Gilbert knows Renney well

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:18 PM ET

EDMONTON - As a defenceman, Tom Gilbert got to know Tom Renney very well last season.

The Oilers new head coach spent the year running the defence and by the end of the campaign, Gilbert was one of his top blue-liners.

“Tom was really good with us,” Gilbert said. “He communicated really well and he was easy to talk to. He’s a very intense coach, which is great. He pushes you to be a better player. He’s very detailed and makes sure we’re all doing the same thing, game in and game out, starting with practice.

“That’s something we’ll be looking forward to next year with him.”

On Tuesday, the Oilers announced Renney would be taking over the head coaching duties from Pat Quinn, who has reluctantly been moved to a senior advisory role with the club.

Renney was the Oilers associate coach last season, which saw them finish last in the league standings for the first time in franchise history.

“After a disappointing season like that, you know there are going to be changes, you just don’t know where they’re going to be, whether it be upper management or players,” Gilbert said. “It didn’t come as a huge surprise when it comes to the change aspect of it. But, either way, we’re in a win-win situation. Both coaches have proven themselves to be successful. Tom has been a head coach before; it’s just a new look for our team.”

Quinn and Renney were both hired by the Oilers a year ago to replace Craig MacTavish. The plan at the time was for Renney to eventually take over the coaching duties from Quinn. The Oilers lack of success, combined with a new rebuilding philosophy, prompted the club to execute the exchange faster than originally intended.

“I think most guys will be comfortable with the change,” Gilbert said.

“Tom’s been in that spot before, he’s had success and guys know that and have a lot of respect for him. The same thing goes for Pat Quinn, guys have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He did the best job that he could in order for our team to be successful, it just didn’t happen last year.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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