Yesterday's contest between Garth Snow and Mike Milbury gave the Not-So-Sweet Sixteen its first upset. Milbury won with 66% of the vote despite making virtually no moves in the post-lockout period. His terrible legacy was just that compelling. Neither of the contestants in today's match-up need to rely on a pre-lockout legacy to claim victory as we're all so very aware. Voting for this contest will be open until Monday morning when the Not-So-Sweet sixteen returns. I've called Steve Tambellini the favorite here, but there's a pretty good case to vote for either one, and I'll get the conversation started after the jump.
(12) Kevin Lowe
Teams Managed: Edmonton Oilers (Start to July 31, 2008)
Record: 114-106-26 (.516 points percentage)
Yeah, Kevin Lowe had a pretty inspired run during the 2005-06 season, but things sure did turn bad fast. After making an excellent trade in acquiring Chris Pronger, he then sent Pronger away for parts that wouldn't help for years to come, failed to replace Pronger's contribution in free agency, and then proceeded to tell everyone that the team was still trying to win. That was the beginning of a very long run of bad. Lowe traded Ryan Smyth and killed the fandom of a many. He did this on the day that the Oilers retired Mark Messier's jersey, a ceremony he wasn't able to participate in out of fear of being booed. The Oilers then started their first annual Death March through the season's last two months. Lowe then drafted Sam Gagner and started another tradition of rushing prospects into the NHL. In free agency he was not convinced that he was rebuilding and so he tried to add Michael Nylander, a deal that was mercifully scuttled by the Swede's family. He then took that money and overpaid for Sheldon Souray. Not satisfied that his work was done, Lowe gave Thomas Vanek an offer sheet that would have required the Oilers to pay him $7M per season and give up their next four first-round picks. When Buffalo matched, Lowe turned his attention to Dustin Penner. He was successful in getting Penner and then subsequently lucky when the Oilers were, for a year, the most dominant shoot-out team in the league (they went 15-4 and still hold the record for most shoot-out wins in one season); that didn't help them to make the playoffs, but it did keep them from handing Brian Burke a top-five pick. There's probably more to say, but that should give you a feel for it.
(5) Steve Tambellini
Teams Managed: Edmonton Oilers (July 31, 3008 to Present)
Record: 117-163-36 (.427 points percentage)
Steve Tambellini is like Kevin Lowe but without any of the good parts. He hasn't built anything resembling a good team while Kevin Lowe has, and that about sums up why you should vote for Tambo. Tambellini's points percentage is the worst of anyone in the tournament, despite being buoyed by his first year as general manager when he was essentially playing with a team he inherited from Lowe. Tambellini's first addition to the team was Jesse Boulerice via waivers, which is pretty emblematic of his tenure to this point and what he thinks will help a hockey team to win. When the Oilers missed the playoffs that year, Tambellini decided that there needed to be change. Fair enough, but when that change involves hiring Pat Quinn and signing an oldster like Nikolai Khabibulin to a (35+) four-year contract, it's probably not a very good plan. When that flopped, we got clarity and we got the rebuild. And so here we are, rebuilding with a guy who built a team he thought would win only to see it finish in dead last. Say what you will about Kevin Lowe, he never did that.
Which general manager was worse?
(5) Steve Tambellini (271 votes)
(12) Kevin Lowe (145 votes)
416 total votes