Oilers' Renney still recovering
Head coach still out due to aftereffects of being hit in head with puck
Derek Van Diest, QMI Agency
|Oilers GM Steve Tambellini says doctors have recommended that head coach Tom Renney miss the next couple of games.
Watching the Edmonton Oilers play of late has not been good for anyone’s health, but it’s been particularly hard on head coach Tom Renney.
Despite taking in a portion of practice from the bench Monday, Renney will not be behind the bench Tuesday in Calgary when the Oilers take on the Flames.
Renney is still suffering the aftereffects of being hit with a puck two weeks ago in Toronto.
“Tom sat with me for close to a period during (Sunday) night’s game, just to get that intensity feeling again,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. “Doctors have recommended that he’ll most likely miss the next couple of games. He could be involved with us in some capacity when we come home. But I think it’s best for him at this point just to get more comfortable with the intensity of coaching again.”
Renney has missed three games due to the incident, which occurred during the morning skate in Toronto on Feb. 6.
The Oilers head coach was struck in the back of the head by a puck and needed 12 stitches to close the gash.
He missed the game that night against the Maple Leafs, but did return two nights later in Detroit and was again behind the bench in Ottawa against the Senators.
However, Renney still did not feel right upon the team’s return from the three-game road trip and stepped aside after Wednesday’s rematch with the Maple Leafs at Rexall Place.
“It’s been recommended that we not rush him,” Tambellini said. “He’s making some steps and I know it’s driving him crazy not to be part of the day-to-day preparation and being on the bench. But I think the best thing for him is to just take some time.
“This is hard on him, not being at the helm. But it’s the right thing and he knows it’s the right thing to take a little more time off.”
Associate coach Ralph Krueger has taken over the head coaching duties in Renney’s absence. Last year, Krueger took over when Renney missed a pair of games attending his father’s funeral.
“It was a significant hit in the head,” Tambellini said. “If Tom could be here, he would be here.”
Renney is not completely out of the picture, still involved in the process of running the team. According to Krueger, Renney communicates with him on a daily basis.
“I think it would be almost impossible for Tom to take a complete break,” said Tambellini. “He’s come in the morning the odd time and voiced his opinions and things like that. But we’re trying to take him away from the day-to-day intensity of what NHL coaching is really like. That’s what he needs, is a little bit of rest.”
Renney has been with the Oilers for the past three seasons, acting as an associate to Pat Quinn before taking over the reins last year.
Despite Renney’s best efforts to battle through the injury, it became evident he needed to take a step back.
“There were times when you noticed and you could tell — there is only so much you can do to hide it — that he wasn’t feeling well,” said Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk. “It’s too bad, it’s an unfortunate instance. He’s our leader and we know that he would be here if he could.”