Character & Culture

Jonathan Willis
September 04 2010 01:05PM

DALLAS - APRIL 02: Defenseman Jason Strudwick #43 of the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center on April 2, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Team culture and player character isn’t an issue I generally spend a lot of time on, for a few different reasons. I’ve always believed the off-ice stuff, while not inconsequential, is certainly auxiliary to the on-ice stuff. Additionally, I’m woefully ill-qualified to comment on how the players act off the ice, and even if I did spend a significant amount of time with the team my views would at best be incomplete – I can’t actually get inside player’s heads. Needless to say, on-ice body language is a less than perfect indicator.

However, given Steve Tambellini’s emphasis on character and culture change, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how the roster he inherited in the summer of 2008 has turned over, and see if we can’t get some feel for direction. 

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The Books

Jonathan Willis
August 26 2010 07:22PM

One of the key arguments behind Daryl Katz’s drive to get a new arena built in downtown Edmonton is that the Oilers are losing money and aren’t economically viable in their current facility. Given that those around the team have stressed this point repeatedly, I wonder if there was any face-palming when Oilers V.P. of communication and broadcast, Allan Watt, started talking about the Oilers’ revenue flow with the local media.

Discussing the hiring of play-by-play man Jack Michaels, Watt included the following gem:

“We have a $3-billion industry (NHL), we’re a $120-million business and there are no borders in our business.

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Andrew Cogliano & What Have You Done For Me Lately

Jonathan Willis
August 24 2010 05:59PM

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 15: Andrew Cogliano #13 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during their NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 15, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets defeated the Oilers 5-3. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

One of the second-tier issues the Oilers face this summer (behind Khabibulin and Souray) is what to do with Andrew Cogliano, fresh off the worst season of his NHL career.

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The Forwards

Jonathan Willis
August 21 2010 01:44PM

TORONTO - MARCH 7:  Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the game at Air Canada Centre on March 7, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Over at his other place, Lowetide has been spending the last few weeks going through the Oilers’ forwards and establishing benchmarks for the performance of each of them. He does it every summer, and then reviews those projections throughout the year. Because his estimates are conservative, as a rule they get argued with when they’re made and then start looking better and better as the season goes on.

His final list of the Oilers forwards went up today, and it’s a roster that screams one thing: this is another rebuilding year.

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That Troublesome Third Line

Jonathan Willis
August 19 2010 06:50PM

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Fernando Pisani #34 of the Edmonton Oilers passes the puck against the Anaheim Ducks on October 15, 2008 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Oilers won 3-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

With the departure of Fernando Pisani to Chicago – a departure well covered by Lowetide here and Ben Massey here – the Oilers have one fewer option to plug one of their holes on the third line.

In my opinion, it’s just as well; a Pisani signing would have been more a nod to sentiment than pragmatism. As much as Pisani is a player I loved to see in an Oilers’ uniform, if Steve Tambellini is going to bolster his team’s bottom six, he really ought to be looking at players who could be useful a few years down the road.

Who, exactly?

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