The longer it took to make an announcement, the more sure we were becoming that Edmonton Oilers' head coach Tom Renney would not be back behind the bench for the upcoming season. Finally Thursday afternoon the Oilers sent out a tweet saying "Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announces the club will not renew the contract of Head Coach Tom Renney." You have to hope that this was not how Renney found out his fate, but this is how announcements are made in this day and age.
Tambellini followed the tweet up with a short press conference where he did not announce who the next head coach is, but many out there would have you believe that ex-Flames coach Brent Sutter is soon to be named. There has also been no announcement as to the status of Steve Tambellini's new contract, nor the rest of the coaching staff. There is a possibility that associate coach Ralph Kruger is hoping for a promotion within the organization and he could even have already been promised something. This would be why Kruger was so quick to dispel rumours that he was about to take a coaching job in Europe.
There has also been the suggestion that Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson could be up for the job of Oilers' head coach. To this point, Nelson has only been an assistant coach in the NHL but Nelson does have a relationship with several of the players and he is known to be a player's coach. Then of course, look how far he has taken the Barons.
The other Oilers news this week was concerning the new arena. Ground will not break until spring of 2013, but more and more Edmontonians are being won over by the design. The new arena is still designed to be more than an arena, but rather a new focal point of Edmonton's downtown. The new arena will be just a part of the greater arena complex and in an area that could use a little sprucing up. The "new" arena in Columbus has drawn new high density housing (condos) construction as well as a revitalization of local business in an area of their city that also needed some help. While it has taken 15 years in Columbus, the changes are impressive and Edmonton may even see their results sooner with Grant MacEwan University being situated just down the road.
The Oklahoma City Barons have begun their AHL Western Conference finals this week, but with rather alarming results. The Barons were shut out and badly Thursday night when they dropped a 5-0 decision to Toronto Marlies. Thankfully, the team bounced back Friday taking game 2 by a score of 5-1 showing that this series is anyone's. But you may need to convince the people in Oklahoma City that the team could still win. With a documented attendance of 2621, I have no idea what it will take to bring in the fans. And numbers like that make me feel very wrong for saying the Oil Kings ~10,000 fans was still too small of a crowd.
The Barons will play the Marlies 3 times in Toronto next week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will return to OKC for games 6 and 7 if needed.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are Edmonton's most recent champions after beating the old Oil Edmonton Oil Kings, now Portland Winterhawks, in a one sided game 7. The Oil Kings took the WHL championship for the first time in modern franchise history with a 4-1 victory that saw two assists from Edmonton Oilers' prospect Kristians Pelss.
Friday night, the Oil Kings played their first game of the Memorial Cup and while they did blow a 2 goal lead, they eventually come back to beat the host team the Shawinigan Cataractes4-3. Two of the Oilers' prospects were among the goal scorers; Pelss opened the game's scoring and Martin Gernat scored the Oil Kings' third of the game.
The Oil Kings will get the rest of the weekend off with their next game being Monday night against the Saint John Sea Dogs and Tuesday the Oil Kings will face off against the London Knights. Time off from competition hasn't hurt the Oil Kings through their WHL playoffs, hopefully the team will use the rest to their advantage in this situation as well.
Have a safe and happy May long weekend everyone!