parkatti tweet

I believe this sentiment drives much of the discontent in Oilers Nation these days. Why can’t we have nice things? Colorado sucked for LESS time and are in the playoffs looking like the Oilers team we were promised!!!! What the hell? Where are the answers? After the break.


Steve Tambellini authored a devastating period in Oilers history and left a roster filled with forgettable. Tambellini never met an NHL player he couldn’t rid himself of, he was quite impressive at the discipline.

  • Sheldon Souray said a few things? OFF to Chocolate City with him!!!
  • Dustin Penner has size, but won’t use it? Kick him down the road for a pick that might turn out years from now.
  • His ‘stand and deliver’ July 1st 2011 series of transactions (bought out
    Souray, signs Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger,
    Corey Potter and trades for Andy Sutton) serves as his nadir.

It’s easy to forget just how many useful people were sent away after Steve Tambellini arrived in late summer 2008.

  • Erik Cole, Edmonton gets Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Kyle Brodziak, Edmonton gets two picks (Bigos and Roy). Minnesota also gets a late pick they turn into Darcy Kuemper—who played for them last night.
  • Denis Grebeshkov.  Edmonton gets the pick that turned into Curtis Hamilton.
  • Lubomir Visnovsky. Edmonton gets Ryan Whitney and the Brandon Davidson pick.
  • Steve Staios. Edmonton gets Aaron Johnson and the pick that turns into Travis Ewanyk.
  • Riley Nash. Edmonton gets the Martin Marincin pick.
  • Dustin Penner. Edmonton acquires Colten Teubert and the Oscar Klefbom pick.
  • Andrew Cogliano. Edmonton acquires the Marco Roy pick.
  • Tom Gilbert. Edmonton acquires Nick Schultz.
  • Tobias Rieder. Edmonton acquires Kale Kessy.


When Craig MacTavish took over this hockey team, they were very weak up the middle. Improvements last summer (Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference) added to mid-season fixes (Scrivens, Fasth) have Edmonton looking a little better at C, D and G.

There’s a long way to go.

However, the scorched earth policy—which involved things like sending a capable defenseman to the minors as punishment for a moment of frustration—delivered an empty cupboard and made certain the early years of Taylor Hall were bleak. 

Steve Tambellini dealt Dustin Penner at the 2010-11 deadline, and the Oilers did not replace him until summer 2013 (David Perron).



When looking at a picture, it’s vital to identify the real tragedy.

I understand the frustration that Michael Parkatti and all Oiler fans have today. This is draining, especially when Colorado makes it look so easy. But if you look at where they were in 2010 (they had 95 points and made the playoffs) and since then (seasons of 68, 88, lockout 39 and now 112 points), it doesn’t compare with the scorched earth Oilers.

The one season that showed promise (2011-12 under Renney) Tambellini fired the coach and brought back Lennart Petrell. !!!!!!.

I know this is a difficult period, but if we’re laying blame here let’s have the conversation. It’s hard to rebuild an empire from rubble overnight.

  • Paq Twinn

    Lowetide, any insight on who someone gets picked to be a Hockey GM…

    If you look around the league it seems to be,

    Limited education (or a very quick EMBA)
    Very little organizational experience.
    Then whamo GM or president

    Are there any GMs that didn’t play in the NHL that might have started,

    In amateur scouting
    Moved Pro scouting
    Moved to management of the minor pro team
    Moved to the administration of the pro team
    Moved to the assistant GM
    Moved to the GM position

    You get the idea, the person has spent a career learning the business, like most of us need to do the advance with a company…

    Vs. the NFL it seems very “clubby”

  • Sean17

    The Souray debacle, when management let a top pair D-man get away for nothing, instead of sitting him down and having a talk with him, is class Oilers post 1999 managerial incompetence. And it has KLowe’s fingerprints all over it.

    I don’t deny KLowe is super-competitive and bleeds Oiler and all the crap. However, he is too emotional and makes rash decisions based too much on emotion, which hurt the franchise he supposedly loves. The Souray example is only one of many.

    We need competent and level-headed management, with a sound plan, to lead this organization. Not arrogant, emotional overconfident ex-players that continually talk about almost winning a cup 9 years ago, and how everyone in the NHL outside of Edmonton thinks they’re doing a good job.

    What a sh*tshow this organization is.

    • M22

      @ spliff,

      “…and how everyone in the NHL outside of Edmonton thinks they’re doing a good job.”

      I’m convinced that Lowe doesn’t even recognize that what he labels as envy or admiration from people around the league, is most likely those people blowing smoke up his ass. I can’t believe that anybody from other organizations would actually tell their counterparts that they are managing their teams improperly….unless they are Brian Burke or Jay Feaster. It’s in their own best interest to let others twist in the wind, or “wander in the desert”.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    The Avs are just simply better built than the Oilers. They’ve made their 2nd round picks count (O’Reilly and Statsny) and they’ve done a better job of developing Mackinnon, Landeskog and Duchesne, all 3 of whom any non-Oilers fan would take over any combination of Hall, RNH, Eberle and Yakupov. And, they’ve actually made ‘bold moves’ in bringing in guys like Erik Johnson and Semyon Varlamov. Colorado’s core will net them a Stanley Cup at some point. It’s nice to see one rebuild coming to fruition. I’m happy for their fans.

    • TeddyTurnbuckle

      True. We were unlucky that year to be drafting 1st overall and not the next year. After watching Mackinnon last night I couldn’t believe how he was setting the NHL on fire. Their top four forwards definitely have a higher stock than our top four at this moment. We may get the edge if we keep going back to the well and get Mcdavid next year.

  • Sean17

    Colorado is going to be a force for the next ten years. Does anyone think our talent even comes close to theirs? If we want to go to a Stanley Cup final we will have to get through Colorado. My opinion is we need to draft Bennett and hope he turns into the Gilmore type player they say he will. We will need as many super competive players as we can get, full of piss and vinagar, if we ever want to get through Colorado. That Mackinnon will be as good as Sid, and he makes the rest of his linemates so much better. Very scary team.

    • Paq Twinn

      I agree with almost everything you said. Expect the Nate vs Sid part. Nathan McKinnon will be better then Sidney Crosby. This kid scares me like the way Forsberg did. There’s no stopping him. Just wait til he hits 23. Pure domination will follow.

  • BC BOY

    Reading this article makes me despise Kevin Lowe and Darryl Katz. How could they not see the moves Tambellini was making? If either of those two were somewhat competent they would of fired Tambellini a long before it got to that point!!!! and who knows maybe the oilers would of been competitive this year.

  • rokwilder

    unrelated news:

    It seems TSN is extending their middle finger towards Rogers by going on a spending spree and locking up their top on air hockey people. Dregher and BobMac are locked in. TSN has signed Ray Ferraro to a very long term contract with a massive raise in dollars.

    There are concerns in the industry that Rogers is going to struggle to find top TV people to fill their huge hockey schedule. On and off air, TSN is retaining non-freelance staff. It seems Rogers is going all in with Kipreos and Hughson.

    There are whispers that Paul Romanuk may be willing to come back from England for the right deal. Rogers is going to need to woo Cuthbert and probably find some emerging talent from regional brodcasts.

    I would guess Rogers will be looking to lock in Friedman as well.

    • rokwilder

      “Rogers is going to need to woo Cuthbert and probably find some emerging talent from regional brodcasts.”

      TSN locked up Cuthbert for six years last week.

      • rokwilder

        thanks. I was in in LA/Vegas last week discussing it with an industry person and that was unknown at the time. So TSN locks up another important asset out of spite. Very interesting. Few were expecting this.

        Apparently they are giving out raises that the talent can’t turn down.

  • rokwilder

    tobias rieder for kale kessy. disappointing. rieder is 5’11 and 190 lbs. not overly big, but plays a strong/up tempo game. reminds me of brad marchand but less of the after the whistle stuff.

    this is one of the most frustrating trades tambo made during his tenure.

  • paul wodehouse

    …watching the playoffs requires an ability to ‘let go’ of pent up frustrations…I’ve stopped thinking of the what ifs and started to just appreciate the nature of well built well coached hockey teams…its no longer about anything oiler to me…pretty much done

  • JitanPren

    Weren’t you excitedly proclaiming at that time that it was “the summer of Steve” LT?

    Tambellini executed the plan he crafted with Katz and Lowe.

    and even after MacT was canned as coach, he remained on the Oiler payroll as a consultant while he worked at TSN. MacLooselips has had input in designing this team all along.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    “Gordan and ference improvements…” Horcoff was a 3. Replaced him with Gordon who’s a 4.

    Ference is a 5D

    You were probably apart of the playoff belief. At the start of the year

  • JitanPren

    Interesting how you praise MacT for the Gordon signing and knock Tambo for Belanger. Check out Belangers yr 1 stats with the Oil. Gordon had a few more points (mostly in the first two weeks) but had a lower face off %. Not much to choose from. I certainly don’t put this signing on the plus side of MacT’s ledger yet!

  • dougtheslug

    It’s a bit of a misdirection play to lay this all at the feet of Tambo – after all, he was a KLowe hire and every move he made was being run past the boss.

    Even though you can argue that the team didn’t deliberately tank, in the sense that they deliberately threw games, there is no doubt in my mind that they were deliberately built to tank.

    The “masterplan”,I believe, was to acquire elite players, just like back in the good old days. To do this the Oiler brains figured all they needed to do was finish last for a few seasons, draft what they thought was the equivalent of Messier (Hall), Gretzky(RNH), Anderson(Yak), and Coffey (sign J. Schulz), and presto! Instant dynasty.

    I suspect MacT even believed he was bringing in a young Glen Sather (Eakins) to mentor the youngsters into the champions they all knew they would become.

    I think that was the plan. In its entirety.

    They never factored in, and I suspect, weren’t aware, that the world had moved on. That building a winner in the modern NHL was not the same as it had been back in the good old days, when Bucky and MacT and Smitty and KLowe himself were ripping it up and make believing it was all about their skill and brilliance, instead of what it was – being in the right place at the right time, surrounded by a never-to-be-duplicated group of future Hall of Famers. They never realized that star players today need a certain type of supporting cast to succeed. They never factored in the toxic and corrosive effect that relentless losing has on player development.

    The tragedy is there is no Plan B. So get used to more losing, more trying of the same thing over and over and getting the same results. Because the guys who came up with this “blueprint for success” are still in charge.

    • Paq Twinn

      No, no. It’s all Tambo’s fault. I have been looking into how the team had performed against recent cup finalists in there Cup minus 2 and Cup minus 3 seasons.

      Points wise, the Oilers were right in the range for their Cup minus 3 season, but almost of them made big jumps in thier Cup minus 2 seasons. If this was year four of a rebuild as Katz said, one that Lowe told the nation was up to six years long before being a Cup contender, then this was the year the team should have made a big jump to somewhere in the 88 point range.

      Lowe and MacT delivered 65.

      • Derian Hatcher

        Whoops, accidentally hit post before I was done.


        If we believe that Katz and Lowe have just completed year 4 of a 6 year rebuild to be a Cup contender, here is how the Oilers stack up in their Cup -2 and Cup -3 seasons. I have excluded last season’s finalist because they were both returnees (not rebuilders) and would have skewed the numbers higher (i.e., made the Oilers look even worse).

        Cup -3 Season Points

        Kings 08-09 79

        Devils 08-09 106

        Bruins 07-08 94

        Canucks 07-08 88

        Hawks 06-07 71

        Flyers 06-07 56

        Average 82

        Oilers 13-14 77*

        Difference (5)

        * Projected over 82. West only. We would expect this total to be higher had they played the East. Likely 2 to 4 points better.

        Now, let’s look at Cup -2:

        Cup -2 Season Points

        Kings 09-10 101

        Devils 09-10 103

        Bruins 08-09 116

        Canucks 08-09 100

        Hawks 07-08 88

        Flyers 07-08 95

        Average 101

        Oilers 13-14 65

        Difference (36)

        Oilers went from being on pace to 36 points off pace in one summer.

      • Paq Twinn


        If we believe that Katz and Lowe have just completed year 4 of a 6 year rebuild to be a Cup contender, here is how the Oilers stack up in their Cup -2 and Cup -3 seasons. I have excluded last season’s finalist because they were both returnees (not rebuilders) and would have skewed the numbers higher (i.e., made the Oilers look even worse).

        Cup -3
        Season Points
        Kings 08-09 79
        Devils 08-09 106
        Bruins 07-08 94
        Canucks 07-08 88
        Hawks 06-07 71
        Flyers 06-07 56
        Average 82
        Oilers 13-14 77
        Difference 5

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      People forget about the supporting cast those great Oiler teams had. Even though we had Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, etc. it wasn’t like we had a cakewalk to the cup. We don’t win the cup without guys like Huddy, Krushylneski (sp), MacTavish, Fogolin, etc. I don’t think the game has changed as much as you think in that respect.

      • bwar

        Well said.

        If Lowe and MacT had a clue they would have focused bringing in strong commentary players last summer rather than a bunch of question marks and never will be types.

        Competitive teams don’t rely on players like Belov, Joensuu, Acton, Grebeshkov, Hamilton, Labarbara, Gazdic, and McIntyre. Probably don’t have Fraser or Hendricks either.

  • it is almost pointless to get frustrated comparing the oilers to colorado. the young talent they have accumulated is vastly superior to taylor hall and the two question marks the oilers picked at number one. the avalanche might be the best young team in hockey and the oilers are barely a team. the thing to get frustrated about as an oiler fan is that after hall there is very little. RNH may turn into a two way 80-90 point pivot and he may turn out to be pierre marc bouchard. eberle is a one dimensional complimentary scorer who doesn’t really help you win. don’t think he ever made the playoffs in regina. perron is a decent scoring option but doesn’t really play defense well. yakupov? high bust potential and at the very least a project. there is nothing else at forward and nothing on the way. years of drafting at the top of every round has produced nothing. watching nathan mackinnon be better than any oiler doesn’t bother me, but watching boone jenner be a good player in Columbus drives me nuts with david musil plodding around the ahl. this is on the oiler pro and amateur scouting departments, management and possibly ownership. they have done and are doing a bad job. it can be spun however anyone likes, but there is reality to deal with and that is they are no where close to being a competitive nhl team.

      • bwar

        If you watched Nathan MacKinnon and Landeskog the last two games you might rethink that.

        I would not trade MacKinnon and Landeskog for Hall and either of RNH or Yakupov. Probably wouldn’t trade those two for all three of the Oilers first overalls. That’s not to say Hall isn’t great. He is. But odds are MacKinnon will be better and his position is more important.

        Add in O’Reilly, Duchenne, Statsny, Johnson, Varlamov, and Barrie and you have one great young core.

      • dougtheslug

        I didn’t stop reading, I just assumed he meant Nathan MacKinnon is superior to Taylor Hall, which he is/will be. And that is fine, but disappointing. Not all number ones are created equal. Too bad having 3 in a row does not provide us with a generational.
        As for the rest of his post, agreed. The cupboards are bare, and if you believe that help is on the way, you are a fool and continue to drink the Koop-aid.
        Mact – “we are going to get another piece this year..” . What is every other team going to do??!?? They all draft hockey players. Unfortunately other teams do it better than us!
        Our failed second rounders(Lander, Pitlick,Musil) are our undoing. Grooming Pitlick for 5 years to be a fourth line energy guy isn’t the same as adding ROR to your team.
        Expect very little improvement next year.

      • dougtheslug

        Foolish of you to stop reading and start posting. The complete sentence was ” …the young talent they have accumulated is vastly superior to Taylor Hall and the two question marks the oilers picked at number one.”

        Taylor Hall AND the 2 question marks
        (RNH and Yak) vs MacKinnon, O’Reilly, Landeskog AND Matt Duchene who isn’t even playing due to injury. It isn’t even close.

        Equally accurate was the criticism of the Oilers lacking a scouting department and whiffing on useful picks in the second and later rounds.

        • Sean17

          As usual you are spot on with your comments, observations and theories Doug. You make more sense than most including the writers. Please don’t fade away like DSF, a voice of reason is so appreciated.
          “All hat and no cattle”

          • If you think eternal pessimism = “voice of reason” you need to figure some things out.

            Oilers fans often are way too optimistic about the team but many can just find a way to be negative about everything.

            The truth is somewhere in the middle for most situations.

            The Oilers have done a lot of things wrong (Hiring and keeping Tambo was capital offense #1) but there is some opportunity for them to fix some things. It’s not going to be easy or likely quick but it cant get much worse.

          • dougtheslug

            “It’s not going to be easy or likely quick but it cant get much worse.”

            I’m not sure I disagree with the above comment. But you do realize that it has got to this point after eight (EIGHT) years (that is, the point where it “can’t get much worse”), because of the efforts of the current management.

            Of course, I’ve been saying that to myself for a couple of years now. “Cheer up”, I’ve said. “It can’t get much worse.”

            So I’ve cheered up. And it’s got worse.

            One thing the Oilers have demonstrated with amazing consistency is every time they’ve hit bottom, they’ve manage to discover a trap door.

            One thing I can say about watching Colorado’s professional rebuild vs the amateur hour we’ve been witnessing is that if everything goes right, maybe we can expect the same success in about 3-4 years. That includes counting on lucking into Connor MacDavid.

            Does anyone expect with this management group that everything will go right?

          • 8 years of suffering came for many many reasons. I will say I think MacT is capable of getting it done. I think Lowe needs to go for a variety of reasons but I dont believe he has as big of an impact on decisions as many would like to believe.

            Might there be others out the more qualified than MacT? sure. I also dont think we know what we truly have with mact yet.

            Colorado didnt really rebuild. Dont know why people keep saying that. Just because you sucked for a year then dont doesnt mean you’ve rebuilt.

            We get that this team is bad. No sane person argues otherwise. I wasnt even meaning to refer to you so much when I said this (dsf) but: Just yelling out “we suck we suck we suck and you’re a fool if you cheer for this team and dont also just scream ‘we suck’ doesnt help”.

            I try my best and be as realistic as possible while trying to stay level headed as possible. Maybe that in itself isnt rational but i try.

        • The Real Scuba Steve

          one team just finished third overall based largely on the play of its young players and one team looks like they don’t belong on the same ice as other nhl teams a lot of nights. yup, what i wrote was foolishness. believe me, i hope i am wrong, just a realist.

  • slopitch

    Worth noting that MacT dumped Horcoff, Hemsky and Smyth. I include Smytty to make a point. I do realize he retired and it is likely for the best.

    Colorado picked up Eric Johnson and didn’t waste their 2nd round bullets. Stasny and ROR are quality.

    I think the oilers will turn the corner once they find that top pairing D. MacT is doing some good things and reinforcements are on route.