That’s Bobby Orr against Toronto 40 years ago. That Leafs team was about to trade Tim Horton and would rely on a young, talented blue.
The Edmonton Oilers are in a similar position today. Wins should not be the measuring stick; the overall learning curve of the kids should be the metric for judging the coaching staff.
Pat Quinn was a part of the youth movement in Toronto all those years ago, and he was a part of this one too. The fact that so many young players struggled a year ago gave Tom Renney a chance to be the man to guide this group to contention.
If we arrive at March 2011 and feel that some or all of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule, Taylor Hall, Magnus Pääjärvi and Jordan Eberle have made progress it will be a good year. If ANY of the goalies or the blue considered prospects take a step forward it will be a good year.
The odds of Steve Tambellini and Tom Renney being here when the times get good are very low. History tells us that much. I have a feeling Renney survives, negotiates the rapids and is still Oiler coach when they start kicking out the jams.
He begins climbing Everest tomorrow morning. Godspeed.