Renney back behind Oilers bench
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Oilers head coach Tom Renney gives instructions during practice at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Feb. 3, 2012. (TOM BRAID/QMI Agency)
DETROIT - Tom Renney made a return to the Edmonton Oilers bench Wednesday after taking one for the team two days earlier.
The Oilers head coach was hit with a puck during the morning skate Monday in Toronto and was forced to miss the game that night against the Maple Leafs.
Renney also skipped Tuesday’s practice at the Joe Louis Arena in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
“I’m good, I’m ready to go,” Renney said prior to the game. “It wasn’t that scary, I didn’t have much of an idea of what happen, other than I got hit with a puck. It was all good, it hit me in the head, so how bad could it be?”
All kidding aside, Renney needed 12 stitches to close the gash on the side of his head. He was feeling a little light-headed after the incident, which occurred after a pass bounced off Ladislav Smid’s stick and struck the unsuspecting coach.
Ralph Krueger took over the head coaching responsibilities against the Maple Leafs in Renney’s absence.
“I didn’t want to (miss the game),” Renney said. “But I couldn’t have coached, quite honestly, no.”
Nicklas Lidstrom got a taste of what it was like to have a camera crew follow him around as he was the subject of a behind-the-scenes documentary.
The entire Red Wings will be going through a similar process next year as they will be playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the next year’s installment of the Winter Classic. HBO will once again be following both teams leading up to the event.
“I think it’s great that they’re doing it,” Lidstrom said. “I think it’s great for the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan that they’re having a huge outdoor game like that.”
While the majority of the Red Wings were able avoid the camera during the filming of Lidstrom’s profile on the NHL Network show, NHL 36, they won’t have that luxury when crews follow them around next year.
“When they were following me, guys were shying away from getting close to me,” Lidstrom said. “When I was in the back stretching, we usually have five or six guys back there with me, and there was no one in there.”
HOME SWEET HOME
The Red Wings were on an impressive run at home heading into their game against the Oilers.
They had won 17 consecutive games at the Joe Louis Arena. They haven’t been able to emulate that success on the road.
“I don’t think we’ve figured out the difference, if we did, we would probably have a lot better record on the road,” said Red Wings winger Drew Miller. “Whatever it is here, it’s been fun to be a part of a streak like that. We are playing well here at home. I can’t put my finger on one thing why that is, but when you’re having success you just want to keep rolling with it.”
The Red Wings have two players who have made a living standing in front the net in Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom, who is approaching his 1,000 NHL game.
“It’s really hard to see anything when he’s in front,” said Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. “You just have to battle hard to try and find the puck. I think it’s almost better to leave him in front by himself so it doesn’t create a double screen. He’s so good at moving with the passes and getting in the lanes of the shot for screens.”
Traditionally a hazard area, Khabibulin can understand why more players don’t like to plant themselves in front of the net.
“You have to take so much punishment,” he said. “A guy like Holmstrom, he’s always in front and it seems like he’s always getting cross-checked. He’ll take the occasional dive, but for the most part he gets hacked and whack. The abuse he takes from defencemen, it’s pretty amazing so it takes a lot of courage to do what he does. I respect a guy like that a lot.”