Wanye Weighs In: The Tambellini-Lowe-Katz Saga

As we mentioned earlier, we tried to find out what happened last night by calling people who should know. Now remember, Nation, we’ve only been doing this for a little while, and Brownlee is on Vacation, so we only have two sources—both, though, are credible.

We left messages with both, and started photoshopping pictures with Spyn at OilersNation World HQ. Finally someone phoned us back (apparently we rank somewhere above the Ft. Chipewyan Times on the media pecking order). Below is the conversation as we remember it. Not direct quoting, but we were taking notes as we talked, just like a “real journalist.” We will call our source Mr. X to sound cool, much cooler than his real name—“guy who rummages for cans outside our condo.”

Wanye: So what the hell dude!? Did K-Lowe get booted by Katz or what?

Mr X: No, he didn’t. Is that the angle you guys are taking?

Wanye: No, we haven’t really taken any angle yet. There are commenters going either way on the site though. Some think it is a promotion, others think it’s a demotion.

Mr. X: It’s not a demotion. Katz and Lowe have been having regular meetings for the past few months trying to figure out how to run the team in the long run. As everyone is saying, they want to have a model based on the Red Wings, not with one person calling the shots, but a committee of smart people and one person having the ultimate say. They need more experienced bodies around to make this happen. Lowe has been hinting for awhile now that he was planning to “retire” as a GM in the next few years, and kick himself into the front office to stay on with the team. The past few years have been very taxing on him, I mean look how much he has aged from the job!

Wanye: That’s true, he does look like hell.

Mr. X: Shut up and let me finish.

Wanye: I apologize.

Mr. X: Anyways, Kevin and Katz had basically agreed that the job of “President of Hockey Operations”—overseeing the Oilers, Falcons, Oil Kings and the ECHL team—is a full-time job and something that Kevin would ultimately do very well with his level of experience. The thought was: get him out of the media heat and scrutiny and use his experience to oversee the full slate of teams, and the new arena project. He still has a big say in the day-to-day operations of the team and has to sign off on trades as I understand it.

They had a very short list of people they would want to bring in as GM, and Tambellini was at the top of it. I guess there was something in Tambellini’s contract that allowed him to negotiate with teams for part of the offseason so they had a small window with which to talk to him. He had been in the running for a few GM jobs around the league, but the Oilers had never approached him as Lowe seemed cemented in the job. When they did, they were surprised at how quickly he jumped all over the deal. He loves Canada, has a lot of respect for the Oilers franchise and Kevin Lowe in particular, and it seemed like a tremendous fit. So they did the deal.

Wanye: Wow. So why didn’t anyone see it coming?

Mr. X: They used to have 36 owners, and 36 information leaks. Making decisions by committee doesn’t lend itself to keeping things quiet. Because there’s just Katz and Lowe now, and because the decision was made in such a short span of time, there was no opportunity for it to leak out. Some people knew, though. Higher ups.

Wanye: Aren’t I entitled to a phone call in advance of anything happening you son of a b****? HUH?? You have made a powerless enemy today, my friend!!!!

(line cuts out.)

So there you have it, lambs. That’s what apparently went down. Unedited, uncut and no spin on the story.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I think it’s def a promotion. But in another sense, Katz is flexing his muscle and demonstrating that this isn’t being run like some club high up in the neighbourhood treehouse. This is a business. The business of hockey. And it sounds like Katz is eager to get right into it. It’s a refreshing change, in my opinion.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Tambo . . . Katz . . . a mask . . .
    and I think I heard that Katz went to Vancouver, once . . .

    Yes, yes, it all fits . . . why didn't I see it before?

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Sounds about right. Although that retiring in the next few years line might be a bit out of whack. Looking at Lowe in the presser, he comes across as basically done. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that he offered his resignation a couple of weeks ago and Katz talked him out of it with this new position.

    So is Pat Laforge taking to calling himself "Laforge-X"?

  • I'm a Scientist!

    This still sounds very strange to me. It this was last year when things were so bad, I could see it, but now that the oilers are in the MIDDLE of a rebirth, I find it hard to believe that K-Lowe would not want to stayas GM to see if this team can win the cup. So my thought is there is more to this than we have been let into at this time.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    A lot of people are overlooking the value of professionalism here. Given everything K-Lowe said about Burke, do you think he would leave a grenade for another GM? Added to that that he wanted to stay on with the team, what if he left the Oil in complete disary or in a bad place, and down the hall from him the new GM was pulling his hair out? That would make the Christmas party awkward wouldn't it? K-Lowe in my mind wanted to at least "right the ship" to a certain degree before giving it to someone else.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I go away for 2 weeks and look what happens! A new GM for the Oil!?! Craziness! It does seem like a good fit to me though. For all of you complaining about the Oilers only hiring their own, this should appease you, for the time being.

    So now that this has all gone down, what is Tam-Bo's first move as a GM going to be? Extend Garon's contract? Trade the Captain? Giggle as K-Lowe crank calls Burke at home? "Hey Burke, is your fridge running?…"

    The best part of this in my humble opinion is his close relationship with Gillis when it's time to re-sign Sam G. Perhaps this was the real reasoning behind this all?