Fans and Media Need to Chill Out on the Coaching Situation in Edmonton

There is no doubt that the nice thing to with an employee when their job is in limbo is to let them know immediately so they can look for gainful employment elsewhere. If you're going to cut bait, do it quickly instead of dragging the process along.

This seems to be the consensus among fans and media in Edmonton who are quickly jumping on Oilers management regarding current coach Tom Renney.

Most feel for Renney, the writing is on the wall. If the Oilers management team, namely Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe, haven't made a decision yet regarding renewing Renney as head coach, the likelihood is they won't.

That may be true. And perhaps it's not the nicest thing to do.

But, there is a simple fact that these same fans and media seem to be forgetting -- or at least conveniently overlooking. The Oilers have a contract with Tom Renney. A contract that pays him until a certain date. That date has not arrived, that contract has not expired, and the Oilers are well within their right to take as much time as is needed to make not the nice decision, but the right one.

Perhaps the Oilers feel Renney is the not the logical choice. After finishing 30th and 29th in the NHL under his tenure, there is obvious reasons to question his success as a coach. Maybe Oilers management feel that even a rebuilding team should do better than the rebuilding Oilers have done.

Perhaps Renney is the right man to lead this team out of its rebuild. Perhaps the Oilers management is doing whatever homework, review and assessment is needed to make that decision. Perhaps they feel, not only is Renney patient and good with young rookies, but he's better at taking these rookies and making them winning professionals.

Whatever the case, the Edmonton Oilers have until Tom Renney's contract expires to figure it out.

Consider too, that the Oilers are not the only team with a decision to make about their coaching. This years NHL playoffs were filled with early exits from teams expected to go the distance.

Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks may or may not be the man in San Jose next year. He's proven he can be a contending coach in a winning environment having served both with the Sharks and Detroit, two teams known as consistent contenders.

Yet, the Sharks have not let McLellan know one way or another if he'll be staying or going. No vote of confidence and no pink slip that the media knows about has been relayed.

Alain Vigneault just now received public praise from newly renewed Mike Gillis. Vigneault led the Canucks to two President's trophy wins, yet it took weeks, not minutes for the Canucks to say they want him back, which may or may not happen.

Dan Bylsma took the Penguins to the Stanley Cup as a first year coach. There was all sorts of consideration that he may be moving on after the Penguins early exit. It seems that now he's got a green light to feel worry free about his position, but that was hardly overnight.

Has anyone told the media for sure what's happening in Boston with Claude Julien?

Dale Hunter is still coaching the Capitals in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. What if the owners know what they want to do regardless of the results Dale Hunter achieves as coach? Shouldn't they let him know? One would think he's already earned himself an offer from Washington based on their win/loss record since he took over. Yet, no one seems to know what's going on there. Hunter could conceivably be the first coach to win a Stanley Cup and be fired the next year. It sounds ludicrous, but if Ovechkin and Hunter don't see eye to eye, it's not impossible.

What about the GM's job in Columbus where everyone seems sure that Scott Howson will be fired? He's still the General Manager. Why isn't the media being told what's happening with the Jackets? Howson made some truly strange decisions at the end of the season in which the Jackets finished 30th.

With all the above mentioned names, there is a common theme here. These teams do not have to tell the fans or the media, or for that matter the coaches and GM's what's happening with respect to their positions until their contract dictates they do so. Tom Renney is not even close to being the only one not sure where he fits into the future plans of the team under which he is currently being employed.

It is not only the right, but it should be the expectation that each of these teams do their due diligence. Their job as management is to ensure that they ice the best possible team including the coaching staff. They should turn over every rock, examine every result, scenario and possibility for as long as it takes to be sure they are making the choice best for the team.

Would it be the nice thing to do to give Tom Renney an answer now? If the Oilers know the answer, then yes of course. Should they? Probably not. At least not until they've explored every option that exists to make this team better going forward.

The best business decision isn't always the nicest one. That's life. $hit happens.

The crazy thing is that Tom Renney likely understands this. He's a true professional with NHL experience on contracts and decision making. Yet, the city and it's media goes to bat for a coach who may or may not even care at this point that there is a game being played.


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