And the award for Best General Manager goes to...Steve Tambellini?!

I just wanted to send a big congratulation to Steve Tambellini on his new contract extension!  I can’t think of a more deserving person to helm the mighty Edmonton Oilers.  His list of accomplishments could fill…well, his accomplishments are too many…well, by signing him, Kevin Lowe wasn’t burdened with inconvenient interviews and candidate searches; Steve Tambellini has saved upper management a ton of work.  Kudos!

As much as I love to see the Oilers flounder, and I do love it, I can’t figure out for the life of me why this man would be re-signed to this position.  And perhaps what bothers me most is that so many  “pundits” I hear on the radio or TV, don’t seem to think this is such a bad move.

Since taking over, the Oilers have finished 21st, 30th, 30th, and 29th.  Or to put it another way, the team has graduated from worst in the league to second worst in the league.  And as a reward for failing so miserably, the Oilers have secured three consecutive first overall picks.  Tambellini’s defenders will speak of these draft picks as if they are the result of a shrewd move he made, or are part of his cunning strategy.  But really, we all know they’re merely the result of setting new standards for losing.  In a recent Edmonton Journal blog, rating Tambellini’s moves from 1 to 10, they awarded his drafting a 10 for picking such great players, even going so far as to commend him for letting the “team go down far enough in the standings to grab Hall, then Nugent-Hopkins.”  I never thought the ‘City of Champions’ would take such a cavalier attitude toward defeat.

But of course losing as many games as possible hasn’t been his only well-calculated move.  First there’s the trades, like Erik Cole (coming off a 35 goal season for the Habs) for Patrick O’Sullivan (currently of the Peoria Rivermen), and Dustin Penner (likely to hoist the Cup for a second time this week) for Colten Teubert.  There’s also the free-agents, which read like a who’s who of the waiver wire.  There’s Kurtis Foster to a 2-year contract for $3.6M, the same Foster who spent the second year of his Oilers contract with the Ducks, Devils, Wild and Crunch (yes, the Syracuse Crunch).  And everybody’s favorite, Nikolai Khabibulin, who’s like the real Berlin Wall, only a museum piece from the glory days of years gone by.  And there was his attempted signing of Dany Heatley, which managed to embarrass the city and team at the same time when the noted trouble maker refused to go there.  Of course in hindsight it wouldn’t have helped the team any, so maybe Tambellini deserves some credit for failing there as well.

And lastly, there are the coaches.  Whoever Tambellini goes with for this up coming season, it’ll be his third head coach in five years.  I guess I shouldn’t be so harsh on him here, as he didn’t hire Pat Quinn, and he realized that Quinn wasn’t necessarily the best coach for a team of young players who lose a lot of hockey games.  And since losing seems to be part of Tambellini’s plan, he brought in a coach who knew how!  Rumour has it that the Oilers have been in talks with the Washington Generals for their next bench boss…