HAPPY NEW YEAR: SAME OLD THING?

As 2011 draws to a close, should we really be surprised the Edmonton Oilers are fading fast in the Western Conference after a start to the season that had some fans convinced that happy days, and a playoff spot, were here again?

With frustration growing as the Oilers look more like a lottery team than a playoff contender for the third straight season, the number of e-mails and tweets on Twitter I’m getting from fans with 2012 just around the corner has been increasing by the day.

The most common theme, and by a landslide, is the contention GM Steve Tambellini hasn’t done his job in assembling the proper players required to move the rebuild fans have been sold along at a reasonable pace. Tambellini is a bungler and an incompetent manager. He deserves to lose his job if the Oilers finish as a bottom-feeder in the standings again. Four years into his tenure, I have zero issues with that last contention.

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While many fans weren’t singing that tune when the Oilers got off to a 9-3-2 start, they’re saying it now — long and loud and in no uncertain terms. Some have even suggested Tambellini has been given pretty much a free ride when it comes to criticism until now.

The free ride bit didn’t ring true, so I looked back through some of the things I’ve written here since late summer. While these are just snippets taken from longer items, questions fans have now about the job Tambellini has done have been out there for months. I’m sure other writers at Oilersnation could find much the same takes in items they’ve done.

While the following snippets aren’t a comprehensive look at every aspect of the team – I’m limiting this to items about expectations in general, the make-up of the defense, the state of Ryan Whitney’s ankle and my overall take on how Tambellini has performed – and don’t qualify as the kind of ranting and raving some of you expect, I’m not surprised the Oilers are where they are now.

And you shouldn’t be, either.

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS?

Dec. 15

"For all the high-fiving among the long suffering faithful to start the season, and nobody is denying people who buy the tickets and the jerseys that, did anybody really – really – think the Oilers were as good as their record in the first 14 games? Even those with their lips stained blue and the goggles on had to know better, didn’t they? Didn’t you?"

Oct. 3

"If I was starting a franchise with players on the rosters on opening day, I’d happily take Edmonton’s collection of talented, young forwards ahead of six or seven teams I’ve got picked ahead of them — I just don’t think that translates to a significant jump in the standings in 2011-12. "I think the Oilers will be considerably better than they were last season if they can avoid the injuries to key players they endured in 2010-11, but they’re coming from so far back it’s difficult to imagine them vaulting up the standing more than a place or two."

ABOUT THAT THE DEFENSE . . .

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Oct. 1

"As it stands now, pending Tambellini working the phones — be it in pursuit of a trade or free agent or putting a call into Oklahoma City for short-term reinforcements — the Oilers face the prospect of starting the season with Tom Gilbert, Cam Barker, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton and Corey Potter on the blue line. See any problem with that?"

Oct. 1

"I’d suggest yet again that Tambellini take a look at some of the surplus talent he has up front, make a call on who he is willing to part with for a defenseman who can log top-four minutes, and get busy addressing a lack of depth that is painfully obvious.

"I can only assume Tambellini will spend the next night or two tossing and turning over the predicament he finds himself in now because he’s failed to do so to this point. It might be an idea, if he is wide awake, to get busy on that phone."

Sept. 6

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"I’m on the sniff trying to find out if the Oilers will extend a training camp invitation to a free agent or two, but no word yet. Given Whitney’s status and a lack of depth on the back end, it’s an idea worth pursuing. By the way, Lowetide’s suggestion GM Steve Tambellini ask Nick Boynton to take a twirl at camp is a cagey guess. He’d fit as a sixth or seventh guy."

WHITNEY’S ANKLE

Oct. 3

"The biggest questions marks, as has been duly noted, come in goal with Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin, and on the blue line, which is not nearly deep enough, even if Ryan Whitney gets back in the line-up and his ankle holds up."

Sept 6

"There’s been great consternation over the state of Ryan Whitney’s surgically repaired right ankle, and with good reason, seeing as he "tweaked it" a couple weeks ago. And because, well, Edmonton’s defensive corps isn’t good enough to get along without him."

Aug. 31

"The most pressing question for me has two components. First, will Ryan Whitney’s surgically repaired right ankle be ready for the start of the season? And, if it is, how long will it hold up?"

Aug. 24

"We saw what Tom Renney’s defense looked like without Whitney for 47 games in 2010-11. Do you have confidence the defense as it stands going into camp — Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Cam Barker, Theo Peckham, Andy Sutton and Taylor Chorney or Jeff Petry — can hold up without Whitney? I don’t. Did Tambellini add enough depth to cover his backside if Whitney is out of the equation? Not that I can see."

TAMBELLINI AND TEAM-BUILDING

Aug. 31

"Do Ben Eager, Eric Belanger, Andy Sutton, Darcy Hordichuk, Smyth and Barker constitute significant upgrades over departed players Steve MacIntyre, Zack Stortini, Andrew Cogliano, Colin Fraser, Kurtis Foster and Jason Strudwick?"

May 16

"In his first three seasons as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, Steve Tambellini has proven conclusively he can put together a team capable of finishing dead-last in the standings, and rather handily. So, what will he add to his resume in 2011-12?

"I don’t know the answer to that, of course, but after assuming the GM’s hot seat from Kevin Lowe and seeing the Oilers finish 21st in 2008-09 and 30th the past two seasons, it’s not a stretch to suggest Tambellini had best add a trick or two to his CV."

May 16

"If the rebuild fans have been sold is going to amount to anything, it’s going to demand more on Tambellini’s part than adding the name Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the outfit already assembled. Selling hope, after all, has a shelf-life. Likewise, general managers. This much we know."

Here we are. Happy New Year.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.


  • This rebuild currently consists exclusively of three young forwards. Every other prospect is a question mark, and that includes MPS. Tambellini has pretty clearly demonstrated three things during his tenure: 1) Good at losing; 2) awful communicator (see the “reassignment” of Pat Quinn for a good example); and, 3) terrible at assessing NHL talent. Awful Khabibulin contract, bad Brule contract, inability to add quality NHL pieces to complement young players, failed to trade Souray when value was high.

    The Oil would be better off firing Tambo and poaching an exec from another org (Dave Nonis, Rick Dudley for example) to try to right this cluster-f*&k. Not that I expect it. I expect a Katz text to Bob Stauffer indicating support for Tambo on an Oiler broadcast sometime in the next two months.

  • I think Mr. Dithers needs to make any kind of a trade, even a small trade, as soon as possible. This will give the fans something else to discuss and think about while we watch the team crash and burn on this road trip. I expect the next few weeks will be very heated.

    • Romanus

      Why make a move now? Only way you get a top defender is to give up one of the key guys and for what? Which of Hall Ebs or RNH goes to get the defenceman now even though it wont make a difference this year?

      At this points its too late. Wait until deadline when teams are desperate or off season.

  • Rob...

    Hey Robin, what do you think about the officiating this year compared to previous ones? I’m not talking about anti-Oilers bias, anti-rookie bias or anything like that. I’m more referring to a general lack of consistency combined with missed calls and phantom calls. I can’t remember a season where their actions have seemed this much of an embarrassment to the NHL.

      • Rob...

        Thanks for answering. I have to wonder how many of the young Oilers players are also having WTF moments and having it affect their games. Does experience help veteran players weather bad officiating? Does that put the Oilers at a disadvantage due to their young team, especially on D?

        I’ve caught the looks of players a few times (Peckham especially) after a bad call or non-call where it looks like they’re no longer sure how to play the game to avoid a penalty yet still compete.

    • DK0

      I’m willing to give Renney a pass with the assumption that he realizes this is not a playoff team and is still playing players outside of their comfort zone as a teaching tool. It’s kind of hard to show a player how they need to change their defensive positioning if they are rarely in a defensive situation. You need to throw the kids in the deep end every once and awhile and be able to show them the tape later.

  • DK0

    Good read and bang on! Although you have identified Tambi as being the driver of selecting the players, I can’t but wonder( based on the concensus model of management displayed on Oil Change), if Lowee deserves some of this criticism?

    We all know that Mr. Dithers seems to be very indecisive, and has not made a significnat deal that puts his stamp on this team. Just how much further might we be along if Hemsky was traded last year, when his value was a little higher? Who really had heard of Belenger, Potter, Tuebert…….not really any significant players. I do like Potter but something tell me that this was Renny’s decision.

    It seems that MR. Dithers wants to replicate the NY Islanders model of selecting in the top five every year without a comprehensive plan that addresses the current needs. I would love to hear what he thinks about the current draft and how they intend to select and for what position.

    I also think that Renny has to be questioned as the ” developer of talent”, which is supposed to be his strength? I question this each and every game.

  • DK0

    Robin any chance of you or another journalist putting Tambi on the hotseat with 25 questions you and the nation feel should or would appreciate answered.I realize you will probably get the same mumbo jumbo rebuild thing but he needs to realize how the fans feel about the job management is doing or lack there of.thanks bud Happy New Year!!!

    • Tambellini is extremely reluctant to put himself in the position of being questioned at length, let alone being put on any hotseat.

      He keeps his distance from us around the rink and all interview requests go through the media relations staff — no just walking up and saying, “Steve, can I ask you about . . . .?” Used to be that way with Lowe and Sather, even if you might get a bunch of nothing. You could at least chat and dig a bit, get a feel for things.

      Not Tambellini’s style.

        • Hypotheticatlly speaking, if you were paying me $50-$100 an hour to scratch out those 25 questions here for your reading pleasure, what hourly rate would you choose?

          Nice edit (if the number of questions goes down, the hourly rate goes up).

          • What, I’m bagging groceries at Sobey’s now?

            Sorry, I cannot maintain my sprawling estate and fleet of exotic cars at the pay rate you are offering. You’ll have to submit 10 questions to me and I’ll pass them along to Tambellini*

            *fee for that service will be $300.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Couldn’t you just contract this job out to the Bronte 5000?

            I’m sure it could handle the job and excluding minor maintenance costs you should be in line to take a healthy cut!

          • Asking Mr. Dithers questions would be a whole lot of spin and non-comittal PR talk.

            Personally, I’d rather ask Renney questions, I think he would be at least semi-candid.

            What’s the fee for that?

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            agreed.

            he would stand there with that sh** eating grin of his and talk about clarity and assessment.

            Brownlee- “why didnt you bring in more depth on D at the start of camp”

            Tambellini- “we have such a passionate fanbase, and these past couple of seasons have provided clarity on the route we need to take. we have be assessing our previous assessment of the past seasons final assessments. It is such an exciting time to be an Oiler.

            Brownlee- “um, can you at least answer the question kind of?”

            Tambellini- “we have such a…”

            brownlee- **loses it Champ style**

  • DK0

    I used to scoff at those who suggested that the NHL should make it less rewarding for teams to finish in a lottery position.

    I just figured “Oh sure, the oil haters are just ticked that it’s finally OUR turn to receive the benefits of total suckage.”

    But after a GM seems to willfully refuse to make a team competitive, I can see their point.

    It’s not fair to the fans or the players. It’s not fair to the game. Never thought I’d quote Herm Edwards but, yes indeed, You Play to Win the Game.

    When you BLATANTLY don’t have the proper pieces in place, there is no way you can win games on a consistent basis. Therefore, what the Oilers are doing is going against a central ethos of sport (at least as Herm Edwards sees it).

    In the last two years the injuries made it easier to bear the losing. They don’t have that as an excuse anymore. For the first time, I’m almost ashamed to admit to being a fan of this team, one that’s embracing a losing culture rather than a winning culture.

    • ^ This.

      I refuse to believe that an NHL GM with years of experience is dumber than a bunch of guys on fan blog sites.

      I’m not a Lowe-apologist, but Kevin Lowe knows D-men and he’s been around the game a long time. We’ve seen he knows how to put a competitive team together when that’s the goal. He wouldn’t let this sort of thing happen unless it was the plan all along.

      To me it’s disgraceful and against everything I believe about sport.

  • Crash

    If it a tank it’s fantastic management. If it’s not a tank then the whole bunch should be fired.
    Not signing or trading for defencemen
    Filling roster with rookies,ancients,and goons
    Good old boys on coaching staff that leads the NHL in too many men and bad line changes
    Strange line combinations 4on4

    How can they fire anyone unless we can figure out what they are trying to do?

  • I am willing to cut ST some slack. I think he learned a few things in Vancouver. One of which was to build a good farm system. I think the Oilers have done tbat, and they started at less than zero.

    The Oilers have, at least acording to the Hockey News, the best young prospects in the league.

    It will take some time to turn the good ship Oil around, but it will come. The frustrating part is the rebuild started 2 years ago, but the Oilers have beem middling to bad for a long time.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Too bad, Tambillini was making strides with the Belanger and Eager signings but he stopped well short. Combined with the solid play of Bulin, a couple, low cost, low risk moves to bring in two more competent defensmen and this didn’t have to be a wasted year.

  • Clarence Oveur

    The only opinion that matters is from that curly haired fellow in picture #2.If he has given his blessing to Tambellini/Lowe to finish
    in the lottery for the third straight year then all the handwringing and teeth gnashing won’t mean a thing.

  • Clarence Oveur

    If you asked me, I’d say we’re back in “teaching” mode. Tambo is safe. Renney line matched like a demon early on – the results were great. Now – not so much on both counts. I think the plan was all along to get that Shea Weber / Lidstrom type this draft – it will be there at 3 through 8 -, then address goaltending. Yes, NK has been great most of the time, and DD above average, but where is that Fuhr/Roy/Fleury type? Bunz? In two years, perhaps, when our Shea Weber / Lidstrom type has a season under his belt and begins to make a difference Top 2. Our Kids believe, now – see those first 19 games and their places in the scoring race. I believe that “meaningful games in March” means the learning curve, not Playoffs.

    Management didn’t even lie to us, when you think about it: Low and the rest of the bunch have ALWAYS spoken of a 5 year plan – we just didn’t believe it (well, I didn’t believe it, looking at how quickly i.e. Pittsburg & Philly turned it around). Tambo will be back, having achieved 3/5th of his objective, and so will Renney, I think. I think Hemsky is gone, though, and likely so is Whitney: not this year – he needs to get healthy and teach our Shea Weber / Lidstrom type – but next year; you don’t build a dynasty on wonky ankles and a Detroit-type model has always been the goal, which includes that Shea Weber / Lidstrom type.

    As much as we would like our Oilers don’t “manage” this growth model by playing with us fans, I think this year is proof positive they do, which means – we either buy in for the sake of a dynasty, or we get ulcers in the short run, the way some of these posts and comments have suggested.

  • Ducey

    Actually Robin its not the same old thing.

    The Oilers were last in basically every category the last two years.

    This year?

    12th in GF/ game (2.72)

    14th GA/ game (2.69)

    These are huge improvements.

    13th in 5 on 5 GF/GA

    3rd! in PP%

    9th in PK%

    16th in shots against

    All of this shows the Oilers are actually doing pretty well.

    Problem areas? 26th in Faceoffs and 30th in shots for.

    Frankly, it would seem that they have been rather unlucky to this point. If you had to pick a team for a 2nd half breakout, it might be the Oilers.

    • Actually, I know that without you pointing it out. The headline is meant to mirror the perception many fans have that it’s the same old thing, at least going by the standings.

      If you’ve been following, and I’m betting you have, I’ve brought up the same sorts of numbers in areas of improvement in items and comments in recent weeks. I also wrote, just last week I think, that despite the skid the team is on now, I see the Oilers finishing 16-20 points better than last season.

      Even with problem areas and some holes that Tambellini should have addressed, this is a better team than last year. Right now, the results do no show that.

  • RexLibris

    When it comes to Renney, I’m not going to simply give him a pass, but I think some of his line combinations and matching are the result of a coach who is caught at a crossroads. His boss tells him they need to make the playoffs and then implies in his interviews that the team is still in the development process. So the coach might be left wondering which is it? Win or develop, because you can only prioritize one at the expense of the other.

    As for Tambellini’s seeming reticence to make more immediate changes, who knows. If every time he picks up the phone to inquire about an available defenceman the conversation starts with Paajarvi, Eberle, or Hartikainen (for example) then I wouldn’t blame him for not following through. Only an idiot would sell his team’s future for modest imminent assistance (see Sutter, Darryl). Not being privy to the conversations that happen and the details, we can only guess. But to be frank, I’d rather my GM do nothing than trade a pending UFA like Sutton for a train wreck like Kaberle. Tambellini may be too cautious at times, but I’d almost prefer that to the reactionary trades some other GMs make.

    If we’re drafting top 3 this year, without winning the lottery and without the asterisk of significant injuries next to the record, then I will eagerly await the draft and pore over the scouting reports in June. And in July I will expect to read about some press conferences scheduled at Oiler HQ. Jim Nill, anyone?

    Whenver I read comments or blogs about the Oilers needing to trade away forwards for defensive help I am reminded of what my father told me about Sather building the 80s Oilers (I know, different draft, different era) and that there was always a lineup of GM willing to trade some veterans to Sather to “help him season his youth movement” in exchange for some enticing, but perhaps underperforming, rookies. Sather said no, and thank heavens he did. I don’t know that Pitlick or Hamilton, or any other young prospect, will turn into the next Glenn Anderson or even Patric Hornqvist, but I certainly don’t want the Oilers to make the next Barry Pederson trade, either.

    I know it feels like this team has been losing for ages. They have. But this is year 2 of a rebuild. Yeah, they were awful before, but it was an accidentally kind of awful. This is a young, learning curve kind of awful. And it is a lot more fun to watch. At the start of the year most everyone, fans here included, pegged the Oilers as a lottery pick team, somewhere in the 3rd to 7th overall range. It may not feel like it, but that is improvement because we were that bad. One could even argue that in a year like this, drafting later than 10th overall would do more to hurt the rebuilding process than help. Walking away from day one of the draft with Griffin Reinhart, or Matt Dumba, or Morgan O’Reilly, is what this team needs more than another depth draft prospect on defence and a band-aid blueliner.

    I’m not advocating incompetence, just some more patience. I do think that in the end, Tambellini won’t be here to see the end-phase of this process. But in the meantime, let’s not forget what he has managed thus far, he has acquired the picks that have allowed MBS to exceed expectations. He has resisted the temptation to improve immediately at the expense of the future, and he has made some fairly astute decisions on whom to jettison from the catastrophic 2009-2010 season. He’s also royally ticked off Dean Lombardi, and that’s got to count for something.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Thanks for the re-cap Brownlee.

    for those frustrated with the lack of GM moves since the season began… LTs article suggests ST has been following tradition:

    http://oilersnation.com/2011/12/12/no-reinforcements

    In that case, I’m willing to defer to ST staying clear of weak market conditions through the end of 2011… but I’ll be curious to see how early 2012 treats us…

    It’s clear we won’t be gearing up for a Playoff run… but maybe some decent vets will become available from other sell-off teams? is it too early to try for a sell-off team’s loose change? are we still looking for prospects and picks?

    ps. this USA-Czech game is great! If the Czechs could find a way to stay out of the box they might just pull it out!

  • Clarence Oveur

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I have been one of Tambellini’s most ardent supporters/defenders in this corner of the interweb. He’s rebuilt the farm system and overhauled the amateur scouting department, two notable accomplishments that deserve praise. Other than that, however, he’s come up miles short.

    I had hope that Steve would assemble a more competitive team this season with the additions of players like Eager, Belanger, Hordichuk, Sutton and Smyth. Problem is that once he did that, he didn’t see fit to do anything else even when faced with the prospect of a severely depleted blueline. That’s not going to cut it.

    I’m done supporting him the way I have in the past. He gets credit for making significant improvements in two important areas of the franchise, but it’s time for Steve to make those same improvements in the area that matters most: the big club.

    • John Chambers

      I, like you, have been prone to giving ST the benefit of the doubt, suggesting that some of the team’s defficiencies were calculated and that I supported the idea of taking advantage of the ‘re-build’ in order to draft high. That part has worked out nicely.

      But the inactivity is going from ‘annoying’ to ‘inexcusable’. I get that the FA market or trade market for Dmen has been poor, and I’m glad we haven’t made any stupid moves to add guys who won’t be here to contribute in 3 years … But Tambellini gets paid a lot of money to ARCHITECT a team. We’ve added players , damn good ones, through the draft, but the man hasn’t done the small things needed to build a competitive TEAM. There are still too many holes to be filled, too many needs unaddressed…

      … Unless you consider Cam Barker to be a puzzle piece for the future. Then you should really be begging to keep your job.

  • Like I said in an earlier comment, I don’t think it’s the “same old thing” this season because this is a better team with better personnel and better potential than we’ve seen in several seasons. The standings just don’t reflect it right now.

    That said, I didn’t buy into the playoff contender talk before the season or even after the hot start — as reflected in the snippets and the dates I wrote the items — because I saw holes in the roster Tambellini assembled (as did many fans) and more growing pains in store.

    This isn’t black and white — althought fans sick of no playoffs might disagree. They want results, at least some improvement in the standings now. I understand that.

    Tambellini has made some decent moves. He’s made some curious moves. He’s made moves I thought might payoff (Barker, most notably) that have produced nothing. There is more depth in the prospect pool now, and there should be. The farm team isn’t a disaster. All told, warts and all, the process is moving along at about the rate I thought it would and at a pace I — not being a fan but an observer — can accept.

    The problem for Tambellini (and Renney) is he’s the one who set the bar with playoff contention talk, even if it’s expected spin. Fans who took that talk at face value are going to be screaming for firings if this team finishes 28th, 15 points out of a playoff spot. I see where they’re coming from, thus I wrote in this item that, indeed, I wouldn’t disagree if he got the sack for falling so short of goals he stated.

    As an observer, I’ve said for months now that an improvement of 16-20 points is acceptable — and still reachable — regardless of where the team finishes in the standings.

    • John Chambers

      I think the problem, Brownlee, isn’t that Renney talked the talk about playoffs, it’s that for 16 games the team walked the walk. This club could legitimately be sitting right where Nashville and Dallas are, but didn’t build the depth necessary (or mis-addressed depth with ‘toughness’) to sustain our competitive play.

      What would I have done differently? Probably added Ian White and Scott Hannan this offseason for the same $ we paid for Sutton and Barker. These aren’t even hindsight moves, most of the blogosphere preferred them to Barker and Sutton during the summer’s naval-gazing sessions.

      Management and pretty much everyone else didn’t forecast how impactful RNH, Hall, and Eberle would be this season. I think you’ll agree that two out of three are coming in ahead of forecast and one is right on pace. What management didn’t do was compliment their performance with the right depth players.

      We can only hope that once we’ve secured another lottery pick that they pursue the acquisition of depth in earnest because the core is almost ready now.

      • The early play was a mirage — look at the saves percentage of the goaltenders, just to start with.

        I didn’t see Sutton and Barker (a project but on a one-year deal at palatable money) as the answers to the depth problem on their own, as the snippets show, but I thought they could be decent pieces of the puzzle IF Tambellini added to the group. He didn’t.

        Guys like the two you just mentioned, White and Hannan, would come in awful handy now with Whitney on the limp and Gilbert and Smid wearing down.

        • John Chambers

          So I think we agree – depth problems on D were easily forecastable to mouth breathers and ass scratchers like me … But not to the chief architect of the team.

          I’ve stopped fantasizing about us adding Suter or Weber for next season. Only a skilled deal-maker could pull that off and this organization lacks that skill set. We’ll be lucky if we get Matt Carle or Greg Zanon or another second-tier talent inked. But let’s not get excited and expect us to add two … Big transformation moves have not been pulled off by this management team in over 5 years.

  • I think before Tambilini is replaced, Renney should be replaced based on his “final exam”, which is the current road trip. This team is seldom ready to play the game… flat on most nights,there is better talent than displayed on many nights.Certainly there are many teams with same talent, or less that are performing and playing hard on the puck hockey everynight{ ie: Leafs, Stars, Panthers,Jets, Blues etc.]. Its one to thing to loose, but to not show up for games, is not in winning cards.Renneys bench mangement is subpar on most nights.NOt saying a coaching change always makes a difference,, we’ve seen that this year., but at least you can find out if theirs a better mousetrap out there.
    Tambilini is no shinging star, but its difficults to make trades at this time of the year, and the tradable assets are not that appetizing.For sure no one is giving away decent defensemen…. ie: Barker… failed on every team he has played for.. and this is No. 3 pick in the 1 st. round.

  • John Chambers

    If the Nuge runs into a dry spell and doesn’t win the Calder I’m blaming Tambellini for it. No excuse for lack of depth on this team especially that there is cap room to play with.

    It’s on your head Tambellini.

    Thanks for the number 1 overall picks but what have you done for us lately?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Musil just took a shoulder to the head in the US game… (no call)… he went straight to the bench…. hope he’s ok… but what with Klefbom’s injury trouble… the Oiler D curse continues

    [edit] musil’s back on the ice. looks ok.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Is it just me or does that kid look a little lethargic?

      He’s obviously not overweight but he moves like he needs to lose 20 lbs. Prodding and slow on occasions, he’s along way aways from ever being an NHL player. Was hoping to see some sort of NHL potential by now.

      • David has never been and likely never will never will be “quick” on his skates. He doesn’t have a fluid stride. He’s been described by some scouts I’ve spoken with as a bit of a plodder, although he might be a prodder as well . . . Expect more of a Laddy Smid type than a point-producer or PP quarterback.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          and @Moneypuck

          He’s playing insane mins. in this tourney too (which is my only exposure to him)… can’t find the stats anywhere for TOI.. but I think Ferraro said he’s averaging over 25 a game… that might have slowed him down a bit.

          My sense is a smart, big D can get away with less speed if they are really smart and position themselves well, etc…. It’s probably too early to tell if he is just another Cory Cross (awful mix of slow and poor decision making)

          off-topic: great news out of NYC:

          http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=383799

          hopefully no one picks him up. He has no business getting an NHL paycheck.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          I’m a little surprised with Ladislav this season, never thought someone playing d could overcome that puckshyness he seemed to have. Laddy smid is a little harsh for my liking. Can we split the difference and call him the next Rod Langway? I could live with that.

  • Happy Pappy

    Yes!!! lets draft a d man and wait another 5 yrs for him to come around… how about we package up some 1st rounds picks some players and go get some real players??? Why cant we trade this yrs and next yrs 1st rounds picks for something?? come on……. there has to be away??

    • Spydyr

      Really trade the next 2 1st round picks maybe even a lotto pick this year.That would be a Islanders rebuild.Stay the course .Draft right(with Stu)In a couple years when most of the pieces are in place then look at filling some holes.There are to many holes to fill right now.Keep the drafts,Show patience build from within.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Where’s that Madjam character. Can we get our money back? Can’t believe he wanted to take Musil first overall.

    With footspeed like that he better be good at prodding those oncoming wingers.

    Rome is burning to the ground now. what good is help 3-5 yrs down the road.

  • Oilerbill

    It amazes me how many of you would be willing to mortgage the teams future to be in 8th spot!

    I am glad you’re not managing this team!

    ST K Lowe and DK are all in this for the long haul so suck it up! They want a contending team not just one that competes. It’s about depth and structure. They have started the foundation of a great team. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Prospects take time to develop and ST is not willing to trade that prospect depth for a couple of pluggers that might help us to a playoff spot.

    It is highly unlikely that we have a damn that can be the top guy we need. He will have to sign a ufa. Maybe not this summer but next I expect us to have a legit 1st pairing that will be able to shut down who ever they are facing for 25 min a night. Even if we drafted one this summer we are talking 5 years to develop into a Norris caliber guy. The rebuild does not have that much time but the longevity of being a contending team for years to come does allow for that.

    I expect to see very little as far as trades of consequence. They will build through the draft and free agency. I am supportive. This year we finish around 12 next year closer to 8 and by 2015 we will be a NHL power house with ST at the helm.

    Book it.

    • I first saw DK and thought you were talking about Donkey Kong.

      Plus, it is highly unlikely that we have a damn that can be any guy we need.

      😀

      I’m optimistic – I see an early playoff exit next year, but SCF by 2014. Wouldn’t it be niiiiiice?

      • Oilerbill

        Do you have anything to offer?

        It just amazes me that people on this site are delusional enough to believe that other teams want prospects that are questionable on what was the worst team in the league the last two years!

        Or trade draft picks to shore up our d and goal! Ask Colorado how that’s working for them!

        Seriously people are suggesting that we trade our next couple of first round picks? What a joke! What do you think we will get for that? Nothing more than a decent prospect if we are lucky! Besides with our last few draft selections as a recent track record we are way better off with the picks!

        There is no package we can put together to get a top 2 d man from any team! You can’t trade 5 contracts for 1 and any other conversations for a legit number one or two d man star with Hall Eberle and the nuge. that’s where they end if Oil management are smart.

        Honestly I used the term “people” loosely. The suggestions coming from many of you tell me that most of you are lucky to be able to tie a pair of skates.

          • Oilerbill

            I tried that. It seems that some need a good b**ch slap across the face to get it. I am tired of hearing all the fire this guy or fire that guy talk when most “people” are talking out their a$$.

            If you have constructive comments and opinions I’m all for them. But think before you type.

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            i must have missed the blog highlighting your new position as message board police. congrats on that.

            im pretty sure we could flip back through the days and find some beauties from yourself.

            the best part of the nation is anyone from madjam to brownlee can toss their 2 cents in. some of it is bordering on insane, some of it is good. If you dont like it, nobody is forcing you to be here.

            i am curious though, what pro resume do you have backing you to make you the determining factor in constructive comments and opinions? ex player? scout? GM?

    • Spydyr

      It appears that Oilerbill maybe got a little overly emotional? And i guess i missed how he said anything that deserves a ban? But i personally agree with the context of most everything he said. We are somewhere between 2-3 years into a full rebuild. When we say “full” rebuild it is! The development side has been fully revamped from crap! We still have massive holes to fill particularly on D. Explain to me how trading 1 or 2 great prospects in order to move this team from a 13th place(or #5 draft position) to a 9th place(11th pick) position will help the team be better in the future?

      Its shocking to me that last year(Year 2) of rebuild everyones preaching patience. Lets get the best draft picks and develop them. And now because of a great 3 weeks to start the season lets trade this and that away today just to slide a few spots up the standings and move us just outside of a lottery pick. For what? I thought this was a total rebuild? Let the kids play, let them learn and develop and when its time make the moves suggested(i say year 3-4 into a rebuild) then lets do it. But not to move into the 9th or 10th place? But to move them into 1st place! Until then patience should be the name of the game.

  • Gretzkin

    Would MacTavish’s name be one to consider if ST found himself out the door? The job of GM is more and more becoming about being able to communicate with the players. Rather than contracts and the like that are better dealt with by people with law degrees than Hockey ones. MacT has a Masters in Buisness. The man is IMO brilliant. His hockey acumen is top of the group. He would probably be seen as more competent that ST. No disrespect to ST but he is still consider by many of us as an outsider. I would rather see someone like MACT with the keys to the castle and leading the charge. Maybe its just me but I think the MacT is more what we need than ST.

  • stevezie

    I think, and I might be wrong here, but I think that management isn’t so much useless, as they are completely committed to their original plan- a plan that involved three years of good drafting. Tambi openly said that he didn’t want to be a lottery team again this year, but that doesn’t mean playoffs- it doesn’t even mean that that’s what he told Katz. I cannot believe that a team genuinely committed to making the playoffs would have been banking on this d-core, I really don’t believe it. The (inevitable, right?) Khabi trade will confirm that this team is right where they want it.

    I think that management is succeeding in achieving their own goals, so I guess a certain type of credit is due, though I hate the concept of tanking and would be in favour of a more radical lottery that discourages it more.

    Of course, it’s also fair to say two years of high drafts is plenty and this year would have been a fine time for a playoff push. You can only suck for so long before it ruins your fans and your players.