Anaheim Ducks: 7
Edmonton Oilers: 3
Given that this was a pay-per-view game on Valentine’s Day during the Olympics, I’m assuming viewership was pretty close to an all-time low. Speaking for myself, I only played slight attention to the game, and the most interesting part for me was Steve Tambellini’s interview (although Comrie, Moreau and especially Horcoff all had interesting moments).
Today’s word is relentless, which so fascinated Bob Stauffer during the intermission, and fit so well with Steve Tambellini’s 300th rendition of ‘we’ll do whatever it takes to make the Oilers not a good but a great franchise,’ and his 500th rendition of ‘we need to find players who want to be Oilers.’
Some quick points on the interviews, since aside from the total implosion of the penalty kill and Ryan Getzlaf showing that he’s perfectly ready for Olympic work that was the bit that was most interesting:
- I roll my eyes each and every time Steve Tambellini says "step one" (and he says it a lot). He’s been on the job for a year and a half and if he’s still stuck on step one he should do the honourable thing and fall on his sword – which takes me to my second point:
- If we’re really at the start of a lengthy process, as Tambellini and Katz have both indicated, then what in the name of all that is good and proper has Steve Tambellini been doing for the last 19 months? Finding furniture for his office? Perhaps this is why the organization is at such pains to tell us that Steve Tambellini is now in charge – if he were up for re-election he certainly wouldn’t want to run on his record to date.
- For all this talk about ‘making changes’, I think it’s also important to remember that the only really big change that Tambellini has made in his time in power was to replace Dwayne Roloson with Nikolai Khabibulin and his creaky back. Change isn’t always good if the man in charge makes bad decisions.
If that seems like ranting, it is. Steve Tambellini talks a ton about how it won’t be easy to fix all the problems with this team, he pushed them back this summer. After a year of assessment he blew a summer chasing a big name (probably the source of his new-found commitment to drafting and development), he threw a ton of money at Chris Neil, and he signed one of the three most injury-prone goaltenders in the game of hockey. As a guy who wishes nothing but success for the Oilers, the chasm between Tambellini’s words and Tambellini’s rare actions is wide enough to be maddening.
Frustration is where this comes from, to be honest. This past year, the coaching staff was blamed, and coaches were fired in the ECHL, the AHL, and especially the NHL, where everyone but Kelly Buchberger was gassed as Tambellini brought in his Hockey Canada people. Tambellini blames the players, he talks about pressuring people within the organization and making them uncomfortable, but for all that talk on a night where the penalty kill surrenders four goals after nobody was brought in to fix last year’s 27th-ranked unit, it’s hard to look anywhere else but in the direction of the general manager.
When Katz talks about being relentless, he means the constant, unceasing pursuit of perfection. So far – up to and including tonight – all we’ve seen is relentless incompetence.