Steve Tambellini: It’s Injuries, Guys

Vancouver Canucks

There’s an interesting article up on this morning, and Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini talks at some length about his team and the problems facing them.

I should warn you: he sounds pretty happy with his team.

Tambellini starts by explaining the injury situation his team has had to slog thorugh; H1N1, concussions, etc. But then he says something that I didn’t expect at all. 

"We had a really good camp and a very strong start and I like the look of our team and I like the balance of scoring and grit. The focus now is keeping the group together."

That would be the Oilers 6-2-1 start to the season that Tambellini is referring to with those comments. It’s identical to the argument David Staples made the other day, an argument I had an in-depth look at here. The short story is this: during that 6-2-1 start, the Oilers were getting outshot by even worse margins than they are now. After looking at the injuries, Dan Rosen of said, "It’s no wonder they were allowing nearly five more shots per game than they were taking", but the fact is that during that 6-2-1 start the Oilers were allowing eight more shots than they were taking. Maybe Tambellini’s playing PR here, but if he honestly believes that his team’s play warranted a 6-2-1 record, he ought to be kicked out of the GM’s seat right now — or at the very least forced to listen to his coach’s post-game press conferences over and over until he realizes that this team wasn’t the picture of perfection indicated by that record.

Tambellini went on to explain what he expects to happen when the Oilers get back to (relative) health:

"The scoring will come when we have more balance in our lineup and that’s just getting some bodies back,"

The only problem with that logic is that the scoring has actually been okay. The Oilers were ninth in the NHL in 5-on-5 offence and 12th in the NHL on the power play going into last night’s game against Chicago. Those are playoff numbers.

No, the problem has been the teams goals against (25th in the league), penalty kill (just 1.5% better than last year’s miserable number), 5-on-5 goal against (26th in the league), shot differential (27th in the league) and faceoffs (dead last in the NHL).  None of that has to do with scoring; it galls me that when listing the problems caused by injury the first thing that comes to Steve Tambellini’s mind is scoring. Next quote.

"When you’re watching the game from up top you can see overall energy in the team. You can see the way people move and sustain it, and the last couple of games you’re starting to see signs of that coming back."

Presumably that comment was made before last night’s game, a low-energy affair (aside from a few shifts by the fourth line) that saw the Oilers not only picked apart but also outworked by the Blackhawks. Finally:

"You want to see what your team looks like when you’re healthy. That part I am really looking forward to."

In short: stay the course. If Steve Tambellini believes what he’s saying here, there isn’t going to be a move to fix the personnel problems on this team any time soon.

Meanwhile, Lowetide suggests that Tambellini’s inertia will cost him his job.

  • @ Barry S:

    Fair enough, but I'm hardly jumping off the bandwagon here. I think the things I'm complaining about now are the same things I complained about all summer.

    Mostly, it bothers me that some of these things could have been fixed rather easily over the summer, and they weren't.

    Then I see stuff like this, where the blame is basically tossed on injuries and the 6-2-1 run is brought out as "proof" that this team is a good one, and it bothers me, and I feel the need to point out that it really isn't the case.

    As for injuries, I know Horcoff's a popular whipping boy around here but looking at what he's done while playing through a fairly serious injury (seven points in seven games, one of the team's few plus players) and I have trouble seeing injuries as an excuse.

    Particularly since, minus a few things (in particular the performance of Gagner, Cogliano and Gilbert, all of whom I though would be better) this is the team I expected.

  • @ Barry S

    You've got some good points for sure, but their have been (many) teams that seen significant change and suceeded right away.

    Cut through all the intangibles (Gelling/Chemistry/practice/hard work/crust/jam trust/systems/positioning etc etc ect)and you still have the core problem, the team simply isn't talneted enough (in all three zones) to get off the bubble (or even to the top of the bubble apperantly)


    … but, I know we've been going with The Delorean for Deslauriers, and its cool and all, but late last season my buddy came up with a nickname for him and I think its time to share…

    What do y'all think of Du Maurier?

    Jeff Drouin Du Maurier.

  • @sizzler

    I agree that there isn't a quick fix; that's why in the summer of 2007 the Oilers should have decided to tank for one season rather than pitching offers to Nylander, Vanek and Penner. They would have drafted a Stamkos or a Doughty or a Bogosian had they gone that route, as well as had a high second-round pick. They could still add Eberle with the Ducks' pick.

    They chose not to do this, going the route of Philadelphia instead and opting to try and buy their way out of trouble. Now that they've gone that route they've put together a team with some strong areas and some glaring weaknesses, and the best course of action is to continue retooling by adding cheap fixes (guys from the Peca/Bonk tree) while waiting for their ugly contracts to expire or dumping some underachievers *cough*Nilsson*cough* in the minors or on the waiver wire.

    There's no perfect solution, but there are many solutions preferable to inaction, or the perpetual pursuit of the reluctant big fish.

  • Wow Willis this is a crap article. Post this type of garbage to your own personal blog where you can at least come off as a "blogger" and not someone trying to act like a professional hockey writer.

    What do you honestly expect of Tambellini to say. Everyone knows that the team is underperforming even without the injuries but to call them out in public, especially on would be bush league management and not the type of move I would expect of a professional organization that wants to try to move ahead.

    Sorry but your post here has made me think a lot less of Oilers Nation as "insider news" outlet for fans to enjoy. I appreciate critism and like I said I agree that the team is underperforming, but your efforts to call Tambellini here is nothing but horsecrap sensationalism. Don't be the dick that rocks the boat.

    • Don't be the dick who thinks he can come here and tell Willis what to write or how to write it. Argue the merits of the content, not the writer's right to express it.

      Don't be the dick who lobs a load of BS about thinking less about Oilersnation over ONE story you don't like. Given the body of work at ON, by Willis and everybody else, you couldn't have thought much of ON to begin with. You came to take a shot.

      Don't be the dick who can't spell criticism. Oh, wait, you are the dick who can't spell criticism.

  • Slapshot

    Klowe must be a happy man these days,Penner is finally living up to his contract and he has a GM to take all the blame when we miss the playoffs again for the 4th year in a row,Dam I forget about Horcoff! Well 2 out of 3 is not so bad.

  • BarryS


    They also could have drafted Scheen/Baily/Boedker/Beach, and though one or two of those will likely be decent pieces non are likely to be franchise players and we wouldn't have what now (at least should be) valuable pieces in Penner/Souray

    Besides would losing Penners 23 goals and 20 odd games of Souray really dropped us the 12 – 15 points to get into range to draft one of the guys you mentioned? I doubt it.

  • @ Logan:

    FYI, this is a blog.

    As for sensationalism, give me a break. From the Edmonton Sun's game recap last night:

    TITLE: Lambs slaughtered

    "[I]t's like booing a mouse for getting worked over by a cat."

    "Like booing free alcohol for not standing up to a room full of sportswriters."

    "…an Oilers team that looked almost scared to touch the puck."

    "The Oilers were 3-8-2 in their last 13, they have a history of getting their clocks cleaned by Chicago…"

    "It had the makings of a terrible public beatdown."

    "It wasn't that bad — Final score: Lambs 2, Slaughter 5 — but, baby, it wasn't good either."

    "they wanted to see [Torrie Jung] play defence in place of the giveaway monkeys in front of Jeff Deslauriers."

    In short, don't give me "sensationalism". Particularly when the only sensationalist comment I made was that if Tambellini believes what he's saying he should either lose his job or be forced to listen to his coach until he has a similar viewpoint.

    As for content, Steve Tambellini rather strongly implied that this was a really good team that's just struggled with injuries and will be just fine when everybody gets healthy. Pat Quinn was saying nastier things when they were winning games.

    I get not throwing the team under the bus. But not once was there any indication that this roster was less than ideal, even when healthy. And the fact that the GM is publicly indicating nothing is wrong should bother people who follow the team – particularly since all of his moves since taking the job reflect the same satisfaction with his roster.

      • Here is a more or less complete list of players in the same ballpark salary wise as Ales Hemsky listed in order of points scored per game played for the current season to date.. Hemsky ranks 5th.

        Parise, Zach 3.125 21gp 13-14-27 – 1.286
        Alfredsson, Daniel 4.875 20gp 8-15-23 – 1.150
        Penner, Dustin 4.250 23gp 13-12-25 – 1.087
        Dumont, Jean-Pierre 4.000 14gp 3-12-15 – 1.071
        Hemsky, Ales 4.100 20gp 6-15-21 – 1.050
        Malone, Ryan 4.500 21gp 14-8-22 – 1.048
        Fisher, Mike 4.200 20gp 9-11-20 – 1.000
        Antropov, Nik 4.062 20gp 1-19-20 – 1.000
        Koivu, Mikko 3.250 22gp 6-15-21 – 0.954
        Zajac, Travis 3.888 21gp 7-13-20 – 0.952
        Semin, Alexander 4.600 18gp 9-8-17 – 0.944
        Huselius, Kristian 4.750 17gp 8-8-16 – 0.941
        Sharp, Patrick 3.900 22gp 6-13-19 – 0.864
        Connolly, Tim 4.500 20gp 4-13-17 – 0.850
        Williams, Justin 3.500 19gp 5-11-16 – 0.842
        Hejduk, Milan 3.900 21gp 10-7-17 – 0.810
        Horton, Nathan 4.000 21gp 6-11-17 – 0.810
        Roy, Derek 4.000 20gp 4-12-16 – 0.800
        Ruutu, Tuomo 3.800 19gp 6-9-15 – 0.789
        Kotalik, Ales 3.000 22gp 6-11-17 – 0.773
        Whitney, Ray 3.550 20gp 6-9-15 – 0.750
        Stoll, Jarret 3.600 24gp 7-11-18 – 0.750
        Brown, Dustin 3.175 24gp 6-12-18 – 0.750
        Hartnell, Scott 4.200 20gp 7-8-15 – 0.750
        McDonald, Andy 4.700 18gp 6-7-13 – 0.722
        Doan, Shane 4.550 23gp 6-10-16 – 0.696
        Blake, Jason 4.000 21gp 2-12-14 – 0.667
        Franzen, Johan 3.955 3gp 1-1-2 – 0.667
        Stillman, Cory 3.533 20gp 6-7-13 – 0.650
        Michalek, Milan 4.333 20gp 10-3-13 – 0.650
        Bergeron, Patrice 4.750 22gp 7-7-14 – 0.636
        Morrow, Brenden 4.100 22gp 7-7-14 – 0.636
        Kunitz, Chris 3.750 19gp 3-9-12 – 0.632
        Langkow, Daymond 4.500 21gp 7-6-13 – 0.619
        Umberger, R.J. 3.750 21gp 6-7-13 – 0.619
        Arnott, Jason 4.500 15gp 5-3-9 – 0.600
        Clowe, Ryane 3.625 25gp 4-11-15 – 0.600
        Modano, Mike 3.450 9gp 3-2-5 – 0.556
        Boyes, Brad 4.000 20gp 4-7-11 – 0.550
        Staal, Jordan 4.000 23gp 6-6-12 – 0.522
        Lupul, Joffrey 4.250 20gp 6-4-10 – 0.500
        Kozlov, Vyacheslav 3.667 20gp 2-8-10 – 0.500
        Sturm, Marco 3.500 22gp 5-6-11 – 0.500
        Legwand, David 4.500 21gp 3-7-10 – 0.476
        Sullivan, Steve 3.750 21gp 5-5-10 – 0.476
        Bolland, Dave 3.375 13gp 2-4-6 – 0.462
        Handzus, Michal 4.000 24gp 6-5-11 – 0.458
        Krejci, David 3.750 20gp 2-7-9 – 0.450
        Ryder, Michael 4.000 22gp 6-3-9 – 0.409
        Kostitsyn, Andrei 3.250 23gp 2-7-9 – 0.391
        Zubrus, Dainius 3.400 20gp 2-5-7 – 0.350
        Erat, Martin 4.500 18gp 2-4-6 – 0.333
        Booth, David 4.250 9gp 2-1-3 – 0.333
        Brind'Amour, Rod 3.600 22gp 2-5-7 – 0.318
        Hecht, Jochen 3.525 20gp 2-2-4 – 0.200
        Bouchard, Pierre-Marc 4.080 1gp 0-0-0 – 0.000
        Demitra, Pavol 4.000 n/a
        Nylander, Michael 4.875 n/a

        Here is a list of players taken from the same group previously which shows their points scored per game per million dollars in salary. I only included those who scored .2 points or better. Hemsky ranks a 5th place tie with Penner.

        Parise, Zach – .412
        Koivu, Mikko – .294
        Dumont, Jean-Pierre – .268
        Kotalik, Ales – .258
        Penner, Dustin – .256
        Hemsky, Ales – .256
        Antropov, Nik – .246
        Zajac, Travis – .245
        Williams, Justin – .241
        Fisher, Mike – .238
        Alfredsson, Daniel – .236
        Brown, Dustin – .236
        Malone, Ryan – .233
        Sharp, Patrick – .222
        Whitney, Ray – .211
        Stoll, Jarret – .208
        Hejduk, Milan – .208
        Ruutu, Tuomo – .207
        Semin, Alexander – .205
        Horton, Nathan – .203
        Roy, Derek – .200

        Hemsky’s contract is clearly an excellent one for the Oilers. Not only is he one of the top scorers among players in his salary range, but he is even a top value dollar wise amongst this valuable group.

        For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would believe Hemsy to be either a problem for the team, or worse, someone that needs to be “shown the door” as I have been reading lately. He is one of the few things this team has going for it this season.

        edit: sorry, I thought this was formatted better, but I have no time to fix it right now.

        • Chamucks Deluxe

          Great post, appreciate the effort involved in gathering that.

          I don't get the Hemsky trade talks all of a sudden. We have two PPG players between and excellent two-way center that can win a faceoff. Our top line has never been the problem, its been the defensive ineptitude of the team as a whole, as Willis has pointed out on a fair number of occasions. Not to mention the fact that Penner probably doesn't have the season he's having without Hemsky's support. The turnover issue I buy, but really who do we trust to carry the puck that much if he's gone? Gagner can get into the zone as can Penner, but man. Without Hemsky this team has a few more in the second column for sure.

        • Shawn Cronin

          We need more people to take the time and effort to find the stats like you did before posting. That being said, the problem most have with ol Hemmer is the lack of effort that can be displayed. Good value for money? Sure, ok, but imagine how good he could be if he put the effort in and still be in that salary range. Is he good? Yes, but is he a winner?

  • Librarian Mike

    Upcoming Articles on Logan's Oilersnation:

    Shut up! Everything's Fine! by Robin Brownlee

    We Still Scored 2 and That's Not Bad by Wanye

    I Picked All Oilers in My Pool by Towel Boy

    Logan Gets Comment of the Week Again by Jeanshorts

  • Ducey


    I agree with what most of what you say. The Oil needed to recognize that they needed to rebuild and instead went with a quick fix.

    I also agree there is some "freely available" players who could have helped with the the heavy lifting/ faceoffs.

    2 points though.

    1. It was tough coming off the cup run and the one second half surge highlighted by the kid line. Its easy to see now but back then I think most people thought the Oil would be better than they are.

    2. Tambellini has been GM for last season, a summer and this season. I can see him wanting to try and develop a few guys before going out and getting someone else. It looks like Brule may realize his potential in time. Stone has looked okay. Pouliot (remember him) was in the mix and Stortini has had flashes.

    If I am patient as a GM I give some of these guys a shot and see what I have. The upside with Pouliot and Brule is likely higher than some of the freely available guys who are not getting any better.

    If the goal is to be a better team in a year or two years, isn't it better to develop some players now rather than give time to moops who will win some faceoffs and move on in a year? Give the faceoffs to the guys that will be taking them in two years.

    The best case senario is for the Oilers to be sellers at the deadline, free some cap room, continue to develop players, get some decent picks etc. A couple of dependable forwards are going to make the games easier to watch and maybe let them sqeak into the playoffs but will just perpetuate mediocrity.

    • Milli

      I was one of those that bought in to the 22 game run a few years ago, but, there where alot of people (less qualified than Tambo) that where making the point here and other sites that we where not as good as those games led us to believe. Also, when we are looking for role players that we have let get away for nothing or traded away to fill other holes, but there are solutions available, well, being patient is fine. But, we are in the buisiness of WINNING, and we are not winning much.

      • BarryS

        Milli wrote:

        Also, when we are looking for role players that we have let get away for nothing or traded away to fill other holes, but there are solutions available, well, being patient is fine. But, we are in the buisiness of WINNING, and we are not winning much.

        Unless you own the team, we are in the business of being fans and/or whiners. Sorry, you get confused so much you think you own the team and can fire or hire who you want. Good news, there are pills which can cure such delusions.

    • Hemmercules

      The only problem with this idea is that the Oilers are trying to develop Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot, Brule, Potulny, Jacques, and Reddox on a team that already features Comrie, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Stone.

      Are all hockey players made equal?


      Can they all change it up and play the role of a Mike Peca or Rob Neidermeyer on this team if the need arises?

      Not likely.

      It's pretty sad when Gagner and Brule are your best bets for checking line centermen.

      Gagner was given a chance to prove himself on the fourth line and he delivered. Nobody else has been able to deliver under those conditions.

      Remember Brule's early success?

      Most of it came playing with Penner, so keep that in perspective too.

      The Oilers are

      a) not giving themselves a roster that has a chance at success
      b) not giving the individual players a chance to succeed because all of them are vying for the same roster spots – something that should have been settled at training camp

      (And I say that because Stone and O'Sullivan have been playing on the wing, though I doubt they would flourish in such a role.)

    • GSC

      Not sure why you would ask Willis this. If I'm not mistaken he says he isn't in Edmonton and doesn't have access to the room. Brownlee would know, and Gregor since he seems to be in the room the most. But how would leadership come up if it was the leaders who were in the meeting?

      • Maybe a conversation Willis has had or overheard? People do hear talk. Maybe Jason also knows. I didn't see him to reply to the thread so why would I add his name to the question?

        You comment about the leaders already being there really made me laugh. More like shake my head. Why not get it out? A perfect opportunity to challange the supposed leaders of this team. Come on man, that comment was a bit on the slow side. On teams in the past that I have played, we had no issues calling out the captain! That sometimes makes or breaks the teams confidence.

        Identity really lacks on the Team, and in my mind there are several softies here and it shows. Some may find this offensive, but a guy like Sheldon Souray, or Steve Staios would be better suited at the official leadership qualities of this team. The Oilers struggle in the fact that there is a lot of Unproven players on this team IE, Horcoff, Hemsky, Penner, and Moreau that are the so called leaders? Not to say that they are not good, but lack superstar qualities. Then the next worst step that they have made is that they have taken these Unproven guys teaching the unproven youth. I'm afraid this still may not work out. I have no objections to these players playing here but, wake the HELL up Edmonton!

        Do a pool for yourself across the league? Where does our Captain fit?


        Ok you get the point


        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          isnt chris clark the captain of the capitals?

          wiki has:
          2006-present Chris Clark

          comparable career PPG stats with moreau, injury problems the last couple years as well.

  • GSC

    I don't know what Tambo is truly thinking, if his quotes were meant to take the pressure off of this team by putting lipstick on a pig for PR sake, or if he is actually happy with this team, but I have my own theories regarding this team and organization:

    1) They miss Ryan Stone. They haven't been the same team without him. He is that one player who gets the opposition off their game. As physical as forwards like Jacques and Brule play, they don't have the pest role down like Stone does. Ryan had the Flames (esp. Iginla) running around in both games early in the season looking to take his head off. He brings exactly what the team needs. The problem is, missing one player this badly (a first-time NHL player, to boot) shows just how thin the cupboard is in terms of organizational depth. Which brings us to…

    2) Injuries to key players hurt, there's no question about it…but the excuse is wearing thin. Look at New Jersey: lost Elias, Oduya, Martin, and Pandolfo, and went on an 8-game winning streak. Granted, the Oilers had the flu rip through the room and suffered big losses, but as Quinn said the games still have to be played. Look at a few years back when Horcoff and Souray were out, the kids took over and made a go of it.

    3) If this team of softies isn't good enough under the elite coaching staff that is Quinn-Renney-Fleming, it will never be good enough. There is too much redundancy in the top 6 with too many "tweener" forwards who have talent, but play on the perimeter and do not dare get in high traffic areas. They also have puck-moving defencemen like Gilbert and Grebeshkov who aren't nearly physical enough. Hell, it's not even about physicality with these two, it's about awful positioning, ghastly turnovers, and just poor hockey overall. The Oilers can't afford both players, not if Souray and Visnovsky are staying around (and they have to, they're elite blueliners). Who stays and who goes?

    4) The team still has several flaws in its lineup: the lack of a faceoff winner to ease Horcoff's burden, the weak PK, the lack of a veteran shutdown defenceman to replace Staios, the lack of a bonafide 1st line centre, and a lack of a true backup goaltender who can replace Khabibulin should injury shelf him. This brings us to…

    5) The Oilers fail horribly at detecting bang-for-buck/value contracts. It's painfully obvious. The failure to re-sign players like Glencross and Hejda continues to rear its ugly head. Heck, even Kotalik looks like a bargain right now considering his showing at the end of last season and the beginning of this season. Instead of keeping players who contributed a lot and cost relatively little, the Oilers opted to give raises to players like Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Horcoff, and Nilsson. Since they already overpaid Moreau, Pisani, and Staios, they're feeling the after effects of poor cap management. Thanks to those signings, the Oilers have next to no cap room to address their needs. They have several poor contracts that need to be moved, but there are likely few (if any) takers.

    6) Because of the aforementioned circumstances, it's quite possible that Tambellini is viewing this season as a "show me" year. There are a ton of contracts up for renewal (both UFA and RFA) this coming offseason, and most of them have been in the organization for at least a few years, so there are plenty of players to evaluate and determine who is valuable and who is expendable. This is the point where I expect Tambo to show his meddle, or to shrivel up like a nutsack in the pool. He has issues to address, and he'll have the perfect chance to do so after the season is over. Until then, I have a feeling that he'll be making statements like those in the above article. If, however, Tambo fails to right the ship, and continues to show this sentiment, he needs to go.

    • BarryS

      point two. playing hurt is only an excuse wearing thin to those not hurt. playing hurt causes mental mistakes by the bundle.

      point three. the team can afford whatever DK says they can.

      point four. Staois is playing okay at the moment. JDD should finally answer this question in the next few games.

      point five. Bank for buck contracts is akin to kicking over a stone and finding a twenty karet diamond ring under it, or winning three lotteries in a row. Luck more than skill. We all know a guy or two guys with bank for the buck contracts, but out of seven hundred or so players, not many. Players not here are not here due to their wishes and therefore beside the point.

      point six. Anyone trying to read tambo's mind would better use their mind reading talents in discovering if the chick in the next booth likes them enough for …..

      • Jenga

        I hope for your sake that you are on the Oilers payroll because you seem to do an awful lot of apologizing for them lol. The Oilers can afford whatever the salary cap says they can as far as their roster goes by the way. Your other points are all garbage too. This team has little fortitude on the ice and off it. Alot of the players will not even stick around after games to face questions. Nobody actually believes this is a contending team, but the work ethic and the laissez-faire attitude of many players is pretty damning at times. You must not care for Quinn as a coach either or his opinions because he has been echoing these sentiments from day one. Tambi`s recent comments, reguardless of what he really meant, are just insulting to everyones intelligence.

      • GSC

        2) Playing hurt is part of the deal for a pro hockey player. If you're dressing, then you're presumed to be healthy enough to play. Even in the playoffs where you hear of major injuries after the series ends, the walking wounded still find ways to contribute. That isn't happening for the Oilers.

        3) In case you haven't noticed, the NHL has this thing called a "salary cap", which only allows for a team to spend a certain amount of money on their roster. Look it up, it's an interesting concept…

        4) Staios is no where near consistent enough to be this team's veteran shutdown defenceman. He needs to be replaced, and his $2.7 MIL contract needs to be moved.

        5) Then why do so many other teams seem to have little trouble in finding these players?

        James Wisniewski (ANA), Steve Eminger (ANA), Jonas Hiller (ANA), Rich Peverley (ATL), Maxim Afinogenov (ATL), Marty Reasoner (ATL), Colby Armstrong (ATL), Steve Begin (BOS), Andrew Ference (BOS), Clarke MacArthur (BUF), Drew Stafford (BUF), Steve Montador (BUF), Jussi Jokinen (CAR), Tim Gleason (CAR), Nigel Dawes (CGY), Mark Giordano (CGY), Rene Bourque (CGY), Curtis Glencross (CGY), Troy Brouwer (CHI), Andrew Ladd (CHI), Duncan Keith (CHI), Craig Anderson (COL), Kyle Quincey (COL), David Jones (COL), Jan Hejda (CLB), Jason Chimera (CLB), James Neal (DAL), Loui Eriksson (DAL), Stephane Robidas (DAL), Todd Bertuzzi (DET), Jonathon Ericsson (DET), Niklas Kronwall (DET), Tomas Holmstrom (DET), Ville Leino (DET), Chris Osgood (DET), Steven Reinprecht (FLA), Dennis Seidenberg (FLA), Dominic Moore (FLA), Jarret Stoll (LA), Dustin Brown (LA), Wayne Simmonds (LA), Greg Zanon (MIN), Andrew Brunette (MIN), Cal Clutterback (MIN), Travis Moen (MTL), Glen Metropolit (MTL), Josh Gorges (MTL), Jaroslav Halak (MTL), Joel Ward (NSH), Dan Hamhuis (NSH), Pekka Rinne (NSH), David Clarkson (NJ), Andy Greene (NJ), Mike Mottau (NJ), Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ), Matt Moulson (NYI), Radek Martinek (NYI), Trent Hunter (NYI), Dan Girardi (NYR), Sean Avery (NYR), Vinny Prospal (NYR), Jarkko Ruutu (OTT), Matt Carkner (OTT), Anton Volchenkov (OTT), Chris Campoli (OTT), Blair Betts (PHI), Braydon Coburn (PHI), Ray Emery (PHI), Matthew Lombardi (PHO), Robert Lang (PHO), Adrian Aucoin (PHO), Vernon Fiddler (PHO), Scottie Upshall (PHO), Kurt Sauer (PHO), Bill Guerin (PIT), Matt Cooke (PIT), Jay McKee (PIT), Mike Rupp (PIT), Maxime Talbot (PIT), Manny Malhotra (SJ), Scott Nichol (SJ), Ken Huskins (SJ), B.J. Crombeen (STL), Jay McClement (STL), Carlo Colaiacovo (STL), Mike Weaver (STL), Matt Walker (TB), Kurtis Foster (TB), David Hale (TB), Alexei Ponikarovsky (TOR), Matt Stajan (TOR), Ian White (TOR), Alex Burrows (VAN), Christian Ehrhoff (VAN), Mikael Samuelsson (VAN), Andrew Raycroft (VAN), Brooks Laich (WSH), David Steckel (WSH), Brendan Morrison (WSH), Matt Bradley (WSH), John Erskine (WSH).

        I tried to avoid listing any players who are still on entry-level contracts, or any players at/above $3 MIL in pay (the exceptions were Kronwall and Ehrhoff, 4th and 5th on their respective bluelines in terms of salary, but both in the top 5 in scoring and minutes for their teams).

        My point is simple: there are obviously several players who produce a helluva lot for the meager salary that they command, and there are at least two on every team. Suffice to say, finding bang-for-buck contracts is not akin to "kicking over a stone and finding a twenty karat diamond ring under it". It's not hard to find value when it's sitting right in front of you. Gilbert Brule and Ladislav Smid are two Oilers that more than qualify for the bang-for-buck list, and perhaps Mike Comrie does as well. Management locked-up Smid at a good rate for 2 more years, will they do the same with Brule and/or Comrie?

        • Hemmercules

          The league might call it a hard cap, but in reality it's a soft cap. Ask Philly/Det/Chicago or any other team that's placed vets in the A or signed a long term, front loaded deal that is (highly) unlikely to be completed.

          • GSC

            Agreed, but it's not like a team can simply dish out bad contract after bad contract and hope that buyouts and waivers to the minors will cure all ills. It works for a few players, but at the end of the day there's only so much money to go around.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Well in theory they could. Like Barry was saying, the teams salary limit is really how much Katz is willing to pay, not the number the league assigns.

  • Jenga

    Willis or Brownlee. How insulated is the head office of this organization? Is the GMmaking soothing noises while frantically paddling the canoe away from the falls, or is he calmly paddlng forward?

    As a fan it is hard to buy that guys who know way more about this business than we do are not seeing the obvious things that we all see. (then again…)

    Also, how much does a GM interact with and seek the counsel, his coach(es)?

  • BarryS

    Lets trade hemsky /horcoff for some good/big smash mouth players so we can grind out some wins this is ridiculous . There is always some excuse. BLAAAAA! I don't see this team doing anything!

    • BarryS

      You mean like toronto did? Why would we give up the points we have to be the worst team in the conference/league like they are?

      You're getting confused, the Esks need those players on the O & D lines.

  • Aside from my venting on Willis, which hey I got out, no need to continue on. I think a few of you missed my point about why I disagreed with this articles statement which was "Why would you publicly vent about your teams inconsistent efforts and call out players?"

    We all bitch and bemoan the fact that the Oilers have to overpay to bring in a free agent because its thought of as an undesirable location, we all agree that the team needs to put a plug in its mouth, and think things through so that it doesn't ever again do a bone-head move like it did with Comrie v1.0, or avoid another year of MacT's "let's call out a player in a news conference and publicly humiliate them". Yet we get upset with the fact that they decided to take the high road here and do the typical PR speal about "injuries" for the NHL network (who would never run a story on their site about their a part of their brand being crap).

    Sorry but I think they did the right thing here by using their brain before they put thought to word and went on another "Oh look Edmonton just called half their team crap and its going to be printed in every paper tomorrow" rant. I know that I can count numerous posts here (including my own) that could and should have done the same and let our emotions get the best of us versus finding a better way to say what we wanted to say.

    Anyways thats my 2 cents.

    • BarryS

      Willis never suggested that Tambellini actually believed what he said, or that he should change the way he thinks.

      He only suggested that if he actually believed what he was saying, he would be mistaken.

  • BarryS

    Tambo has to be very careful when speaking to the media because it can go bad so fast in so many ways. So he smiles and speaks about how the Oilers will be okay after everybody gets healed up and returns. Then, he goes back to his office and frantically chucks names at other GM's like McDonalds Trading cards, hoping for a bite. 🙂

  • The only problem with the Oilers is that they are trying to develop Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot, Brule, Potulny, Jacques, and Reddox on a team that already features Comrie, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and Stone.


  • Chamucks Deluxe

    I don't blame Tambo for the inactivity. The trade market seems to be dying off more and more, season to season. Even then, it is as he said, hard to see what this team exactly is. Inconsistency all over the place has been one of the highlights of this season so far, can anyone look at any upcoming scheduled game and say "Oh, they're gonna kill those guys" or "they're probably going to lose that one"? It's difficult, and his patience can be appreciated. In a world where a lot of the GM's play their poker like a turbo game, Tambo is taking the "tournament player" style.

    Tambo is a mystery GM, we don't know what we'll get with this guy. His bigger, faster, stronger build came from within the system, whilst better options remained on the free agent market. We don't know what went on behind closed doors, hell what if EVERYBODY turned him down? In the summer of Heatley in Oilerville who the hell has a clue what was and wasn't said?

    This guy has addressed needs though, at the deadline he traded a struggling Erik Cole for a 24 year old shot-happy two way player with years on his contract in Patrick O'Sullivan. Oh, wait. Not too mention the 2nd rounder he picked up and then turned into Ales Kotalik. AK scored at a very acceptable clip in an Oilers uni and was another go to option on the powerplay to help cope with the loss of Visnovsky. With the playoffs in sight, he turned a struggling, aging, upcoming UFA into two solid players who helped. I agree that there was more that could be done, and should have. But we don't know the discussions that go on. We don't know what was tried, sure he didn't produce an impact this Summer for addressing holes and deep ones. Sure, he wouldn't give 39 year old Rollie the Goalie 2 years, and then whipped around and gave 36 year old Khabby 4. But for God sake, he traded for Dany Heatley. I know he's not in the silks right now, nor will he ever be. But barring unforeseen circumstances, our berated embattled General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers essentially traded for a 40-50 goal scorer this offseason.

    I do realize he addressed nothing aside from another small forward and an old ass goalie this summer physically. But he has shown a willingness to wheel and deal.

    I'm playing tournament poker, I'm waiting til' I get faces to come up and then I'll strike. I've got patience, so does Tambo and maybe you too, should consider it.

  • GSC

    Stefano Tambellini what-a a nice-a boy. He has either just graduated from spin doctor school or he is as out of touch as any GM I've ever heard. I read both Jonathan's comments, and LoweTide's article and I wish they were right. The head pill at Rexall or his people have to be aware that the real authors of the Oiler mess are Prendergast and Kevin Lowe. The contracts and player decisions are going to haunt this team for years to come. The current GM's hands appear to have been tied before he even took the job.

    That's why I think he is going nowhere, which is exactly where this team is going. I am willing to wait til a couple of player contracts expire at the end of this season and we'll what happens. I've said it before and I'll say it again…maybe the Canucks were right in passing him over again and again. Kevin Lowe strikes again and signs 'The Ditherer". Whoopee…what a ride Oiler fans!

  • Hemmercules

    When Kelly Hrudey showed that clip of Sully avoiding the puck so he wouldn't have to battle Burrish on the boards all I could think was "that's the biggest pussy I have ever seen", I shut that game off right there. It was pretty obvious we would lose that game before it even started but common, at least try to win.

    Sully + Gilbert = the softest players in the history of the NHL.

    This article put me over the edge, our GM is just Lowe part 2. Too embarassed to admit they screwed up, too incompetent to fix the problem. Excuses excuses, years and counting.

  • Chaz

    Gregor and RB,

    Any insights to the team meeting held yesterday? I heard on the radio this morning that they were complaining about the coaches. Any truth to this rumor?

    And for the record I heard this from Hallsy on 630 Ched (I was only tuning in there during the ads on 1260, I swear!)

    • Leopard

      Quit teasing…

      Don't want to spoil it, but does it have anything to do with a Dustin Penner that is tied for 10th in league scoring. Haven't we all been saying for years that Hemsky is a complimentary player? "If only we had someone who could score to take those Hemsky passes? etc.."

      PS. Maybe just maybe, Tambo said what he said because you can't coach scoring, but you can coach faceoffs and PK and defensive coverage. So perhaps that all-star cast of coaches just needs a healthy lineup THAT LISTENS to them and we could start winning.

      *Takes off Oiler goggles [strange shade of rose disappears] and goes back to work*

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Still think we have too many small players that get knocked around to easy and that don't get in the tough spots. Add to that, that most of those guys can't play two way hockey and we don't know where to be positionally and there lies the problems.

    Maybe we just sit back and let these guys learn these things, I don't know. But what I do know is adding one piece isn't going to fix the problem as a whole, unless of course that piece is an Ovechkin or human rake.

  • "As a valued customer the Edmonton Oilers would like to invite you to a season seat holder event being held Wednesday, November 25th. The event provides the opportunity for us to hear your feedback and opinions about your experience with the Oilers. The event is being held at 6pm before the Los Angeles game at All Stars in Rexall Place where you and a guest can join us for dinner with Oilers management.

    I hope that you are able to attend."

    Koolaid in fancy glasses!