When Tom Renney arrived with Pat Quinn the general reaction was positive. I did a “Tom Renney in a box” item (it is here) and it looked pretty positive from a long distance. He improved the offense, rode his horses and seemed to have a handle on the defensive aspects of the game.
I started wondering about his decision making when the final roster arrived in the fall. Sending out Liam Reddox and keeping JF Jacques, Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini might not seem like a big deal but it did leave the team somewhat exposed on the PK.
There were other things and by the end of December I began to openly question his ability to put the best possible team on the ice each evening. That post is here.
Based on the first 50 games, I don’t think Tom Renney is the right man to coach this team. Items like not playing Dubnyk more, dressing Jacques over Stortini and inertia over the penalty kill (which was finally addressed and has improved) make me wonder about the guy. He’s making addled choices and his team is neither fish nor fowl.
Renney has done some good things, including bringing along the kids nicely and credit to the coaching staff for recognizing (and elevating) Peckham and Petry ahead of veteran underperformers.
I don’t think it’s been good enough, honestly. Louise (Ice_Dragoon) sent an email to Bob Stauffer the other day that referenced Renney’s pre-season promise that he wouldn’t call out his men in public. She mentioned it because coach Renney had done just that in his postgame the other night re:Sam Gagner being thrown out of the game.
I wonder if Renney is feeling a lot of pressure as the losses pile up? I don’t think so. Why? If he did, Renney would do the things that are available to him in order to improve the hockey club immediately:
- Make Dubnyk his starter
- Send down Jacques and call up Hartikainen
- Play Stortini or get rid of him. Having him hang in the balance is a distraction.
- Make use of MacIntyre or release him. The Oilers could use 12 hockey players up front every night.
- Drill down on the PP and find something that works. Sending out the 3rd line is just lazy.
I understand Renney must be frustrated with these young men but I think there’s plenty of blame to go around.