NEW YORK – Rangers coach Tom Renney returned to the New York bench Saturday, one night after he sustained a concussion when hit by an errant stick during a game.
Renney was injured in the second period of the Rangers’ 3-1 victory at Columbus on Friday night and watched the remainder of the game with medical personnel after being helped off the bench by the training staff.
He was cleared to fly home with the team hours later and he resumed his coaching duties when the Rangers faced the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
“I had a headache this morning and a problem with my eye a little bit, but I feel good,” Renney said.
Doctors evaluated him in the morning, and Renney said he never considered sitting out.
“They just asked the appropriate questions and they were able to make a determination on whether or not I could do it,” he said.
Renney added that he didn’t experience any problems on the flight home, except for tiredness.
He was smacked on the top of the head by the stick of Columbus defenceman Rostislav Klesla midway through the second period when Klesla was hit by Rangers forward Ryan Callahan.
There was no need to hide what the ailment was or term it by the now trendy “upper body injury.”
“We can probably be more specific in this case,” Renney said. “No harm done there.”
Assistants Perry Pearn and Mike Pelino filled in for Renney after he left the bench. The Rangers scored the tying goal a few seconds after Renney was injured. They went ahead 2-1 later in the second and stretched their lead in the third.
“I said, ‘Now that he’s gone we have a chance,”‘ Pearn quipped before Saturday’s game.
Although he had sustained much more serious injuries during his hockey playing and coaching career, Renney said this was his first mishap off the ice.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been hit like that on the bench,” Renney said. “It’s the first concussion like that anyway.”
Renney has injured shoulders and knees, and he broke ribs in what he called his most painful accident. That one occurred at his hockey school in British Columbia.
“That was my worst hockey injury and I got it coaching as opposed to playing,” Renney said. “The ribs were awful. It was so bad they had to cut my socks off. They cut everything off and I couldn’t move. It was unbelievable. It’s painful.”
Renney said that it didn’t take long for the jokes to start. The first one to tease him was goalie coach Benoit Allaire.
“Oh, 30 seconds maybe,” Renney said with a laugh. “As soon as Benny arrived with his name tag on so I wouldn’t forget his name. Then there are 100 emails about the helmet thing.”
Renney said he won’t don a helmet while coaching and added that he never has put one on. However, he noted that it is a rule for coaches in minor hockey in Canada to wear them.
“It’s not a bad thing,” he said.