More projection from the Oilogosphere

Why Dean Lombardi is so mad at the Edmonton Oilers | Edmonton Journal
But does Lomby have a leg to stand on? I say Gary Bettman will side with Tamby and the Oilers in the end. Make no mistake, the Los Angeles hockey mob is upset over what they call Mulletgate, the mess over the Ryan Smyth-Colin Fraser trade. In a recent poll at the MayorsManor blog, taken by a few hundred L.A. fans, 52 per cent said the Kings should receive an additional draft pick from the Oilers over the dispute, while 7 per cent said an additional player was in order, 8 per cent thought the Oilers should be fined and 13 per cent said Fraser should remain an Oiler until he’s healthy. One fan wrote to the Mayor, Kings blogger John Hoven, that Smyth shouldn’t be allowed to play for the Oilers until Fraser is able to do so. Just 15 per cent said the trade was fine as it is, which is how I strongly suspect NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will see it.

A few things:

  • The Kings GM is named Lombardi. Lomby is a Christian-themed claymation character from the 50s.
  • This is a blog post whose headline promises some kind of explanation of Dean Lombardi's anger. The article doesn't so much as mention Lombardi's anger, though.
  • As far as the "Los Angeles hockey mob [being] upset over...Mulletgate"... No. No Kings fans are upset. I don't even know what they could possibly think Kings fans are upset about. I guess it's because they think we wanted to keep Ryan Smyth. Most Kings fans, I think, are happy to have gotten rid of him. As far as Fraser goes, 99% of fans couldn't care less, literally, it's not on their radar at all.
  • My point of view is that it's irritating that Tambellini is so unethical, and this is compounded by the lengths Oilers fans will go to justify it. But it stays squarely at the level of annoyance, like a parking ticket.
  • All these attempts to ascribe excessive emotion (anger, whining, carrying on, etc.) to Lombardi's behavior is what you call "minimizing." It minimizes the actual infraction. Stop yer whining. Why are you so upset? etc.
  • Oh, there's a poll over at the Edmonton Journal. Go vote.

Hey, while I was writing this post, another Oiler post appeared, this one from the new Kukla's Korner blog:

Fraser Feud - Kukla's Korner (Lisa McRichie)
[...] I don’t believe that the Oilers set out to pull the wool over the heads of the Kings. [...] In media availability [at the draft] with Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini, the question of Smyth and the trade came up quickly and often. Tambellini would dismiss the subject only for another person to bring it up again. On Brule’s health, Tambellini said "I’m not discussing it like that. He’s been cleared to play for a long time."

Yes, and that little bit of parsing is what you call a "tell". Tambellini says, I'm not going to tell you he is injured or he isn't injured. The "way I will discuss it" is to use the carefully constructed phrase "he's been cleared to play for a long time."

I think we can all dispense with the "ignorance" defense.

Further reports stating that the Kings had planned to buy out Gilbert Brule said that it was the Kings legal team that advised that the Kings would not be able to buy out Brule.

No, it was the NHL lawyers who advised the Kings that Brule was injured according to the Oilers' own documents, no matter what Tambellini said.

It no longer sounded as though it was a matter of the NHL clearing Brule to play, but a legal matter of buying out a player due to their Brule’s reported depression.

No. The depression is a symptom of post-concussion syndrome. Therefore he is injured and can't be bought out. Back to Tambellini's parsing: see, he's cleared to play, except for the depression thing, which is concussion related they say but we don't buy any of that mental stuff, MAN UP.

At the conclusion of the weekend, the trade finally broke. It was of course Colin Fraser that went back to Los Angeles. Fraser had suffered an ankle injury near the end of the Oilers’ regular season, and had been slow to heal. The Oilers doctors had concluded that Fraser required time, but that the ankle would heal.

According to Tambellini, the Oilers medical staff said that Fraser would be cleared for full training six days hence.

The Kings’ medical staff determined Fraser to be in a different situation [...]. The main and worst point to this whole story is that it features a lot of one sided arguments. If the Oilers medical staff and the independent doctor were to come to the same conclusion,

which they didn't

that more time was needed before opting for surgery, what kind of legs does this argument have to stand on.

I don't understand the question. Which argument? The independent doctor ruled that the player was indeed injured more than Tambellini indicated (score one for the Kings) but that, out of an abundance of optimism, maybe we should all wait two weeks to see if the condition that hadn't healed in four months would spontaneously disappear. It didn't.

However, if it was that cut and dry, why couldn’t the mediator help conclude this?

Because it's mediation. And Tambellini isn't budging from his position that what he said was true enough. That is to say, not really true, but you don't want Smyth back do you?

Unfortunately the medical reports will also remain a mystery to us as bystanders.

Not really though. We know that the Oilers thought he would be ready in a couple of days. We know the Kings staff said (all the things you mentioned) and recommended surgery. We know the independent doctor agreed with the Kings with the "let's wait two weeks" provision, and then again agreed with the Kings after the two weeks. We know he had the surgery. We know he's out until at least September, and, more likely, November.

Not much of a mystery, really.

[...] The final step is of course a decision from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The Oilers could be losing draft picks, or be fined, Bettman has a few options.

He can also suspend or banish Tambellini, Lombardi or (my choice) the entire Oiler medical staff. And he can transfer or assign players wherever he wants.

However, if Bettman agrees that the Kings were aware of the injury,

"The injury" = something that will be healed in six days. That's what they were made aware of.

that they did accept Fraser "as is" and that the decision to have surgery was a decision that wasn’t cut and dry

That's irrelevant. You can't argue that, essentially, "he's only out for longer because you operated on him." Because the independent doctor already determined that it wasn't healed and wasn't likely to heal any time soon on its own.

then this matter just end where it is now, with a lot of bad blood. [...] Even if the league finds that no further steps need be taken, further damage has been done to the Oilers’ medical staff. It is very unlikely that you will see a heartfelt apology from the Los Angeles Kings.

This is puzzling. Why would the Kings apologize? For besmirching Tambellini's good name? It's as though she's arguing that it's all one big misunderstanding. If that were the case, Tambellini would have cleared the matter up a month ago. All the Kings have said is you can't believe anything this guy says, oh and he won't return our calls. Both of those assertions are demonstrably factual.

If the league finds that the Oilers are at fault, I would expect a very basic apology, not at all heartfelt either.

There aren't going to be any apologizes, from either side.

[...] One thing that is quite certain is that Gary Bettman does not appreciate the airing of grievances in a public manner, it is a safe decision to assume that since there have been no further memorable quotes that both sides have been told to tread carefully.

I agree with both these points.

[...] Steve Tambellini didn’t offer any other players, or compensation to the Kings because as far as he is concerned he was as straightforward as he could have been; that Lombardi was made aware of the situation to it’s full extent.

There's no reason to believe this. Tambellini offered Brule, said he was cleared, the league said he wasn't, he offered Fraser, said he would be cleared in six days, turns out that wasn't true either. There's nothing straightforward about it.

I have to agree with Tambellini. Neither of us are doctors and we have to rely on what the experts tell us. With both the Oilers’ medical staff, and the independent assessment agreeing that this was a wait and see situation

That's not what the independent doctor said. Actually, that's not what the Oilers' doctors said either. The Oilers doctors said he was healed (on Wednesday). The independent doctor said he was not healed then and he wasn't healed two weeks after the deal, and (subsequently) he wasn't healed a month after the deal either.

Not a "wait and see" situation. Oilers: "see on Wednesday he'll be ALLLLLLLL better." Independent doctor: "wait two weeks to see if a miracle occurs, and if not, operate." Not the same. Not wait and see.

The only thing that's wait and see is whether Bettman is more irritated by Lombardi's public comments or Tambellini's lying and capricious attitude regarding the health of his players.