Steve Tambellini

Oilers GM on coaching change: “Expectations will increase”

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After inspiring columns about procrastination, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini decided to fire head coach Tom Renney. Tambellini discussed his decision to part ways with Renney and what he qualities he’s looking for in their next bench boss.

First, on ousting Renney and changing the culture in Edmonton:

“Tom’s done some great things for our hockey club … But we felt it was the right decision to make a change. We’re entering a new phase for our hockey club,” Tambellini said. “We need to get to a different level of compete where we’re competing for playoff spots. Expectations will increase.”

Ah, the “compete level” line. I’m starting to think that “compete level” is the NHL executives’ answer to a CEO talking about “thinking outside the box.”*

The most important question for the Oilers is: what’s next? Tambellini said that he hopes to get a new coach in place before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, where the Oilers will have the first pick for the third consecutive year (barring a trade).

“There are a few people we have interest in; I would hope to have something in place prior to the draft,” Tambellini said. “The people who are here right now need to be a lot better on a consistent basis.”

Does that include Tambellini?

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts on who would be the right fit for the Oilers.

(Personally, I think Michel Therrien might be an underrated pick. He took an unshaped mass of potential in Pittsburgh and brought them to the Stanley Cup finals, showing them “how to play defense” along the way. That’s the biggest deficit in Edmonton right now, so perhaps he would serve as a good “bridge” from cellar dweller to contender status. That’s just my take, though.)

Here’s video of the presser:

* – Do people still say that?

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.