SUN Hockey Pool

Fans give thumbs-up

TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

More than a month after Craig MacTavish was fired as the Oilers' head coach, the team has named his replacement, and most fans are cheering the move.

"I think it's probably the best move they could have made for any available coach out there. I'm pretty happy," said fan Kayle Leonard, a few hours after the Oilers announced Pat Quinn, 66, will become the team's top coach.

"Quinn has a very good track record through his entire career," Leonard said, crediting the man with turning the Toronto Maple Leafs into a successful team.

Chris Piper, like many fans online, has high hopes.

"When he was with the Leafs they tended to be more of an offensive-minded team ... the MacTavish years seemed to be more defence first and offence when possible," Piper said, adding this will open new opportunities for the players.

"I don't know if they'll be more aggressive, but I think they'll be given maybe more of a free rein to use their natural talent and be more creative."

The criticism of Quinn centres around his age, with some doubting how well he'll get along with players a third of his age.

"My only concern, based on this last season, is whether the really young players will maybe not take him seriously," Piper said of the Hall-of-Famer.

Leonard, however, thinks Quinn's experience in junior hockey - as well as associate coach Tom Renney's background - will serve them well with so many young players on the team.

"They're both really good with the young kids, which our team is full of, and they seem to be able to command respect from older players ... that's what lacked with MacTavish ... he just didn't seem to have the communication there," Leonard said, musing about Renney's official title.

"(Quinn) will probably only be around for a season or two, maybe three and then maybe Tom Renney can step up as the head coach. I think that's why they named him the associate over assistant coach, because they're giving him some extra duties to be the successor."

Chris Balango, an Oilers fan in Vancouver, is also optimistic about the duo's future. "I am happy to see Quinn running the bench. He was solid for the Canucks, even when they had limited talent. I think Tom Renney will bring a calming element to Quinn's coaching style, and the younger players will probably find him easy to work with," he said.

All that, most fans agree and hope, will translate into a team that will at least make it to the playoffs next season.


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