Steve Tambellini

Report: Oilers to extend GM Tambellini’s contract


The Edmonton Oilers are shaping up to be in the running for the third straight No. 1 overall pick in the draft this season. With that kind of futility you’d expect that big changes would be on the way.

According to Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun, you’d be half right.

Jones reports that the Oilers will be extending GM Steve Tambellini’s deal to stay on as the architect of a team that’s currently 29th overall in the league.

Indeed, sometime between the all-star break and the trade deadline, it is expected Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe will sit down and work out the arrangements of a new deal going forward.

When the deal gets announced, Jones says, all depends on when (or if) the Oilers go on another winning streak. If the team keeps losing, making an announcement that you’re keeping the guy that built a loser of a team around won’t go over too well.

What’s curious here, as Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal points out, is that Tambellini is in the final year of his contract. If the team is stinking things up this bad, why keep him around any longer? General managers usually get a bit more rope to do things and Tambellini is in his fourth year with the team.

Four years and possibly three No. 1 picks? He’s either a terrible GM or a genius helping them fill up on young talent the hard way.

Related: What does future hold for coach Renney?

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?