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.