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?
SCENARIO 1: KIDS COME TO CAMP, ACT THE FOOL
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.
SCENARIO 2: KIDS COME TO CAMP, AREN’T NHL READY
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.
SCENARIO 3: KIDS MAKE TEAM, PLAY LIKE CRAP
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.
IN OTHER COACHING NEWS
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.