Literally seconds after I profiled Jim Matheson’s “What are the Oilers doing with Tom Renney?” piece in the Edmonton Journal, the club announced Renney was out as head coach:
Renney will finishing his two-year tenure as head coach with a 57-85-22 record and back-to-back last place finishes in the Northwest Division (the team finished 29th overall in 2011-12, 30th in 2010-11.)
No word yet on the status of associate coach Ralph Kruger or assistants Steve Smith, Kelly Buchberger and Fred Chabot.
As for potential Renney replacements? Don’t be surprised to hear former Calgary Flames bench boss Brent Sutter’s name in the mix. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun floated the idea in mid-April:
One day after “mutually” deciding to end his three years with the Flames, Brent Sutter will, in fact, be behind a bench this spring as head coach of the Canadian entry in next month’s world championships.
While it is no doubt a great opportunity to bolster his stellar international coaching resume, it also may also act as an audition of sorts. After all, Team Canada’s GM is Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Ops Kevin Lowe, and the Oilers will very likely be in need of a new head coach soon.
Also worth noting that Team Canada was loaded with Oilers — Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Devan Dubnyk (Sutter coached the Nuge in Red Deer two seasons ago, too.)
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: