Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oilers name Tambellini GM

Received a note today from the Oilers that general manager Kevin Lowe "will be on hand to announce important changes to the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Operations Department" today at a press conference.

The announcement is coming at 1:30.

UPDATE The Oilers have promoted Kevin Lowe from GM to president of hockey operations, hired Steve Tambellini from the Canucks to be the new GM and made Kevin Prendergast the assistant GM. [team release]

UPDATE For those that don't know the name well, Tambellini has been in the Canucks organization for 17 years, the past decade as a vice president in a hockey operations role. He was the assistant GM under Dave Nonis and Mike Gillis.

It was thought by some that he would be the replacement for Nonis, and when Gillis was hired, the possibility of Tambellini jumping ship was always there.

He's also had a big role with the Canadian national team, working as the director of player personnel with the 2002 Olympic team, 2003 world championship team and 2004 World Cup team.

Lowe and Tambellini worked together with the Hockey Canada program.

UPDATE Do note that this is not a move to take Lowe out of a hockey-related role. Lowe is highly regarded by new owner Daryl Katz and is likely to play a major role going forward.

Essentially, this is about creating a management structure with several hockey minds working together. Lowe remains at the top of that hierarchy.

UPDATE Here's Canucks GM Mike Gillis on the move: “On behalf of the entire Canucks organization we would like to thank Steve for his many contributions to our club as a player and manager over nearly 20 years. Since his days as a player and continuing through his time spent in our front office, Steve was a committed member of our team and community.

“This is an opportunity that Steve could not pass up and we are in full support of his decision to advance his career. We wish him, his wife Denise and their entire family the best of luck in the future.”

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At 1:39 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger Going Five Hole said...

Lowe is now the President of Hockey Ops. Steve Tambellini is now GM, and Kevin Prendergast is Asst. GM

At 2:07 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger Matthew said...

Wow, didn't see that one coming! Hopefully this adds to the upcoming Oilers juggernaut. :P

At 2:23 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger The Gate To The Groin For Yannick Bertrand said...


Whatever happened to the World Cup? Are they holding one this year? Or have they just scrapped the whole idea entirely?

/end threadjack

At 2:25 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous ken said...

Has Brian Burke issued a statement yet?

At 3:58 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger ryanbatty said...

Burke and Tambellini are good friends so I'm sure this is tampering somehow.

At 5:04 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the Oilers experiment with "outsourcing". This is a brave new world.


At 5:16 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this really a promotion? It sounds to me that Lowe is still the GM and Tambi is an assistant.

This is just the usual corporate nonsense of executives shuffling duties around amongst themseleves and giving themselves "grander" titles and higher salaries.

If Tambi is REALLY a GM he would have autonomy to make trades without Lowes's approval - and if you believe that will happen, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you!

At 5:29 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

If Tambi is REALLY a GM he would have autonomy to make trades without Lowes's approval - and if you believe that will happen, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you!

It does sound a little like the Lacroix/Giguere relationship, or even the Davidson/Pleau arrangement. Seems to be a few of these management "teams" out there.

The fact is, every team is allowed to divide responsibilites amongst however they like, but there has to be certain titles given out for NHL purposes... Tambi now represents the Oilers at GM meetings, not Lowe, for example.

At 5:51 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saskhab, you make a good point, but even in those relationships one is clearly an assistant to the other. I get a laugh out of the St. Louis press releases announcing player signings or trades. They always start off with "John Davidson announces" and Larry Pleau's name is barely mentioned - even though he is supposedly the GM.

When Gillis came in he immediately appointed Gillman as his assistant GM for contracts, cap admin. and league compliance, and Dave Gagne as Director of Player Development. He then appointed Scott Mellanby to some strange sounding special advisor position that no one could figure out.

It looks to me that he kept Tambelini on for a while to allow him to find a new position somewhere else.

With Tambellini now gone, I wouldn't be surprised to see Scott Mellanby appointed to Tambellini's job as the second assistant GM to Gillis.

At 5:52 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Keith said...

Katz and Lowe are really proving the Dilbert Principle on this one. Incompetence is rewarded with a promotion.

Though really, this is a good move for the Oilers. That organization desperately needed some new blood, not just more former Oilers from the 80s. Getting Lowe out of the GM chair is a step forward for the Oilers.

At 6:46 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Eskimos had a similar "Hugh Campbell is the GM/President/Invisible Man" thing going on for several years and we can see how well that's served the team in the long run. They had to bring in Rick Decker to find him so they could officially "retire" him.

At 7:38 p.m., July 31, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

I've gotta agree with Keith. Kicking Lowe upstairs and bringing in someone from outside is certainly an improvement, although he already took the opportunity to do one last team makeover...

At 8:38 p.m., July 31, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowe sent his kids to school in US because Edmonton was too tough for them (daddy is always getting hammered).

He also is looking real estate possibilities in Arizona so the way I see this is that Lowe wanted to get rid of GMs daily routines.

If he got same salary this was a brilliant move from his side. Tambellini will take the heat, do the work and Lowe takes credit if Oil happens to have success.


At 12:19 p.m., August 01, 2008, Blogger Dennis Prouse said...

It has been made clear that Lowe still gets the final say on all hockey matters. This is a little like the Miami Dolphins front office in football -- there is a GM who runs the day to day stuff, but Parcells still gets final say on any significant roster decisions.

Viewed in that context, this is only a medium sized promotion for Tambellini. Yes, he gets to call himself an NHL GM, but he still has a boss on hockey related matters. (Then again, so did JF Jr. in Toronto, having to report to the Board every time he wanted to order paper for the photocopier.) He didn't have much of a choice but to leave Vancouver, though, given that he had been passed over for the GM's job, and that Gillis had been bringing in his own people to assume duties that sounded suspiciously like they used to belong to Tambellini. At least in Edmonton, his duties are clear, and he is a valued member of the management team.

At 4:09 p.m., August 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Tambellini to get his chance finally. That he wanted to go to a Canadian team and waited for a good fit says alot to me.
With the quality young core, some good prospects in the pipeline and solid vets, the Oilers have a good foundation for him to start proving himself as a GM, with Lowe still at the helm for any guidance. They've added 'depth'. And as with the on-ice team philosophy, they win as a team and lose as team. And Lowe is now freer to spread his time and energy to other facets of a growing organization. All of which has increased my confidence in Katz's vision for the Oilers, giving his big gun the resources and support to surround himself with to do what has to be done.


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