Tom Renney’s Post-Game Vs. Calgary

I don’t usually do this, but Tom Renney’s post-game presser last night had a lot of interesting points that I thought deserved a little further attention. Let’s look at what the coach had to say.

Asked about having just two shots against in the third period, Tom Renney replied with the following:

Obviously we played well. We had zero chances (against) in the third period, which is even a greater stat I guess. But yeah, we’ve got to show those types things, that’s what we have to be all about if we want to be a winning team, if we want to be a playoff team, those are the type of circumstances we have to get through successfully and we did tonight. It’s a good omen, I hope.

The interesting thing to note here is that Tom Renney and the Oilers coaching staff track scoring chances. According to both Kent Wilson and Dennis King the Oilers actually did have a single chance against in the third (it was a Jay Bouwmeester slap-pass that was redirected on net from the slot by Blake Comeau and which, in my opinion, meets the threshold for a scoring chance) but either way Renney’s point that scoring chances are the important way to look at things is valid.

Renney also didn’t mince words when describing Taylor Hall’s injury:

“Taylor’s concussed. We followed the proper protocol, everything looks arrow up, I don’t think it’s going to be a real problem. Medically he’s doing really well but we are following the proper concussion protocol and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”

Asked a little later by Terry Jones how Hall’s concussion compared to his own (a question that got some laughs), Renney sounded optimistic:

“His baseline looks a lot better than mine did. I had numbers way up here and he’s got them way down here, so he’s day-to-day; I wasn’t.”

In other words, this was just another night in being Taylor Hall: a dangerous looking injury that sounds like it may not be that serious. Of course, concussions are hard to predict and any head injury needs to be treated cautiously (as the Oilers did this one) but the early returns are good.

As for the hit itself, Renney was first asked to describe how he saw it and then whether he felt it was dirty:

“I saw Taylor slip. I saw Sarich – because Taylor was falling down – I saw Sarich hit him in the upper body, in the head, and I saw his head hit the ice. We looked at it a number of times.”

“No. No. Not at all. If he would have left his feet, or… he was coming down to make contact, he wasn’t coming down to just pat him on the back, he was coming down to cream him, and he did but Taylor also slipped and it made it worse than what it could have been.”

Renney finds himself in agreement with Jordan Eberle, but he also sounds significantly different than Steve Tambellini did on the hit – during an intermission interview the Oilers’ general manager said he was “not pleased” and that Sarich had a “responsibility.”

It was also interesting to note that when Renney was asked about Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins he went out of his way to point to the opposition they were playing on the ice:

“They had great nights, played very well. Three games in a row now that they’ve been able to play against big lines and do well.”

We’ve looked recently at the shift in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ role as the season as progressed – early on, Tom Renney took great care to keep him away from the defensive zone, while over the last 25 games or so he’s started giving Nugent-Hopkins more and more defensive responsibility. Now, he’s also started giving him more of the power-vs.-power matchups, rather than trying to keep him deployed against lesser lines. I think it’s a sensible approach, one that allowed Nugent-Hopkins to build up both Renney’s confidence in him and his own confidence in himself, and one the Oilers will be beneficiaries of over the long haul.

Renney was terse when asked whether his team’s physical response was sufficient after the hit on Hall, but he later expanded on that point:

“Yeah. (Nods).”

“I thought we were physical. I thought Calgary really would rather not have played that way, if they had a choice, and ultimately I thought that made a real difference in our game. Harti, I think on paper at least had seven hits – I’m not sure how accurate those stats are at the end of the day but I thought he was a very influential player for us.”

“It’s important, we’ve got to have that. One of the reasons we dressed seven defensemen was to have that pushback tonight and even be more, I guess, proactive that way. I mean, it’s Calgary and Edmonton, who knows…”

“At the end of the night I think Calgary got the message.”

I’m always a sucker for hearing a coach diss the NHL’s real-time statistics. Watching Hartikainen last night, I don’t really doubt that he had seven hits – I counted at least four and I wasn’t really watching specifically for it – but the fact is that RTSS statistics are entirely in the eye of the beholder. Different arenas count hits, takeaways, giveaways and all the rest differently – it’s at the point now that these sorts of numbers are only useful when home games are tossed out of the equation to get a more league-wide view of events. (I should note – this isn’t just for the Oilers, either; every team has its own counting peculiarities.)

Renney also expanded on his view of tougher players in the lineup – he wasn’t speaking directly about Eager or Hordichuk here, since neither was in the lineup (Eager’s still day-to-day, Hordichuk was awaiting his new baby), but we can broadly apply his comments to both:

“I think with the others we have in the lineup it allows those guys [RNH and Eberle] to assert themselves along those lines and play the strongest game that they can and be an impact player and do what they do well, knowing that somebody’s got their back.”

As Renney previously stated, he felt okay with his team’s physical play against Calgary, but it seems we would have seen Theo Peckham move up front and Sutton take his place on the back end had the team needed more muscle:

“The idea behind that was to make sure – Andy knew what the circumstances were coming in, how he was going to be deployed, should we need that, if I wanted to play Pecks a little more as a forward, he’s more capable of that than Andy is, than Andy would have slid in a little more as a defenseman but we were okay with it.”

Finally, Renney was asked about the candidacy of Nugent-Hopkins for the Calder Trophy and Eberle for the Lady Byng:

“I’m with you. I’m with you. I think they’re great candidates, I really do. RNH has played less games than the other guys, he’s as important as any player we have. He makes five guys on the ice, including himself, better and probably are goaltender too because the puck’s usually going the other way or it’s out of trouble in our end, and he’s right there from a points perspective. I think that speaks volumes as to a Calder candidate. I think, well, the other – if it means anything to have 31 goals and minimal penalty minutes and be as influential as anybody in the league as far as an impact player and a consistent player for us, I think that’s Jordan Eberle, and he’s got a number of points more than other guys that have won that trophy.”

  • Half of Hall’s injuries seem to be him “Gumby-ing” into the corners uncomfortably. I hope he gains some strength and balance in the off season and puts these type of plays behind him.

  • I consider Renney to be a very good coach but not yet seasoned.

    I am still not sure why he took Hartikainen off the Ebery, RNH line when they scored twice in the first, then put him on with Hemsky.

    That caused the Ebery line to loose all momentum and did nothing for Hemsky.

    Hemsky was playing well again but he has not yet synced with line mates.

  • Bryzarro World

    Renny is a brutal coach,his line choices are embarrassing anybody who constantly puts Horc. Off on the ice that much needs his head examined.He is too soft and he let’s the young guys take to much punishment and if anybody plays to tough he sits them,bring back Quinn

  • Memo to Renny…….stop sulking all the time! You made your bed now sleep in it!

    It’s becoming painfully obvious that he is not really coaching to win, so stop pretending that we are playing for something. Given the glut of forwards and spent individuals, ( like Horcoff, Smyth, Belenger, ) we should be assessing the lineup for next year. Time to see what Hartikainen, Omark, VandeVelde, etc, can do?

    Renny is out coached most nights, it’s time to bring in Marc Crawford !

    • Bryzarro World

      Crawford? Seriously? Rather have Buchy coach than Craw and I can’t stand Buchy.

      Renny is a tough one to like. He does a lot of questionable things but there are a lot of good things he does that aren’t as obvious. Im somewhat torn about what to do with him. Tambo on the otherhand can be shown the door and hope Klowe is right behind him.

  • Quinn and Crawford? This is what Oiler fans have come to? If ever there was a time for a facepalm, this would be it.

    I’m not really a Renney supporter but if that’s what we’re replacing him with? No thanks.

  • oilfan in yyc

    We won, and if Smid hadn’t stuck out his stick on that point shot, it would have been the 2nd shut-out in a row. The Oilers dominated, not sure why people are complaining. With Hall out early and an extra D-man dressed there were 3 lines + 1 extra forward….the lines had to be juggled.

    I was disappointed that Hartikainen played only a few shifts with RHN and Eberle, when he was with them, they were dominant.

    Future 1st line I hope.

  • @ the trolls. Whatever happened to “developing” the kids and bringing them along slowly. It’s like raising your kids, you don’t treat them the same when they’re toddlers as you do when they’re teens or young adults.

    Renney isn’t supposed to be coaching to win at all costs I don’t believe. I think it’s obvious that he’s bringing the kids along slowly in a semi-controlled environment.

    Give it another year or two until he unleashes them, then it’s time to be petty about matchups and the like.

  • oilfan in yyc

    Jonathan, what do you think the impact the different asst coaches have on individual games? Have you looked at the winning % for the diff coaching combinations?

  • Chris.

    Eberle and Hopkins were incredible last night generating scoring chances against Calgarys best forwards and best D. One question though: Why don’t the coaches pair the kids up with our better PMD as a 5 man unit? There was little or no effort by the coaches to do this. It’s painful to watch Potter and Peckham try to move the puck up to these kids when Petry and Whitney are on the bench. You waste a lot of shifts this way IMO.

  • Chris.

    Why would thy sit Omark? He must be out of their plans now, keep him healthy and use as trade bait. He was suppose to play out the string to be evaluated,(who says? I did) and it was hoped it would be with top 6 guys, but not the case. They could of sat Ryan and let him rest his weary legs but nope, a healthy scratch. Mark my words, he’ll haunt the Oilers more than Glencross. And thats what i have to say about that.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    i have said it before and i will say it again, i like the make up of this hockey team much more with Teemu hartikainen in the line up than out of it. Its going to take the next season or two to fully develop Harski, but he has the size, drive and physicality to truly turn into a nasty player to play against for the opposition. Good luck containing Nuge and Ebs with Harski on there line down low.

    • paul wodehouse

      …”Its going to take the next season or two”…

      exactly…kinda Detroit style …

      you could see a Johan Fransen type in this 56

      now? notsomuch…he looks overwhelmed at times & not used to the speed up here … he’ll be very scary in the new building

    • justDOit

      I remember Sutton picking up the puck in his own zone and flying around the net and making a break-out pass. Maybe that was all he had for the night?

      I didn’t notice him do anything that would warrant being benched.

      Also, it was good to see Wreckum-Peckham have a game without too much own-zone excitement.

  • paul wodehouse

    If we pick 2cd. Would you trade that pick straight up Ryan Johansen from CBJ? Syauffer suggested that to Button on Friday on OilersNow and Button emphatcally said yes.

    IMO I would also do that deal. If Columbus decided to go all in thier rebuild which included trading Nash to Toronto for thier first pick it would probably net them Yakupov,Galchenyuk and top Dman like Griffin Rheinhart. Not a bad base to start from and they would probably get Colbourne and Kadri also in the Toronto deal.

    I think Ryan Johansen would be a beast with Hall and Hemsky(?). Also he would fill our Ryan quota.

  • paul wodehouse

    I didn’t have the Flames getting a single chance against the Oilers in the third either.

    One definition of a scoring chance is that it must hit the net to be a chance. So some track Shots-Scoring chances (hard shots from slot). Other tracks Corsi/Scoring chanceas (hard shots from slot, including missed shot).

    There’s no real right or wrong on this, it’s a matter of opinion, but to keep it simple, my own guideline is that the shot should hit the net to be counted as a scoring chance.

  • paul wodehouse

    I do have a few exceptions — if a guy is illegaly thwarted by an opposing player if he’s about to get off a great shot in the slot, I count that as a scoring chance. And if a guy is wide open in the slot, lots of time to make a play with no one on him, such as on a breakaway, but he misses the shot going for the corner, I count that as a chance. But he’s got to be wide open with plenty of time. He could easily have put it right on net, no trouble at all, but he chose to go for higher percentage shot and missed.

    So those are my own two exceptions to the general guideline that a shot must be on net (or on post) to be counted as a scoring chance.

    Roger Neilson, who invented the tracking of scoring chances in the NHL, only counted shots on net, and didn’t count them if they hit the post. The Oilers count them if they hit the post, as do I.

    If this ever becomes an official stat, it will be simplest to say the shot must hit the net or the post and must be a hard shot from a defined area in the slot. With that definition, it would be possible for many to track it and get similar numbers night in, night out.

  • Quiet Riot

    Certain individuals that have been stinking out the joint recently, seemed to have stepped up against Cowgary. Potter was the main culprit I saw that stepped it up.
    The vet line did their usual thing. Its just a matter of time folks. I hope.