The Summer of Steve is now its second month and before we reach September, one of Tambellini’s biggest decisions will be figuring out the future of Pat Quinn.
Quinn was Tambellini’s hire. They worked together in Vancouver and Tambellini wanted a guy who could motivate, was a winner and would play an uptempo style. Quinn fit the bill, but only one year into a three-year deal, I don’t know if Quinn is the answer moving forward.
When you finish 30th you have to look at every element, and while Quinn was a great quote and always accessible, none of his players had a breakout year under his guidance, outside of Ryan Potulny. But even he faded horribly down the stretch.
I’ve been around the game long enough to know that when the team is losing, it’s natural to point fingers at others, so when some players quietly questioned the lack of defined roles, or disagreed with the system or grew tired of Quinn’s yelling I chalked it up to a losing atmosphere.
However, a month removed from the season those concerns are still lingering.
There is a clear disconnect between Quinn and his players. They didn’t like his system, or lack thereof, and how he delivered the message, and he didn’t think they were enough guys committed to playing his style.
The more people I talk to, and the more keyholes I listen at, it seems more likely that Quinn won’t be behind the bench next season. The big question is how will Tambellini go about this?
Will they give Quinn another role within the organization?
Will they let him step back and assume another role within the team?
Will Tambellini fire him?
Those are the options, because I can’t see Quinn retiring and walking away from the final two years of his deal, which is around $2 million.
The Summer of Steve is just starting to get interesting, and as we near June his decisions will only get bigger: Quinn, the draft, potential buyouts and possible free agents.
Nikolai Khabibulin’s case is scheduled for a Trial Readiness Conference at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. This is essentially the last time the prosecuting attorney and the defendant/defense attorney talk to discuss a plea or set the case for a jury trial. A criminal case can have up to five appearances (arraignment, pre-trial conference, trial readiness conference, trial, sentencing) and each of these proceedings.
Who knows what Khabibulin will do, but if he pleads not guilty then that would mean a summer trial. And it is deathly hot in August in Phoenix, and many times the DUI cases go to tent city which is outside in 120F heat. Considering Khabibulin and his dehydration problems, that could make an uncomfortable afternoon.
Ryan Smyth injured his ankle and is done for the remainder of the World Championships. Canada can’t add another player until after Wednesday’s game v. Switzerland and then they can add up to two players, and one of them has to be Jordan Eberle.
I haven’t watched a second of the action so far, mostly because watching Canada pound Latvia and company does nothing for me. But after Wednesday the games get better, and if Eberle suits up the games become much more interesting from an Oiler perspective.
I hope Eberle gets into a few games, just to see how he adapts to the speed and pace of the game. I won’t put too much into how he plays though, unless he gets put in offensive situations and gets some PP time. If he is going to play in Edmonton next season it will be as a top-six forward, so he’ll need to play those types of minutes and in those situations in order to flourish.