Pat Quinn just got screwed by the Edmonton Oilers. Let’s get a few things out front first. I do not think Pat Quinn is a particularly good coach in today’s NHL. He does not present a good face to the media. He is far from the best tactician in the game. But the way that GM Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe and the Oilers’ organization have shuffled Quinn upstairs, in favour of Tom Renney, has made them the most ridiculous franchise in the National Hockey League.
When the Oilers hired Quinn on May 26, 2009, Pat was desperate to get back behind an NHL bench. He made no effort to conceal that. The Oilers had grown weary of Craig MacTavish and, it seemed at the time, figured Quinn would be a good fit. Now, it’s clear that Tambellini never had any intention of hitching his wagon to Quinn over the long term. And that’s what’s disgusting about this whole affair.
The Oilers simply threw Quinn to the wolves for one year, and (dare I say) hoping he’d fail and they’d be staring at a first-overall draft choice. They got their wish, at the expense of a seasoned hockey man who stepped behind the Oilers’ bench in good faith. Quinn will now become the Oilers’ senior advisor in hockey operations.
“Is it a promotion? I’d say not,” said Quinn. “My career has been coaching and that’s why I wanted to come back into the game with Edmonton last year. We went through some tough times, but I was looking forward to continuing to help to change the climate there and continue to help this organization go back to respectability in the sense of winning. I’ll continue to do that, but it’s just going to be in a different capacity, obviously.”
You got kneecapped, Pat. Steve Tambellini’s behaviour now raises some serious questions about his integrity moving forward. The Edmonton Oilers used to be the cream of the National Hockey League. You may have hated their cocky attitudes. You may have hated the way they always beat your team – and everyone else’s. You may have hated Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier skating around with the Stanley Cup every May. But at least those Oilers conducted themselves like a professional organization. These Oilers do not.
Tom Renney can’t help but do better than Quinn did. He will be able to tap Taylor Hall on the shoulder which, by default, will add a ton of youthful energy to the Oilers’ sombre bench. And maybe provide a figurative kick-in-the-a** to Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Patrick O’Sullivan and any number of other 2009-10 Edmonton underachievers.
Steve Tambellini tried to worm his way out of the hot seat. “When you look at a plan that was in place when I discussed with Pat before he came here as far as a succession plan, the idea for me was that after year two I would ask him to take this position as senior hockey advisor,” said Tambellini. “That was my plan going into this, and for Tom to take over.”
Actually, Steve, your plan was to screw a guy who was in a completely vulnerable position, trying desperately to get back into the NHL. You succeeded. Hope you’re proud of yourself because, as a life-long Edmonton Oilers’ fan, I am certainly not.