When Steve Tambellini went looking for the right man to coach the Edmonton Oilers, he made it sound like the shortest search on record.
"If I think of leadership, I think of Pat Quinn," the Oilers general manager said. "If I think of how you wanted to be treated as player, I think of Pat Quinn. As someone who sets an example morally for an organization, I think of Pat Quinn."
So, thinking of Quinn, Tambellini hired his former Vancouver Canucks co-worker to be the Oilers' head coach. Then he added another, Tom Renney, as the Oilers' associate coach.
Together with Kelly Buchberger aboard as an assistant, Quinn and Renney are being counted on to push the stalled Oilers back into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Tambellini sees it as a group approach and the start of something good.
"When I spoke to both Pat and Tom, I think I communicated my goals quite clearly," Tambellini said at yesterday's introductory news conference. "I didn't want to bring a good coaching staff, I wanted a great one."
What the Oilers possess for the next NHL season is coaching experience aplenty.
Renney, 54, was once the Canucks head man before running the New York Rangers bench for five seasons. Quinn, 66, previously coached in two other Canadian markets (Vancouver and Toronto), helped the Canadian men win gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics and was the guiding hand behind Team Canada's gold-medal showing at the 2009 world junior championship.
A former NHL coach of the year, as well as a GM, Quinn played junior hockey with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 1960s and paid homage to the Oilers illustrious past, having been on the losing end of many an Oilers win.
"I'm certainly aware of history of the Oilers and the city because I feel my start in hockey came right in this community," Quinn told reporters at Rexall Place. "I'm fully aware of work ethic of this organization. Tradition is very important to this organization, but I'm looking forward to the future. ... We're here to help this team win."
Quinn was one of only a handful of people interviewed by Tambellini, who fired Craig MacTavish not long after the Oilers missed the postseason for the third year in a row. (Also approached by Tambellini were Marc Crawford and San Jose Sharks assistant Todd Richards, who is expected to be soon hired by the Minnesota Wild.)
Quinn said he was anxious to get back into the NHL and that he missed the "joy in the coaching role.
"It ended in Toronto [with the Maple Leafs three years ago]and I pretty much thought it was done. That would have been okay," he said. "But when I was sitting around trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I found that passion for the game didn't dissipate. ... I really knew I wanted to be involved again, so I'm happy for this opportunity."
While Quinn said there were still many details to attend to - it's possible another assistant could be added to the coaching mix - don't be surprised if the Oilers return to their trademark up-tempo ways of years gone by.
Last season, with several players trapped in horrible scoring slumps, the Oilers often played defensively with little or no aggressive fore-check. MacTavish did what he could with what he had, but when he pushed for more, his calls usually went unheeded.
Not only will Quinn and Renney offer new voices, they both favour an attack-style game that should enliven the players, especially some of the veterans who faded in the stretch.
"We will be setting high standards. We will be pushing, cajoling, teaching as well as we can to maintain and reach those high standards," Quinn said. "If that means pushing people in the easy chair ... if our veterans have been guys that might put their feet up on the desk once in a while, we'll have to change that.
"If, at the end of the day, the direction of our team isn't about team strength, I'm sure we'll find people who want to be involved."
Renney wanted to be involved as soon as he knew he'd be working alongside Quinn, who gave Renney his first NHL head-coaching job in Vancouver.
"There were options but it comes down to the people you surround yourself with," Renney said. "I have a lot of different hockey experiences ... some might suggest it's a step backward, I don't say that. ... This is something I completely embrace."
Tambellini said former Oilers assistants Bill Moores and Charlie Huddy would be offered new positions within the organization. There was no official word on goaltending coach Pete Peters.
Teams Philadelphia Flyers 1978-1982, Los Angeles Kings 1984-1987, Vancouver Canucks 1990-96, Toronto Maple Leafs 1998-2006.
Record Coached his teams to 15 playoff appearances; took the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup final; two-time NHL coach of the year.
record 1,318 games, 657 wins, 481 losses, 154 ties, 26 overtime losses.
Overall playoff record
International experience Tournaments as Canada's coach: 2002 Olympics, 2004 World Cup, 2008 world under-18 championship, 2009 world under-20 championship.
Games 606 NHL games with Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta Flames.
Statistics 18 goals, 113 assists, 131 points; 950 penalty minutes