March 14, 2012
Oilers coach on borrowed time?
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Tom Renney appears to be coaching on borrowed time.
The Edmonton Oilers head coach has 13 games left in his current contract, at the end of which, he will either be thanked for his services or asked to come back for another go.
It’s not an easy situation for Renney or his staff, as they continue the long death march that has seen this team out of playoff contention for months now.
And while Monday’s rant by Renney, where he indirectly called out some players for not putting in an honest effort, may have had the appearance of a coach trying to regain control of the dressing room, those in the room claim it’s not the case.
The fact the sand is almost out of the hourglass for the coaching staff doesn’t appear to be an issue.
“I can honestly say that’s never been mentioned in here and I haven’t thought about that,” said Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney. “You’re thinking your own game and how you could be better, not ‘I don’t care what he says, because he might not be here.’ That’s not on anyone’s mind.”
Every so often the Oilers get a reality check on their current situation and are forced to do some soul searching.
The team did not count on being in 29th spot this season, after finishing 30th the previous two years.
“None of this is on Tom,” Whitney said. “We’re playing the game and he does give us a system that, when we play it, is successful. You see how inconsistent we are, where we play really well and then others we don’t.”
The Oilers’ loss to the San Jose Sharks Monday set off Renney, who is traditionally protective of his players and rarely criticizes them in public.
He questioned some of his players’ worth ethic and attitude, without naming names.
Ironically, some of those players are still under contract next season, which means they’ll still be here, while Renney may not.
“You don’t really sit here and think Tom’s on his last year,” said Oilers winger Ryan Jones. “There’s a lot of guys that you play with knowing that it’s the last year of their contract in the room. It’s just part of the profession. You want to play hard for everyone in the organization, whether it’s coach, the GM, president, vice-president, backup goalie or fourth liner. We all want to win for each other and that encompasses everybody, and not just people who are on their last year or those who have five more years left.”