GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 15: Head coach Tom Renney of the Edmonton Oilers watches from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on December 15, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It was the worst kept secret in town, Tom Renney won't be returning to coach the Edmonton Oilers next season. The Oilers finally made the announcement this afternoon through their Twitter account that they will not be renewing Renney's contract. The announcement comes a full 40 days after the team played their final game of the season. Only in Edmonton, where it seems all decisions are made at glacial speeds, would it take more than a month to make this official.
Renney, who was with the Oilers for three seasons including two as the head coach, made some questionable decisions this season and was widely criticized for his use of the Chosen Line, most of which centred around how much ice time that group received. While he may not have done the best job in the NHL last season, I'm not sure how much better the team would have been with another coach behind the bench. The team he was given was simply not good enough to compete in the NHL and finished pretty much where everyone outside of management expected them to. That Renney is the man to take the fall for the failings of this team isn't necessarily fair but that's the job I guess.
With the Renney decision finally made, attention will now turn to the search for Renney's replacement. There have been plenty of names already thrown out for potential replacements and Brent Sutter, the former coach of the Calgary Flames, seems to be at the top of most lists. That Sutter's role as the head coach of Canada's World Championship team also came to an end today will no doubt be seen as anything but a coincidence by some. I don't know who will be the next coach of the Oilers, but whoever it is will be Tambellini's third hire in four years: his job will depend on getting this one right.