Thursday, July 31, 2008

 

Tambellini new Oilers GM

Steve Tambellini is the new General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. Kevin Lowe becomes President of Hockey Operations, and Kevin Prendergast becomes Assistant General Manager.

Early Thoughts

• Tambellini and Lowe were part of the management team for the 2002 Men's Olympic Hockey team, but this is a major surprise. My first thought when I saw this was Brian Burke, actually. There was some talk that Tambellini would move to the Leafs, in anticipation of Burke moving there. I guess that isn't happening. But Tambellini and Burke, I assume, still talk to each other, unlike Burke and Lowe. So does that mean that the Ducks and Oilers are open to trading with each other again?

• Many of us on the Oilogosphere have speculated that Lowe would eventually move up the ladder, but we always figured MacT would take over the GM spot.

• What exactly does Lowe's new job entail?


***Update***

Great post by Showerhead over at IOF. He asks the right questions:

"1) How much credit can we give Tambellini for thing(s) Vancouver has done well in his tenure?

2) How much blame can we give Tambellini for Vancouver's complete inability to fill in a roster around Roberto Luongo and the twins?"


Loxy also asks an important question over at Hot Oil: How hot is our new GM? I say ask one more question, like how hot is his son?

BDHS also has a good breakdown on Kevin Lowe as GM.

Comments:

First order of business for Tamby: Whats it going to take to shake this kid loose from the Islanders. Second on the To Do List; put in a stink bid on this guy and then make sure and telephone this guy and let the healing begin.
 


Kevin Lowe is going out of his way to tell everyone that he is still calling the shots. Tamby will "bring ideas to [him]"

He's also going on and on about how they just need "more bodies" in the front office since Howson left.

I think a legitimate question is whether Tamby is just a lame duck GM doing Lowe's bidding.
 


So does that mean that the Ducks and Oilers are open to trading with each other again?

I'm guessing no, at least not until the deadline.

It's not even all politics, I think, but really the Ducks are probably only interested right now in trading with salary-eating clubs. Besides, there is still the optics of having the Anaheim market called "pathetic" -- that will probably take a few more months to wear off.
 


Two obvious possibilities/scenarios:

A) Lowe needed a Howson replacement and Tamby wouldn't move without the GM title.

B) Lowe wants some freedom to 'explore' other projects (read: taxpayer funded stadium) and Tamby actually gets the keys and start driving the car.

Either way this looks like the Oil just took a step out of the Fast Lane and into the Middle of the Road.
 


And here I thought I was going to spend the day wondering if Manny was going to be traded to the Marlins....
 


Andy, you must listen to Tenser on CHED launching a brave defense of Kevin Lowe from skeptical callers.

How much do they pay this douche?

You can sense, through the airwaves, his blood pressure rising when someone dare criticize oiler management.
 


Obviously, someone thought Lowe could use help with his role. Kevin now has to share the toys that he used to have sole claim on. Not a great day for Lowe, that's why people are speculating that he does not sound enthused.

How is the 'King of All the World', Prendergast going to react? He has seemed to be preening for bigger things for some time now.

If Tambellini can lure Quenneville our way, that would be spectacular. He has just turned down the Isles in favour of a year off.
 


I'm listening. He makes me giggle. CHED might as well hire that Daniel Cook kid to do their Oilers coverage.
 


Another obvious possibility/scenario:
The owner got tired of constantly retooling and soap opera stories and is looking for a GM with stability written all over him.

By the way I believe Sutter and Steve Tambellini were Teammates in Junior (Lethbridge Broncos for at least a full year (77-78).
 


Not a great day for Lowe, that's why people are speculating that he does not sound enthused.

I'm skeptical of this. I don't think anything changes. It's just another mind in to help out, with Lowe still getting final say on everything.
 


Andy,

If it was not broken, why did it get fixed?

This move makes management better and forces Lowe to think twice before calling into talk radio.
 


Lowe becomes President Of Hockey Operations for REXALL SPORTS.

I'd bet that the team needs a new front man for the arena develpment that doesn't have anything to do with the EIG. No doubt phrases like "treated like a god in this town" and "not Lyle Best" were passed around in the discussions leading up to this move.
 


I imagine this being something similar to the way things run these days in St. Louis. The buck stops with JD on hockey operations, but Pleau does the ground work.
 


I sure didn't see this coming. I knew he'd eventually get bumped upstairs but not now. He's had a really good summer so far.

Is Tambellini any good???
 


Is Tambellini any good???

He puts the 'milk' into milquetoast.
 


One thing is for certain: this move has prompted some of the dumbest speculation I've ever seen. The two best are "Lowe was moved up so that Tambellini can fire MacT" and "Lowe is being put out to pasture because he sounded sad on the radio."
 


Is Tambellini any good???

Well-liked guy, involved with Team Canada's gold medal wins in 2002 (Olympics), 2003 (World Juniors) and 2004 (World Cup of Hockey). Been with the Canucks forever. Ties to Gretzky, Lowe, Pat Quinn and Brian Burke. Won a Stanley Cup with the Islanders as a player.

He's been passed over twice in Vancouver, and couldn't get a job anywhere else as a GM, so something was holding him back. Don't know what. But I think it's a good move.
 


One thing is for certain: this move has prompted some of the dumbest speculation I've ever seen.

That's because you are listening to sports radio. You shouldn't do that. It's bad for your health. :)

The organization has to run the NHL team, a junior team, some minor league affiliates, as well as brainwash citizens into building them a new arena. Oh, and the owner has a business on the side. It's no surprise that they'd bring in another able body. I highly doubt it takes Lowe or MacT out of the loop on anything.
 


We're dragging in old Canucks executives to run the team.

I never knew how much I'd miss Cal Nichols until he was gone.
 


Daniel Cook = young Raffi Torres; dontcha think? Sorry had to inject since Andy brought him up. ;-)
 


The REAL question is...what are the Oilers fans going to dub the new GM?

S-Tamb?

Tevo?

Steve-to-tha-izzo?

Linni?

Tambel Soup?

Hand Puppet?
 


The REAL question is...what are the Oilers fans going to dub the new GM?

I'm gonna suggest "The Consigliere." We don't get enough Tom Hagen references around this joint.
 


Many of us on the Oilogosphere have speculated that Lowe would eventually move up the ladder, but we always figured MacT would take over the GM spot.

Actually I had first Howson and then Prendergast figured for the new GM before MacTavish, never mind Tambellini.
 


damn, now the oilers have the inside scoop on all of Mike Gillis' top-secret, money-ball-like evaluations of players...

btw, i think tamby was mostly involved in player evaluations at the canucks org, rather than negotiating contracts. e.g., when Nonis was fired, he was off in Russia doing a scouting trip. (then Mike Gillis decided that the canucks weren't going to draft any russians.)

come to think of it...now the oilers will know all about the canucks' top-secret, future super star prospects...and about our plan to sign sundin...we're screwed.

-antro
 


That's another angle on this: how is it going down in Vancouver? The worse, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

I guess it's true what they say about Vancouver: people just don't want to live or play in that city. I can see why. Terrible, non-stop shitty weather and lukewarm fans makes for a terrible combination.
 


As long as shit gets done and egos don't get in the way its not a bad management structure to have. it certainly works in Detroit.

Tambellini is well regarded as a hockey guy. I like the move.

Never a dull moment.
 


"and couldn't get a job anywhere else as a GM"

Andy for the record Tambellini told me in the fall that he had interest and some offers elsewhere.

He said he would only take a job to leave Vancouver if it was the "right situation" and he'd prefer not to leave Canada. So at least in his own words he has had other opportunities.
 


So at least in his own words he has had other opportunities.

Thanx, Shawn. I stand corrected. Did you get any sense on whether Toronto was seriously interested in him? And did he give any insight on why he thought he lost out on jobs in Vancouver? Do you have any insight, for that matter, on his successes and failures in Vancouver from a hockey operations perspective?
 


Where is LaForge in all of this? Is he being bumped out or up??
 


Lowe was brutally ineficient as a GM, and only Oilers fans somehow think different.
A fresh face is what the Oilers need, they are fast becoming the worst destination in the league, and they needed a GM who actually seemed like a professional. Steve T will bring some respectablity to the Oilers, and Lowe will be cut out of the decision making. Lowe will most likely keep some form of job with the Oilers cause of his past glories and loyalty.
Anywhere else though, Kevin would have flown the curb seasons ago...
 


"The REAL question is...what are the Oilers fans going to dub the new GM?"

I'm throwing Tambo into the hat, though Hand Puppet was a good suggestion.
 


Until I get over the Canucks reject running the show, I'm going with "Stevey Stevey Can't Believe He".
 


I don't want to give you the impression I'm a huge insider on this or anything. I've talked to him before and talked to some media people on the issue... but I'm not in tight here or anything.

"Did you get any sense on whether Toronto was seriously interested in him?"

Not from him, he would probably never speculate on that I imagine. However, I have heard elsewhere that he was never in the running for the top job there.

"And did he give any insight on why he thought he lost out on jobs in Vancouver?"

Well this time around it was the whole "fresh perspective" thing. From what I understand Gillis was basically lined up before Nonis was gone. Last time I have no idea.

"Do you have any insight, for that matter, on his successes and failures in Vancouver from a hockey operations perspective?"

I've heard he had a lot to do with pro scouting. It's hard to ever know what an assistant GM does or doesn't do I suppose. I'm glad that it was pro scouting he was involved with instead of amateur scouting... because we all know how that department has done for the Canucks.

Most of what people say about Tambellini is how nice a guy he is... how loyal he is... how many connections he has. How will he do against another GM in trade talks? I don't think there's any way to know.
 


Incidently, I just talked to a reporter from Vancouver who told me Tambellini has never been officially offered any other GM job. He's been short listed before.

That being said, he has told me there has been interest he rejected. So perhaps that means teams have inquired that he turned down before the discussions got going. I'll try to add some clarity to this if I get to talk to him today.
 


A fresh face is what the Oilers need, they are fast becoming the worst destination in the league, and they needed a GM who actually seemed like a professional.

Brian Burke, everyone!
 


mr tamboline man
 


Just to play devil's advocate here for a second: if the need was there to bring in an extra mind to help run all the teams, and to run the business more effectively and efficiently, wouldn't it have made sense to consider someone with a law degree, rather than another guy who got into management after playing the game? I know Katz is a lawyer, but in terms of the day-to-day operations, I'm assuming he'll be hands off. So wouldn't someone with a legal mind and skill set be a better fit than a former player, especially with the need to understand the CBA being such an important component of success?
 


Correct me if I'm wrong Andy, but I think that's what Rick Olczyk is for.
 


Andy, I don't understand the connection: lawyer vs. efficient and effective. Efficiency is the domain of economists, hedge-funds and the like. Lawyers are into the practice of law, which is one of the least efficient and effective things I can think of.

R
 


Lawyers spend a lot more time preventing disputes and keeping them out of court than they do taking them there. You're making an elementary mistake: confusing the cost of their time with the efficiency of their work.
 


Hey Colby,

That begs the question, what is efficiency? Choosing to ignore the cost in terms of time and money is being pretty generous. By those standards, what is not efficient?

R
 


OK so from what I can understand... talking to a few different people including a previous talk with Tambellini himself... he was very picky over where he would move. Wanted to stay in Canada, wanted the right situation, etc. I wouldn't worry about him not having a GM job yet as there were only certain jobs he ever would've left Vancouver to take.
 


Lawyers are into the practice of law, which is one of the least efficient and effective things I can think of.

This makes no sense to me. We're not talking about a guy who is charging by the minute here. We're talking about a guy in the room that you can get an immediate answer from as it relates to the CBA, contracts, cap, etc. Matt's counter makes sense to me in this regard, but I'm not sure of your point, R
 


Looking back I see I was misreading you, Andy.

I'm a little surprised that someone hasn't automated the CBA yet. I haven't spent a lot of time studying it but it seems like it's a manageable-enough document so that a computer could handle most possibilities. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of major "fuzzy issues" that you need a whole lot of precedent for.

R
 


Just interviewed Tambellini today... you guys interested in a link?
 


I vote for "Mr. Tamboline Man".

Also, anyone who thinks that Kevin Lowe is "still the "real" Oilers GM" ("") is deluded. The best explanation for this idea I read above is, what? 'They needed another asst. GM, but he'd only take the job if he was named GM, no qualifiers'?

Right! Because Mr. Tamboline Man was totally concerned with his new title and not at all with his new opportunity/responsibility.
 


Just interviewed Tambellini today... you guys interested in a link?

I certainly would be.
 


Just interviewed Tambellini today... you guys interested in a link?

Of course, Shawn.
 


"Steve Tambellini hired as general manager of Edmonton Oilers" was not the headline I was expecting to see on the Sky Sports News ticker this morning.
 


The interview is up on my blog...

http://oilcountryontario.blogspot.com/
 


My final suggestion for the nick-name:

T-bone.
 


He does look alot like Chris Cooper. And Chris Cooper did play Alexander Conklin in the Bourne movies.

Maybe we should call him Conks.

Or is that too painful still?
 


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