Summer of Steve: Quinn gets a new office

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.


  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.