(The Edmonton Oilers are scheduled to make the details official in their press conference at 2 p.m.; a video feed can be seen here. Meanwhile, we're rather in love with this hasty report from Slam! Sports that cites Oilers fan sites and Twitter as sources while misspelling Tom Renney's name. Also: Calgary has a press conference at 1 p.m. MT. Hmmm ...)
Today's news that Pat Quinn will be the head coach and Tom Renney the associate coach for the Edmonton Oilers appears to be, in my cynical mind, the intersection of celebrity coach worship and hockey practicality.
Hiring Tom Renney as head coach would have been the "new start" that GM Steve Tambellini stated he wanted upon
firing mutually deciding that Craig MacTavish should no longer be the Oilers coach. But he also would have been immediately maligned by Oilers fans as a preacher of tedious systematic hockey; no matter how successful it can be for the right roster, as it was at times for the New York Rangers. Hockey smarts know that MacTavish to Renney would be an upgrade; but that would have been a hell of a tough sell to a jaded fan base.
Enter Pat Quinn, Superstar, riding that Craig Hartsburg pipeline from world juniors gold back to the NHL. He's stated time and again that he still has the competitive fire to get behind the bench. Quinn's a name that, at the very least, elicits a response; and already, it's one of reverence. Plus, unless Tambellini's making some big moves via trade, the roster won't be much different than last season. Quinn behind the bench at least offers a chance that this collection of Oilers will compete before a slew of younger players come up.
From Darren Dreger of TSN, who broke the story:
The move reunites Quinn and Renney with general manager Steve Tambellini from their days together with the Vancouver Canucks. Quinn worked as head coach and general manager for 11 seasons in Vancouver and was behind the bench from 1990 to 1996.
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Quinn, 66, is one of the NHL's most experienced coaches - and bucks a recent trend, in which many untried coaches have received their first NHL opportunities this year. Three such candidates - Todd Richards, Kevin Dineen and Scott Arniel - were also considered by the Oilers, but ultimately did not get the job.
David Staples of Cult of Hockey:
Hmmm, out with the old Oilers Old Boys Club, in with the old Canucks Old Boys Club. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Is this a good thing? I guess part of your answer depends on what you thought of the old boss, MacTavish and Lowe. They did a good job, in my opinion, until the last few years, when things went awry, when they didn't recognize quickly enough the need to strip down the team in an even more radical fashion than they did. Not that anyone else recognized that either. The fans, the pundits and the management team in Edmonton were all on a '06 high, and didn't want to go down too fast afterwards.
We'll have an ear on the Oilers press conference, and update this post after the big introductions.