Thursday, July 31, 2008

And the biggest shocker of all

Excuse me, I just sprayed my computer screen with coffee.

Just like that, the Oilers have a new GM. And Steve Tambellini steps in? Buh?

I have no clue what this is about, whether it's all Darryl Katz's idea or Kevin Lowe simply deciding to take on a less stressful job, or both, as backroom politics in the Oilers office isn't my bag. I thought Laforge was canned at first, which would have been delightful, but I guess he's still in the mix...

*End of the Day Update* As a fan, one has very little to work with when trying to evaluate any incoming GM with little experience at that position, even if the candidate has worked as an Assistant GM in the league for a long time. Only weeks ago, in a criticism of Brian Burke, Kevin Lowe compared the prospects within the Canucks organization to an empty cupboard, a cupboard that may or may not have been partially stocked by ex-VP Player Personnel and ex-Assistant GM Steve Tambellini. As far as results are concerned, Tambellini's record doesn't exactly speak for itself, although I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't have the inside track on this guy, and I won't pretend to.

Although it's generally a good idea to pick someone from a winning organization, an outsider never knows how much a candidate may have had to do with the team's success, or how much they influenced the day-to-day decision making of the team. As well, and anything you do hear is likely to be somewhat distorted (I'd give my left nut just to know exactly how much Tambellini had to do with David Nonis' Bertuzzi-Luongo trade, along with acquisition of about two dozen mediocre players during his tenure, if Tambellini had anything to do with it at all). As with many other observers, I pretty much only have questions, but I do like a few things:

1. It's good for the Oilers to seek outside talent, especially what might be the most talked about Assistant GM in the league.
2. All GMs make huge mistakes, so I'm glad he's been around 17 years to see quite a few of them.
3. I like that he isn't an ex-player agent and has a background in player development.
4. He doesn't seem to be a dick.

In the meantime, I buy that Kevin Lowe was willingly punted upstairs to VP Hockey Operations, in a job that I guess is similarly high-profile to John Davidson's role in St. Louis, which will allow him to oversee big roster moves as well as being a good face for the franchise (he'll seem much less like a pimp than Patrick LaForge when shilling for a new arena).

To quote Black Dog, "never a dull moment."


Loxy said...

Do we know where Laforge ends up?

Chris! said...

Weird, just saw this move on the Post wire. Did anyone know this was happening?

MetroGnome said...

Do we know where Laforge ends up?

Still there for now, but may end up selling beer again (he came from a Molsons background, right?).

andy grabia said...

Lowe is Prez of Hockey Operations, which is different from Prez and CEO of the club. LaForge is still with us.

mike w said...

Gotcha. Hard to get all of the facts when I should be working...

Shawn said...

Laforge runs business, Lowe runs hockey.

Lowe is basically VP of Hockey Operations but they're calling him President.

Lowe = John Davidson
Tamb = Larry Pleau

James Mirtle said...

I'm actually not surprised at all... should I be?

Jamie said...

I know that the most popular blog in the Oilogosphere is named after Ron Low, but for the sake of the times, do ya think he'd be willing to go for a name change to Tambtide??? No.

here's some more nicknames that occurred to me:

La Tamba
The Great Bellini
Steve T-ini
A Tamber alert

DMFB said...

Huh. I have absolutely no idea what to think about this.

At least he's not a member of the old boys club though. I don't think.

Coach pb9617 said...

Nothing really changes. Lowe is still calling the shots, he just has a couple of really smart and high-level grunts on his team now.

Good move - get Lowe out of the muck and let someone else handle it.

andy grabia said...

I know that the most popular blog in the Oilogosphere is named after Ron Low

Covered in Oil is named after Ron Low?

Scarlett said...

This is surprising. Sure we all thought this would happen a year from now and MacT would be the GM. Interesting move for sure....

Steve said...

Covered in Oil is named after Ron Low?

No, no, he was talking about Ron Low's old nickname, "Black Dog".

("Skunks" is Marc Crawford, obviously.)

James Mirtle said...

I thought Punjabi Oil was named after Low. Go figure.

Black Dog said...

I wouldn't quote that Black Dog guy.

He's a drunken reprobate.