Tambellini has his say… and, YES, Oilers pick first!!!

After taking two days to contemplate Sheldon Souray’s public trade request and what can only be characterized as a scathing indictment of Edmonton Oilers management, GM Steve Tambellini had his say this afternoon.

Unavailable to media after Souray’s inflammatory comments ran on Sportsnet.ca, Tambellini issued a statement via a news release at 4 p.m., saying very little and pre-empting his own availability with local media that’s scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Rexall Place.

As per the release:

“Sheldon’s comments are unfortunate and counterproductive, but we are going to manage through this in a responsible and professional manner.

"We understand Sheldon has had a tough year and he has a desire to play elsewhere. His additional comments regarding being ‘forced to play’ when injured are far more serious and my stance is that they are demonstrably untrue.”

Atta boy, Steve. You tell him.


Given Souray’s accusation the Oilers made him return from a shoulder injury before he was ready to play to start the 2007-08 season with a freshly inked $27-million contract in his hip pocket, you’d think that Tambellini might have fired back.

Considering Souray essentially called Tambellini a lousy communicator who never even bothered to talk to him while he was recovering from a broken hand this season, you’d think Tambellini might have served up something today that would disprove that. But no.

Perhaps a page from coach Pat Quinn, who offered this about Souray in his meeting with media this morning.

"It’s been no secret here," Quinn said of Souray’s discontent and desire to be traded. "He’s made it clear for a long time.

"I’m one of those guys that if you don’t want to play here, don’t screw around. Get the hell out."

Added Quinn: "If you have one guy sitting over there who doesn’t bloody well want to be here, how do you build trust? How do you have a team? You don’t. Sheldon knows how I feel about that sort of thing."


As per Oilers news release:

The Oilers have been awarded the first overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, being held in Los Angeles June 25-26, 2010.

The Oilers received the right to pick first overall when they won the NHL’s Draft Lottery, held Tuesday night in New York City.

“This is a significant moment for the organization and its an important part of the process moving forward. We have the first overall pick in this year’s draft,” Tambellini said. “This is a very exciting time for our organization and our fans. Securing the first overall draft selection tonight provides a tremendous opportunity for the Oilers."

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft will mark the first time in franchise history the Oilers will select first overall.

The Draft Lottery is a weighted lottery system to determine the order of selection for the first 14 picks of the NHL Entry Draft. It gives the teams that finish with the fewest points during the regular season the greatest chance of winning the Draft Lottery.

Only the 14 teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or clubs that acquired those clubs’ first-round draft picks, participate in the drawing.

Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, are placed in a lottery machine. The machine expels four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls is matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs. The Lottery was incorporated in 1995 by the NHL.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Bucknuck

    Speaking of bad contracts. I was looking at the Rangers with their Seven million cap hit for Drury (gross). That is a way worse contract than Horcoff. He has never had Horc's production, and even this last season Horc outscored him.

  • freshpotofcoffey

    Reading the story over at the Toronto Sports Network site, 95% of the comments are from Leaf fans. They fall into three categories:

    -Those who are rushing out to buy a gun so they can shoot Brian Burke for "the worst trade of all time." (It's not, but if they finish in the lottery again next year there might be an argument…)

    -Those who are rushing out to buy a gun and shoot themselves, realising that 2067 is going to be a 100th anniversary.

    -Those who already shot themselves but, rather than dying, only got severe brain damage. They're out there claiming that Kessel will score 60 a year for the next 10 years, that Hall and Seguin will be busts, and that Bozak is the next Sid. Those ones are my favorites.

    It's been a painful year, Oil fans, but we've always got "at least we're not the Leafs!"

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Souray is all class. That's why he and Spector had their article released the day before the draft lottery. GET THE F out Souray, and stop bringing us fans down as a ploy to get your broken ass out of town. Shouldn't have gotten into a fight, and we could have moved you quietly, you self centered ass! MAN the f up Shelly!

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach


    I ask this, would you have preferred Tambo to have a press conference yesterday talking about the first overall pick before the lottery was done? Then having the Oilers end up losing the lottery making Tambo look like an idiot for jumping the gun?

  • Ducey


    I think you are overlooking the fact that 44 hasn't been traded yet and may be tough to trade. He could be back in September and acknowledged that himself yesterday.

    Coming out with a tough statement right off the bat is only going to:

    a)further the "scandal" and create further play for a negative story;

    b)make it even harder to trade Souray if he impeaches his credibility or character;

    c)further erode the relationship the two have.

    If 44 returns in the fall, or is traded, there are not a lot of good things that can come from an immediate tough response.

    It seems to me that Lowe made some mistakes in this regard (fighting with Burke, the spat with Comrie way back among others) and I am glad Mr T plays things closer to the vest.

  • Ducey


    It's a bit off topic but…

    Do you know if it's standard practice for the GM to not participate in the exit interviews with the players?

    I found it odd that Tambellini would be on his way to Toronto for some face time on TSN when the Oilers were going through their exit interviews. Particularily considering one of the accusations by Souray is that this management group falls short on communicating.

    Not too mention that niggly little detail of Tambellini being the guy that has to make the call on what is to be done with this collection of players moving forward.

    • Bucknuck

      I don't think they need to do any buyouts. The players listed all have value, and Nilsson and O'Sullivan have youth as an upside and superior talents as well. Sure they won't fetch much, but soem GM's might take a chance if the price isn't too high.

      Souray can be traded, the Oil will just have to take some salary coming back the other way.

      My real concern is Tambellini overvaluing his players and waiting all summer to "assess". He needs to realize what he does and does not have and fill holes. If Phoenix can make the playoff with a well balanced roster and no stars to speak of, then so can the Oil.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          There are plenty of others that can fill that spot. It just becomes does Tambo want to get lots of value or just anything that may have value.

      • Bucknuck

        ""My real concern is Tambellini overvaluing his players and waiting all summer to "assess" ""

        Valid concern but I did hear Renney during what I think was an intermission interview during one of the last 2 or 3 games where he quite confidently stated that there has been enough time to evaluate the players and got the impression they know exactly who is who going forward….just my impression of the interview.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I would assume they know what they need and what they have, but moving they guys you don't want and getting the guys you need back is easier said then done.

      • BarryS

        As I recall, Tambo said they took all the offers, or words to that effect, at the trade deadline, so no worries there. Not trading Souray, or any other player for that matter, in the summer, does not mean the Oilers necessarily want to much, but perhaps no one wants him at any price. Many other teams have those problems as well.

        As for the other players having value, I notice none of them went at the trade deadling. what makes their value any more in the summer?

        • Bucknuck

          A lot of things change going into the summer. Free agents go to other teams leaving holes you didn't have in March. Players retire, players request trades, players come back from injury.

          Teams take nose dives and fall out of playoff contention and decide to change things. All of those things can change the market considerably. The market in June is a lot different than the market in March.

          It's all speculation at this point, but time will tell.

        • freshpotofcoffey

          They might not have much more value, but alot of teams will have player contracts expiring this summer too, and with just 1 year left on some of these contracts, they might be willing to take the risk knowing they can be moved at next years trade deadline

  • Wow.

    Eyes on the Prize, No "I" in "Team" versus Human Element, Communication Lines, Business Model and forgetting about when not to use an apostrophe…

    What a pleasure it is to witness the Common Sense and the Synergy that occurs when an old guy and a young guy get drunk and express their feelings on ON.

    • BarryS

      Interesting comment, about what I'm not sure, but interesting anyway, . . . Wait, was your point? Oh you're a flustrated spelling teacher?Is that it?

      Sorry, my medication won't let me drink. Seems you might have forgot yours.

  • OilFan

    Had to chime in with my 2 cents from what I heard fans say on the radio and on here.

    1. Pretty sure we can't trade Souray for a draft pick. Any team that takes Souray is going to be giving us Salary and/or a bad contract back. IT'S THE CAP ERA NOW

    2. Boston is not going to trade their Second pick to the Oilers for any of the combinations: Souray, Hemsky, Penner, or O'sullivan, Horcoff, Nilsson.

    They want their pick, and it's fairly obvious they want Hall.

    3.Souray's response was ill-timed. It was done to hurt the team moving forward. It surely doesn't help his cause getting traded.

    4. Tambo's generic (and tardy) response to Souray's comments almost reinforce Souray's allegations of a lack of communication from management to players. (I agree with Brownlee on this one).

          • BarryS

            So you want a comment you like, or you want a comment? The Oilers replied as they saw fit. Just because you don't like the comment is not the same as saying they didn't comment. You can like it or not, that's your choice. They reply as they like, that's their choice. That's why we live in a democracy, to choose our own actions.

          • Crust

            The article came out just after 12:00 a.m. Monday and the Oilers were asked for comment prior to the article being published. The Oiler statement came out at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday. So, yes I guess I would say that, given the statement that they gave, it didn't need to take 40 hours. Agree to disagree. 🙂

          • Ender

            The last words 'Agree to disagree', and punctuated by a smilie. I really do like and respect that, and I don't want to be 'one of those guys' who needs to get the last word so feel free to respond and I will let it drop after this.

            Just want to point out that Spector says Tambi "did not respond to a request to speak with sportsnet.ca Sunday evening." What does that mean exactly? Spector sent Tambellini a text or e-mail at 11:00PM right before running the story so that he could include that line when Tambi didn't run screaming to the phone to call him back?

            The soonest management could reasonably discuss it was Monday, and Tambi had other things to get ready for besides just fielding Souray's comments. I'm sure there were several discussions over the tone to take and the pros and cons of being too harsh or skirting the issue too widely. By the next day they had decided on, among other things, what they felt was appropriate to say in the release, what they felt Quinn could be allowed to say to the press right away, and what it was better for Tambellini to say in person after the Lottery had been dealt with. Totally cool for people to second-guess their decision, but I don't think people can pick on the timeline too much. Saying the wrong thing without first discussing the effect could have been far worse for the organization.

    • Let's get whatever we can get for Souray and move on. Someone earlier mentioned Wade Redden for Souray. Hey, that works for me … maybe.

      Haven't seen Redden play in, like, three years, and so I have no idea if he's "brutal" or merely "mediocre." If he's the latter, I'd say there's room for him on the Oilers blueline right now. That said, I'm prepared to be shouted down on that because I think Redden has a LOT of term left.

      As for whether or not Tambo should have ripped Souray a new one, well, I guess I can see Robin's point … but only because he's in the media and it's his job to help provide the soapbox from which people stand and shout at one another. That's why it's fun to work in the media.

      But, from an organizational standpoint, I can see why Tambo would want to take a higher road right now. Actually, I thought it was handled quite well by the Oilers on Tuesday – Tambo was the velvet glove and Quinn was the iron fist.

  • I don't see what the problem is with Whitney. He showed good skill and determanation since his arrival, and as stated made Gilbert game reappear.

    On a side note. Does anyone know, who the agents are for the following players; Heatley, Pronger, Nylander, Smyth and Souray?

  • Harlie

    man I keep thinking about Grebeshkov and his crushed testie. I can only imagine what he said to the guys in Nashville after they learned that he played for another two periods after it happened.

    "no big deal guys, if I was still in Edmonton they would have bag skated me and made me play for another week or two with a crushed nut. Two periods ain't nothin!!"

  • Tracie

    Just putting this out there, but why would we take money back for Souray? Why can't we just waive him at the beginning of the year and send him to the minors if there are no takers? it seems like taking money back, or Redden, seems counter productive, if we waive him, at least we have the full 5.4 mil to spend, and Souray realizes that no one wants him if he goes to the minors…his ego is way too big to actually report to the minors, so he would be in default of his contract and then we can get out of it, no? just a thought, I'm not exactly sure how it would work if he had to report to the AHL, and I know that Katz would still have to pay him the 4.5 mil he is owed, but at least we'd have the cap room to spend money on filling the holes we need to fill…

    • Cause the buyout is 1.5mm (edit – capgeek says cap hit 2.4 for 2 seasons, 1.5 for following 2)for the next 4 seasons. You can't 'waive' people, you can buy them out though. I think he has "some" value on a trade.

      • Tracie

        Why can't you send him to the minors? Then he gets put on waivers for 48 hours in which any team can pick him up. Like what Florida did with Macintyre. If someone picks him up, then we don't have to buy him out, hence we save money.

      • Tracie

        I agree with that statement, but wouldn't his (Katz) money be better spent paying Souray in the minors (and freeing up that cap space)rather then taking on a contract like Redden or Drury or some other NYR loser? We are going to have to take money back in any trade…I'm just saying that unless it's less then 4.5 mil coming back, or less years left on a contract, or something, then we should just put him in the minors and let him rot there…

        BUCK75 – that's only if we decide to bring him back up after he goes to the minors, if he gets picked up before even reporting to the minors, then someone else has his contract and we didn't have to take any money back.

  • OilFan

    Good point about Tambo with the Velvet glove and Quinn with the iron fist, I never thought of it that way.

    Also, I believe Redden has four years left on his contract….Souray not so much…

    I don't think I would want to invest four years in Redden, but hey we did give Khabi 4 years……………

  • Ender

    @ Pokey Reddock

    Juan Bourbon wrote:
    How do you figure it reinforces the allegations because he was tardy to get to you?

    Crust wrote:
    er, you do know that the allegation was lack of communication, no?

    Ender the Dragon wrote:
    So your contention is that poor communication is better than appropriate communication, as long as it's delivered quickly?

    Crust wrote:
    No. My contention is that appropriate communication IS timely, and must be so in order to be effective.

    Now that we're all up to speed, Crust appears to be picking on the delay in communication. I pointed out the Oilers responded the day after they heard about it. If you want to grief about the content, take it up with several others who have already asked what else the Oilers should have said. If you wish to be a part of this discussion, it's about timeliness. I think maybe I'm not the one missing the point.

      • Redden – KNOWN CLAUSES: NTC (can list eight teams he will not accept a trade to); 4 yrs left @ 6.5 cap hit; actual $ – 6.5,6.5,5.0,5.0; no-good anymore –> U-G-L-Y

        Drury – KNOWN CLAUSES: NMC; only 2 years left @ 7.05 cap hit; actual $ – 8.0, 5.0; still useful, but grossly overpaid (a rich-man's Horcoff, lol) –> at least its only 2 more years

        Gomez – KNOWN CLAUSES: NTC (can list three teams he will not accept a trade to); 4 years left @ 7.35 cap hit; actual $ – 8.0, 7.5, 5.5, 4.5; still useful, grotesquely overpaid –> pretty U-G-L-Y

        And that genius Glen Sather signed all 3… boy, if he just had the Rangers budget, then he could do some damage, eh. Slats = perhaps the most over-rated GM in history.

        If you're talking "for Souray" (who has 2 years left), why would Redden's name come up? At least Roszival (also a Slats signing) has the same 2 years left as Souray… ideally they could find a guy with only 1 year left (a la Brewer).

      • Hemmertime

        Not even close. Redden is in his own category. Then you can lump in bad/arguably bad contracts below him.

        Looking at stats, maybe Drury can be in Reddens Group… but Gomez got 60 pts – just barely an overpay. Considering his average was only slightly above that before he signed his contract hes almost putting up expected value.

  • BBOil

    I understand the frustration with Tambs generic response, but at the same time what is he supposed to say? That is an open question to everyone. I just want to know what response would have been suffice for the media and us the fans. I personally don't need him to say anything. Souray wants out, he made some allegations against management, Tambs said those allegations are untrue. I thought the statement was just fine. We know he wants out, we're going to work on that and we didn't pressure him to play hurt. Think that pretty much gets his stance across.

    • Crust

      I don't see that the only choices Tambellini has are to remain silent or tear Souray a new one. What about addressing the problem Souray brought up?

      I wouldn't mind them acknowledging that the possibly of a communication problem exists within the organization and that they are willing to try to improve it. I don't think such a statement would damage anybody and just might make the organization look better.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        So how does it look when a team acknowledges that not only do we have a weak on ice product, but there are issues within management? It's a very delicate situation.

        • Crust

          Agreed, it's a delicate situation; but doesn't a weak on ice product suggest issues within management? The Oilers have already come out and said that the organization needs evaluation from top to bottom.

          Issuing a statement that you are willing to look in the mirror and assess honestly is not a sign of weakness and may signal to other free agents that the Oilers are willing to take player's concerns (right or wrong) seriously.

          Souray has already come out and admitted he could have tried harder to communicate; I don't think it is an admission of weakness for the Oilers to say they could have tried harder to listen. On the contrary, it seems like a rational stance.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            They actually said they need to evaluate top to bottom?

            I really wish we would've lost the lottery, it would've brought on rage to a different department.

            This is as stupid as getting mad over a chick who you plan on dumping, but she dumps you a day earlier.

      • Ender

        Souray made several allegations but two of the biggest were:

        1) The Oilers make players play hurt.

        2) The Oilers have poor communication with their players.

        Before confirming or denying those fairly broad accusations, don't you think the Oilers would want to investigate the comments to see if their ass was covered? They'd look pretty dumb if they said "We don't make anyone play hurt." and the front-page story the next day was Horcoff telling about how the Oilers made him play hurt all year. I bet several of the the players and coaches were questioned extensively before the Oilers stated that the allegation was "demonstrably untrue".

        The communication thing is even worse. What's the standard for 'good' communication? What's 'bad'? Which do the Oilers have, and once they pick one, can they prove it? That's not stuff you can reply to in a few hours.

      • BBOil

        Acknowledging the possibility of a communication problem says Souray's statements have some validity. Perhaps they do, but we don't know for sure. I see it as similar to saying sorry when you are in an accident, even if its not necessarily your fault. Admitting it could be your fault opens you up to blame. Better to deny or keep your mouth shut, and take care of the business you need to behind closed doors.

        Not admitting it doesn't mean they cannot still work on it internally if there is an issue.

  • Hemmertime

    C'mon, guys. Let's move on from the "when-the-Oilers-should-have-responded-to-Souray" discussion.

    Really, who cares? Souray's diatribe on Sunday was the opening volley in a game that's going to be played out all summer. I'm sure there will be more back-and-forth and it'll be up to beat reporters like Robin to help provide the stage for it (like I say, that's the fun part about being in the media). This ain't over yet.

    Here's something to help put this Souray stuff in proper perspective: What Souray has done is pretty much exactly what guys named Messier, Coffey and Moog did back in the day (a lot of people forget that Messier was under contract when he asked for the trade; he wasn't a hold-out).

    When that happens, you pretty much have to mitigate damage by minding your P's and Q's and working on getting the best deal. As I recall, Slats used to love the little wars-of-words with players – he seemed to relish in it. But, in the end, I'm not sure if he ever really accomplished very much ripping malcontents in the media, at least not in the later years.

    If I'm Darryl Katz, I'd be a lot more satisfied that Tambo is working the phones on a Souray trade rather than his one-liners for the soapbox.

  • Its a fresh page… can we fornever more mention the name *deep breath* Redden (the only way he gets moved is if he's the $ part of the equation in a Lecavalier deal)? Like honestly, I'd laugh my a$$ off if the Oil acquired him and all, but I'm just looking out for my fellow citizens. No more! K?

  • Dan the Man

    In addition to Redden being the worst contract in the League, the Oilers tried to trade for him while he was with Ottawa and he refused to waive his NTC then.

    Even if his contract wasn't completely brutal would we want a guy that didn't want to come here in the past?

    I also saw some posts that mentioned sending Souray to the minors or buying him out. In either situation he would have to clear waivers.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Not sure how many teams would actually take him off waivers. I would suspect he would be one of those guys that teams would want to move a warm body the other way for. Who exactly has 5.4mil kicking around for him?

      • Nashville? St. Louis? Only the budget teams really. Maybe one of those teams is looking to make a bigger move. Souray to Nash for the rights to Hamhuis is possible, maybe a 2nd rounder is involved too. Just throwin stuff around.

      • I think 5.4 is his cap hit but he only gets paid 4.5. Someone who took him off of re-entry waivers would only pay half of the salary (I think) but take the whole cap hit.

        A better situation than a buy out for sure.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I hear local media talking about the management standing up to Souray and showing they mean business, if they want to make an example of Souray then fire the son of a gun in the minors.

          I'd actually think acquiring Wideman or Rosival would be something not too far fetched. Rosival while not worth 5mil is sure more valuable then a 5.4 injury prone player and Wideman is young and could fit well with guys his age on the backend.

          • freshpotofcoffey

            If I'm not mistaken, they key here is RE-entry waivers. If someone takes him as we send him down, then they're on the hook for the entire cap hit and salary. The idea would be to hope that someone takes him then. Otherwise we never call him up and see how his big ego takes 2 years in Oklahoma. This would require Katz to be willing to spend $9MM total just to be vindictive, but who knows.

            How is it better than a trade? Because we don't have to take back a bad contract. Seriously, people are throwing aroung Redden's name. REDDEN? Good God, if it comes to that…

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    listening to Tambo:

    ??? how can you come back a year later with the same line: 'we have good players but we need to make some change' ????