Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oilers look to the future with a familiar face

His success with the youngsters in last years World Juniors, may just have been the best thing that could have happened to Pat Quinn, the long time NHL coach, GM and one time President, gets another stop to add to his resume this fall, as Quinn takes over the reins of the Edmonton Oilers.

A move that could change the dynamic in the Northwest Division for a number of years to come.

Quinn, expressed more than a good deal of enthusiasm at his next assignment as he, Tom Renney and Kelly Buchburger, made their introductions to Edmonton's hockey followers on Tuesday.

For astute students of the game, they need only look back a few years and a few hundred miles to the west and Vancouver, where both Quinn and Renney once toiled, along with current Oilers GM Steve Tambellini.

The combo is being described by some as the perfect match, Quinn's steady leadership, his ability to get as much out of his players as possible, in concert with Renney's dedication to the basics, the X and O's of the game, could be the right mix to take the under performing Oilers to the next level of their evolution.

The youthful group that seemed to lose their focus this past season, won't find an easy touch in their new head coach, while generally considered to be a players advocate, Quinn is just as quick to let a player know if he's not pulling his weight or shirking his on ice responsibilities.

A team that seemed to disdain the need for accountability for former coach Craig MacTavish, won't find the journey an enjoyable one if they continue that trend for Quinn, Renney and Buchberger.

Despite being away from the coaching ranks of the NHL for the last three years, Quinn managed to stay quite relevant as the designated coach for a pair of Canada's junior teams and their quest for success. Frequently expressing his desire to return to the coaching ranks, not quite ready to curl up with some hot tea and spin tales of the old days.

On those junior squads he brought a steady hand to the young talent assembled for him, putting an end to the myth that he was best suited to a team of grizzled vets, with many years under their belts. His success and the respect and thirst for knowledge that he pulled out of the juniors provided the jump that was needed to get him back to the NHL, Tambellini merely provided the platform.

In Edmonton, he is getting another opportunity to do what he does best, teach the game and bring out the best of his players, the rest is up to those that pull on the skates in September, the keys for their success are being assembled, the time to show that they belong is near.

The upcoming year promises to bring with it some fascinating twists for the Western Conference, where Vancouver goes from their early exit and what direction Calgary goes with Mike Keenan gone from his post.

But all eyes it seems will be on Oil country, quite interested to see what an icon of the NHL can do with the next generation of Oilers.

Edmonton Sun-- Bucky on board
Edmonton Sun-- 'No-brainer'
Edmonton Sun-- Players like trifecta
Edmonton Journal-- Quinn still game to coach
Edmonton Journal-- Renney brings experience
Edmonton Journal-- Double visionaries

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