Tom Renney is the latest example of why coaching in the NHL is not much fun.
After letting him twist in the wind for six weeks after the regular season ended, Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced Thursday that Renney’s contract as head coach will not be renewed. Tambellini compounded the slight by not doing much to slow down the speculation former Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter will get the job.
Renney, 57, never got much of a chance to show if his program would work with the young Oilers team. He took over at the start of the 2010-11 season and had a 57-87-22 record in his two years with the team.
But the team was in rebuilding mode both seasons as teenagers Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, both No. 1 picks overall in the entry draft, were given prominent roles along with other first-rounders like Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner. The Oilers finished 29th overall this season and won the first pick overall in this year’s draft lottery.
The firing is rather odd, considering Renney is considered one of the best teachers in the game and the number of young players on the Oilers. He also has a keen eye for talent – when he was head coach of the New York Rangers a lot of the players on this year’s Eastern Conference finalists were drafted or acquired on his advice. It is unlikely Renney will be unemployed for long.
Since Tambellini became GM of the Oilers in July, 2008, the turnover rate among the coaches became high. Incumbent Craig MacTavish was dumped at the end of the 2008-09 season in favour of Pat Quinn. But Quinn, who had Renney on his staff looking over his shoulder as an assistant coach and de-facto successor, lasted only for the 2009-10 season.
While Sutter is considered the front-runner for the job, with Todd Nelson, the coach of the Oilers’ American Hockey League farm team in Oklahoma City also a candidate. Tambellini is not expected to name Renney’s successor immediately.