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.


    • Jason Gregor

      I think their concerns were taken into account, but I don’t think they were the main factor.

      I just don’t think Quinn is the right guy to lead this team in their rebuilding phase.

  • Jason Gregor

    Although this is probably the best move for the team moving forward I do feel Quinn deserved a chance to redeem himself and he has a right to be pissed. Hopefully he can put it behind him and contribute to the team in other areas, lord knows Tambi needs all the help he can get.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Just wondering Jason, do you have to wipe down the microphone after Bum Stauffer finishes drooling all over it leading into the Jason and the magnificant Mrs. Morrison show weekdays from 3-6? Is Bum hoping Meg is looking to trade up/down?

  • Let's Rebuild

    Pat Quinn is old and washed up, he couldn’t coach last year and it’s a good thing he is gone. Renney will be a great teacher for a year or two then we will be ready to make a run for it

  • Let's Rebuild

    Now that the head coach is in place we can go ahead and make some player changes. The great part of this scenario is that Renney is already familiar with our current crop of players. Tambellini can ask him about certain players, ie)

    “Do you think we can get more out of Robert Nilsson?, How about POS’s +/-, can he be fixed or should we write him off.”

    Perhaps Renney had some good ideas that were not heeded by Quinn. Gregor talked about Tambellini bringing in “Quinn type players”. perhaps he won’t have to now. Renney is a much different coach than Quinn and hopefully he will be able to work with the current player’s strengths. Then again he could also dictate who he wants gone. Either way it’s about to get very interesting.

  • Deep Oil

    Seems that the Oilers and Quinn are on different pages, thus the separate news conferences, diminishing the mistakes (non success)of Tambellini….

    There is a lot of straight shooting coming from the hip of PQ.

    Note to Stauffer, Quinn did not step down, he pretty much said he was pushed.

    It is easy to fire or not renew contracts, it takes a leader to build a winner, on in the case of this organization a non loser.

    • Jason Gregor

      Quinn was in Toronto for the Hall of Fame inductions. You wouldn’t hold a press conference with Tambellini in Edmonton and Quinn over the phone. The logistics would be horrific.

      Quinn wasn’t happy. And Tambellini didn’t want to rip Quinn. How is this any different than any other firing.

      The only mistake Tambellini made was making it sound that Quinn was happy with the decision. Clearly he wasn’t. But Quinn also said he felt he was still up to date on the technical aspect of the game, and that clearly isn’t the case.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Sounds like he expected Quinn to know what is happening. How long does Quinn have left 1 or 2 years?

        I can’t see him lasting much longer.

    • Ender


      General manager Steve Tambellini says there had always been a succession plan that would see Renney take over for Quinn. But he admitted during a news conference Tuesday in Edmonton that the plan had been accelerated.

      “We spoke last year about bringing these two men in with a wealth of experience in winning, teaching, credibility and leadership,” Tambellini said. “When you look at a plan that was in place when I discussed with Pat before he came here as far as a succession plan, the idea, for me, was that after Year 2 I would ask him to take this position as senior hockey adviser.

      But Tambellini said after such a disappointing season, he decided make the change now.

      “Obviously, with what happened this year, in regard to the depth of our organization, the fact that we’re rebuilding the Oilers, the fact that we’re going to be young, it made sense to me over the last couple of months when I’d been thinking about this, and how we want to do this, our plan is basically being accelerated by one year,” said Tambellini.

      Repeat after me: THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY.

      • Deep Oil

        What kool aid are you drinking…..

        PQ claimed he was not an interm coach.

        He also mentioned that he was not expecting this and that he was disappointed. He did not consider this a promotion.

        Listen to his free speech conference call interview, this was a hatchet job, it appears that you are an Oiler apologist.

        Bottom line, most of you bought the Oilers news conference hook, line, sinker, with one side of the story.


        • Ender

          You’re the one creating something out of nothing. Pat Quinn was removed from his position. Tambellini came right out and said it. No one is pretending any different.

          Pat’s pissed. That’s his right, but he was offered the choice of being the team mascot for a year or being publically fired. He chose this.

          No one is pretending any different. You’re the one with an axe to grind trying to find a way to smear something on this Allan Watt guy you hate so much. (What did that guy do to you, anyway?) So Quinn was jettisoned. So Quinn is mad about it. How does that make the Oilers bad people?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    So just to re-cap Tambellini’s job so far, the 3 biggest stories of his GMing tenure are selecting a new coach last year…of which he now wants a do-over on, signing Khabibulin…enough said and selecting #1 at the draft…which is obviously exciting but comes about because they were the worst team in the league last year.

    I’m not sure why I am having such a hard time getting excited about the direction of this team?

    • Jason Gregor

      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.

      • Jason Gregor

        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?

      • Jason Gregor

        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!

        • Jason Gregor

          How do you know Tambellini was sitting idle? He told us that he knew Chiarelli was going to deal the #15 pick. If he offered Penner and Tallon came up with Horton should Tambellini had sold the farm for the 15th pick.

          Tallon got schooled in the trade. A 15th pick is a risky pick, based on the last 15 years. Here are the most recent 15th overall picks…

          Peter Holland
          Erik Karlsson
          Alex Plante
          Riku Kelenius
          Ryan O’marra
          Alex Radulov
          Robert Nilsson
          Jesse Niinimaki
          Igor Knyazev
          Artem Kryulov
          Scott Kelman
          Mathieu Choiunard
          Matt Zultek
          Daiunus Zubrus
          Jeff Ware

          You want to give up a 30-goal man for one of them? Just because Tambellini hasn’t made a move yet doesn’t mean he won’t. Did he have any pending UFA that another team would want to trade for their rights?

          I’d evaluate Tambellini’s moves after the draft, not three days before.