The Edmonton Oilers have named their new head coach, and it will be Pat Quinn. They've also picked a new associate, Tom Renney, and of the three assistant coaches, it now appears that only Kelly Buchberger will remain behind the bench, while Charlie Huddy and Bill Moores may find employment elsewhere in the organization.
Some quick thoughts:
- Quinn's an old-school coach; line-matching is not one of his strong suits and while Craig MacTavish (like virtually every other NHL coach) preferred veterans Quinn has an even stronger bias in that direction. I think this is a poor choice, and not one suited to the current roster.
- Lowetide did a "Quinn in a Box" bit earlier in the month which can be found here.
- Tom Renney is a good coach, and I'd imagine he is the succession plan for whenever Quinn decides to leave (under his own power or otherwise). Lowetide has a pretty detailed piece on him here, and honestly I think he is a tremendous hire as an associate coach. He has a good reputation tactically and for his work with young players, and his powerplays have generally been effective. Of note: the Rangers under his watch were one of the more effective teams in the league at keeping the puck in the right end of the rink. His personality may be better suited for the associate role than the head coaching role.
- Renney is likely, for good and bad, the succession plan. For good because it's always nice to see a plan, but for bad because it isn't always so nice to be locked into a course of action, especially if other options become available.
- Further proof that the "old boy's club" isn't a phenomenon limited to the Oilers; Tambellini hired from outside the group but grabbed two coaches who he has a ton of history with. This is par for the course in the NHL and makes sense (how is Tambellini supposed to trust a stranger nearly as much), but I really would have liked some more candidates considered from outside his direct sphere of influence (Laviolette being one example).
- Apparently Scott Arniel wasn't being seriously considered.
- The choice of Buchberger over Huddy was expected, but still disappointing. I wonder if Huddy is being considered for the Springfield job.
On the whole, this probably wasn't the best available candidate, although I really like the hire of Renney as an associate. Steve MacIntyre should be happy today, and I suspect we're about to see a team that looks very similar to Quinn's Maple Leafs, except without a Curtis Joseph.