Summer of Steve: Quinn gets a new office

Jason Gregor
June 22 2010 02:35PM

CALGARY, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Pat Quinn of the Edmonton Oilers yells from the bench in the third period against the Calgary Flames in NHL preseason action on September 15, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

The Summer of Steve continued today with Steve Tambellini making his biggest move so far: relieving Pat Quinn of his coaching duties and naming him Senior Hockey Advisor and promoting Tom Renney from associate coach to head coach.

This move isn’t that surprising.

Back in April I wrote that Quinn might not be the best fit for this team moving forward:

"I wouldn’t be surprised to see a coaching change, but I wonder if Quinn is the right guy to lead the troops into next season.

"If Quinn stays Tambellini will have to acquire a few more players who play with fire and grit. Quinn demands a lot from his players, and wants them to be hard to play against, but that’s not the forte of this group right now.

"Quinn can get hot under the collar, but when your team is losing and many of your players don’t possess that fire, I wonder if those polar dynamics can work in unison.

"It was clear during the season that Quinn was frustrated, and the players were at times equally frustrated with their coach.

"Ethan Moreau was ripped when he said the coaches tweaked their system and put guys in more defined roles after the all-star break. He was ripped more because he was playing bad at the time, instead of what he said. And when you look at what he said, you wonder if there was a communication breakdown between the players and their head coach?

"It won’t be an easy decision, but if Tambellini decides to change his head coach, he won’t be considered indecisive Steve anymore."

It wasn’t easy for Tambellini, but I think it was the right move for the organization and for Pat Quinn. Quinn wouldn't agree with me based on his comments in his presser today. Quinn admitted this wasn't his decision, nor does he look at it as a promotion.

"I wanted to see immediate improvement with the kids, and it was up and down but I didn't see it happen fast enough. I still think we need to hold the players in that room more accountable," said Quinn.

Those comments prove why Quinn wasn't going to fit this coming season, because the team is going to be even younger and I suspect they will make more mistakes. Quinn has always been a coach who favoured his veterans and the Oilers won't have many this season I'd suspect, so I don't see how Quinn would have been successful in 2010.

Tom Renney will need to be very patient, and he admitted at the press conference his demeanor and memory, or lack thereof, will play a large role in the development of his young players. He will need to be more of a teacher than a coach this year. Implementing and executing the correct system will be his main focus, and ensuring that the young players understand the message.

I asked Renney what his plans were for his coaching staff, but he was non-committal at this point. I don’t see both Wayne Fleming and Kelly Buchberger coming back. With Renney becoming the main man on the bench, I think he’ll want someone to run the defence and Buchberger or Fleming doesn’t fit that mold. One could return, but I’d be surprised if both are in Edmonton.

Does Boston deal change things?

Peter Chiarelli acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman, the 15th pick in 2010 and a 3rd rounder in 2011. This is a great trade for the Bruins, and many are already wondering if this is a sign the Oilers will take Taylor Hall.

“Our strategy won’t be altered by the move by the Bruins,” Tambellini responded when asked about the deal today. There was no chance the Bruins were going to use the 15th pick to ensure they got Hall. Tambellini admitted that Chiarelli told him he was planning on moving the 15th pick for a proven player so he wasn’t surprised a deal occurred.

The Bruins move shouldn’t alter the Oilers decision one bit, but I hope it is a precursor that we will see lots of movement later this week. There has been lots of speculation that teams will be trying to move up after the 10th pick, so we hopefully we see lots of moves.

The Summer of Steve continues to evolve and today’s decision could have the biggest impact in the direction of this team moving forward. If Renney has the skills to develop and educate young players the Oilers could be set up nicely, if not then the growth of the organization will take longer.

 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Oil_Loc8or
June 22 2010, 05:39PM
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@Archaeologuy

Thanks for the link. I don't think the hockey circles would be suprised by most the moves. Two coaches of the last place teams. Trainers when your players are hurt all the time. Scouting staff that hasn't produced much. All good things for a changing francise. The way they handle the inside business is debatable but not unusual. People shouldn't get to worked up about this stuff since they know little of the facts. Yes we are lucky enough to have insider knowledge on the Nation but not everything is out in the open.

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#53 Oil_Loc8or
June 22 2010, 05:42PM
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@RossCreekNation

Didn't Tambo mention something about Quinn at the year end presser ?

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#56 Nate Full of Hate
June 22 2010, 06:07PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I'll ask you this. Should Tambellini have let Quinn coach another year, when he isn't a coach who can develop young players?

We can rip his original hire and that is fair, but to sit idle and keep Quinn rather than admit he made a mistake would have been worse in my opinion.

I'm concerned Tambi's sitting idle while the likes of Chiarelli, Poile, and Tallon are able to be pro active.

Scott Howson's asking price for #4 just went up...

And it's all but done that Taylor Hall will be announced first on Friday.

Very disappointing!

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#57 Oil_Loc8or
June 22 2010, 06:08PM
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@Jason Gregor

I agree Quinn wasn't the guy. Do you think the fact Quinn wanted Hall and Renney and Tambo want Seguin had any impact ?

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#58 Salsa Shark
June 22 2010, 06:12PM
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When referring to Tambi's past moves you can't just pick and choose. The Staios trade was excellent in moving an aging veteran for a high-middle pick and also giving us a peek at a potential 3rd pairing guy for next year in Johnson. And doing it to a rival in Calgary made it all the better ;).

The Grebeshkov trade is more debatable. At the beginning of last year I was on his side. He finished 08/09 in spectacular fashion while our D was decimated. But the goat of Christmas past came back to haunt us this year turning the puck over and hurting us as much as helping us. He wasn't developing consistency so I stick by the trade. Nashville has chosen to release him, so they won't vouch for him either I guess. He even busted a nut for them....ouch.

Visnovsky was a tough one for me. I liked him ever since I watched his Kings promotional video. 'Vote For Lubo'! But Whitney came in and rocked the joint with Gilbert. He saved Gilberts season and gave me some hope for our D going into next year. Having someone come to Edmonton and overperform is a nice change of pace. We need more like him.

Also, framing does a lot for each of the negative points. Yes, Khabi got injured, the Heatley saga was a mess, and O'Sullivan was a disaster.

But at the same time, though Khabi did have a history of injuries, JDD also needed more time than the average back-up so that management could see what he had to offer beyond what they saw the year before. They didn't want to grab a goalie for the future, they wanted one to play a decreasing number of games year-to-year as one of the younger guys in system grabbed the reigns.

Heatley was an overpayment. Chasing the big name has been a mistake repeated since 05/06 paid off, but that ship has passed. I can't back this chase with good conscience so I'll leave it for what it is.

The only upside from getting O'Sully is that we did get a warm body for a UFA. If I'm not mistaken...this deal also came with the pick that allowed us to get Kotalik. That didn't pan out either but it did give us a chance to try some new guys (Kotalik was brought in to pair with Hemsky). Both guys didn't perform well, but Cole wasn't exactly producing either. This wasn't a good trade but, it wasn't bad either. More of a wash than anything I'd say.

Sorry for the long rant, but I think things gets oversimplified too often. Would our team really be better right now with Staios and Grebs instead of extra picks and cap space?

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#59 Oil_Loc8or
June 22 2010, 06:13PM
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Nate Full of Hate wrote:

I'm concerned Tambi's sitting idle while the likes of Chiarelli, Poile, and Tallon are able to be pro active.

Scott Howson's asking price for #4 just went up...

And it's all but done that Taylor Hall will be announced first on Friday.

Very disappointing!

It's almost good. Just imagine the nation readers freaking out over Tambellini's trade decision.

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#60 JackBauer
June 22 2010, 06:25PM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

I agree Quinn wasn't the guy. Do you think the fact Quinn wanted Hall and Renney and Tambo want Seguin had any impact ?

They did? Where do you get this info from? Because I just listened to an interview on Fan 590 and he wouldnt even say hes made a decision yet.

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#61 Harlie
June 22 2010, 06:51PM
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I feel bad for Quinn. I think he either should have been canned out right or given the year to turn things around and adjust to the younger players.

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#62 K-UGER Industrial Smoothing
June 22 2010, 06:56PM
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@Rusty Duggan

Dont get me wrong, I was, and to some extent, am still a Lowe fan. Although I think his time in the sun as an Oiler is now down, and he should probably distance himself somewhat from the team, even furthermore, he definitely gave it his all in trying to make his teams successful. His experience is legendary, and he is active in trying to make the most with what hes gotten. He was forced into some bad contracts after playoffs, but had the players he signed left for free agency, they would have garnered similar numbers. I fault him for Ryan Smyth, he was the face of the franchise, and at Horcoff's contract, it should have been a no brainer paying him the 6.1 mil. Pronger's leaving was not his problem, and he got what he thought to be the best deal on the table. Not knowing what else was offered, I'd have to agree.

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#63 bingofuel
June 22 2010, 06:58PM
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I am now firmly of the belief that Pat Quinn should be the next OilersNation writer. Gregor? Make it happen.

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#64 team tambo
June 22 2010, 08:00PM
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i have to laugh, was it 3 months ago that people were crying that tambo never made any trade deadline moves. Then all of sudden he makes two team changing moves 45 minutes after the trade deadline.

Be patient making a trade for the sake of making a trade is the worse thing this team can do.

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#65 Oil_Loc8or
June 22 2010, 08:26PM
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Lets trade ...

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#66 Oil_Strike
June 22 2010, 10:01PM
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Good moves Tambo... Oil veterans toast McTavish... Quinn a guy who favors vets (or so it is said) gives the vets their chance and what... Hello 2009/10 vets - couldn't perform for a coach who favors vets either... Now it is time to move on with a rebuild around youth and a coach who deals well with player development - Tom Renney.. I don't see all the difficulty in understanding the Oil's recent moves...

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#67 mowgli
June 22 2010, 10:51PM
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Renney first good move, do not play Studwick.

Old dog.

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#68 Mike K
June 22 2010, 11:59PM
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it's been said again and again. The Oilers just don't have any attractive assets on their squad aside from Penner and Hemsky. And you can't deal those two yet because you still need some veteran players on your squad, even during a rebuild. Not to mention that the team still has to be somewhat competitive on a game by game basis because if you ice an incredibly terrible squad your players morale falls pretty rapidly, and the Oilers don't want another year like last year.

I'd like to see Edmonton active on July 1st instead of trying to make trades and dealing assets for 10 cents on the dollar. Taking a shot at signing depth guys like Eager, Malhotra, Burish, and those type of guys who make 6 figures and won't necessarily want a lot of term.

The NHLPA has exercised the 5% cap increase so the cap is looking like it will be around 59M. So the Oilers definitely have the space for signing cheaper depth forwards and letting guys like Poltulny, Pouliot, etc go. This next season is to see how the roster and the upcoming prospects perform. Major moves probably won't come until next offseason. Let's face it Edmonton's tried to do the rush rebuild before and it didn't work. Edmonton fans need to have patience now that they are actually trying to do a proper rebuild. Just look at Toronto as an example of a bad rebuild.

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#71 Rick
June 23 2010, 08:26AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I'll ask you this. Should Tambellini have let Quinn coach another year, when he isn't a coach who can develop young players?

We can rip his original hire and that is fair, but to sit idle and keep Quinn rather than admit he made a mistake would have been worse in my opinion.

My comments go well beyond the coaching move made yesterday.

So in short, No he shouldn't have kept Quinn on.

Here is crux of my concern. When looking at Tambellini's track record so far, including the original hiring of Quinn which had red flags from the get go, I am not seeing a whole lot in the plus column but I am seeing a whole lot in the minus column.

To date I struggle to see many truly good moves outside of the Staios salary dump. The rest have all had an element of concern.

So given that, I support the coaching change because it was probably the right decision but I remain concerned that the right decision was made because of an original wrong decision.

In terms of coaching, hiring and firing guys is a common simple fix throughout the league. It's only the owners money on the line so it is no concern to us fans.

However now the Oilers are moving onto the team rebuilding phase of things and making initial wrong moves can not be as easily corrected. You don't get a do over if you make a horrible trade, player aquisition or contract, you just set the organization back in development.

Have we seen enough, anything for that matter, out of Tambellini to provide re-assurance that he is capable of doing the job properly?

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