Tambellini: Dishonest or incompetent? (or both?)

HockeyBuzz.com - Richard Cloutier - Kings or Clowns?

Kings GM Dean Lombardi has made the claim that the extent of Fraser's injuries were misrepresented by the Oilers at the time of the deal. The chances Oilers GM Steve Tambellini intentionally mislead the Kings? Slim to none.

Colin Fraser, according to Tambellini, was within 6 days of being cleared for full training. In reality, Fraser will be cleared several months from now. It doesn't matter if Tambellini intentionally mislead the Kings by lying about what he knew, or by not looking too closely at his player's injury, or by downplaying injuries as a matter of policy, or just out of incompetence. The result is the same. And so is the grievance. Item not as described.

Just for the sake of argument, imagine what a blameless, upstanding, fair-dealing GM would do if it turned out that two players IN A ROW turned out to be injured beyond what his medical staff indicated. The first thing he would do is, reprimand the medical staff, get a new staff maybe, assure the league and the public that this obvious negligence won't happen again, probably ought to act embarrassed (since it's embarrassing to be incompetent and/or be caught in a lie) and offer to make it right with regard to this particular trade with the Kings. They call this, "the right thing to do."

Did Tambellini do any of these things? No. He said, hey "he's their player." And that reaction tells you all you need to know.

This whole situation is an embarrassment to the Kings franchise.

Projection denied.

To quote the most recent news story written on the situation by Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times: "The Kings don't want to void the trade." Okay, so what is the motivation for filing a grievance? Profiteering? I bet it's profiteering. Did he say "profiteering"? Obviously the Kings are trying to improve the draft pick they received as part of the deal.

Er, no. Profiteering is, for example, raising the price of batteries after an earthquake. Complaining that someone sold you damaged goods is not profiteering. Unless you think it's unethical to pursue the remedies you're entitled to.

Lombardi is mad he got so little from a situation he was forced to deal with. Smyth wanted out, and there was only one team he wanted to go to: The Oilers. Tambellini, in a moment of wisdom, realized the Kings hands were tied, and offered as little as possible in the deal.

Replace "and offered as little as possible in the deal" with "and so gambled that Lombardi wouldn't be able to complain if it turned out Fraser was not 'as described.'"

p.s. Lombardi isn't mad he "got so little" for Smyth. He's happy to be rid of him. See Simon Gagne.

You know what sucks in all of this? The league is going to support the Kings. Why? Because in [sic] respect to the league, Los Angeles is more important than Edmonton.

I get it. The Oilers are justified in being unethical because nobody loves them. It's always good to have your excuse worked out in advance.

Can you imagine how good it would be for the league if the King won a cup this season? If the Kings can be a contender for the next three to five seasons?

Just like Bettman was throwing the VAN/LAK series to the Kings because the league wants L.A. to win the ... wait, what?

Of course the league is going to support LA in respect to Fraser: Since when does the league do what's right over what's best for business?

But. You. Said. Fraser is a non-entity, according to you. So how is it good for league business for LA to be rid of a non-entity? (However, if Bettman rules that the trade stands but the Kings get Taylor Hall instead of Fraser, then I might start to agree with you.)

If I had to guesstimate what will happen next, I will suggest the league will appoint a Mediator/Negotiator who will attempt to broker a compromise.

This already happened. Try to pay attention.

The Oilers, if they have a brain, will have no part of it.

This already happened.

Why? In part because they haven't done anything wrong, and in part because they have already said they won't offer compensation. If they negotiate now, it will be seen as an admission of guilt in a legal sense.

That's gibberish. (Forget for a second this ship has already sailed.) If they cooperate with a league-appointed mediator (which they already did not do), it's (1) not an admission of anything, it's an attempt at a resolution, and (2) there would be no legal ramifications because there would be a settlement.

Lombardi will use any willingness to compromise the Oilers show against them in a courtroom.

There is no courtroom. There is only Bettman.

If the Oilers show any goodwill to work out a deal, Lombardi could then decline a negotiated compensation, and instead decide to go the legal root, pointing out as part of his argument that if the Oilers felt no responsibility, they wouldn't have participated in negotiations for compensation. See how this works?

You don't. First of all, the "route" is the grievance, the process of which is described in the By-Laws and which has already started. Second, willingness to participate in mediation does not indicate guilt because if it did it would equally show Lombardi's guilt. It is always a condition of mediation that the act of participating is not incriminating. Otherwise, as if this needs to be pointed out, there would never be any mediation anywhere ever.

[T]he only way there can be compensation is if the deal is void [sic], because changing the deal makes the original deal invalid.

Bettman can do whatever he wants. He can reshape the deal. He can assign or eliminate draft picks. He can decide that Smyth belongs to whomever Bettman wants him to belong to. He can fine Tambellini or Lombardi, or suspend them, or ban them. And it's binding.

The league could just take away an Oilers draft pick to punish them, but consider the implications if this happened. Teams would file into Bettman's office for a month straight, claiming teams screwed them in previous deals. He'll get up. They'll all get up. It will be anarchy.

No it won't. Because (1) it's unusual for GMs to try to shaft one another like this, and (2) Bettman can just say "fuck off" to all these fictitious copycat grievances.

You know what would be funny? If the Oilers got mad at the Kings for misrepresenting the Calgary Flames interest in Smyth. Oh, have you heard that story? The Flames apparently asked about Smyth, but made no trade offers. The Kings, through "leaking information" to the media, lied about the Flames interest, as a way to pressure the Oilers to increase what they offered. The whole Flames angle to the Smyth deal during the NHL Draft was a hoax created by the Kings. Should the Oilers get compensation for the Kings manipulation of the media? Should the Kings be punished for their tactics?

So, you're saying...pretending there is other interest in a trade negotiation is the same thing as pretending the player you're trading is actually able to play?

But, wait: I'm more interested in what is implied by your point about the Flames. Since Tambellini essentially gave up -- by your own admission -- nothing, to get Smyth, what exactly was the effect of the Lombardi Calgary gambit? The argument that the Oilers are due some kind of compensation makes no sense unless the Oilers didn't want Smyth in the first place and were essentially forced to take him.

And guess what? I agree with you. Lombardi played Tambellini in the press, forced him to take Ryan Smyth by getting the fan base all riled up about it. And Tambellini was pissed, so he tried to palm off not one but two broken players, as his petty attempt at revenge.

Sadly, what Lombardi did (if in fact that's what happened) is not prohibited or even unethical. He simply identified Tambellini's weakness, which is that Smyth wanted Edmonton, and Edmonton (fans) wanted Smyth, and the only one who didn't want Smyth was Tambellini. That's called insight. And that's why Lombardi gets the big bucks.

I feel bad for Colin Fraser in all of this. Aside from having surgery, which always sucks, he gets to have his name associated with his new employer's ridiculous temper-tantrum. If the league does the right thing (tells Lombardi "as is" means "as is"), I can't wait to hear what names Lombardi calls everyone.

"As is" means "as described." It does not mean "whatever condition he turns out to be in is retroactively what I said his condition was." Nice try though.