Edmonton Oilers

Craig MacTavish has the title of vice-president of hockey operations in his third go-round with the Edmonton Oilers. I don’t think it’ll be more than a season or two until he’s general manager, and I’m betting he’ll be good at it.

I can’t put my finger on an exact over/under as to when the former Oiler captain and coach, hired this summer to work alongside president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, will take over from current boss Steve Tambellini, but I see it happening. I don’t have any inside information on this, it’s just a gut-feeling. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

I know Tambellini just got a contract extension – we haven’t been told what the term is – but I can see one more season out of the playoffs, which is more of a probability than a possibility, being enough to trigger a shuffle at the top with Tambellini moving out and MacT moving in.

For me, this isn’t so much a dump-on-Tambellini bit, which is like shooting fish in a barrel around here, as it is recognition of ties that bind, and those ties between the Oilers and MacTavish, starting with owner Daryl Katz and Lowe at the very top of the food chain, are undeniable.


As far back as their playing days with the Oilers and the New York Rangers, Lowe and MacTavish shared what-ifs about what it might be like to coach and manage a team together. They’ve already done that, of course, but my sense is there’s an encore coming.

Even if the Oilers show substantial improvement this year and push for a playoff spot, which seems more than reasonable, under Tambellini, I think it’ll play out that MacTavish will be calling the shots, in tandem with Lowe, by the time the Oilers are actually back in the playoffs. What, 2013-14?

Tambellini is an outsider and the history of this organization – the Once an Oiler, always an Oiler mantra – suggests that’ll always be the case. Outsiders, be it Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Scott Howson, Rob Daum or Ralph Krueger, come and go. Insiders, like Lowe, MacTavish, Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith, come and go, then come back again. That’s how it goes.

MacT as GM? It’s a matter of time.


Aside from the NHL and NHLPA settling into to hammer out a new CBA, which is obviously no small matter, there is precious little else going on around the hockey world. One need only look at the headlines on national websites like TSN and Sportsnet to see that.

. . . “Owen Nolan to host fishing, hunting show” I’d rather watch Steve MacIntyre host a show about hunting bears with nothing but his bare hands.

. . . “Canucks’ Malhotra to participate in Vancouver pride parade” Political statement or does Malhotra have something to tell us?

. . . “Jets promote Simmons to assistant GM” Now, if we’re talking Gene Simmons or Richard Simmons, you’ve got a news item. Sadly, no. The Jets have promoted Larry Simmons. You know, Larry Simmons, right?

. . . “Report: Tiger’s ex-wife dating San Jose Shark” Apparently, Elin Nordegren is boffing Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray. Glad to see Elin tearing it up a bit after bashing in Tiger’s teeth with a three-iron (she must have liked the look).


I think it’s time NHL teams accept that non-MSM bloggers are here to stay and start issuing them press credentials and granting access to players.

“Hey, Darcy, I’m doing a story on goons and knuckle-draggers and I’d like to talk to you . . .” Or “Taylor, I think the Oilers made a big mistake burning the first year of your ELC in 2010-11 and I’d like your thoughts on the big picture I’m painting here . . .” Or “Nuge, screw the boxcars and PPG, your QUALCOMP/real Corsi/something something numbers prove beyond a doubt Gabriel Landeskog deserved the Calder Trophy. Whaddaya say?”

Move aside, spineless MSM fartcatchers. Now the tough questions can be asked and the truth finally be told. I’d pay to see it.


. . . The Bronte 5000 pegs Jordan Eberle at 29-38-67 for 2012-13. And yes, the software has been updated since I had everybody on the Edmonton roster except Laddy Smid scoring 40 points in the Lucky 13 Pool two seasons ago.

. . . Buchberger has been an assistant coach through the tenures of MacTavish, Quinn and Renney. Now, he’ll ride shotgun for Krueger. To borrow from an infamous text message, “Bucky isn’t going anywhere.”

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

  • Jason Gregor

    I love reading about hockey during the summer months, but . . .

    It should be a hard and fast rule that every article posted here in the time from the Stanley Cup Parade Day to the opening of training camp be illustrated with pictures of beautiful women. No hockey people whatsoever.

    Compare the images in this story for gawd’s sake.

      • DSF

        Don’t understand your point, Jason
        I want more girl pics in the summer. Less pictures of Kevin Lowe.
        My comment, if read correctly, has nothing to do with the content of this story, actually. Just a general light-hearted comment on pictures being used.

        Have no idea who the girl is in the picture.

        I guess with so much gay support/gay bashing in this set of posts, my tongue-in-cheek call for more pictures of beautiful women in the summer months is called “inaccurate bitching.”

        Did you misread my post Jason, or are you just being a dick on Positive Friday.?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Ya that’s all I want is to see guys from Hockeybuzz that can’t tell their arse from their hole access to NHLers.

    As for Mac, try find the episode of Debrusk on wildtv. He’s buddy has a bad shot at a bear and instead of being careful he runs after the bear into the bush. Oh ya, he used a bow and not a gun.

    • There’s a lot of talented writers out there without formal journalism training or MSM credentials. I also see value in using some advanced stats to supplement what we see inside the rink.

      That said, there’s a big difference between running the numbers and drawing conclusions at arm’s length as an outside observer and working in NHL dressing rooms and press boxes. I’d like to see some of the conclusions and theories under live fire where those being written about can have their say.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I agree to some degree, but I can see things ending badly and the current relationships between players/coaches/gm’s/whoever and MSM being hurt.

        Letting people speak their mind when they have no repercussions isn’t going to end well.

  • I don’t think Tambi is in control right now. I think he is the current face and voice and the one that is there to take the heat on the tough decisions.

    I can guarantee he is not authorized to make personnel, or contract decsions before discussing with the “management team.” I am sure he is able to voice his ideas, thoughts and opinions but Lowe signs his cheques and he trusts Mact’s opinions more.