Blame Steve Tambellini

Jonathan Willis
November 01 2013 07:55AM

There’s a long list of things wrong with the Oilers right now, but somewhere near the top of the list has to be the state of the defence corps. With the exception of Jeff Petry (and possibly Anton Belov) there hasn’t really been a positive story on the Oilers’ blue line this season, and the only way to really address the problem is with top-pairing talent – something that can be extremely difficult to find.

It’s something the Oilers once had.

The Kevin Lowe Blue

Kevin Lowe isn’t a popular figure with the fanbase these days, and that’s understandable – whatever his exact duties with the team, he’s the one prominent figure that still has a job after years and years of losing, and it doesn’t help that he occasionally says tone-deaf things. But whatever his state of popularity, the blue line that he left Steve Tambellini in the summer of 2008 was pretty solid.

Here’s that group, then and now:

  • 1. Sheldon Souray. Played just under 25 minutes per night, adding snarl and offensive production (53 points). He’s hurt now but played 21 minutes per game for Anaheim last season and did many of the same things.
  • 2. Lubomir Visnovsky. Played 23 minutes per night and added a brilliant puck-moving presence. He did exactly the same things for the playoff-bound New York Islanders last season.
  • 3. Tom Gilbert. Played 22 minutes per night and recorded a career-best 45 points. These days he’s Florida’s number two defenceman and one of only two guys with an even-or-better plus/minus on the team.
  • 4. Denis Grebeshkov. Played 21 minutes per game, posting 39 points and a plus-12 rating. Edmonton just waived him after bringing him back from the KHL in the summer.
  • 5. Steve Staios. Played 20 minutes per game in the twilight of his career; retired these days.
  • 6. Ladislav Smid. Played 15 minutes per game in 2008-09 and is a top-four NHL defenceman for the Oilers these days.
  • 7. Jason Strudwick. Edmonton’s seventh defenceman in 2008-09 has since retired and WHAT’S THAT HE WRITES HERE!

That was an awfully good group five years ago, and (if Souray were healthy) four of those guys would still be useful NHL players. What happened?

Summers of Steve

Basically, players got moved without ever being replaced.

Sheldon Souray got hurt, clearly felt slighted by the team, and went public with his feelings. The Oilers, not wanting their impressionable young players to be unduly influenced by Souray’s opinion that management would struggle to differentiate between an arse and an elbow, first exiled the defender to the minors and then bought him out entirely. In the years since, Souray had a really good season in Dallas for pennies on the dollar and then a pretty good one in Anaheim. Essentially, the Oilers alienated a useful player whose skillset was a strong fit for the team and then flushed him for nothing.

Lubomir Visnovsky drove old-timey coach Pat Quinn nuts with crazy things like “puck movement” and “occasionally pinching in the offensive zone” so Tambellini dumped him to Anaheim in exchange for Ryan Whitney. Visnovsky’s still a useful top-four defenceman, while the much younger Whitney is now a frequent healthy scratch in Florida.

Tom Gilbert drove the fan-base crazy by being soft, so the Oilers traded him to Minnesota. Nick Schultz, the player brought in to replace him, is a third-pairing defender these days. Gilbert has had his problems – including a buyout in Minnesota after a dreadful PDO season last year – but he’s a number two defenceman with the Panthers today.

Denis Grebeshkov and Steve Staios were moved for picks in solid trades, while Ladislav Smid still plays for the team.

Add it all together, and the Oilers managed to turn a solid one-through-three group five years ago into Nick Schultz today. That isn’t the whole answer, but it’s the single-biggest reason why the defence corps is the mess it is right now.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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 StHenriOilBomb
November 01 2013, 08:00AM
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For all the people crying for MacT's head - it takes time to recover from being trampled by a buffoon.

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#2 Greenlingj
November 01 2013, 08:01AM
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Blame Tambo all you want.

Oilers are in a mess, they need to take ownership of it and not shift blame to old ghosts.

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#4 Six Rings
November 01 2013, 08:04AM
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BLAME KEVIN LOWE!

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#5 DrunkGuyTy
November 01 2013, 08:09AM
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Probably worth noting that the Visnovsky for Whitney trade was a solid deal. Whitney was a younger version of Vis. and racking up the points until he toe-picked and his career went in the toilet due to his ankle injury.

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#6 StHenriOilBomb
November 01 2013, 08:16AM
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Greenlingj wrote:

Blame Tambo all you want.

Oilers are in a mess, they need to take ownership of it and not shift blame to old ghosts.

c'mon. Who's not taking ownership? That's all management and coaching has talked about. These things take time.

When MacT was hired, Don Cherry claimed that MAc would have the team back competing by 2014-15.

After Eakens was hired, Bob Mackenzie warned against high expectations, as many teams struggle with a complete culture and systems change - especially with 40% new folks on the roster.

This year was never meant to be. Tambo left things in too much of a mess.

Hopefully these guys can figure it out, and MacT can add some defense, and next year starts promisingly.

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#7 EricOG
November 01 2013, 08:22AM
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Well, when you trace back to where it was Tambo came from, you get this man:

Kevin "I'm smarter than you" Lowe......

That is the one constant in this hell hole the Oilers are stuck in.

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#8 Boxman
November 01 2013, 08:29AM
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While it is true Lowe et al have been disasters it doesn't help us move forward to look back at all the cluster f#*ki*g that they have done to us fans. As good as a blood letting at the top of the Oiler hierarchy would feel it won't help. Our biggest issue moving forward is we have little any team wants other than our young stars and there lies the rub. If Craig can't pull off miracles trading then we better get on board with Eakins. We may be even worse in the short term but I haven't heard anybody come up with a better idea. Another coaching change will make a mess of our young players so suck it up Oiler fans. As for the idiot who yelled " you suck" to Eakins in front of his 5 year old daughter, a proud moment I am sure for whoever did it and his or her parents, I hope you have the courage to apologize for your sad actions. If not I hope a heaping helping load of karma is headed your way!!

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#9 Dan the Man
November 01 2013, 08:32AM
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Remember the days when the Oiiers used to be able to get defencemen like Hamrlik, Spacek or Jason Smith for our garbage? We could really use one of those deals right now. Also, I don't understand why MacT signed Grebeshkov instead of going after Gilbert this past summer.

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#11 David S
November 01 2013, 08:39AM
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OK look. Tambellini was the executioner but he got his marching orders from Lowe and Katz. If he hadn't been doing exactly what he was supposed to do he would have been fired long before he finally was. MacT coming in was the signal that "Greatest Tank Battles" was over.

THIS is what happens when you tank for three years and it's not only happening with the D as our bottom six isn't too sh!t hot either. If we hadn't traded away good players and taken junk back we would not have ended up with the high end group we have.

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#12 Czar
November 01 2013, 08:41AM
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If Eakins wants to improve our defense than a good start would be to never have Belov and J.Schultz out together. Justin needs Ference or Smid to hold his hand until he finds his way at both ends of the ice. Other than a few ill advised pinches Belov has been good, just wish he was a little nastier out there.

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#13 Newj
November 01 2013, 08:51AM
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JW:

I think you're stretching things a bit by stating we lost out in the trading of Tom Gilbert. We dont need more offensive, soft on the body dmen. Gilbert may be doing OK on Florida but he was horrible with the Wild.

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#14 Yardbird
November 01 2013, 08:55AM
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Oilers ? KLowe ? Like who cares anymore? Time to move away from the negatives and on to something positive, dump out the Koolaid. GO SEAHAWKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#15 Neal
November 01 2013, 08:59AM
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Boxman wrote:

While it is true Lowe et al have been disasters it doesn't help us move forward to look back at all the cluster f#*ki*g that they have done to us fans. As good as a blood letting at the top of the Oiler hierarchy would feel it won't help. Our biggest issue moving forward is we have little any team wants other than our young stars and there lies the rub. If Craig can't pull off miracles trading then we better get on board with Eakins. We may be even worse in the short term but I haven't heard anybody come up with a better idea. Another coaching change will make a mess of our young players so suck it up Oiler fans. As for the idiot who yelled " you suck" to Eakins in front of his 5 year old daughter, a proud moment I am sure for whoever did it and his or her parents, I hope you have the courage to apologize for your sad actions. If not I hope a heaping helping load of karma is headed your way!!

Yeah for sure. I've been saying for years that Lowe was the primary architect of the disaster. I also said Burke was right when he talked about Lowe sewering the team. Point is - how can Mac be expected to turn this around overnight? Everyone seems to forget that another GM is involved with a trade! And that you don't unload your garbage for another's treasure. As for Eakins, give him a chance. He's a smart guy and will learn. And right on Boxman, the idiot that did that embarrasses everyone in Edmonton.

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#16 Harlie
November 01 2013, 09:01AM
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David S wrote:

OK look. Tambellini was the executioner but he got his marching orders from Lowe and Katz. If he hadn't been doing exactly what he was supposed to do he would have been fired long before he finally was. MacT coming in was the signal that "Greatest Tank Battles" was over.

THIS is what happens when you tank for three years and it's not only happening with the D as our bottom six isn't too sh!t hot either. If we hadn't traded away good players and taken junk back we would not have ended up with the high end group we have.

TRUTH!!

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#17 camdog
November 01 2013, 09:05AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Whitney's injury history long predated his acquisition by the Oilers.

Long time lurker

Visnovsky had a no trade clause signed in LA he didn't want to come to Edmonton, he wanted to stay in LA. Incredibly bad move to trade for a guy that didn't want to come here. Lowe tried this numerous times and each time it back fired. The Whitney trade was more sending Visnovsky home rather than making a hockey trade.

Souray was driven out of town because of his feud with Mactavish

Grebeshkov was horrible and yet Mact brought him back, a waste of a roster spot on a gut shot.

Staois was at the end of his career

Smid is not a number 4 d man, has has never progressed.

Gilbert was a horrible trade.

That blue line that you say was solid was so weak it lead to the Oilers finishing dead last in the league by a wide margin in 2009-10. I don't know how anybody with any reputation can defend that teams defense as being solid?

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#18 Zamboni Driver
November 01 2013, 09:07AM
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Tambellini's biggest downfall was that he couldn't string two words together when a mic was in front of him. He must still have a sore back from the puppet strings being played by "Six Cups"

As for Mactavish.

Not too soon to judge him.

He's the "MBA" who, while doing some okay things (Perron, Gordon) also wasted money and contracts on useless retreads like Grebs, ESPECIALLY Macintyre, and, I'm sorry to say (b/c his dad was my dentist) his 'Bold' move in Ference.

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#19 vetinari
November 01 2013, 09:07AM
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I look at that list, make comparisons to the current roster and agree that while some of our players may eventually grow into the roles that they are currently assigned, many of them won't.

We seem to have gone in the direction of "well, if we can't have quality, we'll get quantity" and hopefully someone will emerge out of this group to lead the team.

I hate Pronger (the man) but I loved Pronger (the player) and he would not only give us 26+ minutes a night of punishing but safe hockey, he also made the players around him better. If we can find and get the next Pronger, I'm okay with saying goodbye to one of the kids in exchange.

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#20 Mac962
November 01 2013, 09:08AM
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With the exception of Jeff Petry ? seriously ? Wow i must be missing something.

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#21 Harlie
November 01 2013, 09:10AM
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@camdog

I too had heard that Souray's beef was with Klowe and mot Tambo which the media purported it to be. I heard from an inside source and I was quite surprised because I was saying it was Tambo when my source corrected me and said it was Lowe. This was back when it was all happening.

I always liked Lowe as the face of the organization and for what he does in the community and his commitment to charities etc. For this reason I see why Katz is reluctant to let him go. But, having said that, this is a results based business and being a "good guy" only gets you so far.

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#22 Jay Gray
November 01 2013, 09:10AM
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Nurse gain 20 pounds of muscle and snarl yet?

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#23 Tikkanese
November 01 2013, 09:18AM
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If "Jeff Petry is a positive" then the Oilers are in trouble. Oh, wait. They are in trouble.

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#24 God
November 01 2013, 09:19AM
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This article makes me sad. That D corps from before was garbage yet it makes our current corps look even worse. Yuck.

Maybe this team needs a rebuild, you know, blow it up...

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#25 DrunkGuyTy
November 01 2013, 09:19AM
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@Jonathan Willis

True, but I just wouldn't write that trade off as being as useless as some of the others. I thought it was a reasonable gamble at the time and he was performing. The injury itself was typical Oiler luck.

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#26 Tikkanese
November 01 2013, 09:25AM
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"but he’s a number two defenceman with the Panthers today." isn't that like saying he came in first in the special olympics?

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#28 Czar
November 01 2013, 09:31AM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Nurse gain 20 pounds of muscle and snarl yet?

He's following in Prongers footsteps, banging everything he can on and off the ice.

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#29 Lochenzo
November 01 2013, 09:34AM
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Harlie wrote:

I too had heard that Souray's beef was with Klowe and mot Tambo which the media purported it to be. I heard from an inside source and I was quite surprised because I was saying it was Tambo when my source corrected me and said it was Lowe. This was back when it was all happening.

I always liked Lowe as the face of the organization and for what he does in the community and his commitment to charities etc. For this reason I see why Katz is reluctant to let him go. But, having said that, this is a results based business and being a "good guy" only gets you so far.

If that's the case, then you don't have to cut Kevin Lowe. Just ensure a separation of duties. MacT has Scott Howson to lean on in making GM decisions. K Lowe can focus on community relations and the new arena.

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#30 Tikkanese
November 01 2013, 09:39AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I continue to remain astonished at the level of disdain for Jeff Petry, easily the best defenceman on the team.

The Oilers generally have one solid pairing in any given game, and it's almost always the one Petry's on.

Did you watch the last game, just as one example? Petry was the main reason for two goals against. To quote Mactavish "at best, you hope they are a non negative factor on any given night". More often than not, that describes your boy, Petry.

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#31 Oasis
November 01 2013, 09:39AM
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Is anybody else confused why the Oilers went out and grabbed Grebeshkov only to put him on Waivers.

Lets be honest, Grebeshkov hasn't played much at all this year. The time he has played, he has not looked that bad.

So why go out and sign the guy just to put him on Waivers? I think we are paying him 1.5 million and we are not even going to bother playing him. I would at least like to give him a good look to see what he has.

Oh, this must be one of those bold moves MacT was talking about.

Oh, and you can blame Tambo all you want for the Defence we have now and there is certainly merit in that argument.......but Tambo was hired by K Lowe and answered to K Lowe. There is one constant in this dumpster fire of a hockey team and it's Kevin Lowe.

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#32 Batfink
November 01 2013, 09:44AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I continue to remain astonished at the level of disdain for Jeff Petry, easily the best defenceman on the team.

The Oilers generally have one solid pairing in any given game, and it's almost always the one Petry's on.

Therein lies the problem, JW. Petry is our best defenceman. I've had a few days driving alone to mull over the Oilers. And this is my conclusion: When poop goes south, as a part of something that is *CLEARLY* not succeeding, all parts have to ask themselves 'am I doing EVERYTHING possible in my power to turn this around?' If ANYONE answers no, then the project is doomed to failure. Now, looking at the team, from management down, do you really believe they are doing everything possible to turn this around? Listening to inside sports last night, the host asks Scott Howson a loaded question "how easy is it to wheel and deal around the 30th October with a view to improving the team, because I don't believe it is." My first thought was 'ask Garth Snow.' He got the reply he wanted, Scott saying "near impossible, every GM knows the Oilers situation." The host then went on to report other NHL news, particularly the trades of Philly, Colorado, Buffalo and the Isles. And Buffalo in a similar situation to us. BS detectors going off the scale, Captain!

*please don't start quoting corsi, or how the Oil 'look better'. It cheapens us all. Wins column, please.

So fellow ON soldiers, I put it to you; is the GM doing all in his power to turn this around?

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#33 ReJ
November 01 2013, 09:57AM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Nurse gain 20 pounds of muscle and snarl yet?

Thats about the only thing to look forward to as an oil fan right now.

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#34 Lochenzo
November 01 2013, 10:02AM
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I think the pairs should be adjusted and hopefully that's an adjustment they've made over the last few days.

Petry-Ference against tougher competition. Nick Schultz - Belov Smid - Justin Schultz

Smid has not been as strong out of the gate as I expected. J Schultz still makes some mistakes, I'd rather those mistakes come against 3rd line competition rather than Patrick Kanes of the world.

Grebs not playing as much is more of a product of trying to add a little more physical edge to this grouping. I kinda saw Grebs as more of an insurance policy in case Belov was no good.

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#35 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:20AM
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I laugh when I see stupid comments like Tambo got his marching orders from Lowe and Katz.

That's not how it works.

Katz has been sold on a 6 yr rebuild plan by Oilers' management. He's not Jerry Jones. He doesn't make personnel decisions he just writes cheques.

Tambo and Lowe no doubt talked frequently. I'm sure Lowe offered his opinion as did the assistant GM, coaches and others; but the job and responsibility was Tambo's.

My biggest criticism of the rebuild has been surrounding a very young core of forwards with little to no depth; especially on D.

Tambo's approach seemed to be he would add the other pieces once the young kids were ready to win. I think that's what got him fired. It was obvious the Oilers needed more depth to make the playoffs last year and he did nothing.

Convincing veteran NHL players to come to Edm during a rebuild could be a major factor in that approach. Teams may have been asking for too much at the deadline last year.

Bottom line is Tambo didn't get it done.

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#36 pkam
November 01 2013, 10:24AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Whitney's injury history long predated his acquisition by the Oilers.

If I remember correctly, Visnovsky had some injury problem when he was with us too. I believe Souray's injury history when we signed him was worse than Whitney's. And I don't think Whitney's injury history when we acquired him is any worse than Hall's injury history today. Can we can argue that Perron has a history of concussion and he may get another in the near future so why do we acquire him?

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#37 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:27AM
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Batfink wrote:

Therein lies the problem, JW. Petry is our best defenceman. I've had a few days driving alone to mull over the Oilers. And this is my conclusion: When poop goes south, as a part of something that is *CLEARLY* not succeeding, all parts have to ask themselves 'am I doing EVERYTHING possible in my power to turn this around?' If ANYONE answers no, then the project is doomed to failure. Now, looking at the team, from management down, do you really believe they are doing everything possible to turn this around? Listening to inside sports last night, the host asks Scott Howson a loaded question "how easy is it to wheel and deal around the 30th October with a view to improving the team, because I don't believe it is." My first thought was 'ask Garth Snow.' He got the reply he wanted, Scott saying "near impossible, every GM knows the Oilers situation." The host then went on to report other NHL news, particularly the trades of Philly, Colorado, Buffalo and the Isles. And Buffalo in a similar situation to us. BS detectors going off the scale, Captain!

*please don't start quoting corsi, or how the Oil 'look better'. It cheapens us all. Wins column, please.

So fellow ON soldiers, I put it to you; is the GM doing all in his power to turn this around?

Garth Snow gave up a 30 G scorer, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick for a rental.

The Oilers aren't looking for rentals.

They need players who will still be here in 3 years when the core will be experienced enough to actually compete.

The players the Oilers need aren't available in October I'm afraid. The teams they are on still think they can make the playoffs. Or instead of draft picks they're going to want a roster player in return because they have 65 games left to play this year.

How hard is it to wheel and deal in October?

It took 2-3 weeks for the Steve Downie for Max Talbot trade to get done. The Oilers are looking for a lot more than Downie or Talbot. Those deals don't happen overnight. Especially in October.

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#38 Will
November 01 2013, 10:29AM
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All the talk has been about our defence and how bad they are. And 5 on 5 they are worst in the league right now. Sure some of that blame has to land on shaky goal tending early in the year.

But, if you look at the team's problems from last year to this year, it is clear coaching is making a big difference. We were one of the worst teams to generate offence at 5 on 5. That problem has been fixed as our underlying metrics are way better than last year (winning face offs, outshooting the opponents, outchansing opponents), but we're giving up a ton of goals 5 on 5? hmmm, okay, that one stat does not a case make.

What about special teams. Last year the Oilers lived and died by their special teams. They're power play was top three and their penalty kill was like 8th or something. Both special teams under the Renny Krueger regime got much better. But this year, both are terrible, especially the PK. Obviously Eakins has realized his swarm system is not working and he's reverting back to 'traditional' defence, so maybe it turns around, but how the team could plummet like that kind of sucks.

What's especially strange is that one of the coaches from last year is still on the bench, why Eakins didn't come in and say, okay that was working for this team, lets just keep doing that, I don't understand. Did he want to put his sucky stamp on the team?

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#39 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:32AM
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pkam wrote:

If I remember correctly, Visnovsky had some injury problem when he was with us too. I believe Souray's injury history when we signed him was worse than Whitney's. And I don't think Whitney's injury history when we acquired him is any worse than Hall's injury history today. Can we can argue that Perron has a history of concussion and he may get another in the near future so why do we acquire him?

It's not just "injury history" in some generic sense.

Whitney's strength used to be his skating. His ankle injury all but destroyed his career. He simply was and never will be the player he used to be.

Sure Vis and Souray have had injuries. None of those injuries permanently reduced their ability to play.

The Oilers gambled on Whitney and lost. The fact that he cried when he found out he had to move to Edm probably didn't help.

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#40 Batfink
November 01 2013, 10:39AM
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Zarny wrote:

Garth Snow gave up a 30 G scorer, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick for a rental.

The Oilers aren't looking for rentals.

They need players who will still be here in 3 years when the core will be experienced enough to actually compete.

The players the Oilers need aren't available in October I'm afraid. The teams they are on still think they can make the playoffs. Or instead of draft picks they're going to want a roster player in return because they have 65 games left to play this year.

How hard is it to wheel and deal in October?

It took 2-3 weeks for the Steve Downie for Max Talbot trade to get done. The Oilers are looking for a lot more than Downie or Talbot. Those deals don't happen overnight. Especially in October.

You are correct, I am happy to admit I'm wrong. It's too hard, we should do nothing, and wait for the inevitable explosion and a 20 game winning streak. My bad. I assumed the apathy wasn't contagious. By the way, that 30 goal scorer was also a rental. Look to any successful franchise. Not afraid to make the calls, right or wrong, not afraid at all.....

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#41 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:41AM
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Will wrote:

All the talk has been about our defence and how bad they are. And 5 on 5 they are worst in the league right now. Sure some of that blame has to land on shaky goal tending early in the year.

But, if you look at the team's problems from last year to this year, it is clear coaching is making a big difference. We were one of the worst teams to generate offence at 5 on 5. That problem has been fixed as our underlying metrics are way better than last year (winning face offs, outshooting the opponents, outchansing opponents), but we're giving up a ton of goals 5 on 5? hmmm, okay, that one stat does not a case make.

What about special teams. Last year the Oilers lived and died by their special teams. They're power play was top three and their penalty kill was like 8th or something. Both special teams under the Renny Krueger regime got much better. But this year, both are terrible, especially the PK. Obviously Eakins has realized his swarm system is not working and he's reverting back to 'traditional' defence, so maybe it turns around, but how the team could plummet like that kind of sucks.

What's especially strange is that one of the coaches from last year is still on the bench, why Eakins didn't come in and say, okay that was working for this team, lets just keep doing that, I don't understand. Did he want to put his sucky stamp on the team?

Every coach puts his stamp on the team. They all have their own philosophies about how to play the game.

WSH struggled to adapt to Oates system last year. Jersey sucked balls for a month and half during Sutter's first year. Pretty common.

Eakins' system requires young players to use judgement when to do things they've been coached not to do. It's not surprising there is an adjustment period and he's not reverting back to a "traditional" system I'm afraid. Don't know where you got that from.

One of the reasons the PK sucks this so far this year is Eakins is using the young skilled players to kill penalties. Sidney Crosby didn't kill penalties when he first came into the league but he does now thanks to Bylsma.

It's the right thing to do. Everyone plays their most skilled players on the PP. You need to match that skill on the PK if you actually want to win the Cup.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
November 01 2013, 10:41AM
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The Oilers aren't so much developing players as they are just distributing icetime as they see fit. This organization doesn't have a clue when it comes to doing what'll be best for these kids at both ends of the rink.

Huge mistake passing on Lindy Ruff in favour of Eakins. Dallas Eakins is already knee deep in uncertainties, forced to lend his ear to the Lowes and Buchbergers of this organization. If MacT had brought in a veteran coach like Ruff, they wouldn't all be lost like they are right now.

No doubt it'll be Eakins who takes the fall for this seasons 28th place finish. Should've done things your way Dallas. Bucky, Smith and Lowe yapping in your ear constantly looks to have ruined your opportunity here. Make your old buddy Roger Neilson proud and punt these guys/take charge of your domain before its too late...

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#43 Ricky's Jalapeno Chips
November 01 2013, 10:45AM
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Getting rid of d-coach Charlie Huddy was a huge mistake. Cleaning house for the sake of cleaning house didn't work out so well in that instance.

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#44 pkam
November 01 2013, 10:53AM
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Zarny wrote:

It's not just "injury history" in some generic sense.

Whitney's strength used to be his skating. His ankle injury all but destroyed his career. He simply was and never will be the player he used to be.

Sure Vis and Souray have had injuries. None of those injuries permanently reduced their ability to play.

The Oilers gambled on Whitney and lost. The fact that he cried when he found out he had to move to Edm probably didn't help.

I don't know Whitney's strength is in his skating.

I remember I watched his first few games as an Oilers and I was not impressed with his skating, however he managed to put up points and great +/- and made his partner better.

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#45 admiralmark
November 01 2013, 10:54AM
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I have to confess I was one of those fans when realizing the season was a write off i championed the idea of tanking. I.E. Tambellini style. I would argue if we can make the playoffs we might as well move as high up the draft list as we can. Now after seeing the results and the lasting effect it has on this team.. I am less inclined. We have too large a gap of NHL ready talent on D to match our players up front. And secondly I believe the losing psyche is poisoning the players that had to live through this. Throw in our bad luck with ink's, a new coach... Its almost comical we didn't expect a year like this?

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#46 Quicksilver ballet
November 01 2013, 10:54AM
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Zarny wrote:

I laugh when I see stupid comments like Tambo got his marching orders from Lowe and Katz.

That's not how it works.

Katz has been sold on a 6 yr rebuild plan by Oilers' management. He's not Jerry Jones. He doesn't make personnel decisions he just writes cheques.

Tambo and Lowe no doubt talked frequently. I'm sure Lowe offered his opinion as did the assistant GM, coaches and others; but the job and responsibility was Tambo's.

My biggest criticism of the rebuild has been surrounding a very young core of forwards with little to no depth; especially on D.

Tambo's approach seemed to be he would add the other pieces once the young kids were ready to win. I think that's what got him fired. It was obvious the Oilers needed more depth to make the playoffs last year and he did nothing.

Convincing veteran NHL players to come to Edm during a rebuild could be a major factor in that approach. Teams may have been asking for too much at the deadline last year.

Bottom line is Tambo didn't get it done.

I just laugh when I see stupid comments like this. Nothing is set in stone in todays game for 6 weeks, let alone 6 years. The direction of a team today can, and often does turn on a dime.

EVERY, did you friggen hear that? Every decision is made by committee. Nothing is done without their usual pow wow round table discussions. The only thing Tambellini was allowed to do without permission was go to the bathroom.

Tambellini was brought in as a fall guy, a guy to take the bullets for the 5 difficult years ahead for this club.

Couldn't get the job done MY ARSE!

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#47 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:55AM
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Batfink wrote:

You are correct, I am happy to admit I'm wrong. It's too hard, we should do nothing, and wait for the inevitable explosion and a 20 game winning streak. My bad. I assumed the apathy wasn't contagious. By the way, that 30 goal scorer was also a rental. Look to any successful franchise. Not afraid to make the calls, right or wrong, not afraid at all.....

LMAO...actually if you look at any successful franchise what they don't do is panic 14 games into a season.

As for being afraid not to make the calls...go look at Mike Milbury's career to see the folly in that thinking.

By all means tell me who you think is available right now that isn't a rental?

You think Montreal or any team with a bona fide top D wants to package someone like Subban for a younger prospect and some picks with 65 games left in the season?

Other GM's aren't going to make a trade just for sh*ts and giggles. As the Oiler GM how can you make their team better for the next 65 games?

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#48 Zarny
November 01 2013, 10:57AM
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pkam wrote:

I don't know Whitney's strength is in his skating.

I remember I watched his first few games as an Oilers and I was not impressed with his skating, however he managed to put up points and great +/- and made his partner better.

Haha...no Whitney's strength now is certainly not his skating.

That's the point. In Pit and before his ankle injury skating was his strength but that isn't the player that showed up in Edm.

Hence the problem with Ryan Whitney.

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#49 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 01 2013, 10:59AM
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Wow blame Tambellini? Did Kevin Lowe buy you something recently? Kevin Lowe has been the constant and to believe for a second that Tambellini was given a free hand in this mess is obsurd. I am not defending Tambo at all. In the end he didnt make a difference. When he got here the farm system was complete crap. Almost like blaming Obama for the financial collapse in 2008.

Kevin Lowe does not know how to manage a team and no matter who comes in it will never get better until a change happens at the top.

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#50 Eulers
November 01 2013, 11:02AM
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JW, brilliant writing here: "Add it all together, and the Oilers managed to turn a solid one-through-three group five years ago into Nick Schultz today."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: as bad as things are, I can't help but be happy that Tambi is no longer our GM.

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