If Tambellini can't fix this right now - will missing the playoffs yet again cost him his job? Will Katz allow him to see this team healthy? Edmonton's rally cry is always wait until the kids grow up, but what about now?
Our lineup includes: the prolix Shepso, combining modern western philosophy and hockey at Bringing Back The Glory; Chappy, owner of This is Not a Love Song; HBomb, everyone's favorite bartender in the Oilers' 'sphere; Dawgbone, the pragmatic commentor that writes too infrequently at After The Green Light; Doogie2k, the go-to guy on physiology working at Still No Name; everyone's favorite antagonist Ender, Doogie's partner in crime at Still No Name; and SumOil, a frequent commentor here and the biggest optimist that any of us know.
Find the entire series here, tagged 2009 midseason roundtable
Thanks guys - the discussion was lively.
7. Will Steve Tambellini hold onto his job if they miss the playoffs again?
Shepso: I don’t think so. Tambi reminds me of former Prime Minister Paul Martin-you know, Mr. Dithers. He just sits there and maintains the status quo by and large (coaching staff excluded, which was smart), but I think he has been too easy on a team that has needed more than just a shake-up behind the bench. A trade of someone in the core for someone useful, (not prospects a la K-Lowe/Smitty), would go a long way in really making his presence felt. What was so different about trying to land Heatley? K-Lowe tried to land big fish every year and failed. The only difference was that this time, they didn’t even have a back-up plan. Duff Man (Comrie) doesn’t count.
Chappy: If Edmonton misses the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, I think Quinn will be GM faster than you can say 'Barrie Moore'.
HBomb: It usually takes a lot more than 2 seasons to get a GM fired (normally, they get more rope than NHL coaches. But depending on Darryl Katz's mood and his contract status, you never know, right? I'll say this - how much do the Oilers regret letting Scott Howson walk to Columbus at this point? My guess is "lots".
Dawgbone: I think so. You need to give him time to address things like Moreau and Pisani. Both guys have been hurt and ineffective and initially took up budget and cap space. Signing Khabibulin wasn't a great start, but it really depends on how his offseason and next year go. Regardless of what happens, I think you have to give him until the summer of 2011.
Doogie2k: Possibly, simply because Kevin Lowe held onto his and was eventually promoted after three, ah, uninspiring off-seasons. If I were him, though, I'd still be looking over my shoulder, because I just hired an experienced GM to work beneath me a few months ago, and in that time he's repeatedly pointed out the glaring flaws in my roster, which I've yet to address. By both optics and results, that's not good news for Tambellini so far. Still, I think it's too early to judge him one way or the other, because we don't know yet what he's ultimately going to do: if he tries to fix this thing and fails, that probably earns him a lot more leeway than doing nothing and failing.
Ender: If the team stays with one or more of Hemsky, Horcoff, Souray, VIsnovsky or Penner perpetually on the IR, I don't think he'll be fired. Unfortunately, with Hemsky out now, and Horcoff and Visnovsky obviously playing injured, it wouldn't surprise me if that were the case.
8. Is there hope for the present?
Shepso: Maybe? I don’t know. The team is hard to watch. They looked lost half the time and bored the rest. I can’t put my finger on it, but the last time they looked like they were having fun was in the blowout of the BJs before the epic losing streak started. And if the players aren’t having fun, it’s hard for us fans to really know if there is anything to really hope for. What ever happens, and no matter how much I threaten to leave, I just can’t see myself abandoning ship. It has been said however, that sometimes love just isn’t enough. I am beginning to see the logic in that sentiment.
Chappy: Yes, there's hope. Let's start with halting the injuries for a while, and winning the next game. You've got to get back to .500 before you can climb any more mountains.
HBomb: At this point, the "present" I'm hoping for is a bottom five finish, a win in the draft lottery, and a line of Taylor Hall with Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle playing behind two solid veteran trios next year.
Dawgbone: Not with the way some of the young guys are playing. Cogs and Gagner needed to take big steps this year and they haven't. O'Sullivan needed to show that last year was an off year, and he hasn't. This team needs all of these young guys to start producing and making all this development time worth it. I mean you can justify losing games one year if lessons are learned and growth happens... but when these young guys don't progress, it really is hard to overcome it. Until these guys get going, there isn't much to look forward to.
Doogie2k: I'm finding it harder and harder to say yes to this, if I'm being perfectly honest. I mean, yeah, I started the year as Captain Optimism, but I also didn't expect the entire operation to go tits-up almost from the word go, the way it has. I hate to keep harping on the injuries and uncertainty of future trades, but the outcome of the season is going to rely on those things. Unless there's a change, though, I have a very difficult time believing that this team, as it exists right now, is going to do anything tremendously positive.
Ender: Hope for the present lies in health and people taking advantage of opportunities. Having Souray back helps a lot, and having Horcoff finally snapping any psychological blocks against scoring bring some measure of hope. If Visnovsky can recover from whatever it is he's got (I'm betting mono) or at least tread water while doing so there's some chance. Getting Stone and Jacques back helps to make some room (and hopefully forces more turnovers) on the ice, but ultimately I think they need either Cogliano or Nilsson to really step up.