Yesterday, Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini announced he would not be renewing Head Coach Tom Renney’s contract.
He gave a press conference explaining why Renney wouldn’t be returning next season and what his thinking was behind the decision. He talked a lot about the rebuild that’s going on in Edmonton and why getting a new head coach might be another piece to that difficult puzzle.
“We went through a difficult phase here,” Tambellini said when asked why, exactly, he decided to part ways with Renney. “You saw mistakes at times, and sometimes you saw some great things.”
He went on to say that maybe Renney hadn’t been in the right place – emotionally – when he was coaching the Oilers. Tambellini mentioned attempting to get Renney to take time off in the past, but his personal matters hadn’t been dealt with. “You want to make sure that decisions aren’t made from an emotional standpoint, but from a well thought out plan.”
Another reason: The team itself. With Renney’s inability to get the team out of the bottom of the standings, there came some cause for worrying.
“We need to get to a different level of competing.” Tambellini said of the team, explaining that having young guys with potential yet to be fully reached and underachieving veterans just wasn’t good enough. “Expectations will increase, as they should.”
In watching the press conference, I took it upon myself to read between the lines a little. It’s evident that one of the main things Tambellini wants is for his team to be more successful – we’d have a big problem if he didn’t – given how often he talked about reaching for a playoff spot and improving the organization as a whole. Developing the young talent the Oilers have is a priority, and Tambellini’s already got his eye on a few guys he might want to get the job done (Brent Sutter, former Flames head coach, was mentioned). Obviously, that will remain a secret for now, but he wants to have a plan in motion when the Draft rolls around this summer.