Watching the Edmonton Oilers get outclassed, again, 4-1 by the San Jose Sharks Saturday, I couldn’t help but wonder which will come first, a move by GM Steve Tambellini or Pat Quinn turning in his resignation after realizing he doesn’t need the aggravation.
There’s little doubt many Oilers fans, here and on other websites around the internet, have already seen more than enough of this going-nowhere 15th-place act. The focus on the consolation prize that is the Dive For Five aside, disappointment is giving way to anger and, worse, indifference.
So when does Tambellini give fans an indication he hasn’t locked himself in a dark hotel room somewhere and assumed the fetal position? We haven’t heard one word from him in weeks. Is Tambellini still "assessing" or is he sobbing uncontrollably with the curtains drawn?
When will Quinn, 66, grow weary of repeating the same messages? The big Irishman has to be losing patience almost as quickly as he’s running out of post-game material for reporters. Quinn sounded utterly defeated after watching the Sharks fill-in the Oilers for fun, making it nine losses in the last 10 games.
I’m wondering when owner Daryl Katz, who has resisted the urge to meddle in the hockey-ops end of things, at least publicly, will start asking some of the same questions.
The sooner the better, if you ask me.
What’s in a name?
Enough has been written about the Oilers blown-out-of-proportion beef with a bill of $16,796.39 at Calgary restaurant Osteria de Medici on New Year’s eve after publicity-hungry owner Maurizio Terrigno went public.
Of all the slipshod reporting done on this so-called incident, and there was plenty — I’m thinking most senior editors and reporters at news outlets had booked timed off, as is usual practice during the holiday season, leaving junior people writing the stories, slotting the pieces and making the calls — one passage in a report by the Calgary Herald caught my eye.
"The rest of the bill was for alcohol," wrote Sherri Zickefoose. " Players and guests downed whipped cream-topped shooters with suggestive names, tequila, vodka, rum, beer, wine and magnums of pricey Dom Perignon champagne."
Ooooohh. Cream-topped shooters with SUGGESTIVE names. That changes everything. That provides some real clarity. WTF, pray tell, does the name of the shooters have to do with a dispute over the bill? Does it matter if the boys were drinking Jack and Coke while the wives sampled trays of Dion’s Moneyshot or fill-in-name-here? Uh, no.
Obviously, president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe wasn’t part of the shindig in Cowtown. He would’ve looked at the bill and slapped down an extra $10,000 without question.
With everybody rightfully sour and tossing out blame and venom like rice at a wedding, I applaud the mention Jonathan Willis made of Jeff Deslauriers in today’s post-game report.
Instead of criticizing Deslauriers after his weak showing in San Jose, he opted for a reasoned approach. Willis, the record shows, isn’t nearly as sold on Deslauriers as I am, and it would’ve been easy for him to say, "See, look at that," after such a poor effort — especially after I just wrote another piece praising the kid. I’m sure many people, mistakenly, will.
Willis and I disagree on a lot of things — at the very least we differ on how we arrive at the conclusions we draw — but I’m sure we agree on this: the Oilers have absolutely no clue when it comes to developing goaltenders.
In the case of Deslauriers, might we get a better real feel for his potential if the team could find a happy medium between leaving him to sit and rot for weeks or months between starts, as Craig MacTavish did last season, and running him ragged by starting him in 19 of the last 20 games?
— With Jim Matheson’s mention in The Journal that Ken Hitchcock is catching some heat in Columbus, I find myself wondering if there’s a chance he could end up back home in Edmonton down the road.
It’s a long shot , of course, given that Quinn and Tom Renney are in the first years of their deals here and Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is a staunch supporter of his coach, but knowing Hitchcock as I do, it crossed my mind.
— As bad as thing are, the Oilers, 16-22-4 for 36 points, will really have to tank it in the DFF if they hope to take a serious run the franchise record for ineptitude.
The team record for fewest wins in a full season is 25, set in 1993-94 when they went 25-45-14 for 64 points. The record for fewest points is 60, set in 1992-93 when they were 26-50-8.
— For the record: the Oilers drafted Jason Bonsignore fourth overall (pick from Winnipeg) and Ryan Smyth sixth overall after their horrid 1993-94 season. After their lame 1992-93 campaign, they got Jason Arnott seventh and Nick Stajduhar 16th.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.