• Hall/MPS III

    by  • September 29, 2010 • Uncategorized • 13 Comments

    I’m going to post on some of the reaction and objections to my Hall/MPS pieces at some point – you’d think Jason Gregor would have learned by now to check very carefully when he comments on stuff that requires comprehending the CBA but you’d be wrong – but I want to call attention to a question that Bob Stauffer asked today in an interview with Steve Tambellini. It starts with about 8:24 left in the first hour of his September 29, 2010 show.

    There’s a couple of thought processes out there that maybe the Oilers shouldn’t, you know, because of the way the new CBA works and entry level contracts, fast track players like Taylor Hall and look at the option of returning a Taylor Hall to junior. Now I completely disagree with that sentiment but that’s out there. Or even a guy like MPS needing to spend some time in Oklahoma City. My attitude is if the kids are ready, the kids are ready…let’s let them play and let’s let them make mistakes. Is there ever a consideration for using the system and using entry level contracts to your advantage as to when to put the guys into the organization or is more dependent on whether the guy can play and is flat out ready to go?

    Tambellini proceeded to not really answer the question about entry level contracts but instead talked in generalities about the advantage of guys getting some development time against men, whether it be in the SEL or the AHL and how Hall might be a special case because he’s physically ready to play in the NHL. All of that is fine and well but doesn’t really address the issue that’s been raised by Stauffer.

    This intrigues me because Robin Brownlee attempted to ask the same question, as he discussed in a post yesterday on OilersNation:

    I asked GM Steve Tambellini about that this morning. His answer wasn’t exactly thorough and didn’t really address the crux of the question, but here’s what he said:

    “I think every situation is different,” he said. “If players like what you’ve seen are playing against NHL players and are comfortable and confident and you think that, maybe there are a few holes that need to be worked on but you can live with that, that’s a different situation.

    “You never want to put a player in the NHL when he’s not physically, mentally or skill-set ready. That’s up to them to show that they’re ready to be counted on, on a nightly basis, for Tom Renney and his staff. You have to really treat each situation on its own. Right now, they’ve all looked pretty comfortable.”

    I assume both Stauffer and Brownlee will catch hell from the Oilers PR department for asking about something that a blogger thought up but that’s not what caught my attention. Tambellini’s answers strike me as curious because this isn’t a particularly difficult question and he completely failed to answer it. Given their track record when it comes to carefully researching the non-hockey aspects of their decisions (Khabibulin’s medical history and Brule’s waiver status come to mind) and Tambellini’s failure to even come close to answering the question twice, there’s a part of me that wonders if he even understands what they’re driving at with the question. It’s kind of like when Sarah Palin was asked a non-direct question during the VP debate that alluded to Cheney’s position on the branch in which the VP’s office is properly classified and failed to pick up on it – the conclusion I drew was that she wasn’t aware of the debate, which doesn’t speak well of her capacity to be Vice President.

    Regardless of the position that individual readers might take on this topic, I would hope that everyone agrees that it’s a question that’s at least worth talking about. There are important implications to bringing Hall and MPS now in terms of where the team will be in three years and what the salary structure will look like. I don’t know how, in planning sessions, this sort of thing couldn’t be discussed. If it had been discussed and considered, I’d expect Tambo to recognize the question that was being asked and be in a position to offer a more coherent answer.

    Unless, of course, they have thought all this through, plan to cut Hall and MPS in order to permit them to “gain more experience” and don’t want any agents complaining that it’s just an attempt to game the system. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for this – it just seems to sensible for them.


    13 Responses to Hall/MPS III

    1. Saj
      September 29, 2010 at

      I agree he’s not answering the question, but I think it’s more likely that it implies he does not want to answer the question rather than that he doesn’t understand it. If he does leave a player off the big club, he would want that player (along with all other present prospects, future prospects, and the PA) to think it’s because the player is not quite there yet, rather than because he’s trying to keep the guy’s salary down. Otherwise, it could create bad blood and hurt the team in the longer term.

    2. mclea
      September 29, 2010 at

      Ya, I don’t see what Tambellini would stand to gain from answering that question honestly.

    3. Tyler Dellow
      September 29, 2010 at

      If I was him, I wouldn’t answer it honestly either, but I might at least address the point that the questioner is making. For example: “We aren’t going to worry about gaming the system but what’s best for the player because what’s best for the player in terms of his development is best for the team.”

      It’s the non-responsiveness that I find strange.

    4. Tyler Dellow
      September 29, 2010 at

      I mean, I do a lot of discoveries of people and I sometimes ask questions and you can tell from the answer that they don’t understand what you’re asking. I can usually tell the difference between that and evading the question – if they’re evading the question, they at least try to make it look like they’re responding.

    5. roddie
      September 29, 2010 at

      It’s the non-responsiveness that I find strange.

      It’s what they do, Tyler — Same reason the Caps didn’t directly address the Belanger issue, I assume.

    6. Coach pb
      September 29, 2010 at

      Given the complete lack of understanding of the cap and CBA I would not be at all surprised that no one in the room gets this.

      I just caught Tambellili/Matheson again last night on the Souray waivers thing.

      Kahbibulin’s long-term over 35 contract
      Brule’s waiver status
      Hartikainen’s signing date
      Team salary vs. Salary cap
      Khabibulin’s medical history

      And now Souray on waivers?

      Yeah it’s long odds that Tambellini understands the question.

      These are not strategical people.

    7. September 29, 2010 at

      Hockey players, coaches, and GM’s seem to be trained to be non-responsive pretty much regardless, so I’m not sure whether you can draw valid inferences from This particular instance of non-responsiveness.

      But I do agree that the evidence we have strongly a lack of knowledge and an inability to think strategically about the CBA. (The trading POS for Vandermeer instead of waiving POS may be one reason for optimism, though.)

    8. CurtisS
      September 29, 2010 at

      I think its fair to say that Tambellini did answer the question in a round about way like your example in comment 3 Tyler. He just told you a answer you didn’t want to hear. I get plain as day from his response that if the players are ready for this stage in development than they are going to play. Its clear to me that if they weren’t they would makes choices due to this and not due to ELC.

    9. September 29, 2010 at

      I tend to agree with Curtis above. When Tambellini says, “you have to really treat each situation on its own,” I take that to mean that he’s made a choice not to worry about the ELC salary implications. It’s not a position that I like, but it seems clear that it’s his position on the issue. And really, it makes total sense for Tambellini. His goals will always be short-term since there’s no guarantee that he’ll be the GM in four years when the benefit of sending the kids away kicks in.

    10. Woodguy
      September 29, 2010 at

      I think you can bank on that he didn’t understand the question.

      When Tambellini evades a question, he starts asking himself questions and answering them.

      Reporter: “so Souray threw the management under the bus, was he right?”

      Tambellini: “Do we want players who want to play in Edmonton? Absolutely, we think this is a great place to play and players should e excited to play here”

      Reporter: “Khabby is out for the season, did you know he had a history of back problems?”

      Tambellini: “Will we miss Nick? Yes, he’s our MVP and we are a better team with him”

    11. September 29, 2010 at

      When Tambellini says, “you have to really treat each situation on its own,” I take that to mean that he’s made a choice not to worry about the ELC salary implications. It’s not a position that I like, but it seems clear that it’s his position on the issue.

      Well, if Tambellini is saying that in this specific instance he’s made the decision that team and player development, w/in the context of the 10/11 and beyond Oilers, justify playing Hall now, that’s still a pretty different statement than a similar statement that nevertheless explicitly recognizes that other conditions irrespective of the NHL-readiness of the player require keeping Hall out of the NHL solely so as to gain three more advanced ELC years out of the player. If Tambellini’s not directly saying that only to maintain some type of perceived competitive advantage over GM’s who don’t understand the point, I’d have to imagine he’s being very naive. Though I guess if other GM’s are just as dumb as Tambellini appears to be, then all bets are off, and maybe Tambellini is actually smarter than other would-be dumb GM’s are. I think I’ve just proven Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

    12. September 30, 2010 at

      Outside of contracts and future contracts is there any reason from preseason so far that leads you to believe Hall and MPS should be in the minors?

    13. dawgbone
      September 30, 2010 at

      To be honest, yes.

      MPS has looked very sharp, though his “beat ‘em wide” is already starting to get figured out. He tried it several times yesterday and turned the puck over almost every time (though he did draw 3 penalties which is a plus).

      Hall hasn’t looked particularily great. I thought Horcoff and Eberle were what made that line tick against Vancouver and aside from the goal he scored in the game against Tampa, he wasn’t very noticable against mostly AHL fodder.

      Strictly looking at playing ability, it would be hard to keep MPS off the team.

      Hall is a different story though.

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