Thursday, July 31, 2008

Steve Tambellini

Morning presser today states that Steve Tambellini is our new GM. The message boards broke this one to me but after reading through their discussion, I have concluded that no one there actually knows a thing about our new Godfather. I don't blame them for this (after all it's generally quite hard to attribute any one particular decision to any one particular person in the NHL these days) but I want more. From Wikipedia:

"After his retirement from hockey, he was hired by the Canucks as the Director of Public and Media Relations and has remained with the franchise ever since. In 1997, he would be promoted to Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations. In 1998 his position would change again, this time to the Vice President of Player Personnel. In this position he would oversee player development and professional player scouting. He would excel at this position, eventually being named Assistant General Manager to Dave Nonis and to Mike Gillis after Nonis was fired by the Canucks on 14 April 2008[1].

In 2002, he was the Director of Player Personnel for the gold medal winning Canadian Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He would be rewarded again, being named the Director of Player Personnel for both the 2003 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, in both of which he would see his team win gold."

What I really want to know as an Oiler fan right now is threefold:

1) How much credit can we give Tambellini for thing(s) Vancouver has done well in his tenure?

2) How much blame can we give Tambellini for Vancouver's complete inability to fill in a roster around Roberto Luongo and the twins?

3) What will Tambellini's role actually be with the Oilers? The boards claim Lowe will still have final say on some moves but offer no quotes or links at this time. I like Tambellini's gold medal track record, yes, but his Stanley Cups won decades ago as a player record is severely lacking. How can he be the one to lead us to the promised land?

Anyhow, I humbly propose this post and its comments as a place where real facts about his real decisions (if we can find any) are discussed. Let the judgment begin!


Blogger Big T said...

Don't know Tambellini from a hole in the ground but at least this slows the 'old boys club' hiring trend that had been so prominent in the past.


7/31/2008 1:18 pm  
Blogger andy grabia said...

Anyhow, I humbly propose this post and its comments as a place where real facts about his real decisions (if we can find any) are discussed. Let the judgment begin!

Hey! Why do you get exclusive rights over this!? :)

Great post.

7/31/2008 1:43 pm  
Blogger Oilman said...

I hear he fathered a pretty decent prospect for the Islanders - but his wife won't return my calls to confirm this.

7/31/2008 2:46 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I don't know that it's possible to find that sort of information, Showerhead. Mike Winters has dug up some stuff and posted it in his last CinO post, and I suspect that is about as much as you'll get in one read anywhere.

Hell, in this corner of the internet we've scrutinized every movement made by the Oilers, and we don't have a clue what share of the good and bad decisions belonged to Scott Howson.

Frankly, I don't really know what to make of this whole situation, though on the surface I find it hard to see it as a true promotion for Kevin Lowe. I mean every aspiring hockey executive dreams of being an NHL GM one day, but do they dream of an even bigger day beyond that when they have less involvement in the day to day NHL ops, be more of an overseer and have more time to devote to the ECHL and AHL teams? I don't know, but I kind of doubt it.

7/31/2008 11:37 pm  
Blogger Bub said...

I dunno. What's it like to be on the phone all day? I remember when I wanted to cut lawns all day, but I'm glad I'm not doing that these days. I think Lowe was given the ability to look at his options and saw a good opportunity to get help. I wouldn't mind spending more time with Karen either.

8/01/2008 7:17 am  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Big T: I'd have to agree with you there - my very first reaction was that if anything, it's nice to see that they can look elsewhere. Of course, it's also nice to know they chose someone they know something about through Kevin Lowe.

Andy: Haha, you heard it here first! Intelligent discussion here only... anything elsewhere is unacceptable. EVER! :)

oilman: kudos if Jeff is yours and sorry for whatever you said/did to make Mrs. Tambellini cut you out of her life after his conception.

Vic: I'm on my way to CinO right after this post... and it's your point about Howson that made me include the brackets at the end of paragraph 1. It's really, really hard to tell who actually does what or if everything's just one big clusterfuck among a group of people. I imagine that this gray line offers a nice bit of protection to those involved, at least in the more passionate hockey markets, from stupid or fanatic fans so to speak.

Re: Kevin's promotion. I absolutely agree with what you're suggesting and was talking it over with a buddy yesterday as well. We basically came to the conclusion that it was a nice, prestige-filled way for the organization to end a chapter without ruffling too many feathers. Kevin Lowe is now nothing more than a consultant in my mind and he'll probably get paid more to do less than he used to. I think it's a nice way to replace him without anyone looking bad. Thing is, it's been at least a few months since I've been pissed off at him for anything though ;)

bub: Karen? Kevin's wife? Is she hot? :P

8/01/2008 5:18 pm  
Blogger Scott said...

April 16, Globe and Mail:

For the moment, [assistant GM Steve] Tambellini is running the show, which has immediately turned to Swedish free-agent forward Fabian Brunnstrom, 23, who is said to be waffling on the Canucks.
"Right now, Steve Tambellini is our senior hockey operations person and he is managing that situation," [Canucks team president Chris] Zimmerman said. "We still hope [Brunnstrom] is a player who can wind up coming here."

So as the go-to guy he didn't close a max rookie deal with Brunnstrom.

Vancouver Sun, April 16:

"Tambellini, who is scouting an under-18 tournament in Russia, hasn't yet met with Aquilini or Canuck president Chris Zimmerman and won't be back in Vancouver until Friday."

One of his responsibilities clearly included scouting and I'd imagine that he was a big part of who the Canucks took in this year's draft since Nonis was gone and Gillis probably wouldn't have had tons of looks at the Canucks players of interest. Cody Hodgson was widely praised for his play at the aforementioned tournament. Seems like a good pick to me, but it hasn't had nearly enough time to play out yet. In that I'm not really knowledgeable enough to comment on the first-round pick, I don't think I'll offer much other comment on the other picks the Canucks made, but it's worth noting that they didn't pick anybody else that played in the tournament.

8/02/2008 12:21 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

Scott: nice pick-up. Originally, weren't the Canucks supposed to be among the Brunnstrom frontrunners? I am still not convinced he was worth the hooplah (was it really a rookie contract??) but there could be an interesting story there. I think that as the few days have gone by it's becoming more and more clear to me that we can only wait and see.

The truth is, I've liked most of what Lowe has done from Spring to now. The timing surprises me, though I do like the new blood, new ideas, and non GAB aspects. Time will tell.

8/03/2008 10:32 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I haven't read any Tambellini posts on fan forums, or heard much chatter about him on talk radio, so this is probably old news to you, but anyhoo:

ESPN and a whack of other sources say that he was Gretzky's roommate during the 1978 WJCs.

Perhaps explaining how he became a FOG. Or maybe not.

He was a SortaGM before, with Mike Keenan, after Quinn was canned in Vancouver. From a NY Times article by Joe LaPointe written in 1997:

Keenan will not have the title of general manager. It remains vacant as the team continues to seek a replacement for Pat Quinn, who was dismissed two weeks ago.

In the meantime, Keenan will share some of the general manager's duties with Steve Tambellini, a senior vice president who will serve as ''designated senior hockey executive at this time,'' according to Stephen Bellringer, the president of the company that owns the Canucks.

''Assuming that Mike and Steve both agree on changes in team personnel, then those changes will be put in place,'' Bellringer said.

Thanks Mr Bellringer, that's as clear as mud! 'Bellringer' is a great name though.

Steve Tambellini told the NY Times:
Should any team wish to trade with the Canucks, Tambellini said, they should call Tambellini.

And Keenan, ever the ass, made this pissy comment in the same article:
Keenan's appointment also creates a conflict on his personal calendar. He was scheduled to be married in Boston on Dec. 27. But the Canucks are to play that night in Dallas. Keenan said he would discuss the matter with his fiancee and joked that he would make ''adjustments'' without consultation with Tambellini.

8/04/2008 10:10 am  

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