The Edmonton Oilers have finally announced what we all suspected was going to happen: Nikolai Khabibulin will undergo surgery to repair the herniated disc in his back.
I don’t really have all that much to say at this juncture. I’ve contended that this was a poor signing from day one, for a variety of reasons, despite the popular acclaim that Tambellini received around these parts for finally dumping that cantankerous old Roloson and adding a Stanley cup-winning goalie.
Last week I referenced a Pat Quinn comment – that Khabibulin went through something similar last season in Chicago – and concluded the following:
This is about risk management. Had Steve Tambellini signed Khabibulin to a one-year contract, I couldn’t argue forcefully that he’d made a poor decision; it would have been a short-term bet on a player coming off a fine season. If Khabibulin’s performance wasn’t all that good, or a long-term injury issue popped up, come summer the Oilers would have been free and clear.
Tambellini didn’t sign Khabibulin to a one-year contract. He signed him to a four-year contract, despite the player’s age and injury history. It was a reckless move that showed an utter inability to effectively manage risks – and despite Tambellini’s rather short time at the helm, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if it turned out to be a move that led to his dismissal.
My opinion hasn’t changed since then; this was an egregious error on the part of the general manager and it, combined with his other errors, has left me with absolutely no confidence that Tambellini can turn this franchise around. Say what you will about Kevin Lowe; he never iced the worst team in the Western Conference.
Anyone interested in a rehash of the other reasons this was such a poor signing can read any or all of the links below:
- A Bad Day/Where Do We Go From Here: July 1
- The Official 2009 NHL Free Agent Thread: July 1
- A Loser Move For A Loser Franchise: July 1
- Loser Move, Part II: July 1
- Relentless Incompetence: July 3
- As The Dust Clears: July 10
- NHL Games Missed Due To Injury Since The Lockout: July 12
- Building A Tandem: July 23
- The (Almost) top 50 Goalies Over The Last Three Seasons: July 23
- Most Injury-Prone Starters in the NHL: July 24
- The Goalie Market And Excuses: July 25
- Testing Ken Holland: July 26
- The Best Goalies Since The Lockout: July 28
- Yet Another Angle on Khabibulin: July 29
- At Least He’s Not Likely To Play On Any Warm Days: September 24
- Is The President 90 Feet Tall: December 13
- Fool Me Once: December 16
- Other Than That, How Did You Enjoy The Play, Mrs. Lincoln: December 19
Signing Khabibulin was a bad decision. The fact that it was a bad decision was painfully obvious from the moment it was announced. It’s a decision that should probably cost Steve Tambellini his job.