I went out on a limb (critics will say I sawed it off) by suggesting a shortened season would benefit the Edmonton Oilers two weeks ago and went as far as to say my gut-feeling was that they’d have enough gas in a sprint rather than a marathon to make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

While we’ll obviously have to see that play out (not even knowing as of writing this if the season will be 48 or 50 games) and there’ll be plenty written about that post-season possibility as writers bash off season previews and prepare for an abbreviated training camp, GM Steve Tambellini met with the media today and answered a couple questions connected to my bold (foolish?) prediction. The entire interview is here.

Here’s a quick hit from Tambellini’s availability:


Tambellini was asked how much of an advantage the Oilers might have because core players — Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name just three – have been playing at a high level in the AHL.

"Well, not only just the core players. The one thing I remember from the last work stoppage, I remember – I was managing Team Canada – and Ken Holland and I were sitting in the stands watching the first skate and the players who had been playing in Europe versus the players who hadn’t been playing.

"The first couple days, there was quite a difference, so . . . I think there is an advantage for any player that’s been playing whatever league for sure."


Tambellini was asked if a shorter season would be a benefit to the Oilers, given the aforementioned young core players, not to mention the likes of Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov, have been playing.

"I think it can be, but I think that’s how most coaches and general managers are trying to position their team, hoping that most of them were playing. We’ve had a good amount of our young core playing for sure.

"I love the fact that they were playing in the American Hockey League, which is the same type of hockey as in the National Hockey League. It was tough for them, it was grinding for them and they had to work for everything they got. Their stats were outstanding.

"I was proud the way they brought themselves in the dressing room as a teammate. Now, it’s time for them to get back to Edmonton. I was very happy with the players who played for the Oilers last year, how they contributed on and off the ice in (Oklahoma City)."

More, much more, to come.

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

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Mr Brownlee: at the end of last year, Gagner talked to the media and explained that there was a chemistry problem in the dressing room. The older players couldn’t handle there roles. Now we are 8 months later and we basically have the exact team. You can have all the talent in the world but will you put your body on the line for each other to win. Don’t you think this is still a problem

  • GVBlackhawk

    I tend to agree with you Robin about the sprint. While 48-50 games is not exactly a sprint. The wear and tear on a NHL player that is older with so many games in such short time could potentially be a bonus with our young Oiler team.

    I see the Oilers benefiting for a few reasons. 1) With our #1 line playing some time together in advance in the AHL they will not only be in game condition out of the gates but they will also have that chemistry already in place. That also includes our PP with Schultz factored into PP chemistry to start the year. 2) Young legs will have more get up and go on these back to back nights or possible 4 games in 5 night scenerio’s that could take place. 3) Coming out of the gates, it is possible the excitement from the Young players could help them win a game or two extra which in a shortened season those couple games could mean a playoff spot.

    In the end, I expect by the 20 game mark we will really have a good idea of what kind of team competitively the Oilers will be VS the other teams in the NHL.

    One question, maybe i missed it somewhere. The schedule will be only within conference? I have not heard the verdict on that one. Should it be only within conference, that could really affect how well a team like Detroit does with so many games in a shorter span and all the western traveling they will have to do.

    • IF the Oilers make the playoffs this season I won’t be writing any “I-told-you-so” stuff in the aftermath.

      It’s as pure a hunch as there is and it requires that most, if not all, the cards fall Edmonton’s way, which they seldom do. There are many reasons to suggest — I’m sure those prone to do so will happily oblige — picking Edmonton to get in makes little sense.

      I have my reasons (I didn’t just flip a coin) and I’ll dive into them once camp begins, but I understand it’s a long shot.

  • DSF

    If DD starts the season the way he started last season, this could be over after 10 games.

    Also worth noting, J. Schultz has been a turnstile the last few games in OKC and the heat is about to be turned on high.

    While I believe teams that have had players active during the lockout will have an initial early advantage, more veteran, experienced teams will have the advantage for the last 25 games of a shortened season since they don’t have to pace themselves.

    Look for a few Cinderellas early but the clock will strike midnight about the 10 game mark.

    • justDOit

      DD looked good in the Spengler.

      I agree about the effect of resting your team during the lockout. The quick start is great with fresh legs, but it’s the stretch drive – where Eberle and Schultz could be playing their 80th games, that will be telling.

        • Hey DSF! I missed you the last couple days! Yes, I am in that good of a mood right now!

          I was just wondering why the salary cap for next year is 64.3 million? You assured me that 60 million had been agreed to. I’m confused!?!? I guess the Oilers won’t have cap trouble after all. 🙂

          Oh, and I was wondering if you ever saw my challenge from a few articles ago? here it is…

          Somebody is stuck on repeat. As usual. We get it: the Oilers suck. Thank you for your insight.

          How bout we add some spice and variety to our usual proceedings? I say if there’s a season this year the Oilers finish ahead of the Wild. You want in on that bet? Loser has to say nothing but positive things about the winning team for the entire offseason. I’m game if you are.

          Ps: I also picked Chicago to win the Cup the year they did. Before the season began. I also picked LA to win last year. So my prediction here may seem crazy, but I’ve been right before.

        • Maggie the Monkey

          Wait – someone back up the bus…

          Did nobody else notice that DSF had something positive to say about DD?? I think this is a first, and almost as monumental as the end of the CBA madness.

          ps: DSF, I’m actually fond of most of what you have to say. It’s good to have a voice of opposition around here (and at LT’s site), even if your criticism is sometimes a bit strong.

          • GVBlackhawk

            I don’t mind a dissenting opinion when it comes to the Oilers, especially when the comment is intelligent and/or deserved. DSF provides instances of this.

            Other times, he crosses the line and clearly trolls the site because he is either very lonely or doesn’t have any other hobbies (which is why I thought he was a teenager when he first appeared on Oilersnation).

    • I agree on Dubnyk but Schultz given his body of work suggest otherwise.

      If DD struggles I tend to think the kids might start to press or panic a bit especially in there own zone.

      I’m hoping fr the best but expecting a old lottery position.

    • Czar

      Several teams could be out of it after 10 games,not just the Oilers.

      Schultz has never had an NHL quality defenseman beside him to cover for his rookie mistakes.I’m just happy the kid chose Edmonton, I’ll live with the growing pains.

      Some of your older more veteran teams might be more prone to injury with the condensed schedule and no preseason games.

      There are always cinderella stories to a certain extent in the NHL, your latest love in Florida for example. Some will last the full schedule and others will have the wheels fall off in a hurry,very bold prediction sir.

      Just glad we get to see some NHL hockey,Cheers!

  • justDOit

    I also believe in Dubbey, Gagner, Hemsky, and Yakupov. What I don’t believe in is our defense and bottom six forwards. Hard for me to say the oilers will make the playoffs.

  • justDOit


    The Spengler tourney, where you’re battling another goalie for ice time AND playing for your country where one loss could be devastating, is a lot of pressure. Dubey will be fine.

    Shouldn’t you be lambasting the blue-line, depth at center and bottom six forwards?

    • DSF

      It’s too small a sample size to be meaningful in any way.

      Everything else you say is true, but if your goalie is below average, not much else matters.

      Without the Wunderkids, the Barons were hammered 6-3 by the Chicago No-names this afternoon.

      The Wolves are a pretty bad team but were already able to exploit the sad state of affairs among the Oilers depth at forward, D and in goal.


      • Oilertown

        It was a close game until the third doomsday …. Can I get a prediction on the below teams in a ~48 games season ? Minny, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver ? Feel free to add any teams to make it interesting …. I predict Van, Edm, Minny and then Calgary … It’s go time dude!

      • Word to the Bird

        Tied until midway through the third, empty net goal, plus it was the Barons third game in less than three days, hardly a hammering. The Wolves are in the identical place in their division as the Barons, plus have only a slightly worse winning percentage. Jeez, DSF, not only are you extrapolating from a small sample, but making things up just to stir the pot. Plus even us dumb Oiler fans can figure out that the Barons won’t be as good minus the TOP THREE PLAYERS IN THE WHOLE AHL FFS!!!!!!!!!

        • DSF

          6-3 is a hammering anyway you want to slice it.

          The Wolves haven’t had the Canucks best four players in the lineup all season.

          Put the Sedins, Kesler and Bieksa in the Wolves lineup for almost half a season and the Barons would be so far in the rear view mirror it would make your head spin.

          The Wolves top scorer is some guy named Brett Sterling…I expect the Sedins may have fared a little better in the AHL.


          • Czar

            We have gone threw this before. The Sedins are a lot older. More experience. Plus what did they do at this age? ie third year in the league. This year will be a telling year for the oilers even if its only 50 games.

          • DSF

            What happened 10 years ago is about as important as what socks you were wearing then.

            In other words, not at all.

            Hockey isn’t about yesterday or tomorrow, it’s about now.

            For example, how many current Oilers were on the roster when the Oilers went to the finals in ’06?

          • Czar

            Exactly, so you can’t compare the Sedins in the AHL now. They have more experience.

            And I like how you gloss over other people’s points, and blast their logic. But will then use that same logic.

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            then why on earth did you make a 10 year playoff game played prediction for the mighty Wild?

            if, as you say, hockey isnt about yesterday or tomorrow, its about now…

          • Czar

            Sorry – that was for DSPs Sedins AHL aspirations ….. Sedins have Rockets and President trophies but no CUPS! That’s all the matters at the end if the season….

          • Czar

            It will be so nice now, that instead of your fantasies and loose interpretation of reality, we get to start to deal with the facts as they unfold. Good luck with your Canucks. Sounds like they have a lot of great players developing down on the farm.

          • DSF

            Why would they need “great players developing down on the farm” when they already have great players in the NHL?

            Have you become so addicted to the draft that you can’t see that there are other ways to acquire players?

            The Oilers were gifted Justin Schultz…the Canucks signed Jason Garrison.

            Over the next 2-3 seasons I would wager Garrison will be the better defenseman.

            Watch those”facts”unfold.

          • DSF

            So, you can accurately predict which defensemen the Canucks will have three years from now?

            Perhaps you should consider how the Canucks acquired the best shutdown D in the league.

            Hint: they didn’t draft him.

          • DSF

            Like I said, it will be nice when we can compare what you say to reality.By the way, if Kesler had been on the Wolves roster this year he would have had zero points.Because he is injured.And not likely to play this year.To bad Canucks don’t have much on the farm to replace him.

          • DSF

            Explain it to me. You can use most of your posts as examples.Especially the one that says how much better the Chicago Wolves would be doing than the OKC Barons if they had a healthy Kesler, except he isn’t, and won’t be this year , and if the Canucks could send down the Sedin twins and Bieksa, except they can’t because they would be claimed on waivers. Is that an example of a hypothetical argument?

          • Oilertown

            Hate to say it DSF but you have completely lost it. This is gonna be gooood ~rubs hands together~ I might give you this year Garisson might and that’s a big might be the better player but good grief DSF he’s gonna be a rookie ffs.

            The Oilers signed Schultz just like the Nuckleheads signed Garisson.

            Or you could say the Nuckleheads were *Gifted* Garisson the same as the Oil were *Gifted* Schultz. Either way this is going to be fun as HELL to rub in your face for years to come.

            You walked right into this one dude.

          • Alex87

            Somebody’s gonna have to explain the difference between the Canucks “signing” Garrison and the Oilers being “gifted” Schultz. The former was seen as a good blueliner in a shallow UFA pool, but the latter was far more sought after. So why does DSF use the condescending term “gifted” to describe the Oilers’ acquisition?

            I mean really, if this isn’t all the proof you need to ignore DSF, I don’t know what is. Negativity for the sake of negativity.

          • DSF

            How often does a free agent veteran defenseman sign a contact with a new team?


            How often does a drafted kid get to pick and choose which team he signs an ELC with?

            Very rare.

            One of these is not like the other.

          • Oilertown

            That doesn’t change the fact Schultz was a free agent just like Garrison was. They both got to choose the team they wanted to go to. The difference was 29 teams wanted Schultz making him harder to acquire.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            The real difference between these players, their contracts and the method in which they were acquired is “media attention.”

            Schultz “enjoyed” an absurd amount of coverage because of his unique contract situation.

            This difference tells us very little about the two players’ reasonable projections, the mgt. of the two teams, or the quality of the two teams.

            They are both very talented, young D prospects/players any team would seek out with vigor. Both the Oil and the Nucks are lucky to have them.

            But we’ve reached the point of maximal absurdity in forcing this comparison (IMO).

          • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

            Oh DSF, you’re so smart.

            P.s. I accidentally props’d that fool trying to hit reply, so there’s not anyone insane enough to agree with him. Just a mistake.

  • oilredemption

    lets remember after the last work stoppage the oilers went to the cup finals… ah yes the cinderalla run of 06……. oh ya i almost forgot, i hate you carolina hurricanes 🙁

  • oilredemption

    Playoff prediction in shortened season…

    1.St.Louis Pittsburgh
    2.Vancouver Boston
    3.LA Washington
    4.Minny New York Rangers
    5.Chicago ottawa
    6.Detroit philadelphia
    7.Colorado Tampa Bay
    8.Edmonton carolina

    9.Nashville Winnipeg Jets
    10.Phoneix Buffalo
    11.Dallas Florida
    12.Calgary New York Islanders
    13.San Jose New Jersey
    14.Anaheim Toronto
    15.Columbus Montreal

  • Czar

    Agree Robin and understand its the HUNCH, your referring to. If I was to take a educated guess based on shortened season, more travel for Detroit and some other teams having very few players active , I am saying they still finish between 9th-12th overall in the west. I am hoping playoff but its only a feeling as you mention based on some assumptions.

    All I know is the Top 10 provides some pretty good centermen in the draft again even if a year or two away.


    1. EDM

    2. First losers

    3. Don’t care

    4. Doesn’t matter

    5. Boring

    6. Unimportant

    7. Also rans

    8. Round 1 losers

    9. Close but no cigar

    10. Probably someone boring

    11. Never even in the mix

    12. Will fire their Coach

    13. Bottom Feeders

    14. Someone rebuilding

    15. CGY

    • This is very possibly the greatest comment in the history of Oilers Nation comments.

      I propped the living hell outtta that prop button. Alas it has denied me the sick, twisted pleasure of seeing a billion props. Boooo!

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Three key players in order for us to have a chance at playoffs.

    1. Dubdy – needs to become a legit #1
    2. Whitney
    3. J Schultz

    If Dubby plays like a #1, then we’ll be battling for a spot. If either Whitney or J Schultz play to their potential, coupled with Dubbys play, then we make playoffs. If all three play well, look out!

    Me thinks we make playoffs but I like the koolaid.

  • Shavis

    We spend much time applauding procurement via the draft in years past, but how much of our success (or possibly, lack thereof) will be contributed to the oilers investment in a team at the AHL level? I think we will all look back at this development chapter while we watch Eberle hoist Stanley. Agree?

  • GVBlackhawk

    DSF’s World of Prognostication and Fantasy:

    Minnesota Wild finish first in the western conference

    Jason Garrison is the top shutdown Dman in the NHL

    Chris Kreider will win rookie of the year (5 goals in AHL btw)

    Small sample sizes are only important if they are not applied to an argument constructed by DSF.

  • Word to the Bird

    Pardon me, but isn’t this becoming a trend that the canucks take a player out of florida after one good season only for him to become the goat of the team within 2 years?

    • Oilertown

      Ya and the same thing will happen with Garisson he will revert back to being his old DFD with very little offence. DSF thinks he is Souray 2.1 haha will see.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Nick Schultz will solidify the PK and the defence. Justin Schultz will solidfy the PP and help the offense put up points.

    Yakupov will provide much needed secondary scoring, and Hartkainen will add grit to the third line.

    If Dubey shows hes a true #1 we will find ourselves in the playoffs. If he faulters – welcome Seth to the Oilers.

    Im drinking the Koolaid- im thinking Domination to Follow…

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Yea there is an advantage for players like Hall, Eberle, RNH…….but how long does this advantage last? Maybe a couple of games according to Tamby.

    How about the guys who have not played being fresher towards the end of the season? How much of an advantage is that? Maybe by then Hall, Ebs, and RNH will be tired?

    I think this advantage that everyone talks about is over stated.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    You guys need to stop falling into the DSF zero-sum trap.

    There is never a compelling reason to imply that one player’s success = another’s failure.

    Only in the rare one-on-one hockey events — a forward schooling a defenseman for example — does this even make sense. And, even then we are talking about a fractional sample size.

    The truth of the matter is there will always be lots of players. Some of them very good to great. People will always disagree about who is better and have their own preferences and occasionally even be able to give an account of their preference.

    This is all very normal and interesting.

    What is irritating and ridiculous is when these conversations devolve into DSF-land, i.e., two players are pitted against one another (often arbitrarily) in stark contrast in order to imply that there is a world in which these two players exist apart from the rest of the world stuck in a never ending zero-sum game of one-on-one.

    It is a wholly false and asinine reality to construct.