Defending the Bulin Wall

Einstien defined insantiy as " expecting different results by trying to do the same things over again". I am sure If he was still alive and an Oiler fan, he would have invented the time machine to get the hell out of this era. Over the last four off-seasons, there has been only one thing constant about the Oilers: Chasing a relatively big name player and throwing ridiculous amounts of money at him! Hossa, Chara, Vanek. Penner, Jagr the list is endless. What is more frustrating is that while they were after the superstars, they did not do anything to fill the holes the roster has!

Lets just forget about the previous summers and talk about the last one. A season where we got left out of the playoff spot. Our GM talked about bringing in players to help improve the toughness at forward and the defense. What did they do? Chased Heatley, overpaid Khabibulin and signed Comrie!! How did that make our team any tougher? Beats me . Now I am not going to go in detail with the other two subjects, but focus mainly on the Bulin wall. Even though I am extremely mad with the current organisation, the Bulin signing isnt one that angers me. On the contrary, I am one of the few people who have been for the signing. Let's look at the reasons after the jump

Lets first take a look at the goal-tenders available this summer (I am not including Roloson on that list because we all suspected that he will not be coming back):

  • Nikolai Khabibulin
  • Martin Biron
  • Craig Anderson
  • Ty Conklin
  • Scott Clemmensen
  • Manny Fernandez
  • Manny Legace

Lets be honest here, Khabibulin was easily the best goalie available then. Many who thought that Biron was a better goalie should see that he is having a poor season as a member of NYI which is a better team than the Oilers. Of this bunch, only Craig Anderson has had a season that can be considered a success. Well, sure there is Ty Conklin, but signing him would have been a PR disaster, but that is another day`s story. This is what Lowetide had to write about Khabibulin signing (dated 22nd July)

So I began looking at reasons why the Oilers would have made this decision. At this blog and others everyone was well aware of the plethora of good goaltenders available through free agency this summer and it was completely reasonable to believe the Oilers could get a bargain who would also be more than adequate. However, as a new hire I'm not certain Tambellini would choose starting goaltender as the position he'd like to get ballsy on, especially with the new head coach probably expressing a strong desire for a proven starter.

If a team like Philadelphia had suddenly entered the picture, or Chicago pushed harder to bring Khabibulin back, the Oilers could easily have been on the outside looking in July 1 (in terms of a proven starter, which was clearly the priority).

I completely agree with him here. All Steve Tambellini talked about was making the playoffs and hence he went ahead and grabbed the best goalie available. Did he overpay?

Yes. Did he give a contract too long

? Yes again. However was there a better goalie available?

No. Was there another goalie available with a better track record

? No! The thing is that Steve Tambellini did not think that other teams werent looking for great goaltending. The teams that did not have a clear #1 goalie, were looking for a rebuild. They werent thinking about the play-offs. Amongst the teams that signed a new goalie last summer it was only the Oilers who wanted a turn-around!

Now lets look at his stats:

18-7-9-2 SV% .909

Yeah of course his SV% is below the league average, but think about the quality of shots he has faced! There have been too many and most of them of high quality ones. His EV sv% is 0.924 just behind that of Brodeur @ 0.925. Again not spectacular, but its decent. If again you take in the quality of the team he is playing for, it isnt too bad. Another thing to be considered is the SV% of the other goalies on this team. It is below .900. That goes to show that it was Khabibulin who was carrying the team on his 'back'. There were 5 games where he had SV% of upwards of .930! If we consider that 90% of those games are generally victories, if he played 60 games, that alone would have been 15 victories!

Despite missing time with injuries, he has averaged 50 games every season since the lockout!

So him playing just 18 games in a season is an anomaly. W

here the management screwed up was to not provide for a proper back-up that could play about 30 games and be consistent. One thing every fan here will agree with me is this fact: This season all the fears have come true in a collective manner. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong has gone wrong. This season is the definition of the 'worst case scenario'.

Whenever things go wrong with(in) an organisation, everyone starts making a huge deal out of any and all negative publicity. If the Oilers were at the top of the division, we would have chalked Khabibulin's arrest to a player just having too much fun and getting carried away. However that hasnt happened. Hence we are having the Khabibulin bashing competition.If you ask me, I am just tired of this season. Every game all we can do is whine about how the season is going on. Everyday we find new things to criticize. I know that there nothing else to talk about. Trust me, that frustrates me more than anyone else. I have been an Oiler fan only for the last 4 years. The season I started following hockey, we traded away Ryan Smyth and had that epic losing stretch. All I have seen is loss, loss and more loss. I am sick and tired of the management making one error after another. The blunder was not going into the rebuild mode any sooner. The error wasn't signing the Bulin Wall, the error was to think that we can make the playoffs with the kind of roster that we have!! The error was to trade away Brodziak, the error was to not sign for Blair Betts. The error was to let the captain play as many games as he has! The error was to stand pat and let many trade opportunities get away! So rather than hitting the man when he is low, lets all get-together as fans and urge the management to be more pro-active. Let us all send a message to them saying that they cannot jerk us around for four season and tell us " Oh we have just begin the rebuild ". If that is case then I ask them WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU GUYS DOING TILL NOW!!

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