Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I don't have a high opinion of Steve Tambellini. I think if he fell out of a boat he'd have a hard time hitting water, he is such an incompetent. But he's lucky.

He's lucky he's fallen into a situation where the media, for the most part, either acts as Pravda and Tass for the Oilers or actually thinks that a guy like Cam Barker is a quality NHL defenceman (Stauffer/Spector) or, even better, think that a random group of WJC teenagers would be better suited to play NHL defence than, you know, six fully grown men who are actually seasoned NHL defencemen.(your 'hall of fame' reporter Terry Jones) He's also lucky that much of the fanbase believes that the best thing for the franchise is to lose badly year after year although with the talent that the Oilers are accumulating who can argue with them?

lol well that's a story for another day, right?

So while the majority of moves other than the annual trip up to the podium seem to point to Tambellini and Lowe's incompetence the fact is that the guy has a lot of rope apparently. Plus he is lucky.

I have talked about luck a lot in these parts. Luck isn't everything, its not the only thing but its a big thing. Being in the right place in the right time, right, although in my experience when you talk about luck its bad luck that you have to worry about. Good luck may happen when you play a game or if you win the lottery but generally good luck refers simply to the fact that your genes are what they are or the fact that you are Canadian and not in a country where poverty and starvation and war run rampant. Its bad luck that can effect you, that can turn your world upside down, that is a lot more common. The drunk driver, the fall down the stairs, the ankle catching in a rut in the ice shattering a leg, the cancer that spreads unnoticed before its too late.

When you are younger you tend to dwell on luck a lot and, because generally younger people are dumber (!), they tend to think that good luck is just that, luck.

I certainly did. And yes that statement about young people is a generalization but really its mostly true. And that's fine. When you're young you lack experience and its when you make mistakes and do shit that's wild and crazy. I was a madman and while it still lurks below in some dark, murky, stinky place down there, that part of me is largely in the past. And its a good thing, right? A wife, three kids, a career, a mortgage and all that. Its best that I got all of those benders and sleeping around and bad decisions (oh god I made more than a few) out of the way.

Now here is the funny thing. I remember as a young dude lamenting my bad luck with women and the reality is it wasn't bad luck. I was a dink. I was immature and foolish and the odd time I found someone I almost immediately blew it. My bad luck was not bad luck but deserved.

And so as I got older I found a beautiful spirited girl and I got a chance at a career and I did something with that. Maybe I got an opportunity but I shoved the door wide open and used my head and worked hard and as a result I am where I am today.

Now having said that I know that I am lucky that I won the genetic lottery (so far) and was born in Canada and that my kids were all born healthy and I am also quite aware that it could all tumble down today or tomorrow when something happens that I have no control over. I don't have that much hubris. I have enough friends and family members who have had their lives turned upside down to know that things can turn on a dime.


So this is the important thing to remember while we celebrate that the Oilers will pick first for the third time in a row and, for the third time in a row, there is a consensus number one guy to pick.

While the drop of the ball this year was lucky in that we got that first pick and that that pick is an easy one the reality is that its not luck that got us here. Its sheer incompetence. The incompetence that gives an over 35 goalie a four year deal, that spends to the cap thinking you have a contender and finishes dead last, that sheds quality players year after year without adequate replacements, that wastes a year of development for the three Swedes, that trades their best defenceman for a guy, who while quality, is a type that could easily be had for less, that misunderstands the little ins and outs of the CBA.

Watching TSN last night Jennifer Hedger remarked out quickly things can turn, referencing the Oilers being a goal away from the Cup and now picking first overall for the third year running.

That's not luck folks or a sudden downturn in fortune. That's a special and historic level of incompetence.

And while I am excited that this club is going to feature four forwards who are astounding talents, wonderful and dynamic, the idea that Tambo is the man to build around these guys leaves me cold. After all he is the guy who got us here in the first place. And neither he nor his lucky tie nor this feat should be celebrated in any way.

Because building around Hall and Eberle and Ted and Yakupov is not going to require dumb luck, a dopey grin and platitudes mouthed when a ping pong ball falls the right way. Its going to require a shrewd and tough negotiator with a plan for the short term and long term.

I'd fire Tambo today honestly. But its not going to happen. Keep your fingers crossed that what has passed so far is not a true indication of his ability and, failing that, that he truly is the luckiest man to have ever walked the earth. Because if he's not then we could be truly fucked.


Bar Qu said...

Ugh, you are telling me I am cheering for the Detroit Lions.

You are right though, Tambellini needs to be fired to give this team a fighting chance to improve. And that needs to happen before the draft.

David Cushing said...

The underlying message here is that the man from Treadstone is a lucky bastard as he's sat back all year and watched 3 Swedes being royally fucked??
I love this blog.

edc said...

Good post. I think I`ve learned more from you than from my real dad. Odd.

I have no faith in Tamby. He really is awful. Once the media and fans wise up, it may be too late... we`ve already, as you said, wasted a year of the Swedes (and likely wasted Omark altogether).

Also, he`d better draft Nail. Not drafting him is not an option.

Jana said...

The idiot is lucky to have a job quite frankly. I have had enough of Mr. Dithers.
It's nice to have an objective opinion who doesn't live in the Edmonton fishbowl.
I don't understand why management is so blind to Tambellini's incompetence.

Murat said...

Do other teams who suck this bad say things to the effect of "well, it's not our time right now, we're rebuilding" in the media? And then follow it up with "we think it's time to win now"? And then follow that up by adding good players and turfing bad ones?

Because it seems to me that Tambellini either has no plan at all or thinks that Khabibulin is a good goaltender. Or that a healthy Oiler team would have beat Vancouver in G1 of the playoffs. Or that Edmonton has enough good young talent.

One thing that scares the shit out of me in terms of rebuild models is your beloved Chicago Blackhawks losing to Phoenix last night. In Chicago, we have the perfect example of a team with a few elite forwards and a gutted supporting cast (at least vs. their cup-run cast from just a few years ago.) I know that Chicago lost some very good players through extenuating circumstances but Tambellini seems to think Edmonton doesn't need to add them in the first place...

...or that Eric Belanger and Cam Barker ARE those players.

'Tis the stuff of madness.

Anonymous said...

Pat you worry too much, smoke a fat one and have a brewski things will brighten up. You sound like the young bull in the joke, patience young pattawa, the hockey gods are smiling on us, all will be revealed...Brian

macaotim said...

For some reason as I read your blog it sounded like Rick Mercer was reading it in my head like one of his rants...accent and all! Must say, it sounded pretty good. If you ever write a book, perhaps Mercer could do the audio version!?

As for Tambo, are the Oilers really trying to tell me that this guy is one of the top guys for the job? There are billions of humans out there and they chose Tambo? Seriously?