TAMBELLINI TALKS TRADE AND MORE

Yesterday the Oilers made a minor trade acquiring rugged winger Mike Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2014 fourth round pick that will become a 2014 third rounder if the Oilers make the playoffs.

I spoke with Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini on my radio show yesterday about that move, but I also got his thoughts on the competitive nature of his team, Taylor Hall moving to centre, Justin Schultz and what is the culture of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gregor: There were rumors and my source that said you put in a waiver request for Aaron Volpatti last week, but obviously Washington claimed him first. Is that true? Have you been looking to add somebody with a little more grit, toughness to your lineup for awhile?

Tambellini: Ya, well first of all I’m not going to comment on Volpatti, he’s not our property. We normally don’t relay that information. With regards to Mike, yes, we’ve been looking for a player that obviously can bring that level of compete. People know his toughness. He’s a very willing combatant that sticks up for his team mates. He has very good speed, we like that part of it. When Ralph needs to ramp up our forecheck and needs the first forward to take some bodies, he’s able to do that. He also has, throughout his career, killed penalties. That just gives the option to Ralph to find different types of minutes for him. In the season, Jason, such a condensed season, managing energy is a very, very important aspect of managing your bench. If you have players that are only there for one specific reason, there are some games where you can get caught because you’re basically playing with ten or eleven forwards and that’s something we don’t want to do.
 
Gregor: Brown has essentially been a fourth line guy, I think he averaged eight or nine minutes last year in Toronto. It’s a lot harder to find a guy who can play that role at fifteen minutes. Is there any chance that Brown will get more of an opportunity to play more minutes in Edmonton? Or is he seen as a fourth line player only?
 
Tambellini: We’ll see. You never know. Historically, Mike has been in that spot where he’s played around ten minutes a night and good, good competitive, tough minutes. Like I said, it is nice to be able to see a guy like that be able to contribute to part of your penalty kill rotation. We’ll see where it goes, but we know what Mike delivers and he knows what he brings. I talked to him this morning and he’s really excited about coming to play with our club. He said he’s ready to do what he needs to do to be a part of the leadership group here to help this team go forward.
 
Gregor: Last week Tim Sestito was on waivers. You obviously elected not to put in a claim because Vancouver claimed after you. Today you gave up a draft pick. Do you think Brown’s a better overall player than Sestito?
 
Tambellini: We were looking for a player that could give us different looks and someone that’s competitive and someone that could kill penalties. Someone that we know is- he’s extremely fit. He’s got impeccable work habits off the ice and he’s fitting into our culture. We’re looking for someone like that. We’ve asked Toronto a couple times over the last year or so if they’d be interested in something like that and I totally understand why they didn’t want to let him go at that point. But they have some depth there right now and this gave us the opportunity to acquire something like that. It’s hard to find the people that can bring what they do best ever night and he seems to be able to do that.
 
 
Gregor: We’re almost at the halfway point. Your team’s been competitive most nights but 5-on-5 scoring has been a huge problem. How do you remain patient when you’re nearing the halfway point of the season and it is still not really rectifying itself? Is a major shake-up something you’ve talked about at all? Or do have to remain patient?
 
Tambellini: Well major shake-up? What are you suggesting?
 
Gregor: Have you looked at a trade? If you look at all the type of players you have in your top-nine they are essentially the same. If you could have a Mike Brown with the skill set of a legitimate top nine guy, would you look at adding that type of player?
 
Tambellini: If those types of players become available, I’m sure they’ll be of great value. If you can find the toughness and the ability to play in your top nine or top six great, but there are not a lot of those people around. But as far as scoring, the skill set of our core that makes up our top six right now, they’re young players that are extremely talented- we know that. There’s no hesitation of thought of them not being great players as they develop, but it’s hard. The league is hard to score in, you’ve got to go to hard areas every night and sometimes fatigue is an issue and sometimes it is just good players playing against other good players, trying to stop you. So it’s difficult.
 
But we know that eventually, Ryan and Jordan and them, they’ll get their goals, they’ll get their assists. We know that. We’re just trying to make sure that we work as hard as possible as a coaching staff and the way we use them, just to make sure that we can put them in the right spots, where they can take advantage of their skill. So there’s only so much as far as the level of top six people that maybe are available through a trade deadline like that, but those players are normally few and far between.
 
Gregor: Have you seen a difference in Sam Gagner’s game that makes you believes this will be the year he takes that his good start of twenty games up to thirty, forty, and maybe a full season, as far as being consistent?
 
Tambellini: I sure hope so. That was one of the things that we talked about with Sam, is that consistency. We spoke earlier of Mike Brown and what he does best is compete. But it’s hard to do that every night and it is hard to be – if you’re playing in our top six to deliver that every night. But that’s what the great players in the NHL do, more than not. They can bring it. I think Sam is maturing nicely. He’s had a real good start to the season. I like the way he’s competed on most nights and I think he’s headed in the right direction. I’m hoping that he can be that guy this year. We need both groups contributing.
 
 
Gregor: Taylor Hall admitted that if he was ever going to try centre, he’d want to do it from the start of the season. Have you guys ever had any serious conversations about a trying him there from the start of training camp and into the pre-season with Hall?
 
Tambellini: We’ve talked about that for sure. We actually talked about it, Jason, in Oklahoma City during the lockout and brought the idea up. He was just coming off of rehabbing his shoulder – six months of rehab- and he really just wanted to get back into a spot where he was comfortable and getting his timing and feeling all the things like that. And that was totally understandable from the coaches and management.
I think down the line, as Taylor gets more experience and time and he’s healthy, I can see a time where he’s being used and tried at spots like that because one, he’s been good enough on face-offs at this point and two, he’s an incredible skater so he can cover a lot of ground at ease. He’s learning to be disciplined in his own zone. So I think he’s going to end up being that guy where it doesn’t matter where you play him- you play him left wing, right wing, center- I think he’s going to give you the same game. He could give us a different look at center as we go along, I agree with that.
 
Gregor: I think it’s a lot harder than it looks to just make that transition. It takes a lot more work and a lot more mental toughness and focus in a game to know all your responsibilities as a center man. It’s not just saying, “Ok Taylor Hall, we’re going to play you at center and this will be easy.”
 
Tambellini: It’s a total different approach to the game- it really is. It’s so much easier for a center to go to the wing than a winger to go to center. Your responsibilities, especially in your own zone, are one of support and you can never really turn the energy level down when the play is in the defensive zone. You’re normally always the second person in supporting the defenseman that’s chasing the puck. You’re always in position as an outlet pass.

At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline.

You mentioned Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and I don’t know if I’ve seen a center man that age come in and be, not the top player in the league, but his habits in the defensive zone are impeccable. They really are. I’m not sure who was the most influential person in his life as far as his development as a hockey player, but his understanding of the defensive zone is outstanding.  
His offensive instincts and distribution of the puck are just elite. But what he does, what people don’t see, is how he manages- and he’s not even mature, as far as strength yet- how he manages himself in his own zone. It’s really impressive.

 
Gregor: I don’t like to make comparisons, but I look back to Pavel Datsyuk as a young player and just how dedicated he was in his defensive zone. Do you see any similarities at all in their games?
 
Tambellini: Oh I think so. The one thing that you see that stands out is, Pavel Datsyuk is not just a good offensive player, but he’s a competitive player. He is one of the best puck retrievers in the game right now. Those are habits that championship teams develop, that they’re excited to show their team mates that they will pay a price, as far as energy, to get the puck back.

I think Ryan; he’s going to have the chance to be viewed upon as one of those players that can do everything. I really believe that. I mean he’s such a young guy. Also I see a similarity in the way they both move the puck, the way they’re both committed to doing things right. There’s not cheat in their game at all. None. At times you wish Ryan would even be a little more selfish when you’re in the offensive situation. But he is a good example of how you wan to play two-hundred foot hockey.

 

Gregor: You mentioned competitive players. Competitive isn’t just running guys over, it is wanting to get the puck back if you lose it, it is stripping guys of the puck and sometimes it is separating the guy from a puck. When you look, overall, at your team, do you feel you have enough of these guys or are some of them still learning how to be competitive at the NHL level? Have they reached it yet?

 
Tambellini: No, we haven’t reached that yet. We’ve seen spurts, like energy in the Dallas game, I thought the compete level in the Chicago game was solid. You know this road trip, this is a test. Nine games in seventeen days, whatever the days are, it’s a test. The mature teams can find a lot of ways to bring it every night. It’s not just the offensive players that are looked upon for eighteen to twenty minutes.
 
It’s also the guys that are playing nine to eleven minutes. Those people also, they have to bring it every night. Just because they’re playing nine or eleven minutes, they better deliver what they do best every night. Every night. I know it is a lot of work for a physical player or a skilled player, but that’s what this how you need to play at this level.

All parts of this machine have to be working and contributing. If you have a weak area, you’re not going to win. That compete level is something that separates successful teams and players from average ones. I think and it’s not just the physical part, as you say, it is also the intensity and the attention and the determination that the good teams possess; they’re excited to get the puck back from you too.
 
Gregor: Give me your assessment of Justin Schultz twenty games into his NHL career.
 
Tambellini: Ya, well when I look at him, it is twenty games into his NHL career, but he’s also played half the season in the American League so I have to take that into account. I think there has been a couple times where maybe fatigue became an issue. He got banged up a little bit. He seems to be coming back out of it now. But, I mean, when you look at that age of a defenceman, playing the way he does and the minutes he does, how can you not be impressed?

I mean, he has an elite hockey mind. He’s just so relaxed. I think of the last time here in Columbus, just remembering what he did on a half breakaway and he stripped the puck off the offensive player, turned in one motion, and threw it up to the blue line on the tape. Play over. You don’t see those plays too often, never mind from a first year player. I’m always impressed when I see him. I love that he’s just so relaxed out there. He’s going to play big minutes for a long time in this league.

 
Gregor: With Mike Brown coming in did you and Ralph Krueger talk about it beforehand.  Obviously people look and say, “Well if he comes in, somebody has to come out of the line up.” Did you and Ralph have that discussion first to ensure that the coach feels that the guy you’re going to bring in is somebody that he feels will replace somebody in this current roster?
 
Tambellini: Well, if you’re not working closely with your head coach, you’re looking for issues to happen quite quickly that are going to be one of dysfunction. So absolutely we think as a group. Our pro scouts and scouts will target areas where we think we need to get improvement and sometimes you can make a trade where it significantly changes your hockey club and that’s usually a bigger deal. Other times, you’ve got five to ten percent of a certain area where you continually try to upgrade. So yes, absolutely, you speak to your coach and we know that eventually when we’re a healthy team- and I hope to see a healthy team here soon- we’ve got to make changes because there are not enough roster spots for the people that are here.
Gregor: You had mentioned early that Brown fits into the culture of your team. Can you define what the culture of the Edmonton Oilers is right now?
 
Tambellini: Well, you want to see the championship type of principles. You look at our hockey club and just think of what this looked like, say, four years ago and what this looks like now and you see people that are just hungry to play the game. They might not have it every night, but they love the game. They totally respect what Ralph is trying to do, with their on ice and off ice approach to the game.

It’s healthy, they care a lot, they want to win and they expect to win. They expect to get in the playoffs. They’re not happy when they play a game like last night. So there’s a heck of a lot more accountability in that dressing room than what I’ve seen in the past.

 
So I’m happy that it’s going in the right direction from that stand point and that’s what we have to build on; a consistency of principles that’s going to make this organization good for a long time. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • The GM agrees that the Oilers have yet to learn what it takes to be succesfull and win in the NHL on a nightly basis. Considering how young the core is that makes sense, but the organization needs to ensure that they learn what it takes over the next few seasons. Otherwise, despite all their skill and talent, they won’t become a legitimate contender.
     
  • The hard questions for Tambellini and Lowe will be recognizing which players are learning what it takes to win and which ones just can’t grasp it. It will be a fine line and difficult balancing act I presume.
     
  • It sounds like Taylor Hall preferred to focus on just playing this year rather than switching to center. I wonder if he will be open to the move next September?

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

  • “At times, what’s really frustrating Jason, for your players that are offensive players like a Taylor Hall, is that the want to have chances every shift. They want to score every shift. They want to generate chances. But sometimes, as a center man, you may go for two or three shifts where there’s not one offensive chance because you have to be that person that’s a supportive defenseman, supports the play all over the ice and it may not happen. There are sometimes when a young player may lose patience and say, “I wanna go,” and boom it’s in your net. So it’s a real discipline. “

    BINGO BANGO BONGO ! this in a nutshell is the problem of teenagers running your squad. DISCIPLINE and MATURITY – trying way to hard to create everything on one shift, instead of treating the 60 mins like a the chess match it is..calculated attacks, strategic decisions .leading to overwhelming the opposition into a goal after 3 or 4 shifts of setting it up.

    Don’t care how much you want to dump on the GM – the organization has mandated the vision, and it requires patience and an understanding of what turning a team over to youth’s does. The GM just carries that out. The organization has called for a rebuild through the draft which means a LONG and FRUSTRATING road that requires a GM to not be reactionary to the everyday events and go for the homerun, but to ensure that the pieces continue to develop while you handle the wrath of media/fans while the kids grow out of their pimples.

    Precisely why a rebuild via draft is not what most GM’s will attempt – its unpopular – it highlights how far behind you actually are when you attempt it – it takes so much time you can easily lose focus or succumb to the outside pressure to accelerate and you mess it all up. It takes leadership to stay the course and handle the storm and move onward.

    The Owner has called for this type of rebuild – his executives just carry it out. An the owner has demonstrated he clearly has the patience to see it through despite all the headaches and grumblings.

    Imagine if Katz was emotional and reactionary like he bungled the Arena deal for a while…we’d be screwed.

    • Yeah. Because buying contracts and trading for actual NHL players is something that just doesn’t happen in the NHL anymore.

      I’ll keep reminding people that Montreal pretty much sucked the hind banana last year and now they’re back on the horse. Funny how making “winning” your primary goal changes your timeframe. Think Montreal fans would EVER allow their team to suck so bad for so long?

      Still, if we want to tank for draft picks that’s OK I guess. But the team can’t complain how their players have forgotten to be competitive when it was blatantly obvious there wasn’t any of that desire in the front office. Now we have a team of guys who have learned that it’s OK to lose. It takes a looooong time to break that habit.

  • Dear Tambo:

    Please add:
    -Nathan Horton or similar
    -Sean Couturier or similar

    Please subtract:
    -Sam Gagner
    -Ales Hemsky

    Yes, on paper it doesn’t look great but we need to add size at Centre and on the RW. When we do make the playoffs we will get pushed around with the top 6 forwards we have now.

    Sincerely,

    Common Sense.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Yea, I am one of the “band wagon, koolaid drinkers”. Having a seat near the front of the wagon, I prefer the taste of the Koolaid being served rather than the “DSF” brand which leaves a quite a bitter taste, questionable bouquet and a certain murkiness.

    Having announced which side of the fence I am on, I enjoyed Tambellinis interview. I was all for blowing up the Mac T / Klowe version of the Oilers and Tambellini has blowed it up good, in fact blowed it up real good.

    If you go back to his press conference he outlined a plan to address the reality that the Oilers had a poor culture, poor prospects and even poorer prospects of attracting quality players wanting to make a commitment to the city and the Oilers.

    Changing a team look, culture and future takes time and I like the direction we are going in. I liked the attitude of wanting to build this team with a culture based approach, not grabbing the first or every shinny bauble that comes along. I like the patient approach.

    Are there questions? Sure, don’t like some of the (actually most) of the contracts i.e. too much for Dubnyk, Jones, Eberle, which will impact choices that can be made when it counts which is not today. Team toughness, yes it needs to be addressed but you gather some assests first and then see what they are worth. Is Tambellini the guy to convert the assests? Who knows. I am not terribly excited to see another version of the MacT show, been there done that. Lets keep the course.

    Not too long ago the Avalanche were up and coming, they came back down to earth. Last years heros, the Panthers, are back on the heap. Last years bums, the Ducks are one of the top teams. Whats the reality of the Canadians? Chicago built the core has had some success and now are reaping the reward again. We will see if our core is in place when and if Klefbom and Marincin make the move. Time will tell. All of this hints that building a sustainable winner is not as easy as it appears. We are certainly more than one move away.

    I liked Tambellinis plan and it needs to keep moving forward; prudent, patient and long term.

    The view from the front of the wagon looks pretty good. I am glad it is not too crowded.

      • DSF

        Next steps? Answer some questions and make some minor moves at the deadline.

        Will the next high pick be the big centre or a Dman? Is Yak the real thing? Can Hall play centre? Is Paaravi a player? – top six or bottom six?

        If Smid, Petry, J. Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, 2013 pick(?), Fistric/Peckham (or add your personal favorite) make up the core of our future D, there is some assets to move. That answer is at least a year away.

        Once you know, here are some assets that can be moved; Hemsky, Eberle, Yak (?), Gagner. Three out of these four can be converted into something that the team specifically needs.

        Hopefully we are moving Whitney, Khabi, Belanger at this deadline and at some point Horcoff to upgrade our bottom six.

        I think we have lots of opinions here but not a lot of answers. More time, more patience.

        • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

          Next year’s top pick is irrelevant. Not going to help this team win in the next 3 years. Draft a quality D or F, it doesn’t matter.

          The fact that you ask if Yak is the real thing makes me question your whole argument. Use your own advice here and be patient before asking this question.

          Hall cannot play centre. Not nearly as effectively as he can play wing. Not an option.

          Paajarvi may or may not be a player. Last game was a positive sign. But why does this matter again? If he’s a player, he plays in top 6 or top 9 and brings speed. That’s it.

          The D you outlined is not good enough to be the core of the future. Need more quality defensemen.

          Your questions are answered. Now let’s do something to address this teams unwillingness to compete and overcome its mental obstacles.

          I think you’re right, Hemsky, Eberle, and Gagner, along with all the prospects are the Oilers bargaining chips. Tambellini doesn’t need to wait for anything. Questions are answered.

          Whitney, Khabi, and Belanger are not going to get us upgrades to our bottom 6. You’re saying trade our bottom feeders to someone else for better bottom feeders. Doesn’t work like that. These guys will get you likely the same thing Mike Brown got the Leafs – 4th round pick.

          I agree with you that patience is needed to build a competitive team. It doesn’t happen via a few trades. But this isn’t patience. This is stagnation.

          Management has been patient and got the team this far. It’s time to roll up the sleeves, go to work, and make some tough decisions.

          • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

            I don’t know about getting no good bottom six guys. In fact my feeling is, that is how you do get them. My name sake Dave Lumley came as part of a 4th round pick trade. So did Jason Smith. Kevin McClealand for Tom Roulston. Good trading can get you character bottom six guys and the odd home run like Smith. Especially at the deadline. Never say never.

            If our 2013 pick is Jones? That makes a big difference, no pun intended.

            You are right about Yak, need more time with him.

            We have come so far, if you want to become the NYI north then pull a snow job. It’s too early. I am not convinced about Hall not playing centre but who knows, need some time. Lowetides got a good look at Paajarvi, worth a read.

            You are right about one thing though, the time is coming for moves, they don’t have to be now but they have to be the right. Are we really that close to a legit playoff run or better to do it now? I for one would not want to be pulling the trigger.

          • The Oilers Shot Clock

            If they can acquire a power forward that can scrap, that should be enough to make them a playoff contender (fighting for 7th/8th that is).

            A guy like WSimmonds/Tootoo/Chipchura, playing legitimate minutes – instead of Paarvi/Belanger – would give everybody a bit more confidence imo.

            That team should be able to compete for a playoff spot. (still a couple positions + some battle scars short of being an actual contender)

    • DSF

      Completely agree with this. You can also add Calgary to your list. They will be 9th or worse for years to come because they won’t blow things up. If we had not sucked the last three years we would be in the same boat as Calgary just hoping that we might squeak in the playoffs (like we have for the 15 years after the glory days).

      Do I like where the team is going? No. But they people that can’t wait for the Lowe/MacT regime to take over are just plain stupid. Do you guys know who is next in line after MacT? Ryan Smyth. Hall probably after that. We should start trying to draft some players who will make great coaches or gms instead of looking for actual talent.

  • Wow, so did anyone else read about the lottery changing. Now all 14 bottom teams will have a shot at winning first overall. I mean, that’s not incredibly significant for those bottom teams except having a crazy outside chance of picking number one overall. But the team with the lowest points only has a 25% chance of winning which is significantly less than the 48% chance of yester year.

    No team can move down more than one spot so I guess a team that is tanking on purpose is guaranteed a second overall which is till worthy of building a team around.

    However, for the Oilers, we really picked the right time to tank “on purpose”.

    Not to mention, how insane would it be to finish say 22 in the league or like 10th overall in the west, and win the lottery again.

    Would anyone like to suggest what we do with that pick? I say either grab Jones as a Jones, Schultz, Klefbomb trio looks mighty good. Or trade down to three or four and pick up a big centre.

    I know it’s too early to be talking about picking high in the draft, but this is kind of big news.

  • 106 and 106

    Hey Jason,

    In reading the script – and I think there’s a consensus that Tambellini is not the most gifted of communicators – did he sound like he had any urgency to address the issues of the team?

    He seemed to defer to the scouts and pro-scouts to evaluate and (maybe this is just how it comes off typed) wait for those who are injured to come back.

    He puts out the vibe that it’s fine to be where they are at.

    • Jason Gregor

      Actually I thought Steve was much more forthcoming in this interview than ones in the past. He admitted the team doesn’t know how to win and that they need to learn that. Usually he is very guarded and says nothing, which makes people believe his is indecisive.

      I thought yesterday he spoke with much more conviction than he had in previous years. I can assure you he isn’t fine with where they are at, but is hoping they start to mature. That will be the key moving forward, regardless of who is the GM.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The Detroit Red Wings were immensely successful for years without a rough and tumble type player in their top 6. But they did have a guy that went to the net and won many a battle at the lip of the crease.

    I mention this because while getting the next Lucic would be awesome, let’s not put on the blinders and only look for that kind of player. The key is finding a guy that can maintain possession so that plays don’t die with him, ala JF Jacques, but also a guy that will create time and space through a physical presense. For Holmstrom, his willpower and guts made him a physical presence. He didn’t have to fight or drive guys through the boards to be effective in a top 3 role.

    • bigguy13

      I would like to correct you that Detroit have always had a tough player. Starting with Bob Probert and joey Kocur for late 80’s to mid 90’s then Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery, Brad May, even Chris Chelios. Most if not all of these players played huge rolls in helping Detroit win cups. This fantasy that everyone keeps talking about how great Detroit does it with skill is complete garbage. most of these players did play top 6 also

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Fair enough on the late picks. I would definitely argue a few of those are not the greatest players.

    I suppose I’m trying to say that a fourth rounder takes time to develop, and since the team needs to win now, is ti really that bad they are trading a fourth round pick to upgrade their bottom six?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m one of the optimists when it comes to Mike Brown. A 4th rd pick is a heavy price, but I won’t complain if we give up a 3rd rd pick because that means the Oilers are in the playoffs. If Mike Brown can come in here and wear down the opponent’s D, then it will be worth it. I don’t think we’ve been hard enough on other teams. It’s been years since we’ve had a 4th line that could spend a lot of time in the offensive zone and wear down the other team. It’s right after those kind of shifts that you ice RNH, Hall and Eberle to take advantage of tired defenders. I don’t know if Mike Brown will be enough to elevate the effectiveness of the 4th line, but it’s worth a shot.

  • Sox and Oil

    Couple of random thought floating around my cavern.

    The Mike Brown trade will be great if we don’t get our hopes up. He’s a dependable 4th liner who will keep the other team on their toes, we shouldn’t expect him to play up the roster and even though he can PK hopefully he isn’t a primary (or secondary) option.

    Next idea floating around is Stephen Weiss. I’m sure everyones heard he’s being shut down for surgery. Would sending a prospect (Plante or similar) and a late round pick for some early negotiation be something to consider? He’ll probably command a large salary but maybe could be signed for short term (1 to 2 years) with a chance to prove he’s healthy and get a even bigger FA contract in a couple years (similar to Hemsky)?

    Looking at a team like LA, you never can have too many centers and Edmonton could sure use a bigger one.

    • ScottieA

      Where are you getting this dependable fourth liner stuff from? He’s an offensive black hole, and the ice is tilted in the wrong direction when he is on the ice. When I saw that Krueger put together a line consisting of Eager-Smyth-Brown I was speechless at the stupidity.

        • ScottieA

          So a line that can’t score to save its life, and will almost always be pinned in its own end whenever it is on the ice? Yep, sounds like a great 4th line.

          • Sox and Oil

            I’m not sure why you have such a issue with the 4th line, or how you know they always will be pinned in the defensive end of the rink. If your hockey team depends on the last line for regular scoring you may need to look at the top lines.

            I’ll take a player like Brown on my 4th line, wouldn’t flirt with the idea of playing him in the top nine, PP or PK.

            What do you expect of a fourth line anyway?

  • Sox and Oil

    Oiler History at Centre:

    Good Move: Moving Messier to centre from the wing.

    Bad Move: Should have made Hemmer make this team as a centre when he came into the league. Being a playmaker from the wing does not work.

    Good Move (Hopefully!!!): Moving Hall to centre from the wing.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The most telling part of this interview is the last question:

    “Can you define what the culture of the Edmonton Oilers is right now?”

    I heard the interview, and correct me if I am wrong, but Tambellini had no idea. He stumbled over his words and tried to pull a nothing answer out of his hind banana.

    He has no idea what kind of culture he is building.

    Clueless.

  • GVBlackhawk

    ya know, I keep posting on the various Oiler blogs that Tambo is not the problem, he’s the symptom, since I do not believe he has any actual decision making authority. I believe that power rests with Lowe, and now MacT.

    But when you read/hear interviews like this one, it is easy to see why he is such a lightening rod for discontent. As symptoms go, he’s a bad one.

    Sadly, unless we hold the whole management team accountable, Tambo will get fired, Lowe will get a new “set of downs” with macT and NOTHING will change.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Tambo is a foolish man in a three man band that creates a crappy brand of glam bland big zeros with twiggy kids and washed up heros.
    This guy can’t spot diamonds in the rough, he sees the game through three feet of (explicit). he picks vets based on there past even when it’s obvious they are hauling ass. He either picks twigs with skill or meat heads with a build. He has no in between, no balance, no ying yang. Barf