As training camp draws closer and the excitement level starts to build in the City, we can’t help but pity Tom Renney.

This guy has basically a no win scenario on his hands going into training camp. Not only has he been dealt a 30th place team in the NHL to resurrect, but he has a class of untested super kids to make into NHL players at the same time. In most cases like this, one would think that he would have a pretty long leash and room to build a team as he sees fit.

Quite the contrary.

Let’s take a look at three potential scenarios facing Monsieur Renney in the next month shall we?


Ever meet an 18 or 19 year old who thinks they have it all figured out? Ever meet a newly minted multi millionaire 18 or 19 year old who think they have it all figured out? Bossing these types around can only be imagined by mere mortals like us, yet this is the fall project for Coach Renney.

Sometimes highly touted rookies arrive with their head in the millionaire clouds and need a swift kick in the ass to get their lives in gear. When Jason Spezza first joined the Sens for example, he was a yo-yo between the AHL and the NHL.

We can recall having many hearty laughs watching him spazz for the assembled media in the parking lot of the arena as he was sent back to the farm yet again. Spezza clearly went on to find success, but making sure that he didn’t make the team on name alone was key to his development early on in his career.

Pity poor Tom Renney having to corral all these kids this season. He doesn’t have the luxury that the Senators had when they were trying to mould Spezza into an elite NHL player. The Sens could afford to play hardball with the kid as they had an already decent NHL team to fall back on. 

The Oil? Not so much.

If these kids become head cases in their first season, the success of the team is going to ride on Renney being able to sort them out quick. This dependency on three untested rookies has resulted in a strange balance of power going into camp.


No one here is suggesting that Hall, Eberle or MPS are going to have anything but long and fruitful NHL careers. But it could well be that none of the three are ready for the NHL this season. Do you think Renney is going to be hung by his thumbs if he comes to this conclusion and starts any or all of the Big Three in the AHL?

Most Coaches pride themselves on ignoring the millions of armchair QBs following their team. But from the looks of things Katz, Tambellini and Lowe want to see the Big Three on the ice ASAP just as badly as the fans. If Renney decides to send someone to the AHL he is going to be under equal pressure from the Brain Trust as from the fans to get them back on Rexall Ice stat.

You think that the cries to bring up Schremp were loud before he got dealt to the Isles? Imagine the impending cat calls to get Hall, Eberle and MPS into an NHL jersey as the season wore on.


Let’s pretend all of the Big Three start the year on the Oil. What happens if they stink up the joint for the first three months of the season? What happens if the Oilers rush their development into the big leagues and end up ruining one of their careers? Do you think that Renney will be found exiled to the Arctic Circle within minutes of this news reaching head office?

Coaches need to be able to do just that – coach the team. This means deciding who makes the team and when and all the cat calls and demands in the world shouldn’t change that fact.


Poor Tom Renney. The desire of the City of Edmonton to put the past four seasons of hockey in the distant past can only be described as "intense." So much stock is being put into these three kids before they have even set foot on Training Camp ice that it is going to be impossible for Renney to keep everyone happy.

We would like to go on record as saying that this season should be written off before it begins. Don’t sweat rushing these three kids into the NHL Nation or we could be paying the price for the next decade and poor Tom Renney could be thrown under the bus in the process.


Speaking of coaches that deserve our sympathy what in the sweet holy hell is going on with Pat Burns?

This is one of the most embarassing headlines we have ever seen. We won’t rehash the details for the 1,345,873th time on the web today but our thoughts go out to Pat Burns and his family. Shame on the media that forces a sick man to come out of recovery to assure folks he hasn’t passed away.

  • DK0

    Where did this negative nancy version of Wanye come from? Its training camp dammit! You’re supposed to be revving up the squee engine and preparing to ghost ride that whip all the way to the super sized crunk cup of victory

      • DK0

        Dammit Wanye put on your rose coloured glasses and start chugging the kool-aid! It’s Pre-Season in Edmonton! ~The only worrying we have to do is how we are going to fit the parade down Whyte ave after it has been burned to the ground after winning the Stanley cup! I mean we called 63 people to camp, surely 1/3rd of them are world class and we’re gold~

          • DK0

            That kinda feels like real fruit juice. Like it sucks now but i’ll feel good later.

            Kool-aid is an instant sugar high of “OMG SO SNEAKING INTO THE PLAYOFFS AND 06 ALL OVER AGAIN” followed by 15 games into the season and a record of 3-12 and noticing a distinct increase in the sales of guns in the city, yet bullet sales oddly seem to be in a 1 to 1 ratio to the guns.

  • Ball Buster

    What’s worse is TSN’s spin on the headline:

    “OMG! We wuz misinformated!!”

    I mean, far from it for them to have put in the hours* of investigative reporting to verify something as easily verifiable as death.

    *By hours, I mean the minute or so it takes to call up Pat Burns and ask him if he is dead.

  • Chris.

    Not to make light of Pat Burns’ condition… but this whole TSN debaucle reminds me of that famous line in the movie Top Secret when a military officer calls the local hospital to get an update on a patient:

    “Very well… let me know if there is any change in his condition.”

    *hangs up phone*

    “He’s dead.”

  • Wanye, I know you like to give mad props out to Hip-Hop world and what not but you are really missing out on a whole other culture of beats. Throw some love to South Africa once and a while… can’t you be down with Die Antwoord?

  • smiliegirl15

    The only reason MacT’s team wasn’t in the bottom five during his last season was because of Roli.

    The injuries last season certainly didn’t help us but had Khabi stayed healthy, we wouldn’t have gotten Hall.

    Whomever commented that Pat Quinn was going to be our next GM – we should be so lucky. Tambellini goes from one extreme to the next. I don’t think he is the right man to build the new Oilers dynasty. He’s trying but how long before he reverts to his norm? As much as I don’t believe Sheldon Souray’s victim act, at the same time hasn’t Tambellini addressed almost all of Souray’s grievances? Souray may not have chosen the right venue to air Oiler’s dirty laundry but as much as Tambellini is sending a message, he’s depriving the Oilers of their best defenseman. The good of the team? Perhaps. The good of Tambellini? Probaby.

  • smiliegirl15

    @ Menacer

    Home Ice radio on XM said the report of his death originally came from Fletcher of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who genuinely believed his friend had passed away.

  • fuck off

    I think it’s absurd to conceive that the ‘big 3’ are not NHL ready. This doesn’t mean that they’ll be firing on all cylinders or be above .4 pts/game. Here’s the reasons:

    Not a single 1st overall post-lockout pick has been sent down to the AHL or back to Juniors. Assumptive, maybe, but truly a sign of the way the game has changed and how well the CHL is geared towards producing NHL ready talent. Hall will not be an exception, he won’t necessarily be a Kane producer either.

    If you need any convincing or proof this year’s IIHF World Championship was more than enough needed. MPS lead team Sweeden in scoring against NHL level competition. Sure it was on International ice but for a player who drives the net that extra distance on the outside really is of no concern to his playing style.

    Of the trio Ebe is the least likely to be a sure bet this coming season. I only say this because he ‘thinks the game’ and has the slowest overall skating ability despite excellent agility and acceleration. Since his game depends mostly on his decision making he could possibly suffer the greatest hurtles should his confidence take any kind of damage. However despite this possible weak spot Eberle has proven him self on the same level as Hall/Seguin as well as in the AHL with an above 1.0 pt/g clip. Likewise with Hall, there are no guarantees except that he will be as NHL ready as possible at this point.

    One asterisk I will place on this post is that Renney and the Oil brass need to cushion these boys or young men. Handing them the soft minutes until they prove they can handle that on a nightly basis. Also they need to keep them surrounded with positivity because the losses will pile up and no player likes to loose. Thus the environment needs to be conducive to development, a freedom to make errors, and lacking all cynicism that would hamper any possible fragile confidences that might arise.

  • fuck off

    Young Guns should not be relied upon to do anything – if they do, it’s a bonus. They don’t know the league, the competition, so they might surprise the odd veteran or two, but the veterans on other teams will key on them for defensive mistakes. Renney will have to limit their exposure to the feeding frenzy to not destroy their confidence – so impact is less automatically.

    Paarajvi should be the lead rookie given his competition, Eberle and Hall are putting in their apprenticeship.

    Three young players do not make a team, experienced sports guys always chalk up a number of losses per each rookie in your lineup.

    Also, you only develop as a hockey player and in life from positive accomplishments, and if you can’t learn from other players on your team your development is slowed. The thing you learn from losing is that is sucks. Period. You can’t learn when you are fishing the puck out of your own net every fifteen minutes or less.

    In Canada (and in the world) no one does apprenticeships anymore, so there ultimate achievements are less (paraphrasing Kurosawa the great film maker).

    With a new coach and new systems, everyone will be learning, so are vulnerable to learner’s confusion, or being overwhelmed.

    Pressure to perform is high, and performance always suffers (on the internet,look at Ajax football coaching system, where I learned this) when pressure is too much.

    On other sites, if you have had an injury one year, you will likely get it again. So some vets may be out – Hemsky, Bullin.

    Last place hockey anyone?

  • Milli

    I am excited for this season, it should be a hell of a ride. Will we win alot of games? who knows, will it be fun to watch a young fast team that should be in some high scoring games, can’t wait! And after last year, this one will be fun!

  • BitchellMitchell

    Oilers Sitting! Interesting timing of of this article Wanye. I was at the movie theatre last night seeing “The Town” (which sucked) and I ran into a few Oilers. I was standing in front of Cogs and 3 unidentified rookies waiting in line to get into the dark theatre. I am assuming they didn’t think anyone recognized them because it was dark and we were at the back of the line. I listened for a few minutes and was struck by the lack maturity in their conversation. I am 28 years old and I think it was interesting to see the difference between my group and the young Oilers. Your comment about a bunch of young millionaires that know it all could not have been closer. Cogs may have 2 or 3 seasons under his belt but the hard truth is that he is a cocky kid that happens to be a talented hockey player.

    I think I understand better why some of these kids don’t make the jump. They are expected to make adult money do an adult job and deal with adult stress but are still just kids at heart. I have a greater appreciation for what coaches have to do with these young players. It’s not just coaching, they are responsible for rasing this young teens and getting them to perform all the while dealing with a the growing pains of becoming a man.

    It shows how importnant it is for these young players to have a leader in the 26-30 range that they can look to for guidance on the ice and even more importantly off the ice!


  • Spydyr

    The best way to bring the big three along IMO .Send all three down this year. Let them learn the pro game. Make mistakes learn, ride the bus for a year. Grow for a year together. Make sure you have someone ridding shotgun, let them build confidence. Now the best part of this scenario is they will not use up a year of their entry level contacts. They will not be restricted free agents to 26 . It is not like we are challenging for anything this year .Will this happen problem not ,the fan base would not be overly impressed.