Welcome to Center Ice Chat’s Top 5, an irregular series ranking topical subject matter in the world of hockey. Today, we take a look at the dismissal of Edmonton Oilers coach Tom Renney, and his possible replacements.
With the exit of Tom Renney from Edmonton as the Oilers’ bench boss, there’s speculation that old “what could’ve been” coaches may still be interested. Or in other words, the Oilers have a history of longer than normal shelf lives with their coaches, and those on previous short lists may still be in the hunt from year’s past. Here’s the list, which consists of former and new possible interested candidates:
5. Todd Nelson
Nelson could be another American Hockey League coach who moves up a few ranks by going from coach of the Oklahoma City Barons to the Oilers. Despite success, and bringing his squad to the semifinals, the crop may be too big to stand out. Nelson is qualified, but so was Dallas Eakins for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, past has resided more over present accomplishments for hires this season. That example goes from Ken Hitchcock to Darryl Sutter, Randy Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.
While Nelson would offer a lot of promise, and experience working with some of the younger guys from his system, he may be better suited in a smaller capacity with the Oilers before taking on the head coach role.
4. Ralph Krueger
Names assistant coach in July of 2010, Krueger is an obvious candidate for the gig. He has close ties to Renney and his family, and knows the system quite well. Krueger also served as the Swiss national coach from 1998 to 2010.
However, with the Oilers waiting until after the season, signs point to an external suitor, or Kreuger would have been interim during the season, and given the chance to prove himself in the thrust of things in the season. There’s a chance for Krueger to get the nod, but there’s more out there:
3. Jon Cooper
Reports says this Prince George native has what it takes to be the next coach. The Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL have been a force to be reckoned with, and Cooper can be credited with that, leading the team to a championship in 2009-10. The year prior, the Gamblers lost in the second round.
Then, Cooper turned to the AHL, with the Norfolk Admirals. Last year the team lost in the first round while winning 28 straight games in the regular season.
The Admirals are currently in the semifinals with the St. Johns IceCaps.
2. Brent Sutter
Here’s a guy who is familiar with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. As owner of the Red Deer Rebels, Sutter has witnessed the playing of RNH in the Western Hockey League quite well for his own team. And with the Sutter name doing quite well in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s always possible this one can reemerge in the NHL on the other side of Alberta.
1. Marc Crawford
Head coach of 1,151 games, none of them with the Oilers. But Crawford’s resume is still floating around as Crawford applied for the gig last time around.
Like Sutter, Crawford fits the bill of experience and history with the area. Crawford won the Stanley Cup coaching the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, and coached Canadian west coast hockey for seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.
Additionally, he took home the Jack Adam’s Award in 1995 as the coach for the Quebec Nordiques with a 30-13-5 record. But the past isn’t everything, and Crawford may be a good debate worth having. It’s safe to say, however, that he’d be interested again. But his last two years, both last-place finishes with the Dallas Stars, may not help.
Who else do you expect the Edmonton Oilers to look at? Is experience everything, or should they look at recent success over success buried in past years?