Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oilers hire Quinn and Renney

I guess its obvious that I wont be complaining about the coaching decision after declaring Pat Quinn and Brett Sutter my two choices for next head coach. Adding Tom Renney, who is apparently and excellent tactition, as associate head coach is a pure bonus and as long as the they can can co-exist I believe they will compliment themselves nicely. Frankly I'm stunned that we were able to land both coaches. I'm not going to cover Quinn and Renney much - google is a wonderful tool. But here are some couple good reads on Quinn by Lowetide and Brownlee and another one by Lowetide on Tom Renney.

Experience

Whether the team is winning, losing, making mistakes or getting everything right, experience within the organization is valuable. The Oilers roster is thin on experience and could use some more but these additions to the coaching staff should help support these players. For Tambellini, you cant risk hiring a green coach to run the show with such a young team. The impact could be disastrous. As an Oilers fan, you may not care because the punishment is likely a lottery pick but as a GM with your job on the line, I think it was a no brainer.

Regarding Bucky

It seems there are many people whose only complaints about the coaching decision was that Kelly Buchberger was made assistant coach. I have no problems with Bucky and for the most part am not concerned with complementary coaches. Its like complaining about 4th liners. Sure it matters but I'd much rather talk head coach and first line talent. Coinsidently I think the Oilers top 6 forwards are in definate need of an upgrade. As for the old boys club abuse, I get it. After falling on their faces after 2006 Kevin Lowe and MacT deserve some lumps. While they have made mistakes (which also adds to their experience) I dont get what Bucky has done wrong to be associated with it. I'd wager most NHL organizations have ex-players on their staff so its not like the Oilers are alone here. Bucky has paid his dues and quite honestly has almost as much coaching experience as Dan Blysma and a similar (but better) career as a player. Sure Huddy would have been a better choice but my guess is that Huddy goes where MacT goes. Move along...

Implications

To my eye there are several observations to be made. Most of which are positive.

- Tom Renney was likely promised the coaching job once Quinn retires.
- Katz pulled out the wallet to get the best available staff he could buy. After seeing Katz pursue Hossa last summer with a truckload of money its clear Katz is committed to winning. All we need now is the rink announcement.
- There is potential for the "Olympic effect" to benefit the Oilers this year. With the Oilers loaded with former Team Canada coaches and execs, there is the possibility players want to play in Edmonton for the chance to get noticed. Getting the new rink announced before July 1 would also help boost the teams image (yes I meant to comment on the new rink twice).
- The Oilers have gradually been trying to build a puck possession skill team since 2006. Last years team was not a success, due mostly to the regression in play by Nilsson and the lack of progress from Gagner and Cogliano. From most reports, Quinn likes his gritty bruisers, so it will be interesting to see what management does this summer with the team. Building a winner is not a one year task and my hope is that they stick with the plan. Our defense is quality (sign Grebeshkov) and I believe Gagner and Cogliano will progress this season like we were all hoping for last season. This team still needs a top-end forward but I think a roster overall isn't necessary. That and the fact that overhauling the roster and coaching staff is too much change. This franchise needs some continuity to gain traction.
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