Fans and media alike are always wanting to know about "The Plan" for the Oilers. Does the team have a plan? What is The Plan? Why won’t Steve Tambellini tell us The Plan? There is a strong feeling that it is a right of theirs to know the answers to these questions.

I am here to tell you mangers shouldn’t outline their plan and you shouldn’t want to know the details of The Plan. Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this as a show of support for or against the approach as GM of Steve Tambellini. His body of work to come will determine the outcome of his legacy as an Oiler general manager. I am writing this to outline how I think strong managers with longer track records function and why they keep their plans private.

A manager I have always admired is Lou Lamoriello. He has been the New Jersey Devils manager since 1987 (25 years). In that time he has won three Stanley cups and with this years post season run it is his fifth cup final.

Not too shabby.

Lucky Lou

He fiercely guards his club’s secrets and privacy. Can anyone tell me one time he came out, stood behind a podium and outlined his plan? Never would happen. He operates to produce victories and not shake hands and kiss babies. Are there times that the fan base gets frustrated? Sure, but going to the cup final every fourth year in the last twelve probably helps get them over it.

The opposite of a private manager like Lou is the Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke. He chooses to be the face of the franchise. He has also been successful. He won a cup at the helm of the Anaheim Ducks and assembled many of the pieces that are still making the Canucks so strong. He was my GM when I was in Vancouver. I really liked and respected him, plus he was entertaining.

But why does he lay out his plan so often in the media? This makes no sense to me at all. It does get the Leaf fans excited, but when he fails to accomplish what he said he would do it makes it look like he failed. It puts the team in a position of bargaining weakness. As a fan you don’t want that.

For example, near this year’s trade deadline he publicly announced he was looking for more size up front. Why say it out loud? For whatever reason he didn’t get any. Could it be that every other GM knew what wanted? When another GM with a good sized forward he is looking to trade hears that, does his asking price not automatically go up? Of course! He knows you want it.

I don’t get it. Maybe he should watch the show Canadian Pickers – those guys know how to bargain! When the LA Kings pulled off their big trades last year, it blew the doors off of everyone. I can’t remember any media members calling that. I loved it. The Kings management group played their cards tight to the vest. They did not lay that out for the world to see until it was completed.

I believe that it a major strength to have as a club. In my opinion managers should not lay out their master plans. Yes, at times it will frustrate the media and fans but if it even makes the difference in one trade or free agent signing it is worth it. Lou Lameriello is the manager that all others should copy. Sure he has made a few mistakes but his track record suggests he knows what he is doing.

You’re starting when?

I will never understand why the NHL schedules such a long break between the conference finals and the cup final. I am sure that building availability is one part and maybe the guys are tired, but they should want to keep all fans engaged. I feel the cup finals lose steam with the time off.

Next year fire the final up right away!

  • vetinari

    Mr. Strudwick . . . I was out on Sunday and seen a TV with the 10 best OT goals of all time.
    You got a nice goal mentioned in there. I think you were an AC with the Islanders.

    nice rip to the top corner!

  • Wax Man Riley

    Actions speak louder than words. So far, Tambellini’s actions deservedly has the fan base questioning whether or not he is the right man for the job.

  • Brownlee loves the word meow

    Meow I would have to agree that finishing last over and over… and over does get frustrating.

    However I dont think anyone can say that the tanking idea in the rebuild wasnt successfully completed. With out a doubt tambi got rid of misfits and also added crappy players to fill the holes. Thus we tanked. Thus 3 FIST overall picks in a row.

    Does he now know how to get key pieces that can accentuate the existing young team? I think he knows how to make moves. Slow chess like moves.. but he does make moves.

    The real question for anyone doubting Tambiis does he know what the Oilers need?

    I think with some of the moves, the answer would have to be yes. Last year they targeted grit, faceoffs, and reliable shut down defense. Eager, hord, belanger, schultz.

    Did they target exactly what they needed.. yes. Did they all work out…no.. not at all. Schultz was a good move, and arguably Eager adds some grit/effort/toughness to a team needing some emotion. Are they giving guys more time in the AHL and treating them better.. absolutely.
    Are they changing coaching style to get them over the hump and push the guys when they need to be pushed.. you would have to assume that considering Renney was more of a teacher than a leader.

    I might be just a positive thinker.. but I dont see even with out them stating what the plan is, that one couldnt read the script that has been written so far and not see a light at the end of the tunnel, or a reason behind what has happened up to this point.

  • I think both Tambellini and Klowe let stuff slip all the time when it suits there need.

    Tambellini is deffinetly watching what he says these days

    Having said that.

    I like how Burke has the balls to come out and say we are building this type of team! I won’t stop until we get there!! I’ll do whatever it takes to get the players I need, and if I have to trade to get those payers I will!! if I have to move up in he draft I will!
    I am sorry about our season!! No BS we are going to be better!

    That’s leadership, as a player it makes you feel good to hear that!

    Or you can have.

    We plan on making the playoffs………our Goalie is our MVP……..I will not be here again next year….if your going to be here again you might as well win first!
    We might not take the best player avalible…….we’re flexible!!!!!!

  • Tambellini did reveal a bit of a plan last offseason when he said the team was going to be competing for a playoff spot. He added the players that he thought was going to get the job done (A-class ringers like Hordichuk, Eager, Barker, Belanger, and Sutton). He missed his mark by December.

    He also revealed a mid season plan. No lottery pick. To accompish this, he made one slick, lateral move in trading Gilbert for Schultz. He missed his mark again.

    And we now have another plan. A new level of compete. Which I am going to quantify by being in the playoff picture when 2013 hits. It’s a softball of a goal, but if he misses his mark again, can the apologists quit their BS?

    These are the plans that need to be revealed to the public and it is the one thing Tambellini does well I think. Let us know where we should expect the team but not how he is going to get there. Too bad he is failing at his own imposed goals.

  • It is fine to keep The Plan close to the vest but ST has not demonstrated any real vision or direction for the club accept down.

    Tillman has a solid track record of producing winning teams and making/creating deals and finding talent that leads his team to win. When Tillman traded away a franchise QB for almost nothing the word was wow- bold move, cant wait to see what he does next, Tillman knows what he is doing… etc

    Tambo on the other hand has never showed any real vision or plan to fans and the best thing about his time here is 3 first overall picks in 3 years – not exactly Mr Successful to paying fans. We have a right to question his plan and vision because his track record tells us he isn’t that good GM.

  • *dances flagrantly with his raping and pillaging helm and his sheepskin loincloth*

    P.S. Pretty sure that’s a win there….. *brushes off his lapel ON HIS SHEEPSKIN LOINCLOTH … uhhh suit*

    *points at the sky like in the headline pic*