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Red Wings hire Tom Renney to replace Jeff Blashill

Updated 2x, very significantly, at 4:52 PM: Wow, awesome signing for the Red Wings on the coaching front, from their official Twitter account:

The Red Wings have hired former EDM/NYR/VAN bench boss Tom Renney as an associate coach. Renney, 57, has signed a 3-year deal with the club.
...
Renney has a career 260-255-9-68 NHL record. BC native won a Mem Cup with Blazers in ’92 and a Silver Medal with Team Canada at ’94 Olympics

Remarkably astute hiring by the Wings. Renney is exactly the kind of veteran NHL voice the Wings have needed since losing Paul MacLean and Todd McLellan. Perfect addition.

To quote TSN’s Darren Dreger:

Red Wings announce the hiring of Tom Renney as an associate coach. 3 year deal. Good things happen to good people. Good hire.

Update #1: From the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples:

For #RedWings fans, here’s why I felt Renney should have had one more year with #Oilers @georgemalik @detroitredwings

Here’s his blog entry:

Renney can also be judged by the team’s overall performance. The Oilers only moved up one place in the team rankings this year, but won seven more games. The team’s goal differential at even strength improved from minus-39 to minus-27, a significant jump.

The Oilers’ special teams shot up, too. The power play went from a 14.8-per-cent success rate and 27th place to a 20.6-per-cent success rate and third overall ranking. On the penalty kill, the Oilers went from a 77-per-cent clearance rate and a 29th ranking, to a 82.4-per-cent rate and a 14th ranking.

The team’s scoring chance numbers also improved. In 2010-11, the Oilers were out chanced 19.1 to 14.8 per game. This year, it was just 18.4 to 15.7 per game.

My bottom line on Renney? He earned a new deal. He made a few big miscalculations, but much more was going right than wrong under his direction.

There are rumours the Oilers will now hire Brent Sutter. I’ve also heard whisperings of even bigger names being courted to coach the Oilers.

There are a handful of outstanding coaches out there and if the Oilers can land one of them, this move might well make more sense. We shall see.

The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan is confirming…

Wings hire former Edmonton coach Tom Renney to fill Jeff Blashill spot

From Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

Tom Renney lands in DET as associate coach. 3-yr deal. A fine man and better coach. Ken Holland hires you? You know your stuff, man.

The

Free Press’s James Jahnke confirms…

The Detroit Red Wings have hired Tom Renney as an associate coach.

Renney, 57, previously has been the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He was let go by the Oilers in May.

He has a 260-255-9-68 career record as a head coach.

Renney signed a three-year contract with the Wings.

As does TSN:

It didn’t take long but Tom Renney is back in the NHL.

Just over a month after his tenure as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers ended, Renney signed a three-year deal to be an associate coach with the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

After head coaching stints with the Vancouver Canucks (1996-97) and New York Rangers (2004-09), Renney joined the Oilers in 2009 and became head coach in 2010.

The Oilers did not renew his contract after the 2011-2012 season.

Update #2: Here’s the Wings’ press release:

RED WINGS NAME TOM RENNEY ASSOCIATE COACH

Veteran Brings Over 15 Years of Coaching Experience to Detroit ’s Staff …

Detroit, MI… Detroit Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has hired Tom Renney as associate coach.  Renney fills the vacancy created when former Assistant Coach Jeff Blashill accepted the head coaching position with Detroit ’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.  Renney has agreed to a three-year deal with the club.  As per team policy, additional terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Renney, 57, spent the past three seasons with the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.  He joined the Oilers’ staff as an associate coach prior to the 2009-10 season.  After just one season, Renney took over the reigns as the 10th head coach in franchise history on June 22, 2010.  In his first campaign as head coach, the Cranbrook , B.C., native led the rebuilding Oilers to a 25-45-12 record.  In total, Renney compiled a 57-85-22 record over two seasons as the bench boss of the young Edmonton squad.

Prior to his time in Edmonton , Renney spent nine seasons in various roles with the New York Rangers.  During his first two seasons in Manhattan , Renney served as Director of Player Personnel where he oversaw the team’s amateur scouts and provided assistance to New York ’s professional scouting department.  Renney was promoted to Vice President, Player Development in 2002 and joined the Rangers’ coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2003.  After a brief stint as interim head coach at the end of the 2003-04 season, Renney was officially named the 33rd head coach in Rangers history on July 6, 2004.  He led the Blueshirts to three consecutive 40-win seasons and guided the team to a 164-121-42 record over 327 games from 2005-08.

Renney first broke into the NHL as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks in 1996-97.  He spent parts of two seasons with the Canucks, compiling a 39-53-9 record over 101 games.  Renney made the move to Vancouver following his two-year tenure with Hockey Canada , serving as the head coach of the Canadian National Team that went on to capture a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer , Norway .

Renney began his coaching career behind the bench of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League in 1990.  In two seasons with Kamloops , he led the Blazers to a 101-37-6 record, back-to-back WHL titles and a Memorial Cup championship in 1992.

On Twitter, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun digs the deal…

Really like Babcock’s move there with Renney hiring. Babcock can be real hard on players. Renney will be good buffer. Knows NHL inside out

As does, via RedWingsFeed, USA Today’s Kevin Allen...

Red Wings’ hiring of Tom Renney could be as beneficial to the team as a free agent signing. Quality man, exceptional hockey mind.

And TSN’s Darren Dreger offers this tidbit:

T.Renney says the Wings approached him over a week ago. He had other international opportunities, but is happy to work with Babcock in Det.

The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness tossed off a short confirmation...

The Wings went with experience this time around when looking to hire the next assistant coach for Mike Babcock, naming former Edmonton Oilers coach Tom Renney to replace Jeff Blashill, who will coach the Grand Rapids Griffins next season.

MLive’s Ansar Khan confirmed the signing...

The Red Wings were seeking an assistant coach with NHL head coaching experience.

Renney, 57, spent the past three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. He joined the Oilers’ staff as an associate coach prior to the 2009-10 season. After just one season, Renney took over the reigns as the head coach.

Renney compiled a 57-85-22 record over two seasons as the head coach in Edmonton.

Before that, Renney spent nine seasons in various roles with the New York Rangers. During his first two seasons with the Rangers, Renney served as director of player personnel, where he oversaw the team’s amateur scouts and provided assistance to New York’‘s professional scouting department.

Renney was promoted to vice president, player development in 2002 and joined the Rangers’ coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2003. After a brief stint as interim head coach at the end of the 2003-04 season, Renney was officially named head coach in 2004.

He led the Rangers to three consecutive 40-win seasons and guided the team to a 164-121-42 record over 327 games from 2005-08.

Renney broke into the NHL as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks in 1996-97. He spent parts of two seasons with the Canucks, compiling a 39-53-9 record.

His overall head coach record in the NHL is 260-255-9-68. He has an 11-13 playoff record.

As did the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…

Tom Renney, head coach of the Edmonton Oilers the last two seasons, has been hired by the Red Wings as an assistant.

Renney, 57, signed a three-year deal to join Bill Peters on head coach Mike Babcock’s staff.

Renney guided the Oilers the last two seasons before being let go May 17. He had 57-85-22 record with the Oilers, coaching what was the youngest team in the league.

Renney has a lifetime mark of 260-255-75 coaching Vancouver, the Rangers (three times leading them to the playoffs) and Edmonton.

Renney replaces Jeff Blashill, who became head coach of the Wings’ minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids.

The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples weighed in…

This comes after three seasons where Renney was either associate coach or head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, the worst team in hockey over that span.

Red Wings fans might be baffled by the hiring, but most Oilers fans will get it. Renney is a career coach and a good one, with a reputation as a strong technical coach and solid teacher. When he was let go by the Oilers, the majority of fans felt the team had done him wrong.

While I think the Oilers made a solid hire in promoting Renney’s right-hand man Ralph Krueger, I would have been happy to see Renney return as Oilers coach this year. He had earned it.

Hockey’s best coach, Scotty Bowman, once said the most important job of the coach is to get the right players on the ice. Renney generally did just fine by that standard. He shielded young players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle from tough competition and/or tough assignments as much as he could. He maybe used Eric Belanger, Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney a shade too much on the power play, but it’s not like he had Justin Schultz to slot in there. Corey Potter was somewhat under-utilized, but this is a quibble. The top power play unit of Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Eberle, Shawn Horcoff and Potter got the most ice and also got great results.

On defence, he maybe overplayed Ryan Whitney a bit at even strength, but it’s worth nothing that Whitney came on stronger at the end of the year. His coach’s faith in him paid off a bit.

Renney’s main fault was to overplay Nikolai Khabibulin in net. As my Cult of Hockey colleague Bruce McCurdy found, Khabibulin had 11 wins, eight losses and three overtime/shootout losses before Christmas and a .932 save percentage. After Christmas, he was 1-13-4 with an .881 save percentage. Meanwhile, Devan Dubnyk was 4-8-0 before Christmas with a .903 save percentage, but 16-11-3 with a .919 save percentage after Christmas.

So Renney made a big miscalculation on Khabibulin, and a few smaller ones. At the same time, however, the Oilers coach made a major bet on unproven Jeff Petry, giving him the most ice time of any D-man. It paid off in a jackpot performance. Overall, the Oilers only moved up one place in the team rankings this year, but won seven more games. The team’s goal differential at even strength improved from minus-39 to minus-27.

The Oilers’ special teams shot up. The power play went from a 14.8-per-cent success rate and 27th place to a 20.6-per-cent success rate and third overall ranking. On the penalty kill, the Oilers went from a 77-per-cent clearance rate and a 29th ranking, to a 82.4-per-cent rate and a 14th ranking. The team’s scoring chance numbers also improved. In 2010-11, the Oilers were out chanced 19.1 to 14.8 per game. This year, it was just 18.4 to 15.7 per game. Much more was going right than wrong under his direction.

As I said, Renney earned a new deal. Looks like he got it today in Detroit. No surprise to me at all.

And DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose offers some Twitter quips...

#RedWings Babcock on Renney: “He’s a quality man, a guy who loves players, is a good communicator with players and appreciative of players.”
...
#RedWings Mike Babcock on Tom Renney: “He knows the league ... he can give you feedback on all of the players, he knows the Red Wings.”

As well as an article about Renney’s hiring…

“He’s a hard-working guy who has had lots of success in the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I couldn’t have found a more experienced guy – that’s just the facts.”

With Renney suggesting that the Wings’ “program” still sells itself…

“When you look at tradition, and certainly in the last couple of decades, there’s only been a handful of teams that can consider themselves the cream of the crop,” said Renney in an exclusive phone interview with DetroitRedWings.com. “As much as no one takes that for granted, the one thing that Detroit has been able to do is sustain a high level of play and excellence and pursue playoff spots and Stanley Cups. In so doing, they have really separated themselves from much of the league in most of the seasons, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

While his job description hasn’t been finalized, Renney is anxious to get going with his new club.

“I know that Mike and Bill and I will sit down and talk that over,” he said. “Obviously, Mike has a real good idea of what he believes we need and how best to utilize his staff. I think that once we have a chance to talk things through, and talk philosophically where the game is and where it’s going as it relates to the Red Wings, those responsibilities will become more and more clear.”

Renney’s appointment gives the Wings the experience that they desired in their next hire behind the bench. Renney, 57, has been a coach in the NHL for 11 seasons, including nine as a head coach with Vancouver, the New York Rangers and Edmonton. Over the last two seasons, he posted a 57-85-22 record while the Oilers finished last overall and second to last. Renney’s contract wasn’t renewed.

“He’s a quality, quality man, a guy who loves players, is a good communicator with players and appreciative of players,” Babcock said. “I would consider him a players’ coach and with great experience from the Olympic Games, to World Championships to the New York Rangers to the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been around Glen Sather a ton, been around Pat Quinn a ton, been around Kevin Lowe, been around lots of good hockey people.”
...
But what impressed Babcock the most – at least seven years ago – was how Renney handled his star players during his first full-season with the Rangers following the lockout. And his relationship with players hasn’t diminished either, Babcock said.

“I thought he did a heck of a job,” Babcock said. “Jaromir Jagr and him had an unbelievable relationship and Jags played phenomenal for him in New York. I thought he did a real good job in Edmonton with that young group and he played those young guys to help them develop. He played them on the first power play, he gave them a chance. Now you know what happens in this business, someone’s got to take the heat, and he took the heat in Edmonton. But we think he’s a quality coach, that’s why we’ve hired him. He knows the league, he knows all of the players, he can give you feedback on all of the players, he knows the Detroit Red Wings.”
...
“In Edmonton, they had the No. 1 power play in the league, he brings a lot to the table, and I think he can do a lot of the talking,” Babcock said. “He can help me out so I can talk less, which I think is a positive thing. But the bottom line is he got hired here for the type of person he is, how hard he works, and his experience.”

And you can listen to Renney speaking to Roose via the Wings’ Flash player or right here:

Download file

Quickie update: MLive’s Ansar Khan offered a Babcock on Renney quip as well:

Babcock on Renney: “Good coach, lots of experience. Knows how to talk to players. He’ll bring thoughts from different organizations.’‘

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Comments

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NIVO's avatar

WOOT! Excellent signing for the team. Hope he can whip special teams into shape.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 07/05/12 at 04:35 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I like it.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 07/05/12 at 04:36 PM ET

TeamDub's avatar

Can he play D?

Posted by TeamDub from The gratch. on 07/05/12 at 04:38 PM ET

Ducksworth's avatar

Very nice, I like this move very much by the Wings. Now lets get a D-man!

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 07/05/12 at 04:39 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Dig it.  An angry and well seasoned head coach hungry for success to redeem his name,  This is why I hoped they were gonna get Hitch last summer, hopefully he brings some special teams braun with him.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/05/12 at 04:39 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Good deal, think this is more of what they were looking for last year.  Really like this signing. Lots of NHL experience coming with him.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 04:39 PM ET

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So, what will his role be? In charge of D, F, PP, PK?

Posted by Tony from Sweden on 07/05/12 at 04:40 PM ET

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AWESOME HIRE!!

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 07/05/12 at 04:43 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Barry Smith?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 07/05/12 at 04:44 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Suck it up, play hockey.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/05/12 at 04:46 PM ET

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A good, experienced guy that the Wings were sorely missing last year.  Renney is a knowledgable guy that will be hungry to prove he’s still coaching material after being this years annual scapegoat for Kevin Lowe and his buddies.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 07/05/12 at 04:49 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/05/12 at 02:46 PM ET

Love it.  Same thing I like about Torts.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 04:51 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Excellent.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 07/05/12 at 04:51 PM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Excellent move. A good counter balance to Babcock’s style.

Posted by joedaiceman on 07/05/12 at 04:51 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

I really like this hire.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 07/05/12 at 04:54 PM ET

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Well, I think we know the major game-plan next year is whip the PP into shape and drill home the team defensive play.

Posted by beardChamp on 07/05/12 at 05:04 PM ET

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So far the wings have done more than most teams have done so far this offseason…

Posted by neffernin on 07/05/12 at 05:05 PM ET

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Man, that is a terrific addition

Posted by pcoffey on 07/05/12 at 05:05 PM ET

Paul's avatar

“When you look at tradition, and certainly in the last couple of decades, there’s only been a handful of teams that can consider themselves the cream of the crop,” said Renney in an exclusive phone interview with DetroitRedWings.com. “As much as no one takes that for granted, the one thing that Detroit has been able to do is sustain a high level of play and excellence and pursue playoff spots and Stanley Cups. In so doing, they have really separated themselves from much of the league in most of the seasons, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

-Tom Renney, more from Bill Roose at the Wings site…

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 07/05/12 at 05:10 PM ET

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he’s also a sharp dresser.  Can’t have enough of those

Posted by booyah! from chicago on 07/05/12 at 05:10 PM ET

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I agree, this is a good choice….and since I read that some in Detroit don’t like their coach, well, I guess he will take over once the team kicks him out (I read that he has “lost” his players?

Posted by benoit from office on 07/05/12 at 05:14 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Ummm.  The two that just signed for a life of mediocrity in Minnesota.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from Where the GM likes his team. on 07/05/12 at 05:17 PM ET

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Nice pick up and a great coach with youngsters.

Posted by wbclimb from AZ on 07/05/12 at 05:18 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Barry Smith is presently the Blackhawks’ Director of Player Development? I didn’t know this. Always thought he would have made a good NHL head coach.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/05/12 at 05:24 PM ET

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The Oilers’ special teams shot up, too. The power play went from a 14.8-per-cent success rate and 27th place to a 20.6-per-cent success rate and third overall ranking. On the penalty kill, the Oilers went from a 77-per-cent clearance rate and a 29th ranking, to a 82.4-per-cent rate and a 14th ranking.

Niiiice

Posted by Herm from the office on 07/05/12 at 05:28 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Very nice!

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 07/05/12 at 05:35 PM ET

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The two that just signed for a life of mediocrity in Minnesota.

Minnesota has a hockey team?  Good for them.

Posted by Garth on 07/05/12 at 05:36 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I think there’s more conjecture with the media than the fans right now.
They start hearing one thing and everyone starts chirping it for fear of being the late one to the party or missing out on those web hits. 
Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 01:52 PM ET

i.e., “derecho”.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 07/05/12 at 05:45 PM ET

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Great hire.  Somebody check his bags - maybe he brought jeff petry with him.

Posted by beelza on 07/05/12 at 05:53 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

i.e., “derecho”.

Posted by RWBill from hiding indoors from Virginia heat. on 07/05/12 at 03:45 PM ET

lol EXACTLY

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 05:58 PM ET

calquake's avatar

(I read that he has “lost” his players?

He did but realized he’d gotten on the wrong bus and all ended well.  Really… where does all this crap come from?

Posted by calquake on 07/05/12 at 06:24 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I think they’re making speculations based on Franzens comments at the Worlds this year.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 06:30 PM ET

Avatar

Really… where does all this crap come from?

Primis.

Posted by Garth on 07/05/12 at 06:30 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

This is great news!

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 07/05/12 at 06:35 PM ET

Crow's avatar

Great hire Mr. Holland.  Now go and sign Doan and Semin, Please.

Posted by Crow on 07/05/12 at 06:45 PM ET

Tuba Guy's avatar

I Want to see Semin on the back of a wings jersey!

Posted by Tuba Guy from Royal Oak, MI on 07/05/12 at 07:14 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I am floored.  This came out of nowhere.

Thank you, Uncle Mike and Tick Tock.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 07/05/12 at 07:17 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

In Edmonton, they had the No. 1 power play in the league

Should have been the lead, because there’s the reason for this hire…or at least the most prominent one.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 07/05/12 at 07:19 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Now Franzen can’t bitch about no joy playing (aside from job security, millions of dollars and playing a game for a living) This actually got me a little excited for this season.  I wonder what he’ll be able to do with B. Smith on the PP.  Could REALLY help some of our younger players break out and motivate older guys who don’t have to worry about playing for contracts anymore.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 07/05/12 at 07:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples weighed in…

This comes after three seasons where Renney was either associate coach or head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, the worst team in hockey over that span.

Red Wings fans might be baffled by the hiring…

Fuch off, Dave.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 07/05/12 at 07:20 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.