Steve Tambellini gets paid to watch the Oilers. What he watched this weekend couldn't have made him very happy. Unhappy to the point where after consecutive losses to Ottawa and Anaheim the GM had seen enough. In fact he may have seen too much and so that's why on Monday the Oilers' general manager decided to address the players.
It happened before they stepped onto the ice for practice. A culmination of a weekend that went bad. First a loss to the coldest team in the NHL on Saturday. Ottawa had lost 11 in a row but the streak never made it to a dozen. The Oilers made it to a dozen..in shots on Sunday versus Anaheim. That 12th shot spared Edmonton from tying a franchise low for shots in a game. If Tambellini ever thought there was a time to have a 'state of the union' now was it.
This has not been a great season for Edmonton but no one expected it be. However there have been very few nights and certainly not in back to back games where the effort, intensity and desire hasn't been easily noticeable. It's always been one my biggest beefs when people say 'He's not trying." Well unless you're 'he' how do you know? How we know this weekend didn't get an 'A' for the above said characteristics is because the players said so, the coaches said so. Cue Steve Tambellini.
There is no way that the general manager could stand by the team he helped create and not respond. I can't be certain but the sense is that Tambellini has not had this kind of 'meeting' with his team in this type of format all season long. He didn't feel like it was necessary until now. If the players are considered guilty for standing around and not doing enough then the GM doesn't want to be accused of the same thing. Good on the boss to say enough is enough.
What makes this situation even more exasperating is that these two games happened at home. It has not been good for Edmonton at Rexall Place this season. They are last in the league in home wins and points. No I don't think they are trying any less at home than they are on the road. It's just Edmonton isn't as successful in the Alberta capital. That has to hurt considering the undying support shown by a fan base that heading into the Dallas game on Tuesday had sold out 224 straight games. A streak that started Nov.29,05.
Add this all up and Steve Tambellini could no longer stay silent. He does talk to players but it gives a different meaning to it when he does it with everyone at one time in one room. The audience is a captive one and should be when the boss has something to say.
Tambellini strikes many as a calm, cool, collected individual who doesn't fly off the handle easily or often and certainly not publicly. The impact of his talk is to be determined but in case the players had forgotten somebody is watching them and it is Steve Tambellini.