TRADES: A TANGLED WEB

I woke up from a well-needed nap, and much to my chagrin, but not to my surprise,  the Ryan Smyth saga still lingered. I will say the Smyth spectacle has given me a new appreciation of how fanatical some Oiler fans are. I’ve received emails and tweets suggesting Tambellini be fired on the spot if he doesn’t complete this trade, while others are asking for updates every 2nd hour, because they won’t be able to rest until they crack the case.

It is great to hear, read and see the passion, and it is why I love my job, but for those who are frustrated, and bordering on being mad. – take a deep breath it will be okay.

Here is what I know.

I asked Tambellini after the draft about the alleged health concerns of Brule and if he has an injury at this point?

"He has been cleared to play for a long time. I’m not going to discuss it any further," he said.

I also got a text from Brule’s camp that said, "He is healthy."

I got to the Lombardi scrum late, because I was talking to Tambellini and he was a bit annoyed about the entire situation. He had this to say about this alleged deal. "It makes no sense to lose (Smyth) and then lose the (cap) flexibility I need to replace him. That’s where it broke down."

The LA Times, Helene Elliott wrote this about the situation.

"The complicating factor remains that Gilbert Brule whose contract the Kings were supposed to take to offset the Oilers’ accepting Smyth’s $6.25-million salary cap hit, is listed as having a concussion and isn’t medically cleared to play. That puts in question whether he could be traded or waived, which is what the Kings intended to do."

So the Kings think Brule’s concussion is an issue regarding being bought out, while the Oilers and Brule’s camp say he is healthy.

Keep in mind that I don’t expect any camp to always be 100% truthful, I’m not saying they will flat-out lie, but they don’t need to tell us every detail, as much as we (media) and the fans want to know everything. I do think they should get an independent doctor to give Brule a physical. If he is deemed healthy to play, then that should solve it.

That seems to easy, so maybe I’m missing something, but I think somehow the deal eventually gets done whether it includes Brule or not.

SITTING IN PERGATORY

 

 

The Smyth soap opera has created the biggest array of emotions Oiler fans have felt since, arguably, the 2006 Cup run.

Think about it. It’s almost been like a seven game series.

I know it’s hard to remember what that feels like fans, but help me out here. Close your eyes and think back to 2006. Cue cheezy dream sequence music that they play on TV, oh yeah, and open your eyes, because you can’t read this and have your eyes closed at the same time. My bad for suggesting you close your eyes.

WANYE OPEN YOUR EYES, AND STOP DROOLING THINKING ABOUT ALL THE BL’S YOU CRUSHED IN 2006

On Monday when Bob McKenzie wrote that Smyth wanted to return home, you felt like you won the first two games of the series, You talked about it at work, text your buddies, walked around smiling all day thinking about your team, and you probably even had thoughts of  "what could be," just like you would when up were up two games to none.

Then you heard the Flames were involved and your heart sank. You felt like your arch rival had ripped out your guts and slept with your lady/man. It felt like you were watching your team fall apart and you were losing control of the series. Suddenly you found your team tied up  2-1, but they got blown out in game three. WTF.

Then on Friday a few moments after the Oilers drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, TSN announced that the deal was done. You had just won gave four with a dominating performance. You chugged your beer, you hugged and high-fived strangers, just like you did in 2006. Series is over. You are up 3-1.

But then disaster.

The trade is off.

You felt like you were watching Dwayne Roloson go down in a heap all over again. The air turned blue as Oilersnation collectively became enraged. You sensed the series was slipping away.

You needed to blame someone, so TSN became your Marc-Andre Bergeron. And even though Tambelllini denied it, repeatedly, you blamed him, he was more like your Andrew Ladd.

Then you lost game six as well, but you saw a glimmer of hope when the Flames signed Alex Tanguay, and you realized they didn’t have enough cap space to sign Smyth until after July 1st. Sure, it was still a loss, but you felt like you played well and were still in the series. You walked away from the game err, I mean draft feeling uneasy about your chances in game seven.

Will you land Smyth? Will your Prodigal Son return, or will Oiler fans suffer another blow to their heart, minds and psyche?

The problem is, normally you’d only have to wait two days to play game seven, but right now you don’t know when it will be played. Will you win the game, will Smyth return home, or will you end up feeling as empty as you did in 2006 when the Canes hoisted the Cup?

For Oiler fans, I hope it is the latter, because even with the additions of Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi, it will be awhile before you feel those raw playoff emotions again.

I hope you win this "Smyth" series.

BUT……

As mad as you feel right now, isn’t there a part of you that has enjoyed riding that emotional rollercoaster of being an Oiler fan again? Feeling the excitiment of a big win, err, trade, and having visions of more wins than losses in the future.

Are you telling me you didn’t feel a bit more alive this week?

You might have dusted off that Smyth picture you have in the basement, or maybe you asked your lady to wear her #94 jersey around the house. Either way you haven’t felt this alive since SHIRTS OFF FOR HORCOFF was cool.

Disclaimer..I can’t believe TSN got it wrong…I’d never do that…Oh wait, I did with Dany Heatley…It sucks to be wrong. I know. 

  • Quicksilver ballet

    So has it become tradition to emotionally scar and diss a current roster player by trying to trade him, with the deal not going through.

    If Brule was depressed, how much therapy do you think he needs today, stuck in limbo with a team that was willing to flip his ass, headed toward waivers or a buyout, job security is not in the cards.

    Kudos to TSN to try to get TB to commit to tampering on national television.

  • Jae

    Thanks Gregor. I needed the laugh.

    I know it’s irrational and shouldn’t impact anyone’s decision, but… The FLAMES?!

    No, just no.

    I’d be fine with Smyth not coming to Edmonton, excepting not wanting his family to be disappointed. I cannot live with him going to Calgary. Then I want blood. Tambo-blood.

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    Gregor,

    Funny read.

    If my memory is correct back when the Heatley story broke early, Bob Mckenzie called that reporting unprofessional and suggested those media people were inexperienced.

    Fast forward to today, and you easily, and correctly, could have ripped them. They dropped the ball on a national stage, and with much worse timing, taking away from RNH, yet you didn’t rip them, you actually mentioned you’d screwed up before.

    I give you lots of props for not being petty. That shows a lot about your character. Kudos to you, and thanks for all the charitable work you do. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

  • Jae

    The Kings have been leaking and talking to the press all week, which is exceedingly unprofessional.

    I would have told Lombardi when the first leak occurred, anymore leaking and any deal is off. And when confidential medical information about a player was leaked, I would have told Lombardi to eff off.

    The Oilers are a last place rebuilding team. Any price a playoff team might have paid for a player like Arnott is irrelevant.

    The Oilers would be doing the Kings and Smyth a favour by taking Smyth, not vice versa.

    The Kings have been using leaks and the media to bluff their way into a better deal.

    If I’m Tambellini, I’d give Lombardi Feaster’s phone number, and say, quit calling me.

  • O.C.

    Deep Thoughts by John Handy.

    “I went to see Edmonton play Vancouver at the Rogers Centre. An elderly woman stopped me and commented how she liked my Oiler Jacket. Then she told me her grand son plays for Edmonton. She was beaming. A wonderful woman she is. I would be proud if she were my grandmother.

    “At the U2 concert, while back in Edmonton. Bono tells this odd story to us on how he is hitchhiking the day before, in Vancouver no less, and a guy stops. He catches a ride with… Gilbert Brule.

    “Who is this Gilbert Brule?
    And
    Why has no one thought to get his comment on the trade and this magical injury debacle?”

  • Great post, but I don’t see why the Rino’s return should be met with such excitement. I agree with the earlier article about the return of the prodigal son rarely living up to the hype. I guess I’m fine with it as long as we are managing our (oiler fan) expectations.

    There are alot of pros in the heart, try, attitude, and experience categories (not to mention the ‘Requested Trade To Edmontown” category which hasnt received a check-mark since before 1991).

    …and maybe the only cons that I can think of is that it’s a step back or sign of weakened resolve in the effort for a complete rebuild (but Smytty is a model of the character profile that e staff are trying to build) and that it will rob minutes from guys we’re trying to develop (while realizing that those guys need role models like Smytty).

    Ok, I think I’m excited about this now!

  • Slapshot

    Quite a smoke and mirror show here. While other teams are addressing needs and making trades KL and ST are wasting time on this Smyth drama. Yes Drama and nothing more. We are the team with the hammer here not LA. Either LA takes what we give them, nothing more nothing less or we walk from this drama. Less we for get we are in rebuild mode here. The Smyth family can survive quite nicely on his salary for 6 more months and then he can come here on a home town discount without giving up a pick. Does it make sense to give up even a 5 round pick ? I can tell you the Detroit values every pick they have regardless of what round.
    How about- do some home work and draft another Ryan Smyth !
    Tambolini, KLowes puppet manned the mic well this Draft while KL was working the floor. Who the #Ell is running this gong show and why has it gone on this long. None of our glaring issues were addressed here in a situation where for a better part of the week all GMs were present to deal.I get the fact that this was about the draft but this team has to many holes to stand and do nothing trade wise. Maggie the monkey could have made this #1 pick over all. Start directing some energy and attention into addressing some needs or prepare to be another toilet bowl team, next year and beyond !

    • longbottom/P.Biglow

      This really makes me Laugh. Tambellini being Lowe’s puppet. How petty are we fans getting.
      Maybe fans need to feel better about their live and need something to complain about. Something I do know is TRUE fans accually step back and evaluate the Job a General Manager does by the Whole body of work being done.
      Trades work only when both teams have what each other needs.
      I do believe that it takes two teams to make a trade.( not everyone wants a 30th place teams garbage.)
      Maybe you my fellow fan should take a breath and enjoy the picks that are taken, the rumors of trades that almost came about, the trades that will come and the Free agents that will be offered contracts.

  • Slapshot

    Ryan Smyth needs to come home to eliminate the Smyth Curse, and restore balance to the universe.
    Also, why has no one commented on the ineptitude displayed by Winnipeg in leave Couturier on the board at #7? I know Winnipegers were just so happy to be at the draft table that they didn’t notice that, but I feel rage on their behalf.

  • OilerLand

    ok….lets look at some interesting background of our team’s management over the last few years.

    1) Comrie (deal is in place, but what did you say? You wont pay me back money? deals off)

    2) Pronger (wants to move, tells management he wants to….they dont take it serious and…..well we know where this whole story went)

    3) Nylander (deal is in place and announced….then its not because…..wife says no?….whatever…lets move on)

    4) Smyth (contract is agrred upon, then last minute its not enough, or were just a tad short….what?….enough said)

    5)Heatly (last minute deal in place and supposedly we didnt know we were not a destination he liked? Players name put out there? it wasnt us was it? couldnt be, must have been Ottawa)

    6)Souray (wanted to go earlier in a trade but we couldnt help him out, salary too high?…gee thats too bad. I am sure that is Sourays fault he cant be traded, afterall we are the Oilers who accept blame when its our fault…..sorry did you say you fired all the training staff? what was it souray was complaining about again?)

    7) Smyth again (we have a trade to have him come home? cool! What? he’s going to Calgary? No? He’s back! what? no deal again? must be that LA team, they got it in for us. Afterall were doing them a favour)

    ….i am sure i am missing several other incidents as well…..

    OK, i do admit, i have sided with management several times and tried to back them with my support, but c’mon…enough is enough, all these other organizations can’t be just picking on our oiler organization can they? Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. I for one love my team no matter what, but do not like managament and their leadership ability to me is in question. I am sure good intentions are there, but most organizations would have fired these guys long ago. I am sure there is fault the other way at times, but communication is our weak suit if you ask me.

    signed…..

    forever frustrated!

    • Mitch

      I agree with your post, although Tambi did say twice there was no trade to report on national T.V. Then word is that Brule’s health was a concern, if there was any question with his health why would he be offered, I would like to think we need to avoid the embarrasment? But yes communication with in the organization is very weak, you have pointed out 7 situations, thats at least 6 too many. Learn from your mistakes, yes I understand with social media it becomes very tough for information not to leak.

  • OilerLand

    Nice Read. Always good when someone is not too proud to admit a mistake. Enjoyed the complete draft coverage by ON and Team 1260 kudos to you gents. I can’t see why were so eager to drop Brule?? Why drop a player when he is coming off injuries?? Not like the Oil have that many 20 goal scorers??

  • geoilersgist

    your right Mitch…Tambo did say nothing has happened to announce, and it is difficult with social media these days, but still, dont know of other organizations that seem to have one oopsy after another…lol

    not to mention we keep hearing….it was Rich Winter’s fault, it was Brian Burke, it was Murray, it was Lambardi, it was Gillis’ fault. I for once would like to hear when our managament says, we made a mistake. Heck klowe did admit he made a mistake with Pronger….but only to say he should have sat him?….how about say, I should have asked him to keep things quiet while i work out the best deal i can to a list of teams he gave me.

    but enough with my rant!!… πŸ™‚

    kudo’s to you Gregor, your humbling of being wrong is a good sign to see. But in the situation you guys are in, it’s easy to be wrong when fed the wrong information…lol

    awesome job your doing keep it going strong!

    And not to brag on here boys, but I called RNH to the Oilers back in October… πŸ™‚ Also called Hall as our pick the year he was drafted in november. Funny thing is…myself and a friend these past two drafts have gone out and got t-shirts made up with our guess of the pick their number and a photoshoped pic on the front. Called Hall’s number 4 number before it happened, and am pretty confident on RNH having #93, even had it put on the back of the shirt. Sweet memories from draft days.

    and just for my two cents worth, I love the Nugent-Hopkins name….its classic and will never be another. Maybe a sign of the future? We can only H.O.P.E……lol

  • Love Monkey

    your right Mitch…Tambo did say nothing has happened to announce, and it is difficult with social media these days, but still, dont know of other organizations that seem to have one oopsy after another…lol

    not to mention we keep hearing….it was Rich Winter’s fault, it was Brian Burke, it was Murray, it was Lambardi, it was Gillis’ fault. I for once would like to hear when our managament says, we made a mistake. Heck klowe did admit he made a mistake with Pronger….but only to say he should have sat him?….how about say, I should have asked him to keep things quiet while i work out the best deal i can to a list of teams he gave me.

    but enough with my rant!!… πŸ™‚

    kudo’s to you Gregor, your humbling of being wrong is a good sign to see. But in the situation you guys are in, it’s easy to be wrong when fed the wrong information…lol

    awesome job your doing keep it going strong!

    And not to brag on here boys, but I called RNH to the Oilers back in October… πŸ™‚ Also called Hall as our pick the year he was drafted in november. Funny thing is…myself and a friend these past two drafts have gone out and got t-shirts made up with our guess of the pick their number and a photoshoped pic on the front. Called Hall’s number 4 number before it happened, and am pretty confident on RNH having #93, even had it put on the back of the shirt. Sweet memories from draft days.

    and just for my two cents worth, I love the Nugent-Hopkins name….its classic and will never be another. Maybe a sign of the future? We can only H.O.P.E……lol

  • geoilersgist

    CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL WE EVEN HAVE TAMBO FOR?

    So I like many of you watched the entry draft of dreams of Tambo actually getting involved and doing something. And what did we get nothing. As far as I can tell everything up to this point in Tambo’s reign could have been done by Stu. Almost 75% of the NHL teams made trades, however small, in this draft and most of the others were at least rumored to have something going. And what about the oilers. Nothing. The one thing that was in the works was the Smyth trade, which lets face it basically fell into Tambo’s lap so it can’t really be counted and from the looks of things he still can’t get it done. So really Tambo is useless they could hire a 100 bums off the street to do his job and still be in the same situation hell one of they might have even stumbled onto something good where tambo can’t pull the trigger on anything except Souray. The only reason he can do that to Souray is because he can just hide him and ignore everything which seems to be all he does.

    You can’t tell me that he couldn’t find some sort of trade, even Fraser or Brule for a 6th or 7th. I think the fans need to face it. As long as the current management is in place this team is going no-where, if they stay this will be the next NYI or FLA. At this point I have more faith in WPG and CGY. At least Calgary isn’t shy about making something happen. Van is a pretty stacked team and they still made moves to make something happen.

    Oilers Management = Biggest POS in the NHL period.

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    Can Someone tell me WHY you are a Fan??
    If you are that passionate and can’t take a step back and realize this is year two of the KATZ Mandated Rebuild, yes I said Year two.
    Did Tambo make a mistake by not wanting to announce anything till the deal is done? No.
    Thats twice the Information was leaked by teams and Tambo has said there is nothing to announce.
    Heatly and Smytty. I give Tambo credit for sticking to his guns.

    Great write up Gregor by the way.

  • Ender

    Props on the article, Gregor. The metaphor is apt.

    One thing to add further, though; when we lost game 7, Oiler fans felt completely crushed because we all sensed how long it might be (years? decades?) before we made it back to the SCF. Not quite the same thing here. Even if we lose this ‘game 7’ with Smyth, we’re right back in the ‘SCF’ again in a few short months at the trade deadline when he becomes a rental player, and then (if that doesn’t pan out) again next summer when he becomes a UFA. The odds are stacked infinitely in our favour here, people. We just need to have a little patience is all.

  • Ender

    Biggest No Win situation I have ever seen. Tambos a hero if Smythy comes home and he is a goat if he fails to get this trade done. A trade he did not even ask for. It was dropped into his lap by L.A.. As much as he might not want to do this deal he has no other options. If this was any other player he could walk away from the deal. But is Smitty. The fan base is yearning for the return of the prodigal son. Tambo has no currency he can use to buy off the fane base. He stuck us with Bulin and that bad contract. The Souray thing blew up in his face. Fraser and Foster were both duds last year. Tambo has absolutely no credit withthe fan base. None, Zip. By bring back Smyth he buys back some of that credibility. He rights a wrong done by KLOWE. He does this deal the fan base see it as his deal. His. Not Klowes. He get the credit for bringing Smitty back. Not Klowe.As nuch as anything he has done since he took over as GM this deal sends a statement to the fanbase that he is the GM of the team.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Wow! A lot of Tambi/KLowe haters out there. But settle down, he somehow kept Brule and got rid of Colin Fraser + A 7TH rounder for Capt.Canada

    Seems like we got the best player in the trade to me.

  • Slapshot

    All hail the the great Tambellini,I think Oilers nation and fans should write a letter of apology and take back everything we have said about Mr Dithers,It only took him a week to make this deal.

  • striker777

    I want Smitty here just like everybody else, but disagree with moving Brule. He is not getting big money and it’s way too early to give up on the former top 10 draft pick. ST should have taken Filatov from Columbus too.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jason, at any time during this saga, do you feel for maybe the first time, Darryl told Steve to just get this done?

    I know Katz has left these two to make all the hockey related decisions in the organization, but for the first time i get the sense Katz got tired of what was going on and made this decision for them.