After Canada was eliminated from the IIHF world championships, the Edmonton Oilers braintrust of Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini finally found some free time to announce that Oilers head coach Tom Renney's contract won't be renewed.
This wasn't exactly unexpected news, as Renney went 57-85-22 in two seasons with the Oilers, presiding over a roster of extremely talented young players, well-compensated veterans and significant holes in the lineup.
After the season, Tambellini said Renney was the Oilers coach "right now," which is like referring to your significant other as "my current wife and/or husband."
The time had arrived to make a decision, if for no other reason than to give Renney and his staff a chance to find work and to jump into the pool with the other teams seeking coaches.
So who's next in line for this gig?
Jonathan Willis has compiled a terrific series of profiles over on Cult of Hockey, but there are three names we're intrigued by:
The recent Calgary Flames coach was given a "test drive" as head coach of Team Canada at Worlds, a job for which Sutter was selected by Lowe. The system he plays, his ability to work with young players and his Red Deer connection with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all work in his favor. Seeing this Albertan hockey flip-flop would not be a surprise.
The head coach of the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL since 2010 and a former assistant with the Thrashers, his success at the AHL level warrants him a serious look as a coach that can grow with this young roster.
And one off the radar, courtesy of our radio buddy Jeff Marek:
Former NHLer and current head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings, he's been a head coach in the CHL, ECHL and WHL since 2002, winning a Kelly Cup with Idaho in 2006-07. An off the radar choice for NHL head coach, but obviously one with local ties and quite familiar to the organization.
As for Renney … well, George McPhee is looking for a coach in Washington, and Renney was in Vancouver with McPhee in 1996, so …