All the suggestions around here that Tom Renney isn’t the right coach for the Edmonton Oilers and that GM Steve Tambellini has bungled the rebuild and should be out the door ass-first sooner than later is great for debate.
Likewise, all the discussion about who is and isn’t in the plans for the Oilers and who fans would either like to see, or expect to see, sent packing by the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 27, which is 43 days from now.
While that’s a lot of fun, it also goes to show how quickly perceptions can and do change over a relatively short period of time. That’s especially true in Oil Country, where the bandwagon can be rolling like a runaway train on a winning stretch of road with fans feeling like there’s no end in sight, only to end up upside down and on fire in the ditch around the next corner.
Might many of you still think Tambellini is a boob in need of a pink slip 43 days from now? Sure. Might you still shudder at Renney’s use of personnel then? Maybe. Should the Oilers, 17-23-4 for 38 points and hopelessly out of playoff contention as of today, be willing to trade anybody not named Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle by Feb. 27? Done.
Then again, 43 days is a long time. If you go back that far, to Dec. 5, Oilers fans were in a distinctly different mood than they are today. How have your perceptions about this team, and what it needs in terms of personnel moves and changes in the front office or behind the bench, changed since then?
BACK IN TIME
— On Dec. 5, the Oilers were 13-11-3 for 29 points, which had them sitting in 10th place. San Jose held down eighth place with 29 points and Phoenix was ninth, also with 29. Did you think Tambellini a bungler then?
— Back then, the Oilers were five points ahead of the Calgary Flames, who were 11-13-2 for 24 points. Was Renney overmatched as a tactician? Today, the Flames are nine points ahead of the Oilers with a 21-20-5 record.
— On Dec. 5, the Minnesota Wild sat atop the Western Conference with 37 points from a record of 17-7-3. Wasn’t Mike Yeo a candidate for the Jack Adams Award? Today, Minnesota sits eighth at 22-16-7 for 51 points.
— In the 43 days since Dec. 5, when the Oilers sat within a whisker of a playoff spot, they’ve gone 4-12-1. It’s a skid that’s been greased by the losses to injury of Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney. At what point did you decide Ales Hemsky had to go? Or do you still beg to differ with those who feel that way?
Sure, some of you wanted Tambellini gone 43 days ago regardless of the standings at the time. He still hadn’t put this team together right, it just wasn’t as obvious. And, yes, some of you were screaming about Renney’s lines and who he used in certain situations even when this team was in the hunt, just not as loudly as now. Granted and granted.
Suffice to say, it’ll be interesting to see what the pulse is here an hour before and an hour after the trade deadline comes and goes 43 days from now. A lot can change between now and then. Just saying . . .
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.