New Oilers bench boss Ralph Krueger is definitely an optimist.
Edmonton has been one of the worst teams in the NHL the last three seasons, but the new head coach believes the team can overcome all the poor play from the past by just being themselves. Brian Hunter from NHL.com shares the positive talk out of Alberta.
“Our natural ability will lead us to winning. The winning is a byproduct, not a focus. The focus will be excellence; it will be our execution, our practices. You won’t come to a practice where you see us, in any way shape or form, compromising our quality. Every practice, on or off the ice, will be at the highest possible level and winning will naturally be a byproduct of the time we put it in.”
Krueger was an assistant last year under Tom Renney so he’s got a first hand look at a lot of the talent he’s got to work with already. From Taylor Hall to Jordan Eberle to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins that’s a nice way to start things off. By adding free agent Justin Schultz and first-round pick Nail Yakupov this summer, there’s even more star potential, and natural ability, to work with.
The natural ability is there, but growing pains might get in the way of success.
After being let go by the Edmonton Oilers less than two months ago, Tom Renney’s back behind an NHL bench.
The Detroit Red Wings announced Thursday they’ve hired Renney as their associate coach. It’s presumed he’ll take the place of Mike Babcock’s former assistant Jeff Blashill, who recently took the head coaching gig in AHL Grand Rapids.
The Detroit Free Press reports Renney signed a three-year deal with the Wings.
Renney, 57, is regarded as a good teacher of the game and well-liked in hockey circles, especially among media members (his hire got glowing reviews from Darren Dreger, Brad May and Mark Spector.)
Many hockey folk are pleased Renney found work after what transpired with the Oilers.
The club waited 40 days after the regular season to tell Renney of his fate, a move longtime Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson called “disrespectful.”
Renney has a 260-255-9-68 career record as a head coach, making the playoffs three times.
The Oilers have always been a team that works by their own beat and never adhering to what’s expected of them. You can say the same of them when it comes to picking a head coach as well.
While many expected Edmonton to hire former Flames and Devils head coach Brent Sutter to be their new bench boss, it appears they’ll be going with their own assistant coach Ralph Krueger for the job instead according to John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal.
Krueger is best known for his work in coaching Switzerland from 1997 to 2010 and taking the Swiss to a fourth place finish at the world championships in 1998. His work internationally led him to be Tom Renney’s assistant in Edmonton and now to being the top guy.
Krueger now gets to try and figure out how to lead the very young Oilers to being a playoff team once again and rise from the ashes of mediocrity that saw Edmonton turn into a team that picked first overall three years in a row. It’s a fine situation for Krueger to make a name for himself if he can.
Update (10:54 a.m. ET): Oilers make it official, name Krueger as head coach.