No Heatley, No Additions, No Chance His Players Got the Hint?

The Dany Heatley saga has come to an end in Edmonton, but don't think the drama has. On Friday, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini publicly announced he's no longer interested in the disgruntled Ottawa Senators sniper.

After a month of everything from constructing the trade to Heatley declining the trade, to holding the trade and eventually removing the trade, Edmonton finally decided earlier this week that enough was enough. "We gave ourselves an allotted amount of time internally ... to explore every opportunity to see if there was something that would work -- it didn't," Tambellini said during a conference call with reporters. "It's time for us to move on. We're very comfortable with that."

Speaking of "internal" conversations, I wish someone would have asked if the Oilers GM, new coaches and management have had some internal conversations with players who underperformed last year since we seem to have decided changes are not in the forseeable future. We can only hope so, because if what Tambellini says is true or we as fans choose to read between the lines, Tambellini believes that the addition of goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and continued development of a young core is enough to make the Oilers playoff contenders next season.

Now that he's done chasing Heatley, Tambellini stated he's not likely to try and make any other big moves and that's a scary thought if those "internal" conversations don't change much. Based on what we saw last year and how this team has changed this summer, the Oilers are not a playoff team and are not even close to the gritty hard to play against style that Tambellini claimed needed to be added.

"We've got a team that we're looking forward to seeing in September." said Tambellini. That statement was quite the opposite of his previous press conference in which he relieved Craig MacTavish of his coaching duties and also used that time to address his players and their lack of intensity and desire to win hockey games. "This does not absolve the players and their performance, or lack thereof." were Tambellini's exact words when addressing one of the reasons his coach was let go.

So knowing that this team consists of exactly the same players it ended the season with, less a few key components, do the Oilers truly believe that Pat Quinn and Tom Renney can turn a group of non-gritty, but skilled underachievers into a hard to play, in your face squad that rattles off 10 more wins than last year? Or was this press conference more a smoke screen to slowly lower the expectations of fans and media clammering for a change?

Whatever it is, we better hope that either just attempting to land a Dany Heatley says to some of the players on this team, "we better get our butts in gear or we could be next" or August proves Tambellini wrong and that these "hard to find" trades and opportunities to move contracts present themselves. Because, if they don't, the Oilers have neither improved nor rebuilt anything to remotely represent an improved roster.

To me, this press conference wasn't about Dany Heatley. It was about letting fans and media know the Oilers tried to make changes and couldn't. That we're about to rely almost entirely on a different set of coaches and on minor league players looking to crack the line-up.

Don't be surprised if the next public comments from Tambellini suggest the "internal" conversations have been going well. Not the kind of news I think most fans were hoping for.


Post a Comment

More To Read