DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings search for an assistant coach may soon be doubling.
According to Wings general manager Ken Holland, Tom Renney is in the final stages of landing a position with Hockey Canada.
Renney spent two years as a coach 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.
“Mike (Babcock) has been talking to a number of people,” Holland said during a phone interview.
Renney is up for the vacant position as president and chief executive officer, which was formerly held by Bob Nicholson.
One of the candidates the Wings have interest in is also interviewing with a few others teams before making his decision.
According to a source, one person Detroit has interviewed is Tony Granato.
Granato, who played 13 seasons in the NHL, spent the last five seasons as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins under head coach Dan Bylsma, who was fired after last season.
Granato, who’ll turn 50 at the end of this month, also has head coaching experience, serving two stints behind the bench with Colorado (2002-04 and 2008-09) compiling a 104-78-17-16 record.
“Mike has done a fantastic job finding assistants,” Holland said. “I’ll sign off on his decision. A number of his assistants have turned out to be NHL coaches.”
The latest assistant coach to land a head coaching job in the NHL is Bill Peters, who took over in Carolina.
Todd McLellan was the first to leave, taking over in San Jose in 2008. He was followed by Paul MacLean, who was named the head man in Ottawa in 2011.
Brad McCrimmon also left the same season MacLean departed to coach in the KHL, but tragically lost his life in a plane crash prior to his first game of the season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
The Wings stopped another coach from perhaps leaving for a head coaching job in NHL when they gave Jeff Blashill a “significant” salary increase to stay in the organization for three more seasons.
Blashill spent one season in Detroit, where he was in charge of the power play, after leaving Western Michigan University.
Renney was brought in to help fix the team’s woes on the power play, which ranked 22nd prior to him being hired.
Renney’s Edmonton Oilers had the third-best power play after the 2011-12 season.
In his two seasons in Detroit the power play ranked 15th and 18th respectively.
“The expectations are probably the biggest difference right now,” Renney after he signed a three-year deal to become Babcock’s assistant coach. “Coaching in Edmonton you go in with the expectations of winning, but also with the realization of sometimes you’re just not going to. It was a rebuild, trying to redefine a team and playing with a younger lineup. Never was the work habit lost. There is a great group of people there.
“Detroit is the standard bearer in terms of how the game gets played at the highest level, how it gets coached and how it gets managed,” Renney added. “Expectations are high in Detroit as they should be and I know as an organization certainly they don’t want it to be the other way. That sets you up for failure for sure, but what impresses me most about the Detroit Red Wings is seldom do they. If they have a tough season, tough stretch, there are usually extenuating circumstances for that.”
Renney had three consecutive 40 win seasons while the head coach of the New York Rangers.
He knew Babcock through Hockey Canada and coaching with him at the World Championships in 2004.