Fire Steve Tambellini

Hey, Steve.  First time, long time.

I hope you’re well.

Listen, there’s something we have to talk about.

It’s about the Oilers.  Yeah, see, we’ve got a whole lot to talk about here.

The last three games have been a downright disaster.  Now, don’t get me wrong, you’ve got almost five years of work to look back on (…), but we’ll get to that.

On Tuesday, the Oilers lost 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the last place team in the NHL.  Surely, the Oilers would be ready to come out alive and kicking on Thursday to take on the Detroit Red Wings…

…except, they got shutout 3-0.  That’s kind of discouraging.  But hey, Nashville was on Friday.  Nashville can’t score two goals a game.  Surely, the Oilers would be able to score a couple of goals against a struggling Nashville squad.

Steve, the Oilers got annihilated by a score of 6-0 on Friday night.  That’s not even a punchline to a silly joke, that’s the actual score.  You’ve got pride, right Steve?   I’ve got a little pride, Steve.  I won’t walk outside unless I’m sure the pants I’m wearing won’t sell me short if I’m bending over.  That’s a little pride.   The Oilers haven’t scored a damn goal in two games.  I’ve seen some real horse crap hockey teams over the past seven years, but this – whatever it is, it ain’t working.

That’s just the beginning,  Steve.  I can’t hold back anymore.

We all see what’s going on here.  Half the top six are hurt, and the bottom six can’t score.  Chris Vande Velde may not be everyone’s top choice for the fourth centre, but he’s a better choice than putting uncomfortable Ryan Smyth on the 4C.  Every team puts up with injuries, but when they hit the Oilers, we always look like we just got caught with our drawers down.  And why the hell is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins still playing if his shoulder’s all jacked up?  I can see it, and I’ve only got one good eye.  Seriously, I don’t know how I was allowed to get a driver’s license, and I can make it out.  Did 93 have a fantastic World Juniors and then forget how to hold a hockey stick?  He’s going to need surgery, and it’ll be six months until he’s cleared again.  Just like Taylor Hall last year, who got surgery about two months too late, and if there was a season in October, he would’ve been rushed into the lineup.  Fortunately for us, he was afforded some extra time due to the lockout.

I’ve tried to reserve the worst of the worst, Steve.  It’s just that your tenure has been marred by failure.  You can preach the rebuild, or you can preach patience, or whatever it is that you want to preach.  The fact of the matter is that this team has been missing the playoffs since before you showed up. You signed Khabibulin to that whale of a deal four years ago and spent to the cap in 2009-10.  When that didn’t work, you preached the rebuild.  We stunk for years.  We still stink.  We sat through 30th, 30th, and 29th place finishes.  Today, we’re in 13th in the West, and by the time I’m done writing this, the team will be in 14th because Colorado will have knocked off Chicago.  There’s no plan to get better other than “pick early” and get lucky.  How can you justify throwing away Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle‘s entry level deals without one single solitary playoff game?

Any time this team appears to get a leg up, it’s as if this organization has attempted to thwart getting ahead.  Visnovsky for Whitney?  Gilbert for Schultz?  Penner for whatever the hell that was?  BUYING OUT SHELDON SOURAY?   Who the hell pays people not to play?

You do.  And it’s stupid and repugnant.

I’m also sick and tired of stupid narratives that get decent players run out of town.  Gilbert?  He’s soft. Penner?  Fat and lazy.  Cripes, Steve.  Penner scored thirty goals once and twenty goals twice on some atrocious Oiler teams.  A six-years younger Ryan Smyth was squirted to the Islanders over a contract.  I know you’re not responsible for that one in particular.  Souray was a cancer in the locker room.  Hemsky actually signed last year.  There’s one you kept.

This sucks, Steve.  It sucks a lot.  It happens every year, and it’s dumb.  But hey – the rebuild.

Steve, have you taken a look at our defence this season?  We’ve literally been outchanced in twenty two of twenty four games.  That’s not a misquote.  I’ve watched every game so far this season and you can’t miss it.  The Oilers are getting housed in their own zone.  Remember the zero shots period in Minnesota?  What the hell was that?  What did you do to fix it?  You traded for Mike Brown, who’s a hell of a fighter, but does nothing to address the fact that this team is getting killed on the scoresheet.

It’s not difficult to COUNT scoring chances, heck, even I can do it.  In every game but two this year, we’ve gotten blown out of the water.

Is this part of the rebuild?

Steve, we’re half way through the season, and Bob Stauffer suggested that the Oilers would challenge for a playoff spot.  The team has 21 points in 24 games, which translates to about 42 points in 48 games, or about 12 out of the playoffs.  That’s not even close.  Do you dare show your face on another lottery show?  What will you do if the Oilers win the first overall pick again?  The Oilers would have the dubious distinction of being the first major league team to pick first in their respective draft an astonishing four consecutive times.  Even the Nordiques got good after a while, and they were damn awful in the late 80s and early 90s.

Steve, we’re sick of it.  You should be sick of it.  Yet still, we’re told to have patience.

Barring a miracle turnaround, this will be the seventh consecutive year without a second season.  Steve, the Islanders have made the playoffs since the Oilers have.  They’re not exactly the beacon of consistency.

This franchise was the best franchise in the NHL in the 1980s, it was an embarrassment of riches.  Heck, there was even enough gas in the tank after Gretzky got dealt to Los Angeles for one more ride in 1990.

But now, even with all the talent that’s in the top six, this team isn’t a whale fart of what it used to be.  It’s as if the sole goal of the franchise is to acquire a first round pick, and then grin stupidly at everyone until that chance happens again in a year while selling everyone sunglasses for a solar eclipse that may or may not ever happen.

I’ve been loyal to the team, Steve.  I can’t imagine the people that have had season tickets to this nightmare.  We’ve all been patient.

But we can’t do it any more.  You’ve brainwashed otherwise good people into thinking what you’re doing is a good thing.

It’s not a good thing.  It sucks.

Go peddle it somewhere else.

If Ottawa can get back to the dance after one year off, so can the Oilers.  The Penguins, the Blackhawks, the Nordiques / Avalanche all have done it in less time than it’s taken us to even make the playoffs.

The “rebuild” has lasted years beyond its shelf life.

We’re getting nowhere here.  It’s time to go.

Do it for us.

Do it for yourself.

Just go do it somewhere else.

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Tags: Edmonton Oilers Steve Tambellini

  • Oilers4Ever

    I couldn’t agree more. We have NO patience for this kind of pathetic play anymore, Something must change. The fans deserve something, even if it’s just a little change to give us back some hope.

    • Jeff Chapman

      Tambellini’s got to go. There’s no nice way to put it anymore.

  • Jeremy Gardiner

    Good read. Agree fully.

    • Jeff Chapman

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it

  • Derek Stykalo

    Well said Jeff. This team is embarrassing and difficult to watch. Too much baggage both on the ice and in mgmt. as you said in your previous article, the roster is almost identical to last year. This isn’t working and the fans deserve more.

    I wonder if Justin Schultz is kicking himself?

    • Jeff Chapman

      Eh, he’s still new. Ask Smid how he’s doing.

  • Allan

    Good article and very well written but I do say we have to start putting some responsibility in the players, they should have pride to wear that jersey and to go out and play their asses and not get pushed around yet they lack that so… We can all play the blame game but this is a group effort and us the fans have to stop praising the players and make them accountable and steve has to get going..

    • Jeff Chapman

      Hi, Allan.

      The players are the finished product, I agree that there’s got to be some responsibility there.

      But right now, we’ve been promised the bright lights, and we haven’t even gotten out of last place with three first round picks. We haven’t gotten a pudding cup, much less the banquet of riches.

      Team is one point out of last place, nearly some three years after drafting Taylor Hall first overall. Who answers to that?

  • cjm7711

    I agree. This guy does not have ‘oiler’ sense. I like Lowe exponentially better (despite his unpopularity). At least with Lowe we had a quick, skilled defence that didnt get burned wide every second rush. Are whitney and potter the slowest most useless defence pairing in the league? pretty close I think. I thought moves like vis (my fav d-man) for whitney and playing our AHL quality goalie DD (the worst oilers starter ever) were designed to get high picks, But now I’m convinced he’s just a moron. Time to go for him. time to get a better partner for Khabby and time to get a Lowe-vision fast, skilled defence. Lowe knows how to build a winner and its time to put him back at the helm.

    • Jeff Chapman

      Defence needs work, no doubt.
      But a few things

      1) Khabibulin is done after this year. If the team thinks it’s a good idea to even entertain signing an injury prone 40 year old Khabibulin after this year, it will go down as one of the worst things known to humanity, second to cholera.

      2) Dubnyk let in a boner last night, there’s no getting around it. This team hasn’t scored a goal in eight periods. Dubnyk’s not even close to the problem. Hilaroiusly, Dubnyk’s closest two stat-comparables this year are Pekka Rinne and Jimmy Howard. Not the problem.

      3) Fire Tambellini.

      • cjm7711

        I don’t think DD can be a cup winning goalie. We need a new goalie for next season. The Bwall is infinitely more talented than DD, even at 40. DD can be solid, but almost never spectacular (and soft way too often). Khabby’s series of saves against the hawks and aves earlier this season were world class. I agree NK will probably have to go soon but we’re better off this year with him in as much as possible. And I bet he could help a team make a good run for at least two more seasons.

        • Jeff Chapman

          I’m not sure DD is a cup winning goalie either.

          The best finish we’ve had is 29th over the past three seasons, I’m not that far yet.

          As far as Khabibulin, he’s on IR more than he’s not. In 3+ seasons with the Oilers, he’s had 31 wins TOTAL. At least Dubnyk had 20 wins last year, the first goalie since Roloson to do so for Edmonton.

          I don’t know if Dubnyk is a cup winning goalie. None of us should be thinking about cups yet.