Sunday Blues

Good freaking afternoon to you too.

It is the day of the Lord if you attend mass, and I’ll bet many Oiler fans are there praying things don’t get worse. The losses you can handle, because you think a savior is on the way in the form of the first overall pick, but now the Oilers will need some divine intervention just to win a game.

Sheldon Souray and Jarome Iginla did the honourable thing last night and dropped their helmets, wrist guard and gloves and went at it like men. At the time it looked like neither was worse for wear, but today we learn that Sheldon Souray is out with a fractured hand.

It just keeps getting worse for the Oilers.

No time line has been given on Souray, but if he plays again before the 3rd of March I’d be surprised. Many of you asked whether his trade value would be higher before the deadline or this summer, well it looks like it will have to be this summer. I didn’t think the Oilers would get a lot for him at the deadline, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise, but we’ll never know. When you look at what the Flames got for a younger, more talented Dion Phaneuf, you have to wonder what exactly the market value of Souray is now. I know fans wanted Jack Johnson, but that was a pipedream. No way would you get a young banger like Johnson for Souray. Dean Lombardi isn’t going to give away the future for a 33-year-old.


Memo to the Oilers: When you "suck" you make a "trade" …any Trade!

I think we’d agree that Phaneuf had better trade value than Souray, so let’s look at that deal. The Flames gave up Phaneuf (his no-movement clause doesn’t kick in until 2013), prospect Keith Aulie and threw in Freddy Sjostrom to the Leafs for pending UFAs, Matt Stajan, Ian White and the only player with a contract past this season, Niklas Hagman. They also scored journeyman Jamal Mayers. Hagman has a no-movement clause and is a $3 million cap hit for two more years. He is the biggest piece of the deal, and will give the Flames some much needed help offensively.

Stajan has been a bust in Toronto, so maybe a new address will help him. The only way the Flames re-sign him is if he shows he can score. White is a solid D-man, and at only $950,000 I bet the Flames re-sign him this summer. Mayers is a journeyman, but is he any better than Brandon Prust at this point? I don’t think so. So he was added to make the deal work. The Flames needed some help offensively so we’ll see who they move out now that they’ve added three new forwards.

To me it was Phaneuf for Hagman and White, but the Flames also threw in prospect Keith Aulie, so what should Steve Tambellini realistically expect to get in return for Souray? Souray is older, more brittle and will be coming off a disappointing season. I think the most Tambellini can expect in return for him will be a decent 3rd liner and maybe a prospect or a mid-to-late round draft pick. Depending on who he moves before the deadline, the Oilers might have to keep Souray. If he wants to be here, then he’ll be a good influence in the room, if he doesn’t he could easily become a distraction for the new kids coming in next season.

Would a team have given up more at the deadline if they thought he’d be the final piece of the puzzle? Maybe, but unlikely.


Wanye’s idea of adding J.S Giguere went out the window today as well, as Brian Burke acquired the six million dollar man from the Ducks for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake. The Leafs needed a goalie, while Blake has two more years with a cap hit of $4 million. Does the Blake deal lessen the Ducks interest in Ethan Moreau? I think it might, but it also shows that teams are willing to trade for guys with a year or two left on their contract.

Giguere has two years left and is a $6 million cap hit, so the Ducks saved some money, although they did re-sign Jonas Hiller to a four-year, $18 million extension yesterday. I was watching the game with Wanye last night and when Hiller’s extension came across the screen he yelled, “Giguere will be moved. He’s coming to Edmonton .” He was half-right, which is par for the course with him.


Today’s trades have probably made Oiler fans forget another awful performance last night. Seriously, how bad can it get for the Oil? That was embarrassing. They were overwhelmed the entire game by a team that had lost nine in a row. I could understand if fans didn’t want to watch another game after last night’s nightmare. It hurts to lose, but when you lose that bad to your biggest rival it stings even more.

To make matters worse, the Flames swept the season series, setting another Oiler record for futility. Steve Tambellini has to make a move just to show he still cares, or this losing streak could reach 20. A few weeks ago Monday’s game looked like an epic battle for 30th, but the Canes have won four straight and are seven points ahead of the Oil, or behind if you look at from a drafting perspective. In my opinion it’s time to make a trade, any trade, if for nothing else but to inject the room with a mild sense of optimism that things can change and that this can’t go on forever.

The Oilers longest winless streak is 14 games, when they lost two, tied one and then lost eleven straight from Oct 11th to Nov 7th in 1993. They’ve set a record for consecutive loses with 13, surpassing the 12 straight they lost from Feb 25th to Mar 21st in 2007. How bad might it get? Choke on these numbers. The Oilers went 4-19-3 in their final 26 games in 2007. They also went 5-22 in their final 27 games in 1993. The Oilers are 1-18-2 in their last 21 games, and with the surging Canes and Flyers in town on Monday and Wednesday they could easily go winless in 15. Tambellini needs to do something just to shake up the room.

The “Thirst for First” is comfortably in place. The Canes are winning and the Leafs just upgraded their goaltending and defence. Tambellini needs to make a move to show the world he still has a pulse. His team needs it and so do all the fans.


If you need a laugh, or have nothing better to do you can check out the 5th annual media/pro players v. the U of A Ringette game today at 2:30 at WEM. The series is tied at two games a piece. They have been raising money for the Stollery all weekend, and today you’ll see Rob Brown, Louie Debrusk, Jimmy Quinlan and Andy Secore from the Rush along with a few media slugs toss the ring around. It won’t be as painful as the Oiler games, but close.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Brian Burke can pull off a block buster trade and Tambellini still assessing the Oil on who wants to be an Oil, and now Souray's trade value 0%.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    First last nights game and then Burke and Sutter give Tambellini a lesson on how to dump your problems and shake up your team in one fell swoop.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    i think the Flames are the winners of the trade: got Hagman (a scorer) and Stajan (set-up guy) to play up front and got rid of the huge Phaneuf contract. I like Ian White too…

    the scariest thing about Oilers, aside from the Souray rumor there was nothing. Now that is gone too.

    What's the story with the interest in Moreau? Who was asking about him? An AHL team maybe? Or was that an ECHL?…Never seen a more brutal captain in professional sport at this level..

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Tambellin's hands are tied. The salaries of almost all the oilers are disproportianate to their value as players. Combine that with term and there is little interest in any of them. You'd be dealing from a position of weakness.

  • Eddie Shore

    In fifteenth century Japan, if a lord disgraced himself, his king could order him to commit seppuku–better known as hara-kiri–a form of ritual suicide where a man fell on his own sword. The lord's retainers often killed themselves as well.

    How much do you want to bet Katz is out buying swords for Tambo, Quinn, et all?

    Heck, for that matter, after last night, I'm considering buying a sword myself.

  • Eddie Shore

    A Golden Moment.

    Send all of the current Oilers to Springfield and ship the entire Springfield roster up here.
    At least the former Sringfield players will get to appreciate the finer aspects of a hockey career, whereas the NEW Springfield players (ouch!) get to ride the bus.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Frankly, we should be silently pleading for a change to team management. That's the only way this ship will get turned around. The current "brain-trust" lacks the ability to identify what the team needs, the imagination to address those needs, or the intelligence to assess potential risk in making roster moves. In other words, we somehow turned into the Florida Panthers somewhere along the way.

    At least we can look forward to more selfish play by Oiler veterans, lost puck battles along the boards and hapless play in the d-zone. Sigh. On the bright side, I think I'm going to check out a Rush game. Nice coverage Gregor!

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Excuse me if I'm not praying for Tambo to make just any trade. It can get worse, and making just any trade to shake up the roster will not be conducive to rebuilding. I think that's one of the dumbest things I've seen on here in a long time. Be careful what you wish for, there are worse contracts than Sheldon Souray's. But hey, if you want ANY trade, I guess that's okay with you. I want what's best for the future of this team.

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      I don't think anybody in their right mind would advocate taking on a bad contract for a good contract, or even a lateral contract move (Souray for Rozival for example) but something has got to give here. If Tambellini is still in an assessment mode as he suggests to the media, then we're in big trouble. The Oil will still be assessing when other teams are dumping their contracts on contenders, and we'll be looking at largely the same roster again next year.

    • Ducey


      I can see it now. Oilers fans scream for Moreau to be traded for anything. Tambi desperately trades him for a bag of pucks.

      Two weeks and 5 losses later, Oiler fans scream for Tambi's head demanding to know why he could only trade Moreau for a bag of pucks.

  • Phil

    I have them losing 21 straight before the Olympic break. When they return, they'll be on the road in Nashville and Chicago.

    If Tambellini doesn't make a trade, I can see this team losing 25+ games in row. I doubt they win more than 5-7 for the rest of the year.

    BTW Jason, listened to you on the TEAM last night calling the Rush/Roughnecks game, good job man, props.

    Also noticed that you do some PBP – or is it blow-by-blow? – for HDNet Fights… heard/saw you working with that one dude on HDNet a few times now, pretty cool man. Keep grindin'.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Just think: two of the most media-friendly people in the entire NHL, in Phaneuf and Wilson, get to interact with the most voracious media core in Canada. Sounds like the perfect storm to me. Anyone else looking forward to it?

  • @ Gregor

    You might possibly be underestimating the potential value of Stajan. I haven't looked in a couple weeks, but I think he is the leading scorer among leaf forwards so far this season. He's been terrible but has definitely started to show signs of life this year. I think he's on pace for 60 points or so.

    • Jason Gregor

      You could be right, I just like Hagman better at this point. Stajan is the wild card. Maybe he starts producing more, although his 41 points in 55 games isn't bad. I can't really explain why I'm not a huge fan, I just thought he be better at this point. He is on pace to set personal highs in goals and points, so I guess he is improving.

      I guess he will play the middle with Iginla, so who knows maybe that will get him more points.

      • I think it was a very astute move to grab Stajan in the deal with the realization that they would be trying to move Jokinen later on. Stajan has outperformed any of the Flames' centres this year including Jokinen, and this is while on a cellar-dwelling Toronto team. Stajan is going to come into Calgary with a ton of confidence and I expect him to get a good boost and provide some spark playing with Iginla.

  • Muji 狗

    I had lunch with Steve Tambellini this afternoon. I wanted to pick his brain and see if I could gather some insight on what his present (and offseason) plans would be.

    Unfortunately, he spent an hour and a half trying to decide whether he wanted fries or salad to go with his burger… leaving us no time to talk about the Oilers.

  • does the injuries to souray and staios mean that lubo is more likely to be dealt by the deadline? i'd like to see us hold on to lubo. in terms of two way play i think he's been our best defenceman this year. i think him and smid could be solid for us going forward. if we need to unload a big contract on the back end i'd look at moving Gilbert first.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    … "and we'll be looking at largely the same roster again next year" …

    Ahhhh!.. hadnt thought of that as a serious possibility, which is ridiculous I know, but that would simply be unbearable.. watching this train wreck AGAIN (nevermind the last couple years leading up to it) that would be too much Suck…

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Recall that Tambo vowed change to the roster after last season's greasy slide out of a playoff spot. Changes included overpaying an injury-prone goalie, adding Mike Comrie, and the aborted Heatley trade. Very promising indicators…

  • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

    I am beginning to dislike this team, and this management group…We have to consistantly sit through this BS with a bunch of players that cant do anything to produce a win. Half of them dont even care, half of them dont produce…half of them look lost out there and dont know how to play hockey (see Grebeshkov) Why oh why do we have to wait for this management team to do anything? What the hell are they waiting for? Give us fans a glimmer of hope that they actually care and realize what is going on. Is that too difficult? I dont even care if all we get are 6th or 7th rounders…I agree with your post here Gregor all the way. It sucks to be an Oilers fan.

    PS- the Flames got absolutely hosed on that deal!! A career underacheiver, another grinder, a one year wonder, and a decent defenceman…yikes. And they didnt even get a pick, or prospect (Schenn, or Kadri)

  • If we weren't on the brink of getting Hall/Seguin, I'd be more concerned about Tambellini's acute ability to do absolutely nothing so well. However, it's giving us more and more separation with Carolina, Toronto and the rest of the teams above us.

    Come deadline though, I'm hoping that he finally opens up the yard sale. Until then, I'll just assume he's up in his cloud fortress dreaming about his summer vacation plans.

  • Skidplate

    I think we need to watch out for Toronto. Who do they have to score goals now? Unless Big Mouth Burke makes some more deals, they will give us a run for last place (1st place??)

  • papaburgundy

    First off, personally, I think the Flames got the better of that deal, although who knows how much Phaneuf will help the Buds. I think the trade will help Calgary down the stretch as they rev up for the playoffs while the Oilers reflect on a season of futility. Calgary saw they needed to make a trade to make their team better and they did that to a certain degree. Oiler management WILL NOT make any changes because Lowe probably doesn't see a problem and is scared of change. The Oil will continue into a downward spiral untill people are fed up and don't want to go to the games anymore. I don't blame them. The Oil management are not committed to change and never have been. They still live in the past of the Glory Days. Those days are gone! The mighty Oiler empire has long since fallen. It's time to join the NEW NHL and make the necessary changes to compete in the new NHL.

    • DoubleJ

      Calgary gets Hagman for for an allstar young d-man. They lose this trade in the long run bigtime. I due tend to agree that the Oilers seem to hold onto player longer then needed. It seems we never trade any prospects away. We just let them walk. But Calgary seems to be the opposite they have traded everything away. There future might be in trouble when it catches up to them. Backlund the only recent prospect that seems legit. And that Swedish d-man. Thats it.

  • DoubleJ

    Do you think Souray's injury kick started that trade with Toronto? It's possible that Gigure could have been coming our way and Souray going there way. Until he got hurt then maybe this was the duck second choice. It's seems odd that they would want Blake.

  • Hallisimo

    I dont think calgary lost out on this as bad as people think, especially if they turn around and trade some of the extra forwards they have now and aquire another impact player (looks like thats what they are doing to me).

    Also I would love to have that first pick as bad as anyone, but people seem to be forgeting that we could finish dead last overall and still end up with the 5th pick, and then where are we with our rebuild?

    Tambs needs to prove he is the man (and not a puppet) and at least show he is bieng proactive, by at least moving the worst we have (moreau, grebs, jaques, nilson, horcs yes even horcoff can be moved if blake and his brutal contract can be).

  • Milli

    Gregor, Can you please do me a favour? Can you ask Tambo if he realizes that those aren't seasons tickets and the cheques he is collecting aren't a pension, that he is actually the GM of the edmonton oilers ice hockey team?