GDB 48: UPDATED: EFFORT NEEDED, AND TAMBELLINI STAYING?

Steve Tambellini is on the verge of an extension? That’s what Terry Jones wrote today and I’m guessing I could write a pulitzer prize winning GDB about the Oilers and Sharks and most of you would skip it, and only read the Tambellini stuff.

I’m kind of surprised, but not shocked, that Tambellini will be getting an extension.

I’m certain this won’t be received well in Oilersnation.

Tambellini’s track record is a mixture of hits and misses.

Nikolai Khabibulin has been a miss, although I’ve been told his signing wasn’t necessarily Tambellini’s decision, but I haven’t been able to get 100% confirmation on that. I’ll keep digging. That previous sentence wasn’t a defence of Tambellini, just pointing out that I’ve recently being informed from a good source that Tambellini was high on Craig Anderson and might have been swayed to take Khabibulin instead. This doesn’t make the signing any less forgiveable, just trying to point out facts.

Ryan Jones was a good move.

Chasing Dany Heatley blindly for months wasn’t smart, but ultimately ended up being a blessing. It still showed their focus was wrong.

Handling of Souray wasn’t right. I always thought it became too personal. It was, however, the one time Tambellini made a decision and stuck with it. Still a miss.

Brule contract extension was wrong.

Acquiring soft players with no desire to play in tough situations like O’Sullivan and Foster were misses.

The Penner trade was a solid move. They turned the pick into Klefbom, and Tuebert might become a 3rd pairing D in the future.

Ryan Smyth trade was a steal, although Smyth made that trade much easier by asking for it.

I don’t blame him for Eric Belanger’s awful production. No one could have seen that coming based on this consistent previous eight seasons. That is on the player and the coach for playing him in too many situations.

Ben Eager seems to have found his comfort zone. At least he brings some size, speed and lately more offense than the majority of the team.

Trying to fix the obvious lack of depth on the blueline with only Cam Barker. He’d be injury prone before coming here, and while a one-year deal wasn’t a major risk, the fact he didn’t bring in another veteran really derailed the Oilers chances of being competitive until March, once the inevitable Barker injury happened.

Of course the only stat that matters is wins, and regardless of all the injuries, the fact is under Tambellini the Oilers haven’t improved in the standings. He stated that his goal was to play meaningful games until March this year, and the Oilers fell well short of that. It is hard to justify why he would get an extension, and I’ll be curious to hear their reasons, if, or when this press conference happens.

My recommendation for Tambellini is as follows. The day they announce your extension, if they do, actually tell the fans what your philosophy for the future is.  Don’t colour around the edges. Give them the straight, honest truth. At least acknowledge what everyone sees. This team clearly still has too many players who don’t know how to compete in the NHL on a nightly basis. What will you do to change that?

I’ll have more on Tambellini when they officially announce his extension, I’m not sold they will, but Jones’ article did surprise me this morning. 

TONIGHT

Considering the Oilers have lost to the Ducks, Blue Jackets and Flames recently, and didn’t compete in two of those games, they’ll be in tough tonight against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are 11-4-2 in their last 15, despite losing three of their last four, so they won’t be taking the struggling Oilers lightly.

Expecting a victory tonight would be foolish, but the Oilers better at least show up. I was stunned on Saturday that the biggest story after the Calgary game was how Renney was supposedly an idiot for pulling the goalie.

The players, except for Taylor Hall, were an embarrassment. They didn’t compete for the puck, they displayed no desire, they showed no pride in the uniform and they showed zero signs that they have enough players who know how to compete in the NHL. If you think a coaching change will cure all the woes of the Oilers you are kidding yourself. I’m not defending the coach by any means, but the lack of internal desire and drive from the players on Saturday night was pitiful.

If you are focused on pulling the goalie in a 5-2 loss, then you are looking at the wrong things. You’d prefer your coach to just sit back and lose 5-2?  At least he tried something, the players did nothing. Many jumped on the fact that Hall clearly thought it was dumb to pull the goalie, when the entire country read his lips after the empty netter went through his feet.

Of course Hall was pissed off, and he wanted to vent his anger, but when he spoke yesterday he was much more annoyed about the lack of effort instead of pulling the goalie. I’m stunned how the fans are so easy to voice their displeasure at Tambellini, Renney and Horcoff, but don’t look at the entire picture and realize that this team has had way too many passengers lately.

Do you honestly think they can win with this many players who are mentally soft?

I don’t.

The list of guys who need to look in the mirror and discover what it takes to succeed in the NHL is a long one. Lately only Hall and Ladislav Smid have shown any consistency in being professional and giving everything they have every game. (I’d include 14 and 93, but they haven’t played enought recently.) If you believe it is up to the coach and captain to ensure the rest of the team has a heart you are delusional. Clearly, Horcoff needs to wake up, but so does the majority of the team.

CREATIVE  

The St. Louis Blues drafted Vladimir Tarasenko 16th overall in 2010, in fact they traded their 2009 first round pick, David Rundblad 17th, to the Senators to take Tarasenko in 2010, and the upstart Blues have another very talented and creative player in their organization. The 19 year-old is having a solid season in the KHL, and when he comes to the NHL the Blues will only get better.

That’s one of the most creative moves I’ve seen. Great to see that in an All-Star Game.

LINEUP

Yesterday Ryan Whitney has this to say after practice.

"I did pretty well (on Renney’s test) but I still don’t know if I’ll play tomorrow. When I get back I hope I last the whole year." Whitney.

Whitney won’t play tonight, and might give it a go tomorrow. Reading between the lines, I wonder if Whitney plays tomorrow, still doesn’t feel well, and then shuts it down for the rest of the year. I won’t be surprised if that is the case. He isn’t 100%.

At this point it’s more of an educated guess as to who will play where tonight. I do know that Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk won’t play tonight. Renney wouldn’t elaborate why Eager is out, but it sounds like it is more of an attitude issue than production issue. I’m guessing Eager isn’t’ happy, but at least he’s produced something lately.

Sitting Eager and Hordichuk doesn’t send any sort of message. If Renney wanted to get the attention of this team he’d sit one of Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth or Ryan Jones. He needs more from those three. They all got off to good starts, but they haven’t done much lately, especially Horcoff and Jones. If the coach wants to send a message staple them to the bench for a period if necessary.

Devan Dubnyk will start.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers don’t have as much skill as the Sharks, and despite putting forth a much better effort than Saturday, which won’t be hard, they come up short 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Nation will be bursting with emotion today. If one player doesn’t compete tonight he’ll be carved repeatedly in the comment sections.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Just a hunch, but one of you who reads this today will win the 50/50 tonight. Lately it is the only reason people have stayed past the 2nd period.

  • Souby

    To me, it doesn’t matter when the Oilers officially called this a rebuild. More important is the fact that this team has sucked for far too long!

    I feel that there is lots of blame to go around for Lowe, Tambo, Renney and the players to share, but who takes the fall? Lowe is too far up the food chain and it is easier said than done to trade players, so Tambo and Renney are the obvious targets.

    I know that there have been injury issues, but I just don’t see the team buying in to what Renney is selling anymore. Plus, questions have been raised about his line matching choices as well as playing struggling players too much (Belanger). I like Renney and think overall he is a good coach, but maybe it is time for a change. Questions is, who is available and will they do a better job?

    As for Tambo, when he got the #1 pick last year he told Duthie on TSN that he did not want to be back there next year. Low and behold, the Oil are on track for another high draft pick. While I didn’t expect them to make the playoff, I did expect Tambo to make moves to help the Oil at least crawl out of the basement. I had hoped to see the Oil get another 10-12 wins compared to last year. It wouldn’t get them in the playoffs, but it would show progress and give hope that the “rebuild” was working. Bottom line, Tambo has made a few positive moves but not enough to give this team a chance to take the next step.

  • Yourmomthinksimhot

    Extend Tambellini and not Renney?!? Wait what? Didn’t Tambellini hire Renney, how does Renney get the axe when he’s the second coach hired by Tambellini to fail?? It was Tambellini who hired Renney and assembled the team that Renney is stuck with, how does the man who assembles the team get away scott free? Wow, if these are the decisions that management are making, I may chose to cheer for another team. Edmonton Islanders ahahaha I’ll pass.

  • Chris.

    Tambellini’s extension is not a surprise if it does happen. And if he does get extended I think he extends Renney again as well.

    I think that KLowe and Katz have looked at the situation and notice that although all the losing sucks it has had a silver lining (Hall, Nuge, Eberle etc).

    Also, I think they want to send a message to the kids and the team that we all have failed together and it’s on everyone to dig us back up to respectability.

    Katz is basically giving Tambellini a second chance and I can respect that. I have been very vocal about Tambellini’s missteps but just last week, after further articles and thoughts, I came to the conclusion that I thought that Tambellini and Renney deserved a 2 year extension to turn this thing around. As mentioned then, once we get the second year if we don’t see enough positives I say we turf them, and I don’t care when.

    Anyways, not surprised about this at all.

    Hell, how many second chances has Lowe been given?

    The only guy’s who should be pissed if Tambellini gets re-signed should be MacT and Quinn. Especially Quinn. Like we couldn’t have come in 30th place again with Quinn at the helm. And damn I miss his after game remarks! haha

  • Time Travelling Sean

    2006/07-32-43-7
    2007/08 season-41-35-6
    08/09 season-38-35-9
    09/10 season-27-47-8
    10/11 season-25-45-12

    So a clear drop off in wins and probably a drop off in salaries, so the rebuild started in 09/10.

  • Souby

    Glenn,
    Yes it does suck to be in last place forever. How do we get out? Tradiing for players that don’t want to be here is not the answer because we tried that; Pronger, Peca, Spacek, Samsonov, Vishnovsky come to mind. Signing high end free agents does not appear to work either; Hossa, Heatley, and Souray – the one we did over pay but could not get rid of when he wanted out. How about Khabby? Over payment but only now we might be able to dump him because of a miraculous comeback season. That model is not the way to go.

    Regretfully the painful, Draft and develop is one of the only viable options.

    People do have the right to ask if the right Management team is in place, but the ugly road is the best option in my opinion.

    • Souby

      Not every player has a NTC or NMC and are signed for some term trade for them. Out of all those guys that left Pronger wanted out the others said it was nice to play here but wanted better travel. Oh and Peca wanted to go. On Habby we had a goalie that wanted to be here Roli Tambo chose Habbi and gave him that insane contract over 2 years of a good goalie in Roli. No matter when it happens this team MUST make smart trades and go after some UFA’s because you can’t win on drafting alone

  • Souby

    Bottom Line.

    F*** Tambo and Co.

    Get new management in.

    Tippet is available next year as his contract is up. Look at the job he’s done in his NHL tenure.

    As far as GM. Get Stu in there. By looking at his drafting histroy, it looks like he knows how to evaluate players.

  • Souby

    With the inept management the Oilers have in place they have a legitimate shot at being the first team to draft first overall four years in a row. Their young players are fine, it’s their veterans that need to be upgraded.
    Fail for Nail in 2012.
    Grinin for Mackinnon in 2013.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Sell the farm!

    Yakupov AND Murray are exactly what this team needs. It will atleast show the 3 kids that management is doing more than the bare minimum to help and try to expedite this process. 83,10 and 89 need to be removed from this dressing room asap.

  • Chris.

    Game Day B!tches!

    Game Day Prediction: Buoyed by the fantastic news that perhaps the leagues brightest young executive (and mastermind behind the hugely successful rebuild process) is about to have his contract extended for his innovative problem solving, excellent communication skills, and overall excellence…. (long sentence) Buoyed by this… the Oilers beat the Sharks right back into a razor sharp coral reef somewhere tonight leaving their entire franchise in ruin. Final score (as befitting the immpending awesome news in Oil Country) will be around 10 or 15 to nothing for the Oil.

    Obvious Game Day Prediction: I will try to drink enough beers to compensate for what is really going to happen. There will be an expensive cab ride home…

    Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Hemsky will have a Hallesque meltdown sometime tonight in a vain attempt to prove he actually cares about winning. Hemsky will not answer any questions following the game… if he ever did, I’d like to ask Hemsky if showing Hall like frustration is adequate compensation for the fans who simply wished he showed Hall like commitment every single shift regardless of the score.

  • vetinari

    The only way I can see Tambi getting an extension is if Katz shows up to the press conference himself, looks into the camera, apologizes to the fans and says that these last three years have been all part of his master plan to tank for picks so that when the new stadium opens, we will have a loaded lineup that will be in the top 10 of the NHL for the next 5 to 10 years.

    I would expect Tambi to next look into the camera and tell everyone what his plan is. The REAL plan. Such as, “I expect to either draft or trade for a new starting goaltender within the next 12 months and also two (top 2) defencemen. I expect that the last of the dead contracts to be moved by the end of the 2013 season. I have given Renney (or whoever) a mandate to win, starting this fall. And I expect to lose my job if we are in the same place this time next year.”

  • Chris.

    According to my calculations, we are in year 3 of rebuild. The 2009-10 team was full of veterans with the objective of making the playoffs on a leaky ship (like the Flames do), however, things went wrong when the injury plague set in, and we finished dead last.
    Whether we intended it or not, that became year 1 of the rebuild, because finishing last is a sort of rebuild. We sold at the deadline, and garnered 1st overall pick that year. That is the official start of the rebuild.
    Most teams are not contenders until year 5 of rebuild.
    Based on that, Tambi gets a 2 year extension to complete his work.

    • Chris.

      Vets no vets doesn’t matter the definition of a rebuild is sucking and picking high in the draft by that the rebuild started in 07 when we picked Gagner 6th overall and it’s been going ever since.

      • BigE91

        Please be clear, that is YOUR disgruntled fan definition of rebuild.

        It can be done in may ways, if you are luck you can avoid it like Calgary and every year hope to make that 7th or 8th spot. That’s been done here and the fans hated that just as much, now we are begging to JUST be in the mix.

        I hate watching the team I grew up with losing. It sucks, moreso when you have 3 brothers that are Calgary fans, you can only use the 5 to 1 Stanley Cup ratio line so many times.

        People can say the rebuild has been going on longer and that would be a fair statement, but it is real easy to see that the rebuild in Edmonton was going to take a lot longer as this team didn’t even have an AHL farm team to develop prospects a few years ago. You can’t loan out your players to other organizations and expect them to be developed correctly. Just ask Jeff Deslauriers. I’m certainly no expert but I would guess that the lack of a proper farm system put this team back 3 to 4 years in terms of rebuilding.

  • vetinari

    While I figured Tambi would be extended since Lowe owes him for correcting as many of his mistakes that he could, I am holding out a glimmer of foolish fanboy hope that the Oilers just “floated” the idea via Jones to gauge public reaction just like governments do. If it is too negative, then Tambi is toast. (insert 100 fingers crossed graemlins here).

    Re: the comment above about Ottawa and Winnipeg spending less and doing better. The big difference there is leadership on the team. Out of these three, which captain would you not want to lead your team?

    Shawn Horcoff
    Daniel Alfredsson
    Andrew Ladd

  • Chris.

    If the Oilers don’t extend Tambellini then they’re admitting the rebuild is not going according to plan and that theoretically would make Lowe vulnerable. I’m not a Tambellini fan. We can agree his signings haven’t been good. His trades to my mind haven’t been good. Even the trades he’s “won” are trades you should win. When your team is bad and you’re trading proven experienced assets like Penner at the deadline for prospects you always win unless the other team wins the cup and the player you moved wins the Conn Smythe. Tambellini deserves credit for turning Oklahoma around but not much, when your NHL franchise can’t win and you’re drafting high and trading off proven assets for prospects every year your AHL franchise has to get better. Any GM could have made made their AHL franchise better by running their NHL team into the ground. If Tambellini has done such a great job with Oklahoma then maybe that’s the team he should be managing. The Oilers have this backwards. Renney deserves a chance with a roster capable of competing and Tambellini has had enough time for us to have an idea what kind of GM he is. Not great.

  • vetinari

    i am no longer mad. i was mad long before this day and hearing this news. i am disappointed. disappointed we seemingly don’t care. dispappointed that we are so accustomed to losing. disappointed that the organization can’t communicate.

    regardless of whether Mr. Dithers gets his contract re-upped or not I AM TIRED OF BEING TREATED LIKE A MUSHROOM. yes we all know what that means so i shall forgo the explanation.

    be honest with me. i am the fan who cheers every game. i am the fan who buys Oilers gear. i am the fan who teaches his kids that there is only one and just one hockey team that matters. that team is the Edmonton Oilers. convince me to continue to be this fan. sell it to me. i am ever so hungry to buy.

    please just be honest. communicate with your fans. the people who make it viable for you to have a NHL team to run. remember or at the very least acknowledge that. please.

    i am not twitter expert but i would recommend the fan start to trend #NoMore #oilers as a plea for a better day. the day when we play a better game and win. #NoMore deception, #NoMore MUSHROOM.

  • Chris.

    Since the Ryan Smyth trade deadline fiasco: the absolute only completed transaction made by Management inconsistant with a full rebuild was the Penner offer sheet. That’s it. It is ludicrous to agree with the Kingsway Spin that this is year 2 of the rebuild. Will it be year 2 next year also because the Quinn Year didn’t count?

  • vetinari

    I don’t see how it matters if it is year 2 or year 6 of the rebuild, other than for arguments sake. The underlying point is this team has failed for quite some time, and at some point Oilers management realized that investing in a good team for the long run was worth another run of failures. A lot of fans agreed with this, and we are now seeing many of these fans panic through scapegoating individual players/staff.

    Frustration is justified, but so was the rebuild… doesn’t matter when it started. No one ever promised it would be easy or gave an exact timeline…

    … and we all signed up for it.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I guess if we are going to make losing our destiny , then we might as well extend management and coaching alike to insure it ? The rest of you will just continue to blame the players , anyways . No matter how bad we are/get there is more than adequate fans to turn the turnstiles -bottom line .

    I cringe whenever our team deals, and worry how many projects we will lose due to economics if many of our youngsters develops ? Another rebuild two years down the road with loss due to contracts the following season like Chicago , etc.? A one year shot at competitiveness followed by another mass exodus and failed rebuild ? Long time to wait for next disaster ?

    Why change it now when they don’t see a better option ? Somehow that should not surprise anyone they have that conclusion – it’s par for their course . They simply don’t believe they are the problem .

  • Chris.

    OGDP: no HORDY + no EAGER = oilers: 5hits sharks: 67hits
    ( with all the sharks players making bets on who can hit hall and ebs the most)

    Hall gets injured + Eberle gets injured = #failfornail

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With a week off between the Canucks and the Avalanche game. This would be as good a time as any to clear out a desk or two in those offices on Kingsway.

  • BigE91

    I just got offered free tickets to the game tonight…. At first I was super jacked cause its FREE OILER TICKETS! Within seconds it subsided and I asked if I should even bother going. In the end I just decided to pass on the free tickets….

    I have never passed on free tickets. I’ve cancelled major plans for last minute tickets. I think instead I’ll curl up on the couch and watch the bachelor.

  • Chris.

    “Let me start by saying: Daryl Katz and the entire Oiler organization… in fact the entirety of Rexall Sports And Entertainment… along with our partners at the City of Edmonton, the Council, the Mayor and all of her citzens… We are so very pleased to welcome the NHL, and indeed the entire hockey world to our brand new, state of the art, world class facility in beautiful downtown Edmonton on this most historic and exciting day… Thank you. Thank you… and with the first overall selection… I am pleased to select, from the Ontario Hockey League….”

    • Souby

      If that nightmare actually came true, I think there would be a riot!

      On the plus side, maybe that would finally be the start of the management/coaching side of the “rebuild”.

      • Chris.

        Pittsburg took Whitney 5th in 2002, Fleury 1st in 03, Malkin 2nd in 04, Crosby 1st in 2005, and then Staal 2nd in 2006.

        A 6-8 year rebuild, (Lowe’s timetable not mine) in year 2, (Stauffer speak… not my opinion) will still have us making lottery selections from a new downtown facility. I attended the season seat holder meetings…this is not what I signed up for.

        • Souby

          No arguement from me that the Oilers would be even more stacked with talent if the high draft picks continue. The only problem is, that might fly in Pittsburg, but here in Edmonton I think a lynch mob might be surrounding Katz’s house if this goes on another 2-3 years.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Sitting EAGER Instead of Horcoff.. Go figure Renney you loser.
    Horcoff going to hit or fight if necessary? He is the biggest joke
    for a captain i have ever seen. Sit his over paid A$$ down for a game
    or 2. Smyth needs a break..i never question his desire, just looks like father time is catching him. Belanger…hey now there is our ace…

    6-2 Sharks, and its over by the end of the first. They will pound the Oilers
    defense with a relentless forecheck. I hope i am wrong.

  • Get The Puck Outta Here

    Just a comment.

    After watching 2 periods of Sat’s game I had had enough. I spent the 3rd period honing my on line poker skills. At least I didn’t waste 3 periods of time watching that display. 2 was enough and 1 period of time better spent.

    Come on Oilers, Seriously, WAKE UP!

  • The Edmonton Oilers are no better off the the Islanders.

    From the propaganda machine that is the Oilers and there radio affiliate, all is well and on track! They say look at Chicago and Pitt! The Penguins picked in the first round five times before they became competitive!! The most absured of all the comparison as far as I’m concerned.

    They tell us, we would have been competitive had injures not taken place! A few of there key players are having off seasons! An anomaly is what were told.

    This is only year 2 now? Like the year that gave us Hall doesn’t count?

    We really have no voice to the Oilers except staying away, or not buying season tickets! Give them up someone will be right there to pick them up! As was mentioned by the Oilers.

    Most of the media in this town is linked to the Oilers.

    My logic

    Blow the rest of this team up! Buy out’s or place long term contracts in the minors!
    Trade off any asset that can be traded! Be aggressive like Burke move up in the draft and at UFA season!

    GDP- Oilers get spanked. Tambo gets an extension and Renney gets fired.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    We are in the process of year 3 but only 2 years have passed so. And why oh why do you want to be good the year after this? Wanna miss out on MacKinnon?

    • For real? Why do I want the Oilers to be good? The Oilers havent been consistently good since I was 7 years old. I’m 28, Sean. I havent ever watched a season of Oiler hockey where they were described as “Good”. WHY DO I WANT THEM TO BE GOOD???

      Does Chicago lament not having Nugent Hopkins. Does Vancouver cry about not having Taylor Hall?

      At some point you cant select 1st overall again. Considering the fact that selecting 1st overall 3 straight years is unheard of in the NHL, I’d say that hoping they keep being the worst team in the history of the NHL for another few years is crazy talk.

      Meaningful games in february and March? Nobody remember that? I havent watched a playoff game since that day that shall not be named. My springs are spent watching OTHER teams play for the Cup. The last 6 years I’ve endured the the shots from opposing fans and had no comeback. The Battle of Alberta has been a joke for a decade. My favourite team has been decimated by injury and indecision for years.

      WHY DO I WANT THEM TO BE GOOD???

      God help us if that question can still be legitimately asked after 3 straight years of bottom feeding, heartless, gutless, winless hockey.

  • Spydyr

    Isn’t it obvious the curse started when Shawn Horcoffall signed his ridiculousness contract.Not Shawn fault they offered he signed.it’s been downhill ever since.Hopefully the curse will be lifted in 2015 when the contract finally expires.