Tom Renney

My Favorite Goal: Malik’s stunning shootout winner vs. Capitals

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Welcome to “My Favorite Goal,” a regular feature from NBC Sports where our writers and personalities remember the goals that have meant the most to them. These goals have left a lasting impression and there’s a story behind each one.

Today, Scott Charles remembers Marek Malik’s wild shootout-winning deke against the Capitals in 2005.

14 years ago, the shootout was still a new phenomenon in its first year of existence.

The NHL implemented the game-deciding method after a lockout to add a unique level of excitement and create a stand-alone moment within the game for players to showcase their individual skills. Fans have seen plenty of breakaway attempts and penalty shots throughout the years, but the concept of a singular moment with the game on the line created a buzz.

Many NHL stars struggled to adapt to the one-on-one event while several unknown players became heroes overnight.

Marek Malik of the New York Rangers used his opportunity to cement his legacy in the organization’s history.

Rangers coach Tom Renney elected to send Malik over the boards in the 15th round on November 26, 2005 when New York squared off against the Washington Capitals.

Renney had few options at the time because shooters are not allowed to shoot twice unlike international competitions. But when the six-foot six-inch offensively challenged defenseman took the ice, a moment about to be etched into NHL history.

The big fellow skated to the right, majestically slid the puck between his legs and released a wrist shot that sent Madison Square Garden into a frenzy for the second time that day!

“I was expecting to see a shot,” Renney remembered. “I certainly was not expecting, as was no one else in the building expecting to see what he did. It was completely out there and maybe that was the right approach. Maybe Malik was having just enough fun watching all of this as I think we all did. It kind of didn’t matter so go try something. He did and it worked.”

The Rangers and the NBA’s Knicks often play the same day at MSG, but on this Saturday both teams left the venue with thrilling victories. Nate Robinson drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to propel the Knicks to an overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers prior to Malik’s beauty.

Malik had the chance to become a fan favorite because Jason Strudwick answered the bell in the round prior.

Bryan Muir of the Capitals scored and Renney had to make a very difficult decision; he needed to find someone to respond. The three remaining players who hadn’t shot yet were Strudwick, Darius Kasparaitis and Malik.

“He (Kasparaitis) kept looking at me every time I looked toward that end of the bench,” Renney said. “I was doing everything I could to not make eye contact with him. Kasparaitis was doing everything he could to make eye contact with me and Strudwick was doing everything he could to not make eye contact with me. There was a certain irony in all of that.”

Even though Strudwick lacked confidence Renney selected him anyway.

“I was thinking there was no way I was going to score,” Strudwick said while chuckling. “I remember Tom calling my name I pretended I did not hear him. He looked over and I was like ‘Oh God.’ Over my career I wasn’t really an offensive type guy. Part of me was praying someone would have scored earlier to just end it, but part of me was thinking I actually want a chance at this.”

Malik’s shootout goal encapsulates the spirit of the unlikely hero. A reminder of the underdog moments of triumph hockey can create.

Depth defensemen and bottom-six forwards are often overlooked and viewed as replaceable players, but the ‘Malik Deke’ was another reminder how talented each NHL player is despite their role on any team.

PREVIOUSLY ON MY FAVORITE GOAL
McCarty shows off goal-scoring hands during 1997 Cup Final
Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’ as a rookie

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Hockey Canada will ‘look at everything’ regarding WJC attendance issues in Montreal

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TORONTO – – Holding the annual Under-20 IIHF Wold Junior Hockey Championship in Canada is supposed to be a success regardless of which city hosts it.

However, Hockey Canada appears to have hit a wall selling the tournament in Montreal.

The Bell Centre, which plays home to the Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leafs, are the two venues for this year’s tournament.

Though Canada’s quarterfinal match versus Denmark on Friday night drew 18,448 at the ACC, which has a capacity of 18,819, attendance numbers in Montreal were disappointing at this year’s event.

Canada’s four games at the Bell Centre, all wins, drew an average crowd of 15,222 well under the capacity of the arena, which has a capacity of 21,287 for Canadiens games.

“We’ll look at everything for sure, but we’ll do that when the tournament is over,” Hockey Canada’s President and CEO, Tom Renney, told PHT.

According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, fans at the Canada-U.S. Dec. 31st game were offered the opportunity to move down from the upper bowl, to the lower bowl, to make it appear that seats were full. That game had an announced attendance of 18,295.

The game that followed at 8 p.m. ET had just 3,991 fans to see Finland blank Germany 2-0.

When asked if he had an idea of why attendance was lacking in Montreal, Renney responded: “I do, but I’ll share that at a later date. It’s not really necessary to talk about that just yet. I think as much as we all have to work to be a solution to what might happen in Montreal moving forward. We’ll concern ourselves with that when the competition is over.”

Montreal and Toronto will split the U-20 tournament again 2017.

Eberle happy to have ‘familiarity with the head coach’ this season

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The Edmonton Oilers are heading into next season doing something they haven’t done the past three years — break camp with a new head coach.

From Tom Renney to Ralph Krueger to now Dallas Eakins, there’s been someone new at the helm in Edmonton each of those years. Having a host of different voices and systems to get accustomed to can be a bit of a pain for any team. It’s even more troubling for one that has a host of young players and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006.

That’s a point forward Jordan Eberle made sure to make as Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal shared.

“With the same coach, we can pick up where we left off,” Eberle said. “At the start of last year, we struggled and that’s going to be a big thing for us. We have to start the season well because, last year, we really dug ourselves in a hole early on and that killed us. Plus, it gives you confidence if you can start off winning; you realize you do have a good team.”

The Oilers didn’t exactly close the season in thunderous fashion going 9-10-1 in the final 20 games. Still, the point of having the same head coach for the first time since Renney’s second and final season in 2011-12 remains and Eakins has a lot to prove for himself as well.

Panthers looking at Gallant, Peters for coaching job

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The Florida Panthers are still without a head coach after parting ways with Peter Horachek, but GM Dale Tallon is building up a list of candidates.

Harvey Fialkov of The Sun Sentinel reports the team will talk with Montreal Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant and Detroit Red Wings assistant Bill Peters about their coaching opening.

Those two are added to a list including former Stanley Cup winning coach Marc Crawford and former Rangers/Oilers coach and current Wings assistant Tom Renney.

Tallon has history with Peters from his days with the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Peters was hired to coach the ‘Hawks’ farm team in Rockford in 2008 while Tallon was the GM in Chicago.

Gallant has some NHL coaching history as he was an assistant in Columbus and with the New York Islanders and was head coach of the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons. He replaced Doug MacLean during the 2003-04 season and was fired after 20 games in 2006 before being replaced by Ken Hitchcock.

Since then, he spent three years coaching the St. John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL and has been Michel Therrien’s assistant the past two seasons in Montreal.

Oilers coach believes “natural ability will lead to winning”

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.