SUN Hockey Pool

Life after MacT

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

The search for the next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers is not expected to be completed any time soon.

In fact, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini admitted the hunt for a new bench boss would be extensive and a number of candidates would be considered.

That takes some time. And there is a lot of playoff hockey still left to be watched.

The Oilers have not been in the market for a new head coach since Kevin Lowe stepped away from the bench to become the team's general manager in 2000.

Even then, there wasn't much of a search as Craig MacTavish was promoted from assistant and kept the post until being relieved of his duties just days after this season came to an end.

"I have in my mind the type of coach that I'm looking for," Tambellini said at the a news conference announcing MacTavish's departure.

"We'll have a coach in place when we get the right guy. Unfortunately we have a few months to watch hockey here and to think about potential people and people that become available.

"Generally speaking, I have an idea of that type."

With that, the speculation is well underway.

There are a number of qualified candidates available, and some may become available once the Stanley Cup playoffs are over. Here's a breakdown of who are considered some of the frontrunners.

Marc Crawford

Currently working as a colour commentator for CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

His last coaching stint was with the Los Angeles Kings where he was fired following the 2007-08 season.

Crawford broke into the NHL as a coach in 1994 with the Quebec Nordiques where he went on to win the Jack Adams trophy as coach of the year, becoming the youngest person to do so. The following season Crawford won the Stanley Cup as the Nordiques relocated to Colorado.

After four seasons with the Avalanche, Crawford moved on to coach the Vancouver Canucks but was fired following the 2006 season and subsequently hired by the Kings a month later.

Pat Quinn

Quinn coached Canada to a World Junior title in January. He spent seven seasons as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs were he failed to make the playoffs on just one occasion. The Leafs haven't made the playoffs since.

Prior to that, Quinn also coached the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers. He's won the Jack Adams award as NHL coach of the year twice, in 1980 with the Flyers and in 1992 with the Canucks.

As general manager of the Canucks, Quinn hired Tambellini following his playing career.

He also coached the Canadian Olympic team to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, where Tambellini was part of the management team.

Tom Renney

Fired by the New York Rangers in February and replaced by John Tortorella, who was working as an analyst for TSN. Renney spent the better part of five years behind the Rangers bench, qualifying for the playoffs on three occasions.

Prior to joining the Rangers, Renney also had a brief stint with the Vancouver Canucks.

He and Tambellini are both from Trail, B.C., and both worked together with the Canucks.

Brent Sutter

Currently coaching the New Jersey Devils, although has stated publicly he would like to return to work closer to home. He's currently in his second year behind the Devils bench, which is his first NHL coaching gig.

Prior to that, Sutter ran the Red Deer Rebels for seven seasons after purchasing the WHL team. Under his guidance, the Rebels became a dominant force, winning the Memorial Cup in 2001.

Sutter also coached the Canadian junior team to consecutive World Junior titles in 2005 and 2006.

He has one more year left on his contract with the Devils following this season, but could be a candidate to join brother Darryl with the Calgary Flames if he becomes available.

Scott Arneil

Is currently head coach of the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. He was recently named the AHL's coach of the year leading the Moose to their second division championship in three years and best overall league record. The Moose currently lead their first-round playoff series against the Toronto Marlies 3-2 with Game 6 tonight. Arneil has never coached in the NHL, but is the most likely candidate to make the jump following the season.

Others ...

Others which may garner some consideration include San Jose assistant Todd Richards, Nashville Predators assistant Brent Peterson, former minor league coach Doug Shedden, who coached Finland to a bronze medal at last year's world championships, Boston Bruins assistant Geoff Ward and former Oiler Marc Habscheid who served as an assistant for Canada at the 2006 Olympics.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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