard ,things are going to get bumpy,ha ha ha,no wonder you are finding yourself there George ,there is a challenge there as big as you are,good luck George and all the fellas involved,i gaurantee you something,you will be fast tracked on the learning curve undoubtably.

Personally I prefer systems if possible which tactical minds have NOT had a long and storied history of picking apart.Unions are long and historied,other less structured organisations may seem weaker at first glance,but when you consider flexability and manouverability there is something left to be desired in a Union dynamic,something that is still present in a non-union organisational agreement dynamic.

I swore off of this Union addiction years ago after they shafted me completely,at the end of the day there was no cohesive effort to support me,when the chips were down the Union fell back on its self-serveing structure and told me that there were so many other members working on the site I was on that it was a loseing proposition for the Hall to file grievances for one member when the action would cost the jobs of two hundred{then my rep took pro-active aggressive steps to undermine me the member} ,so as I said at the end of the day should you be hurt or disadvantaged by your employer,your union will be in bed with your enemy, if you pull back the covers.I was severely injured and havent worked in almost seven years,i have been fighting WCB,my ex-employer and my ex-union,but they have worked together to cumultaively disempower me as an individual,each of the three groups have their own fiscally motivated agendas and they are HAPPY to be able to work together to screw as many injured or wronged employees as they possibly can,after all its money in the bank for everyone.All they do is work together to indirectly crush you fiscally by denying and delaying your insurance moneys through coersive manipulation of data resulting in denial of benefits for mutually supportive but BS reason{and you cant sue them so they run rampant on your butt--so they actually outright lie--there is no in house discipline and remember you cant sue if you join a Union they get that call}--till you are to broke and fiscally devestated to fight back,till you cant even feed your family and yourself,it is a sick sick dynamic,sorry George,but methinks you are on the wrong team,but thats just my take on the issue,had I personally investigated the Union I joined I wouldnt have joined it on principal,but it was job-attatched,you want the money you sign here,that in itself is a captive dynamic that I shouldnt have had to face,but everyone does.

I suffered a bi-lateral subluxation of my hips,believe it or not it is almost always a sports injury and the way I suffered the injurys wasnt even remotely similar at first glance and as a result of a combonation of a difficult initial diagnosis, typical medical oversight combined with Employer lies and WCB lies,and Union timely INACTION, the proper diagnisis took almost three years and it was done my me myself ,and then verified by my G.P.and then by two ortho specialists,one the leader in Alberta.I was 100% dead on with my own diagnosis that SIX prior doctors includeing specialist couldnt come to due to the provision of BS and the timely execution of a few adminisrtrativre tactics by the trifecta of evil,which resulted in innaccurate and misleading data provision,intentional goose chases and missed deadlines and the such.Each action causeing me to suffer incredible pain and suffering and further injury,I was still forced to work a construction job after partially dislocateing BOTH hips and severly injureing my spine on the job because my employers and WCB and my Union all absconded from their responsibilitys and took pro-active action to supress data related to my injuries,their severity and their responsibility of supporting an injured person as they were all paid to do in one form or another.Yes,sure,litigation is pending,ha hahaha,havent you been paying attention to the Occupy movements??I cant sue because I have been immobilised fiscally,Most of the world is past the conspiracy stage and believes and pays attention to the vast and criminal organisations who are running our world today,I am the victim of several of them but I am still fighting.

You think hockey convention even makes me blink,after spending this many years fighting real dragons???HA!!Do you think going up against an NHL coach is any harder than takeing on a WCB paid assasin orthopedic speciallist who is useing 40yrs of medical fraud experience to screw me?HA!!CHALLENGE!! Do you think I got a shiny little trophy after I jammed the BS diagnosis down that specialists and five other professionals throats and forced them to capitulate to me and my own brand of medicine based on data??All I got was more legal ammunition I may never be able to use.

I am sorry for the long post but really,I would be remiss to just sit on the fence,run like hell from the union as players,dont let that monster near you,Unions are dieing out anyways as their traditional powerbases are fadeing,they were really something that benefitted the boomers and their generation,there are to many ways for the truth to be discovered today,so a Union is a waste of money,everyone will be in court all the time,dont assume Unions are not just another way to manipulate the working man by simple riseing above his head and paying off a few of his true brothers to screw him in the ear.

Look up the history of unions and you will find that they are just simple communication conduits,another layer of complication,a way to negotiate the workers out of decision makeing power individually indirectly,a huge war chest of money that makes the little guy happy but does essentially nothing for him,the days of there being so many workers that there was a concern over fair wages and conditions ARE OVER,there are going to be severe labor shortages until i die,what dont you think mexicans can play NHL hockey,get my drift,we are short of everyone right now not tomorrow,unions are actually regressive now and to form one now just lets the employer have his hands in your pudding a little longer thats all,why wouild you want to create a new union when all the old ones are dieing off naturally because the dynamic that validated their creation had disappeared??

The need for a paid communication conduit is not there any more,so what good is a Union??

Its like trying to use the trap against the NHS,it wont work,it USED to work,but isnt that the feeling you always get when you fail to count your rounds and finally get a clear shot only to hear that hollow metallic click of a fireing pin snapping into an empty chamber??

Sometimes if you get caught up in the action you fail to recognise that the reason you have been missing is because dureing the heat of the action your target has moved a little.Thats why you hear the term "double-tap"it means short controlled bursts between which you visually reaquire your target ensureing a better overall accuracy percentage from your clip of ammo.

Form a non-union loose collective group,not a union,then let that be a shot over the bow of the NHL,then pause and reaquire your target,dont empty your clip in the heat of the moment,your target is experienced and a trophy.And they have way more money than you do.

I have a headache,I am outta here,jesus,unions again.Run Forrest ,run.

Im starting up a union, would you be interested in leading it?

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#10 mayorpoop
August 21 2012, 10:11AM
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you must also be referring to Homlgren in Philly.

that boy got some balls.

mr. dithers meanwhile...

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#11 Lochenzo
August 21 2012, 11:01AM
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I would call Kevin Lowe the Lord Nelson of Oiler GMs. He was never scared to pull the trigger.

Lots of teams need to add defense, yet there are some decent free agent Dmen still available. I think that everyone is watching the CBA negotiations and waiting to see what happens. The Oilers benefited last time with the implementation of the salary cap. Not only was this important from the perspective of a small franchise, but it also meant some teams had to dump salary, thus the opportunity to add Chris Pronger. I don't think that same opportunity will present itself this time. If the cap is reduced, then salary roll back would make sense. But you never know and that's why most GMs are waiting.

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#12 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 21 2012, 11:02AM
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BurkeTheTurd wrote:

Tambo had a few easy pickups and one resign but he needed to do more. Yes the team will get better slowly which is good, but why not help speed up the process. Frustrating....

I thought you loved Tambilini, Turd?

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#13 BurkeTheTurd
August 21 2012, 11:10AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I thought you loved Tambilini, Turd?

I always wanted to give him a fair chance and after 4? seasons with the Oilers I haven't seen him do too much. That said, he is losing favour with me. I really want a goalie upgrade and a new D man or two..haha

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#14 BurkeTheTurd
August 21 2012, 11:12AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I thought you loved Tambilini, Turd?

A true hockey fan would love guys like Scott Hannan, not Tambillini

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#15 Dman09
August 21 2012, 11:26AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Sloppy mistake on my part - thanks for catching it.

Tambo is basically useless at this point. He really hasn't done anything with this team. MBS has done more and individual players pushing other GMs hands have done more. Seriously Katz, if thats what you want I'll do it at half price. I can sit and do nothing and BS to the public.

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#16 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 21 2012, 01:01PM
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nunyour wrote:

the big thing about free agency is that the player gets to pick where he wants to play ,if he is any good,and 9 times out of ten it is close to his home and family.i do agree that the mps and pitlick types are the only trade bait but i don't think that will get you a top pair d-man.

Weak excuse for managment.

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#17 Next Year Country
August 21 2012, 01:20PM
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I'd be satisfied with one good, reliable #4 D. We were really in trouble last winter when the defense was decimated by injuries.

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#18 2004Z06
August 21 2012, 04:24PM
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Love how all the armchair GM's suggest that we trade Horcoff, Hemsky, Omark, Peckam for additional help on defense and/or the fourth line. Lets put our PM hats on for a sec....Horcoff....third line center at 5.5 mil for 3 more years. NO ONE wants that contract coming back for a thrid liner. Hemsky....5 mil for 2 years with a significant drop in production and a VERY significant injury history. Omark.....could not give him away at the deadline or the draft. Has little to no NHL experience, a bad attitude and was cut from the Swedish team this year. Small and unproven....Could not get you a 5th round pick in return. Lastly Peckham.....Major concussion this year and a HUGE step backwards from the previous season. Zero confidence. Will bring a 3rd round pick at best. As a GM you have to wait until these players have a chance to raise their stock and then deal them before the deadline. As it sits right now, we have nothing of value to trade other than prospects, picks and our skilled players. Why would you trade the future in the middle of a rebuild?

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#19 BURROWSHASCRABS
August 21 2012, 05:15PM
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What's even worse than the Oilers GM is the stupid a$$ arm chair GM's the Oilers have as well. Jesus Christ don't you think Tambo has been trying to wheel and deal for someone? He's not just going to give something for nothing. Settle down

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#20 Dodd
August 21 2012, 05:39PM
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I keep re-playing the scene of Oil Change from July 1 with Tambellini on the phone to Manny Malholtra. When he gets off the phone, he says "Manny doesn't want to be part of a rebuild."

Every armchair GM here has to admit that there were likely 20 other calls like that. And I'm guessing Gagner, Hall, Smid or Eberle's names were mentioned when ST was looking to trade for that top 4 D or goalie. Sounds like everyone would prefer ST to make a bad deal, rather than nothing.

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#22 Bigfan
August 21 2012, 10:39PM
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Great read - and so history too!

One small correction:

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers ..." - William Shakespeare, Henry V

Coined by Shakespeare about two hundred years before Nelson said it ... Nelson was surely quoting Shakespeare's Saint Crispen's Day speech because it would have resonated with his men. You're point is still valid, its just that the history should be spot on.

Cheers

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#23 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 22 2012, 08:10AM
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Dodd wrote:

I keep re-playing the scene of Oil Change from July 1 with Tambellini on the phone to Manny Malholtra. When he gets off the phone, he says "Manny doesn't want to be part of a rebuild."

Every armchair GM here has to admit that there were likely 20 other calls like that. And I'm guessing Gagner, Hall, Smid or Eberle's names were mentioned when ST was looking to trade for that top 4 D or goalie. Sounds like everyone would prefer ST to make a bad deal, rather than nothing.

Plenty of solid players sign with poor clubs every year.

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#24 Benjammin
August 22 2012, 09:28AM
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I am always amazed by the number of defenders that the Oilers management team has. This is the team that was placed 30th, spending to the cap and aiming for the playoffs. The same men are in charge now. The rebuild was a good idea, but it was also the only chose left to them. You may agree or disagree with the moves, but for god's sake, stop giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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#25 TigerUnderGlass
August 22 2012, 10:48AM
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I jammed the BS diagnosis down that specialists and five other professionals throats and forced them to capitulate to me and my own brand of medicine based on data

New favorite line from newage.

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#26 Pat Hughes ruled
August 22 2012, 12:08PM
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Unions keep the incompetent employed at good wages. Good employees suffer.

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#27 Craig1981
August 21 2012, 10:11AM
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But it is not like teams have been swapping top 2 defencemen around. Nor were there many UFAs. Would you of wanted them to sign a suter contract (I would not of). And the traded dmen, are they a massive upgrade worth what we would of needed to give up? Maybe his best move this summer was one we didn't know he didn't make

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#28 In the Grease
August 21 2012, 10:19AM
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Great historical analogy Mr. Willis... thoroughly enjoyed it. One minor thing: wouldn't the English have engaged the Danish or Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen, as opposed to the Dutch?

Agreed, Holmgren is probably the closest to Nelson, but Lombardi has to get an honorable mention, definitely exposed himself to criticism with a few moves - namely trades with the Oilers - but they seem to have paid off in the end...

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#30 Wretched Oil
August 21 2012, 10:55AM
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Interesting read.

I think that sometimes it may be a struggle just to stay in the status quo.

The fact that we are in the midst of a rebuild probably makes management wary of getting rid of players to make the team better right now, as opposed to making choices for the future of the team.

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#31 Pat Hughes ruled
August 21 2012, 10:59AM
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Tambi having an unproductive summer is the norm. A valued free agent chose Edmonton and Smyth decided to stay at a good number instead of moving his family again. He promoted an assistant to be a coach. Let's not forget that. According to TSN the Oilers are in discussions with 4 and 14. Wow can't slip nothing past Ryan at TSN. Wasn't that known weeks ago? Tambi can still scrape the bottom of the barrel and sign someone that nobody else wanted. I love the Flyers'Kings model though. Do what you have to do to win without screwing things up. If there is hockey I see a 25th place finish for the Oil.

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#32 Pat Hughes ruled
August 21 2012, 10:59AM
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Tambi having an unproductive summer is the norm. A valued free agent chose Edmonton and Smyth decided to stay at a good number instead of moving his family again. He promoted an assistant to be a coach. Let's not forget that. According to TSN the Oilers are in discussions with 4 and 14. Wow can't slip nothing past Ryan at TSN. Wasn't that known weeks ago? Tambi can still scrape the bottom of the barrel and sign someone that nobody else wanted. I love the Flyers'Kings model though. Do what you have to do to win without screwing things up. If there is hockey I see a 25th place finish for the Oil.

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#33 Lochenzo
August 21 2012, 11:13AM
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Word of warning on Roszival. He's coming off a serious knee injury suffered deep into a playoff run. He's well into his 30's as well and I can tell you that your body doesn't heel the way it used to when you were in your 20's. Dwayne Roloson had a terrible 2007 coming off his knee injury in SCF game 1. He just wasn't ready. Rollie was much much better in 2008. He had a full summer to rest and train, etc.

Roszival may have the same challenges in 2013.

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#34 nunyour
August 21 2012, 11:31AM
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it is nice to wish for a good trade and the oilers getting a top 4 d-man,a starting goalie,and veteran up front,but i don't know how you would make that trade,what does edmonton have that other teams want so badly?if you don't want to trade any of the young kids,and why would you?whom do you have to offer up in trade?please no injury prone or over paid vets,and no 3 for one's,keep it real,

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#35 Tim in Kelowna
August 21 2012, 11:33AM
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I'm not sure if the Oilers lack of off-season moves is incompetence or if managements plan is to remain terrible for another year. Either way it is unacceptable.

If Tambellini tried and failed to improve the team, then he should be replaced with someone who can improve the team.

If inaction was the game plan for this summer then there is an even bigger problem because it means the organization is flat out lying to their fanbase. They said in no uncertain terms that they intended to fill holes in the lineup so they could compete for a playoff spot, and yet they have done absolutely nothing.

Even the most casual hockey fan can see that our d-corps is bad. We NEED a defenseman or two. While Schultz is a great pickup, he isn't likely to be a difference maker this season.

Not sure what the problem is, but unless we address some of our needs before the season starts, I highly doubt that we finish higher in the standings than anyone but the Blue Jackets.

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#36 Tim in Kelowna
August 21 2012, 11:36AM
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nunyour wrote:

it is nice to wish for a good trade and the oilers getting a top 4 d-man,a starting goalie,and veteran up front,but i don't know how you would make that trade,what does edmonton have that other teams want so badly?if you don't want to trade any of the young kids,and why would you?whom do you have to offer up in trade?please no injury prone or over paid vets,and no 3 for one's,keep it real,

Those are fair questions, but it is an NHL GM's job to figure it out.

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#38 John Chambers
August 21 2012, 11:43AM
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What did Detroit do to shore up their Defense this offseason? Nothing.

What did Philadelphia do? Nothing.

Pittsburgh? Nothing.

Actually, all three of these teams lost quality defensemen (Stuart & Lidstrom, Carle, and Michalek).

I agree that the Oilers are a top-4 D and quality goalie (ie, Vokoun or Harding) away from being a playoff team. They could've made moves to acquire a goaltender. They didn't. No excuses.

But the market was up and down for defensemen. Up inasmuch as Michalek and Visnovski were had for a song. Down in that Suter went for a king's ransom, Carle for way too much, and the asking price for Bouwmeester and Yandle are more than we're probably willing to pay.

Tambellini hasn't demonstrated an astute skill of 'timing' a trade, but I think there's something of an excuse for saying that the player to take us over the hump (his name is not Colaiaccovo), just isn't there.

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#40 WhattaMike
August 21 2012, 11:46AM
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Good day.... I am jumping in to say that while I am not a Tambellini fan to this point, I think that the Oil have been looking at making deals and trades but it is possible the other team managers do not want to make those deals as yet.

Or...those teams want way too much in return, and I for one am not in favor of losing any of the high end talent this team now has in place for the future.

Tambellini does have to do more, and much better, on the trade front, but it may not be entirely from a lack of trying either.

The best GM for this type situation was Glen Sather though. When the Oilers needed someone specifically to join the Oilers, he went out and got them.

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#41 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 21 2012, 11:50AM
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nunyour wrote:

it is nice to wish for a good trade and the oilers getting a top 4 d-man,a starting goalie,and veteran up front,but i don't know how you would make that trade,what does edmonton have that other teams want so badly?if you don't want to trade any of the young kids,and why would you?whom do you have to offer up in trade?please no injury prone or over paid vets,and no 3 for one's,keep it real,

Free agency.

Guys like MPS/Pitlick/Hamilton/Marincin next years 1st/2nd round picks should all be available for the right return.

We aren't asking Tambillini to land Weber and Getzlaf here, we're asking for Chris Higgins and Bryan Allen

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#42 puckheadshockeyworld
August 21 2012, 11:53AM
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This is why I personally have little to zero faith in Tambellini being able to bring a consistent winner to Edmonton. He lacks that drive you speak of to go out and get what is needed to bring a winner to town. He lacks Glen Sather's motto that you should always look to turnover about 20% of your roster each off season to keep things fresh, to motivate those players who may have become comfortable and to strive to always improve no matter how good you were the prior season. Tambellini has sat back and let these moves (Yakupov, Schultz, Smyth) come to him rather than going out and aggressively looking for fresh blood to push this Oiler group. Players like Hemsky, Whitney, Horcoff, Khabibulin, Omark, Peckham and some solid prospects should have been moved (or dangled) for a top D-man, another G and bigger, tougher and gritter 3rd and 4th line players.

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#43 Hair bag
August 21 2012, 11:55AM
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I disagree completely! I think you are missing the most important point with your Nelson analogy and that is that he was an incredible leader who led his men in battle and got the most out of them. This was Tom Renney's job last year and he failed miserably! He should have been playing the kids more not less. The old guard (Horcoff, Smyth, etc) clearly faltered in the second half of the season, and with no hope of making the playoffs, the kids should have been played more and put into situations to force them to learn and grow. The goaltending situation is a tricky one but I think sticking with Habby at a reduced workload is the lesser of two evils. Who would you have been able to bring in to replace him as a backup that is truly going to be better? No one that I can think of, you would be just replacing one bandaid with another. And as far as defenseman go, who is out there that you are going to sign or trade for that would significantly make your team better and that fits into the long term plan!?! There is no sense in bringing someone in as a stop gap for a couple years while your young D-corps grows - we already have that with the guys that are here now. The fact of the matter is that we are in the middle of a rebuild and the way that works is you let your young players play, go thru their learning curves and the team gets better as they get better. There will be some frustrations but as long as there is significant improvement each year then your moving in the right direction. The other part of this equation, if you want to put into battle terms, is that there isn't just one or two enemies, there are 29 of them. No one is just going to give you something for nothing. I would like to see us in the playoffs sooner than later too but there still needs to be some patience...at least the Oilers now are entertaining to watch most nights as opposed to the teams that we had to endure prior to the youth movement where there was no high end talent.

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#44 vetinari
August 21 2012, 12:03PM
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I agree with all three of the positional issues that you cite in your article and Tambi's inability to effectively deal with them (especially the issues on the Khabibulin front and the defence).

The only way Khabibulin makes sense is if the Oilers expect a significant lockout and rather than spread his cap hit buyout over two seasons, they simply stand pat this season, not pay him and let the clock on his contract tick out.

As for an upgrade at defence and in the bottom six of forwards, we basically stood pat and added an unproven rookie in Justin Schultz. He may be fantastic on the blueline in three years but today he has 0 games of NHL experience. Hardly encouraging although I hope he has a Calder level year.

How is it progress to believe that we can take the exact same lineup as the 29th place 2011-12 team and expect it to be a playoff contender the next season?

Good GM's make things happen and while Tambi should be congratulated in landing Justin Schutz, that was more the result of pulling out the big guns like Gretzky to represent the team, and frankly, where were these guys when we were we trying to land Heatley? Or keep Pronger? Or deal with Souray? Did someone just hand Tambi an alumni list in the last three months or has Tambi been "contemplating" using the alumni as a recruiting tool since 2010 and only finally got around to it?

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#45 Hair bag
August 21 2012, 12:21PM
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puckheadshockeyworld wrote:

This is why I personally have little to zero faith in Tambellini being able to bring a consistent winner to Edmonton. He lacks that drive you speak of to go out and get what is needed to bring a winner to town. He lacks Glen Sather's motto that you should always look to turnover about 20% of your roster each off season to keep things fresh, to motivate those players who may have become comfortable and to strive to always improve no matter how good you were the prior season. Tambellini has sat back and let these moves (Yakupov, Schultz, Smyth) come to him rather than going out and aggressively looking for fresh blood to push this Oiler group. Players like Hemsky, Whitney, Horcoff, Khabibulin, Omark, Peckham and some solid prospects should have been moved (or dangled) for a top D-man, another G and bigger, tougher and gritter 3rd and 4th line players.

All the players that you mentioned, "Hemsky, Whitney, Horcoff, Khabibulin, Omark, Peckham and some solid prospects should have been moved (or dangled) for a top D-man, another G and bigger, tougher and gritter 3rd and 4th line players.", do not have enough value to other teams to get what you want in return...at best you might get draft picks or someone else's garbage.

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#46 nunyour
August 21 2012, 12:43PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Free agency.

Guys like MPS/Pitlick/Hamilton/Marincin next years 1st/2nd round picks should all be available for the right return.

We aren't asking Tambillini to land Weber and Getzlaf here, we're asking for Chris Higgins and Bryan Allen

the big thing about free agency is that the player gets to pick where he wants to play ,if he is any good,and 9 times out of ten it is close to his home and family.i do agree that the mps and pitlick types are the only trade bait but i don't think that will get you a top pair d-man.

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#47 George B
August 21 2012, 12:45PM
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As much as everyone likes to hack on Tambo, (Who I think is a C- to D+ GM) projecting what a GM can and can't do is a slipper slope.

If Holmgren can't convince a Suter or Parise to come to Philly, or the guy GMing on South Beach can't get guys to spend their days off on Captain Tim's fishing boat, signing that #2, 3, 4 dman isn't really that realistic.

Trading for anything seems like a big pain in the ass right now for any team....every GM living with status quo and marginal moves.

How many quality NHL players have been moved in the last several months? How many of you would be willing to give up what it took to get them? Would you trade Sam Gagner for Marc Methot?

The only guy I think the Oil might have missed the boat on was Zbynek Michalek...and at $4 mill per for a #4 guy?

Again, I agree Tambo basically sucks, but hard to complain when you don't know what might be out there for deals to be had.

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#48 OILERSORDEATH
August 21 2012, 12:51PM
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I guess we can all agree he isn't the best GM but, he isn't the worst either.

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#49 VMR
August 21 2012, 12:56PM
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Agressive GMing got us Sheldon Souray, Nikolai Khabibulin in the first place, Micheal Nylander (until his wife heard about it) Joni Pitkanen for Erik Cole even though he was about to be a UFA, Chris Pronger who wanted out before a season was done Jaroslav Spacek who left as soon as he could, and I'm sure several more things.

I'm not sure that aggressive gming is that great an idea.

Holmgren's been mentioned here but he took over a team with tons of talent and so far hasnt won a thing.

Lombardi was criticized for years for not acting while he patiently built up the talent pool in his organization. He was patient for much longer than he was aggressive.

Glen Sather with the Rangers was being an agressive GM when he signed Wade Redden to a monstrous contract after most people felt Redden's game had significantly dropped. He also signed Drury and Gomez to crazy contracts that he was very lucky to get out from under.

There's a time and a place for acting aggressively. I dont think we're there yet. What will overpaying for a depth d-man do for us, maybe help us climb a couple spots in the standings? How much does Nittymaki or whatever other easily attainable goalie upgrade Khabibulin and how many points does that get you in the standings?

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#50 Cameron
August 21 2012, 01:22PM
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Can anyone tell me where to buy the Oiler decal that is silver, not in Oilers colours, very discrete and classy looking. Thanks

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