Lowe says Oilers' decision on Renney was tough, took time Staff

5/22/2012 4:57:42 PM

Some criticized the Edmonton Oilers for their handling of Tom Renney's contract situation - waiting more than a month after the regular season to decide not to renew the deal and part ways with their head coach the past two seasons.

On Tuesday, Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe addressed the issue and described just how tough a decision it was.

"There's been some criticism at the timing of us making the decision and releasing Tom. If anything, it emphasized the fact that we were uncertain," said Lowe. "And that's more a case in point of Tom's ability and our genuineness about potentially having him back. But at the end of the day we made a decision to move on.

"From Tom's perspective, there's still lots of time if he wants to pursue coaching again this season. In the event that there are openings this season, he'll have plenty of time."

Lowe also addressed rumours regarding the team's current search for a head coach, including talk of former Calgary Flames bench boss Brent Sutter.

While Lowe made sure to mention he hasn't been in contact with Sutter, he also didn't close the door on the possibility.

"I don't see why he wouldn't want to coach the Edmonton Oilers and he's a very worthwhile candidate, no question," said Lowe.

Lowe also added that he and GM Steve Tambellini are in no real hurry to fill the vacancy at head coach, but ideally would like to have their man in place before the draft in late June.

"We don't like to have deadlines because then it boxes you in," explained Lowe. "But in a perfect world, you'd like to have your coach in place by the draft because that is seen as the unofficial start of the next season."