TAMBELLINI TALKS TRADE AND MORE

Jason Gregor
March 05 2013 09:47AM

Yesterday the Oilers made a minor trade acquiring rugged winger Mike Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2014 fourth round pick that will become a 2014 third rounder if the Oilers make the playoffs.

I spoke with Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini on my radio show yesterday about that move, but I also got his thoughts on the competitive nature of his team, Taylor Hall moving to centre, Justin Schultz and what is the culture of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gregor: There were rumors and my source that said you put in a waiver request for Aaron Volpatti last week, but obviously Washington claimed him first. Is that true? Have you been looking to add somebody with a little more grit, toughness to your lineup for awhile?

Tambellini: Ya, well first of all I’m not going to comment on Volpatti, he’s not our property. We normally don’t relay that information. With regards to Mike, yes, we’ve been looking for a player that obviously can bring that level of compete. People know his toughness. He’s a very willing combatant that sticks up for his team mates. He has very good speed, we like that part of it. When Ralph needs to ramp up our forecheck and needs the first forward to take some bodies, he’s able to do that. He also has, throughout his career, killed penalties. That just gives the option to Ralph to find different types of minutes for him. In the season, Jason, such a condensed season, managing energy is a very, very important aspect of managing your bench. If you have players that are only there for one specific reason, there are some games where you can get caught because you’re basically playing with ten or eleven forwards and that’s something we don’t want to do.
 
Gregor: Brown has essentially been a fourth line guy, I think he averaged eight or nine minutes last year in Toronto. It’s a lot harder to find a guy who can play that role at fifteen minutes. Is there any chance that Brown will get more of an opportunity to play more minutes in Edmonton? Or is he seen as a fourth line player only?
 
Tambellini: We’ll see. You never know. Historically, Mike has been in that spot where he’s played around ten minutes a night and good, good competitive, tough minutes. Like I said, it is nice to be able to see a guy like that be able to contribute to part of your penalty kill rotation. We’ll see where it goes, but we know what Mike delivers and he knows what he brings. I talked to him this morning and he’s really excited about coming to play with our club. He said he’s ready to do what he needs to do to be a part of the leadership group here to help this team go forward.
 
Gregor: Last week Tim Sestito was on waivers. You obviously elected not to put in a claim because Vancouver claimed after you. Today you gave up a draft pick. Do you think Brown’s a better overall player than Sestito?
 
Tambellini: We were looking for a player that could give us different looks and someone that’s competitive and someone that could kill penalties. Someone that we know is- he’s extremely fit. He’s got impeccable work habits off the ice and he’s fitting into our culture. We’re looking for someone like that. We’ve asked Toronto a couple times over the last year or so if they’d be interested in something like that and I totally understand why they didn’t want to let him go at that point. But they have some depth there right now and this gave us the opportunity to acquire something like that. It’s hard to find the people that can bring what they do best ever night and he seems to be able to do that.
 
 
Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?
 
Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?
 
Gregor: Have you looked at a trade? If you look at all the type of players you have in your top-nine they are essentially the same. If you could have a Mike Brown with the skill set of a legitimate top nine guy, would you look at adding that type of player?
 
Tambellini: If those types of players become available, I’m sure they’ll be of great value. If you can find the toughness and the ability to play in your top nine or top six great, but there are not a lot of those people around. But as far as scoring, the skill set of our core that makes up our top six right now, they’re young players that are extremely talented- we know that. There’s no hesitation of thought of them not being great players as they develop, but it’s hard. The league is hard to score in, you’ve got to go to hard areas every night and sometimes fatigue is an issue and sometimes it is just good players playing against other good players, trying to stop you. So it’s difficult.
 
But we know that eventually, Ryan and Jordan and them, they’ll get their goals, they’ll get their assists. We know that. We’re just trying to make sure that we work as hard as possible as a coaching staff and the way we use them, just to make sure that we can put them in the right spots, where they can take advantage of their skill. So there’s only so much as far as the level of top six people that maybe are available through a trade deadline like that, but those players are normally few and far between.
 
Gregor: Have you seen a difference in Sam Gagner’s game that makes you believes this will be the year he takes that his good start of twenty games up to thirty, forty, and maybe a full season, as far as being consistent?
 
Tambellini: I sure hope so. That was one of the things that we talked about with Sam, is that consistency. We spoke earlier of Mike Brown and what he does best is compete. But it’s hard to do that every night and it is hard to be - if you’re playing in our top six to deliver that every night. But that’s what the great players in the NHL do, more than not. They can bring it. I think Sam is maturing nicely. He’s had a real good start to the season. I like the way he’s competed on most nights and I think he’s headed in the right direction. I’m hoping that he can be that guy this year. We need both groups contributing.
 
 
Gregor: Taylor Hall admitted that if he was ever going to try centre, he’d want to do it from the start of the season. Have you guys ever had any serious conversations about a trying him there from the start of training camp and into the pre-season with Hall?
 
Tambellini: We’ve talked about that for sure. We actually talked about it, Jason, in Oklahoma City during the lockout and brought the idea up. He was just coming off of rehabbing his shoulder - six months of rehab- and he really just wanted to get back into a spot where he was comfortable and getting his timing and feeling all the things like that. And that was totally understandable from the coaches and management.

I think down the line, as Taylor gets more experience and time and he’s healthy, I can see a time where he’s being used and tried at spots like that because one, he’s been good enough on face-offs at this point and two, he’s an incredible skater so he can cover a lot of ground at ease. He’s learning to be disciplined in his own zone. So I think he’s going to end up being that guy where it doesn’t matter where you play him- you play him left wing, right wing, center- I think he’s going to give you the same game. He could give us a different look at center as we go along, I agree with that.
 
Gregor: I think it’s a lot harder than it looks to just make that transition. It takes a lot more work and a lot more mental toughness and focus in a game to know all your responsibilities as a center man. It’s not just saying, “Ok Taylor Hall, we’re going to play you at center and this will be easy.”
 
Tambellini: It’s a total different approach to the game- it really is. It’s so much easier for a center to go to the wing than a winger to go to center. Your responsibilities, especially in your own zone, are one of support and you can never really turn the energy level down when the play is in the defensive zone. You’re normally always the second person in supporting the defenseman that’s chasing the puck. You’re always in position as an outlet pass.

At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline.

You mentioned Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and I don’t know if I’ve seen a center man that age come in and be, not the top player in the league, but his habits in the defensive zone are impeccable. They really are. I’m not sure who was the most influential person in his life as far as his development as a hockey player, but his understanding of the defensive zone is outstanding.  
His offensive instincts and distribution of the puck are just elite. But what he does, what people don’t see, is how he manages- and he’s not even mature, as far as strength yet- how he manages himself in his own zone. It’s really impressive.
 
Gregor: I don’t like to make comparisons, but I look back to Pavel Datsyuk as a young player and just how dedicated he was in his defensive zone. Do you see any similarities at all in their games?
 
Tambellini: Oh I think so. The one thing that you see that stands out is, Pavel Datsyuk is not just a good offensive player, but he’s a competitive player. He is one of the best puck retrievers in the game right now. Those are habits that championship teams develop, that they’re excited to show their team mates that they will pay a price, as far as energy, to get the puck back.

I think Ryan; he’s going to have the chance to be viewed upon as one of those players that can do everything. I really believe that. I mean he’s such a young guy. Also I see a similarity in the way they both move the puck, the way they’re both committed to doing things right. There’s not cheat in their game at all. None. At times you wish Ryan would even be a little more selfish when you’re in the offensive situation. But he is a good example of how you wan to play two-hundred foot hockey.
 


Gregor: You mentioned competitive players. Competitive isn’t just running guys over, it is wanting to get the puck back if you lose it, it is stripping guys of the puck and sometimes it is separating the guy from a puck. When you look, overall, at your team, do you feel you have enough of these guys or are some of them still learning how to be competitive at the NHL level? Have they reached it yet?
 
Tambellini: No, we haven’t reached that yet. We’ve seen spurts, like energy in the Dallas game, I thought the compete level in the Chicago game was solid. You know this road trip, this is a test. Nine games in seventeen days, whatever the days are, it’s a test. The mature teams can find a lot of ways to bring it every night. It’s not just the offensive players that are looked upon for eighteen to twenty minutes.
 
It’s also the guys that are playing nine to eleven minutes. Those people also, they have to bring it every night. Just because they’re playing nine or eleven minutes, they better deliver what they do best every night. Every night. I know it is a lot of work for a physical player or a skilled player, but that’s what this how you need to play at this level.

All parts of this machine have to be working and contributing. If you have a weak area, you’re not going to win. That compete level is something that separates successful teams and players from average ones. I think and it’s not just the physical part, as you say, it is also the intensity and the attention and the determination that the good teams possess; they’re excited to get the puck back from you too.
 
Gregor: Give me your assessment of Justin Schultz twenty games into his NHL career.
 
Tambellini: Ya, well when I look at him, it is twenty games into his NHL career, but he’s also played half the season in the American League so I have to take that into account. I think there has been a couple times where maybe fatigue became an issue. He got banged up a little bit. He seems to be coming back out of it now. But, I mean, when you look at that age of a defenceman, playing the way he does and the minutes he does, how can you not be impressed?

I mean, he has an elite hockey mind. He’s just so relaxed. I think of the last time here in Columbus, just remembering what he did on a half breakaway and he stripped the puck off the offensive player, turned in one motion, and threw it up to the blue line on the tape. Play over. You don’t see those plays too often, never mind from a first year player. I’m always impressed when I see him. I love that he’s just so relaxed out there. He’s going to play big minutes for a long time in this league.
 
Gregor: With Mike Brown coming in did you and Ralph Krueger talk about it beforehand.  Obviously people look and say, “Well if he comes in, somebody has to come out of the line up.” Did you and Ralph have that discussion first to ensure that the coach feels that the guy you’re going to bring in is somebody that he feels will replace somebody in this current roster?
 
Tambellini: Well, if you’re not working closely with your head coach, you’re looking for issues to happen quite quickly that are going to be one of dysfunction. So absolutely we think as a group. Our pro scouts and scouts will target areas where we think we need to get improvement and sometimes you can make a trade where it significantly changes your hockey club and that’s usually a bigger deal. Other times, you’ve got five to ten percent of a certain area where you continually try to upgrade. So yes, absolutely, you speak to your coach and we know that eventually when we’re a healthy team- and I hope to see a healthy team here soon- we’ve got to make changes because there are not enough roster spots for the people that are here.

Gregor: You had mentioned early that Brown fits into the culture of your team. Can you define what the culture of the Edmonton Oilers is right now?
 
Tambellini: Well, you want to see the championship type of principles. You look at our hockey club and just think of what this looked like, say, four years ago and what this looks like now and you see people that are just hungry to play the game. They might not have it every night, but they love the game. They totally respect what Ralph is trying to do, with their on ice and off ice approach to the game.

It’s healthy, they care a lot, they want to win and they expect to win. They expect to get in the playoffs. They’re not happy when they play a game like last night. So there’s a heck of a lot more accountability in that dressing room than what I’ve seen in the past.
 
So I’m happy that it’s going in the right direction from that stand point and that’s what we have to build on; a consistency of principles that’s going to make this organization good for a long time. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • The GM agrees that the Oilers have yet to learn what it takes to be succesfull and win in the NHL on a nightly basis. Considering how young the core is that makes sense, but the organization needs to ensure that they learn what it takes over the next few seasons. Otherwise, despite all their skill and talent, they won't become a legitimate contender.
     
  • The hard questions for Tambellini and Lowe will be recognizing which players are learning what it takes to win and which ones just can't grasp it. It will be a fine line and difficult balancing act I presume.
     
  • It sounds like Taylor Hall preferred to focus on just playing this year rather than switching to center. I wonder if he will be open to the move next September?

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 BigE91
March 05 2013, 09:57AM
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There'll be a new GM in town before this team wins.

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#2 Woodguy
March 05 2013, 09:57AM
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I thought the compete level in the Chicago game was solid.

Chicago has 58 shot attempts in that game and the Oilers has 21.

The Oilers worst performance in terms of shot attempts this year.

I don't think compete means what Steve thinks it means.

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At some point they will probably have to move one of those guys they think know how to win every night.

We have too many bodies and if we ever want to fill the many holes of this team, quality has to be dealt.

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#4 VK63
March 05 2013, 10:09AM
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@Woodguy

He was extending Khabbis effort to the rest.

Or something.

Gregor you should have lobbed one of those Linus Omark trade scenarios the mouth breathers are always spewing on your show. Major shakeup Steve!

Ha!

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#5 Con-Air McDavid
March 05 2013, 10:09AM
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"Major shake up? What do you mean? Like a trade or something to better our team? That's outlandish Jason" -the oilers brass are just so on love with every little decision they make, the should all be shown the door.

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#6 Time Travelling Sean
March 05 2013, 10:13AM
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To be fair about that Chicago game, we didn't have it and they did, but did Khabbi have to make any real tough saves? We did battle through and got a point.

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#7 Todd
March 05 2013, 10:20AM
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Con-Air McDavid wrote:

"Major shake up? What do you mean? Like a trade or something to better our team? That's outlandish Jason" -the oilers brass are just so on love with every little decision they make, the should all be shown the door.

Tambicakes did his major shake up already! He waived Hordichuk, put in a failed waiver claim on Volpatti. Things like that. MAJOR MOVES for Tambo.

His smug confidence in his dithering is what annoys me. He is proud of how little he has done. Cause you know, its hard to make trades.

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#8 borisnikov
March 05 2013, 10:20AM
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I'm trying to not be to negative in saying this but... It is unbelievable how Tambo's lack of a good conversational cadence comes through when his words are typed out. It must be a chore to listen to his answers as an interviewer. Someone commented on LT's site yesterday about the quality of the Jim Byers interview on LT's radio show. I'd say that Tambo is the exact opposite of Byers, devoid of any conversational rhythm when being interviewed. I can't wait until his reign of ineptitude is over in Edmonton.

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#9 The Beaker
March 05 2013, 10:21AM
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Man I hope I'm wrong but the more this Mike Brown trade settles in my head the worse it feels. I know 4th rounders dont pan out frequently but I think they probably have more value than a guy like Brown. In other words that pick would likely be more valuable in bring something else back.

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#10 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 10:24AM
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Tambellini is clueless.

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#11 Dino
March 05 2013, 10:24AM
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For some reason I hate listening to Tambo. I always feel like he's speaking in half truths. It could stem from the fact that I don't believe he's a good communicator, or maybe he's not comfortable dealing with the media.

Say what you will about KLowe ruining this team, but I always thought he was genuine and he was always willing to do whatever it took to make this team better (RFA offer sheets for example). I don't get that sense from Tambo; he's always assessing with passion and poise.

I look forward to the day that MacT takes over as GM. This is Tambo's last season. The Oilers will need to win about 65% of their remaining games just to be in the playoff hunt. What has this team done up until now to make you believe they'll be able to accomplish that? Tambo has stated that they need to complete for a playoff spot in order to consider this season a success. This will be his death knell.

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#12 james_dean
March 05 2013, 10:34AM
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bring back o sullivan

and ya i am an irish pr***

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#13 Moosemess
March 05 2013, 10:39AM
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Nice interview JG.

1 interview straight from the source 100x>10000 speculative blog posts from the 'advanced stats elite'

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#14 A-Mc
March 05 2013, 10:44AM
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I get the feeling that management thinks they have a playoff team right now. They believe that the only remaining piece is to have someone able to light a fire under their butts - ie: Motivational Speaker R. Krueger. The only problem is, is that it takes more than a coach to do that.

If management isn't prepared to move anyone of value to better the team, then i sense that we're going to be dealing with bottom half (bottom 2 D, bottom 6 Forwards) player moves at the most for the next couple years.

Essentially, all we can do is wait for the team to 'get it'; and that kind of sucks for fans.

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#15 CaptainLander
March 05 2013, 10:52AM
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@The Beaker

Maybe your bad feeling is a good thing, as an Oiler fan I have seen many a good feeling turn to ash. "I had a feeling that Whitney can bounce back after a long rest for his ankle" - Nope! "I had a feeling that Ebs and Schultz will pick up on their point production from OKC, not at that level but good numbers" - Nadda, "I have a feeling that the Oil have a chance to compete for a playoff spot this year" - Not a chance. So maybe a few feelings that lower the bar are good.

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#16 Phixieus666
March 05 2013, 11:02AM
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Wow apparently I viewed the interview a lot differently than a lot of people. I thought this showed a lot of positives.

1)Management is listening to their players and making decisions based on that. They didn't force Hall to try playing at center, this is a good sign to me.

2)Tambo openly admitted that there are still things missing from this team that need to be addressed.

3)Tambo clearly states that roster decisions are not just him. Likely all coaches and management have input and the scouting guys are in on it as well and try to target the specifics in players they want to bring in. Like saying Brown's fitness, energy, compete, and work ethic were big reasons for acquiring him rather than just claiming Sestito. When you get that specific about players to bring in that greatly drops the number of players that the team would be willing to deal for and makes trades that much more difficult.

Bringing an talented cancer into the dressing room can be just as bad as bringing the wrong type of player in to fill a hole.

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#17 GVBlackhawk
March 05 2013, 11:13AM
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It's all about compete level and poise with Tambi.

He is an idiot GM. This team is in dire need of new management, not new coaches and training staff.

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#18 Quicksilver ballet
March 05 2013, 11:14AM
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To borrow a phrase from the rock n roll legends Pink Floyd, Your lips move, but i can't hear what you're saying...Steve. Lame duck manager talking, nothing worth noteing happening here.

If you look real close, in that subtle lighting, you can actually see the strings attached to this corporate puppet. Don't have much time for this poser Jason. Appologies i didn't read this effort you put forth this morning.

How long till the NSOGDP?

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#19 druds
March 05 2013, 11:15AM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Wow apparently I viewed the interview a lot differently than a lot of people. I thought this showed a lot of positives.

1)Management is listening to their players and making decisions based on that. They didn't force Hall to try playing at center, this is a good sign to me.

2)Tambo openly admitted that there are still things missing from this team that need to be addressed.

3)Tambo clearly states that roster decisions are not just him. Likely all coaches and management have input and the scouting guys are in on it as well and try to target the specifics in players they want to bring in. Like saying Brown's fitness, energy, compete, and work ethic were big reasons for acquiring him rather than just claiming Sestito. When you get that specific about players to bring in that greatly drops the number of players that the team would be willing to deal for and makes trades that much more difficult.

Bringing an talented cancer into the dressing room can be just as bad as bringing the wrong type of player in to fill a hole.

I agree but Tambo bashing is all the rage on this site. All the basement GM's live here.

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#20 EHH Team
March 05 2013, 11:16AM
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@Phixieus666

I agree more with your take than with the nattering nabobs of negativity preceding your post.

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#21 oilers2k14
March 05 2013, 11:17AM
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Ya, good read..ya..

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#22 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 11:20AM
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TSN.ca NHL POWER RANKINGS

March 4, 2012

"One regulation win in the last seven sinks the Oilers to second-last in the Western Conference. This was the year they were supposed to be better than this, right?

Key Injuries: LW Taylor Hall (groin/hip)."

Link: http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/rankings/nhl/

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#23 Quicksilver ballet
March 05 2013, 11:24AM
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Have to think that 4th round draft pick Lowe surrendered yesterday is accompanied with what has to be a near 98% fail rate. Small price to pay for someone who'll actually wear an NHL jersey. The only success the Oilers have had drafting these last 4 yrs, is when someone else did their homework for them. WE SUCK!

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#24 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 11:26AM
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druds wrote:

I agree but Tambo bashing is all the rage on this site. All the basement GM's live here.

Props!

jk

This is a stupid comment!!! Unless my sarcasm detector is malfunctioning........

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#25 The Real Scuba Steve
March 05 2013, 11:30AM
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BigE91 wrote:

There'll be a new GM in town before this team wins.

Yeah a new g.m who we fired years ago not good

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#26 steelymac
March 05 2013, 11:32AM
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After reading the caption "have you looked at a trade" it is obvious Dithers is fine wiith the way things are going.The lockout I believe extended Dithers reign as the G.M.The time to fire his ass is now but Im afraid Katz will have to make that call himself.

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#27 Hayek
March 05 2013, 11:36AM
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How do you interview people like Tambellini and not be like Geroge Constanza when talking to George Steinbrenner to something along the lines of "You're the worst thing that has happened to this team...I can't sit back here and speak to you without saying how you have compeletely ruined this team..." or something along those lines.

You must be a saint.

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#28 Spydyr
March 05 2013, 11:37AM
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Wow, you can barely see Lowe's lips moving. He must be an awesome ventriloquist.

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#29 Clarko
March 05 2013, 11:41AM
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Tambellini: Well, you want to see the championship type of principles. You look at our hockey club and just think of what this looked like, say, four years ago and what this looks like now and you see people that are just hungry to play the game. They might not have it every night, but they love the game. They totally respect what Ralph is trying to do, with their on ice and off ice approach to the game.

Didn't the team four years ago with a lot less talent and an apparently terrible coach finish with a record of 38-35-9 for 85 points and just 6 points out of a playoff spot? It is fine that Tambellini tore the team down for a rebuild and most fans accepted that.

But when are we going to see this brand new culture? The Oilers are 14th in the Conference and although individuals have improved, the end product is still the same.

Minnesota (who is 8th) is on pace for 55 points. So, the Oilers, at a minimum, have to finish with 35 points in their last 27 games (17-9-1) to have any kind of a chance at playoff spot. As a fan, I would love to see that kind of run, but realistically, the annual Oiler chant of "Wait until next year" should be starting any time.

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#30 Giant Squid Overlord
March 05 2013, 11:45AM
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A good article about Brown leafs already missing him: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2013/03/what-brown-did-for-maple-leafs-was-missing-versus-the-devils.html

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#31 Smokey
March 05 2013, 11:47AM
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I heard his comment about compete level against Chicago, and I thought it was mind boggling. The only thing I believe he could of meant was the compete they had in their own end holding onto dear life for 2/3rds of the game. Its the only thing he could of meant, they were brutal.

Tambo doesn't get it. He's putting round pegs into square holes. He lacks the ability to assess talent and skillsets, and he's not able to put a cohesive mix of players together after 3 years. End the pain....please...

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#32 Will
March 05 2013, 11:48AM
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Forth rounder worth more than Brown? Seriously, who actually thinks a fourth rounder is worth more than a 10 minute a night fourth liner who plays with speed, grit, and intensity?

Yes, I know in the past there have been some deep, deep steals in the draft. But name the last fourth rounder from say, the last three dafts to be that huge steal. And even if there is one example, how likely is it that we happen to just know something all the other teams don't and get that guy this year?

For example, we took Moroz in the second round last year. Does anyone here think right now Moroz could do the job Brown is going to do? Look at guys like JF Jaques.

True, the Datsuyks are out there. But for everyone of them there are literally hundreds of players that do nothing. Personally, I think it's great the Oilers are finally in a position where they can afford to trade away those long shot late round picks to upgrade on the bottom six positions.

How does anyone not see that we drafted and developed talent in our top nine, have clearly drafted and developed our future number one goalie. Are currently drafting and developing some top defines (not to mention getting Schultz), and can now focus on upgrading at other positions around the ice.

The final piece of the puzzle is when they trade a Gagner, or a Hemsky, or a Yakupov for that big piece of the top 6 puzzle, or a top 2 defender. When that happens, the fans will know it is time to go for it.

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#33 DSF
March 05 2013, 11:49AM
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@Clarko

The playoff cutoff is likely going to be about 57 points.

The Oilers would need to have a record of 17-7-3 to get there.

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#34 Archaeologuy
March 05 2013, 11:49AM
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Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?

Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?

Listening to the Radio during this part you could really get the sense that the thought of making a trade that involved a roster player was giving Tambellini a bad case of Vertigo.

I mean the mere suggestion that this team (4 points out of dead last in the NHL) needed a shakeup was mind boggling to him.

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#35 vetinari
March 05 2013, 11:51AM
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First, Steve's record as a GM over the last three and a half years says he has no idea what it takes to be a "champion". He's had his chance and he's failed. Let us all move on.

Second, tinkering with the fourth line doesn't make the first three play any better-- it's like changing your spare tire on your car and expecting it to make the other four run better.

Third. Please put up a different picture of Tambellini at the start of articles-- he has had no right to be Mr. Smiley. If anything, he should look dis-shelved. And he should be standing on top of a trap door. If I have to see his smiling face at the draft again after another season of embarrassment, I'll scream.

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#36 Will
March 05 2013, 11:52AM
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How is anyone complaining about a fourth round pick for this guy. This is what you trade fourth round picks for.

Anyone who thinks we need to hold onto our pick so we can pluck out a Datsyuk is dreaming. Does anyone think our second round pick of last year would be better on the oilers than Brown?

Can anyone tell me the last great deep steal in a draft? Jamie Benn is about the only name I can think of. And i don't think he went in the fourth round.

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#37 freeze
March 05 2013, 11:54AM
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Tambi makes me weep. I have zero faith in this management group's ability to improve the make up of this team.

FTNF!!

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#38 Gazmort
March 05 2013, 11:57AM
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I am in agreement with most on this site that management's record of free-agent signings and later-round drafting is open to criticism. I also agree that Tambellini does not come across in the most convincing manner in interviews.

But...

Everyone out there who is so frustrated with the lack of "shake-up" trades, please back it up with credible suggestions that also have some basis in fact (i.e. the awareness that a desireable player on another time is available, and that the asking price is reasonable). Wait, you can't. Stop assuming such trades are available. Until you include attractive pieces from the Oilers (read: players with an established track record of production in the NHL, be it points or some other measure), major trades that bring in high-value pieces will not be available. Will not. Full stop.

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#39 bdiddy18
March 05 2013, 12:03PM
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"At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline. "

BINGO BANGO BONGO ! this in a nutshell is the problem of teenagers running your squad. DISCIPLINE and MATURITY - trying way to hard to create everything on one shift, instead of treating the 60 mins like a the chess match it is..calculated attacks, strategic decisions .leading to overwhelming the opposition into a goal after 3 or 4 shifts of setting it up.

Don't care how much you want to dump on the GM - the organization has mandated the vision, and it requires patience and an understanding of what turning a team over to youth's does. The GM just carries that out. The organization has called for a rebuild through the draft which means a LONG and FRUSTRATING road that requires a GM to not be reactionary to the everyday events and go for the homerun, but to ensure that the pieces continue to develop while you handle the wrath of media/fans while the kids grow out of their pimples.

Precisely why a rebuild via draft is not what most GM's will attempt - its unpopular - it highlights how far behind you actually are when you attempt it - it takes so much time you can easily lose focus or succumb to the outside pressure to accelerate and you mess it all up. It takes leadership to stay the course and handle the storm and move onward.

The Owner has called for this type of rebuild - his executives just carry it out. An the owner has demonstrated he clearly has the patience to see it through despite all the headaches and grumblings.

Imagine if Katz was emotional and reactionary like he bungled the Arena deal for a while...we'd be screwed.

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#40 Quicksilver ballet
March 05 2013, 12:07PM
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Smokey wrote:

I heard his comment about compete level against Chicago, and I thought it was mind boggling. The only thing I believe he could of meant was the compete they had in their own end holding onto dear life for 2/3rds of the game. Its the only thing he could of meant, they were brutal.

Tambo doesn't get it. He's putting round pegs into square holes. He lacks the ability to assess talent and skillsets, and he's not able to put a cohesive mix of players together after 3 years. End the pain....please...

Steve isn't stupid, he's just doing a difficult job.

How long will Oilers management keep pissing in the fans ears, then tell the fans with a straight face, it's only raining. The Oilers won't ever admit yet another lotto pick is their goal. Drafting high buys them time and masks the organizations difficiencies.

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#41 Todd
March 05 2013, 12:10PM
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DSF wrote:

The playoff cutoff is likely going to be about 57 points.

The Oilers would need to have a record of 17-7-3 to get there.

So the Wild have to go 15-9-3 right? Equally as unlikely.

Personally I think the cut off will be at 55pts.

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#42 Ralp
March 05 2013, 12:12PM
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@Spydyr

Speaking of ventriloquist. This guy is good very good

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htU6qYsLsEE

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#43 Jimmer
March 05 2013, 12:24PM
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Dear Tambo:

Please add: -Nathan Horton or similar -Sean Couturier or similar

Please subtract: -Sam Gagner -Ales Hemsky

Yes, on paper it doesn't look great but we need to add size at Centre and on the RW. When we do make the playoffs we will get pushed around with the top 6 forwards we have now.

Sincerely,

Common Sense.

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#44 Dave Lumley
March 05 2013, 12:26PM
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Yea, I am one of the "band wagon, koolaid drinkers". Having a seat near the front of the wagon, I prefer the taste of the Koolaid being served rather than the "DSF" brand which leaves a quite a bitter taste, questionable bouquet and a certain murkiness.

Having announced which side of the fence I am on, I enjoyed Tambellinis interview. I was all for blowing up the Mac T / Klowe version of the Oilers and Tambellini has blowed it up good, in fact blowed it up real good.

If you go back to his press conference he outlined a plan to address the reality that the Oilers had a poor culture, poor prospects and even poorer prospects of attracting quality players wanting to make a commitment to the city and the Oilers.

Changing a team look, culture and future takes time and I like the direction we are going in. I liked the attitude of wanting to build this team with a culture based approach, not grabbing the first or every shinny bauble that comes along. I like the patient approach.

Are there questions? Sure, don't like some of the (actually most) of the contracts i.e. too much for Dubnyk, Jones, Eberle, which will impact choices that can be made when it counts which is not today. Team toughness, yes it needs to be addressed but you gather some assests first and then see what they are worth. Is Tambellini the guy to convert the assests? Who knows. I am not terribly excited to see another version of the MacT show, been there done that. Lets keep the course.

Not too long ago the Avalanche were up and coming, they came back down to earth. Last years heros, the Panthers, are back on the heap. Last years bums, the Ducks are one of the top teams. Whats the reality of the Canadians? Chicago built the core has had some success and now are reaping the reward again. We will see if our core is in place when and if Klefbom and Marincin make the move. Time will tell. All of this hints that building a sustainable winner is not as easy as it appears. We are certainly more than one move away.

I liked Tambellinis plan and it needs to keep moving forward; prudent, patient and long term.

The view from the front of the wagon looks pretty good. I am glad it is not too crowded.

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#45 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 05 2013, 12:29PM
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Dave Lumley wrote:

Yea, I am one of the "band wagon, koolaid drinkers". Having a seat near the front of the wagon, I prefer the taste of the Koolaid being served rather than the "DSF" brand which leaves a quite a bitter taste, questionable bouquet and a certain murkiness.

Having announced which side of the fence I am on, I enjoyed Tambellinis interview. I was all for blowing up the Mac T / Klowe version of the Oilers and Tambellini has blowed it up good, in fact blowed it up real good.

If you go back to his press conference he outlined a plan to address the reality that the Oilers had a poor culture, poor prospects and even poorer prospects of attracting quality players wanting to make a commitment to the city and the Oilers.

Changing a team look, culture and future takes time and I like the direction we are going in. I liked the attitude of wanting to build this team with a culture based approach, not grabbing the first or every shinny bauble that comes along. I like the patient approach.

Are there questions? Sure, don't like some of the (actually most) of the contracts i.e. too much for Dubnyk, Jones, Eberle, which will impact choices that can be made when it counts which is not today. Team toughness, yes it needs to be addressed but you gather some assests first and then see what they are worth. Is Tambellini the guy to convert the assests? Who knows. I am not terribly excited to see another version of the MacT show, been there done that. Lets keep the course.

Not too long ago the Avalanche were up and coming, they came back down to earth. Last years heros, the Panthers, are back on the heap. Last years bums, the Ducks are one of the top teams. Whats the reality of the Canadians? Chicago built the core has had some success and now are reaping the reward again. We will see if our core is in place when and if Klefbom and Marincin make the move. Time will tell. All of this hints that building a sustainable winner is not as easy as it appears. We are certainly more than one move away.

I liked Tambellinis plan and it needs to keep moving forward; prudent, patient and long term.

The view from the front of the wagon looks pretty good. I am glad it is not too crowded.

Okay. What's the next step or steps? How do you remain patient and improve this team?

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#46 Jason
March 05 2013, 12:31PM
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Oilers need a top 6 small winger.

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#47 Will
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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Wow, so did anyone else read about the lottery changing. Now all 14 bottom teams will have a shot at winning first overall. I mean, that's not incredibly significant for those bottom teams except having a crazy outside chance of picking number one overall. But the team with the lowest points only has a 25% chance of winning which is significantly less than the 48% chance of yester year.

No team can move down more than one spot so I guess a team that is tanking on purpose is guaranteed a second overall which is till worthy of building a team around.

However, for the Oilers, we really picked the right time to tank "on purpose".

Not to mention, how insane would it be to finish say 22 in the league or like 10th overall in the west, and win the lottery again.

Would anyone like to suggest what we do with that pick? I say either grab Jones as a Jones, Schultz, Klefbomb trio looks mighty good. Or trade down to three or four and pick up a big centre.

I know it's too early to be talking about picking high in the draft, but this is kind of big news.

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#48 DSF
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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Will wrote:

How is anyone complaining about a fourth round pick for this guy. This is what you trade fourth round picks for.

Anyone who thinks we need to hold onto our pick so we can pluck out a Datsyuk is dreaming. Does anyone think our second round pick of last year would be better on the oilers than Brown?

Can anyone tell me the last great deep steal in a draft? Jamie Benn is about the only name I can think of. And i don't think he went in the fourth round.

2005:

Vladimir Sobotka 4th round Boston

Keith Yandle 4th round Phoenix

Niklas Hjalmarssom 4th round Chicago

Darren Helm 5th round Detroit

Nathan Gerbe 5th round Buffalo

Sergei Kostitsyn 7th round Montreal

2006:

James Reimer 4th round Toronto

Korbinian Holzer 4th round Toronto

Matt Belesky 4th round Anaheim

Viktor Stalberg 6th round Toronto

Derek Dorsett 7th round Columbus

Eric Condra 7th round Ottawa

2007:

Alec Martinez 4th round Los Angeles

Matt Frattin 4th round Toronto

Justin Falk 4th round Minnesota

Dwight King 4th round Los Angeles

Keith Aulie 4th round Toronto

Jamie Benn 5th round Dallas

Nick Bonino 6th round Anaheim

Carl Hagelin 6th round New York Rangers

Carl Gunnarsson 7th round Toronto

2008:

Braden Holtby 4th round Washington

Dale Weise 4th round New York Rangers

T.J. Brodie 4th round Calgary

Gustav Nyquist 4th round Detroit

Andrei Loktionov 5th round Los Angeles

Matt Martin 5th round Islanders

Jared Spurgeon 6th round Islanders

Zac Rinaldo 7th round Philadelphia

Jason Demers 7th round San Jose

Since it takes about 5 years to assess a draft and it normally takes a little longer for late round picks to get a shot, it remains to be seen who will emerge from the 2009-2012 drafts but it's pretty clear you can pick up some pretty good players in round 4 and below if you know what you're doing.

It would appear that Toronto's scouting staff is certainly among the best since I count 5 actual NHL players they picked up in round 4 or later.

In reviewing all that, it's pretty clear the Leafs just absolutely killed it in the 2006 draft:

Round 1 Jiri Tlusty

Round 2 Nikolai Kulemin

Round 3 No pick

Round 4 James Reimer

Round 4 Korbinian Holzer

Round 5 No pick

Round 6 Viktor Stalberg

Round 7 No pick.

So, with 5 picks every one of them is a legit NHL player. Pretty nice work.

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#49 Worried
March 05 2013, 12:32PM
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With all the talent Oilers have, I'm worried they will get too good too quickly and we won't be able to keep the team together.

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#50 DSF
March 05 2013, 12:38PM
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Worried wrote:

With all the talent Oilers have, I'm worried they will get too good too quickly and we won't be able to keep the team together.

The longer it takes, the more likely the Oilers won't be able to afford to keep them together.

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