DETROIT -- In case you're wondering whether coaches have to undergo the same kind of baseline testing for concussions that players do, ask Edmonton Oilers bench boss Tom Renney.
"Yes, they do," said Renney, who missed Monday's game in Toronto with concussion-like symptoms after he accidentally was hit in the head with a puck during the Oilers' morning skate. "Failed it twice. It’s a good thing they had the Coke machine in Toronto or I would not have known who we played last."
Renney was back on the ice for the Oilers' skate on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena and plans to coach from the bench when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Missing Monday's game was tough to accept, but he had no choice in the matter based on how he was doing physically.
"I didn't want to," Renney said. "I'm having a hard time. My blood pressure's rising right now as we speak and I'm feeling light-headed. I couldn't have coached, quite honestly."
He was in good enough shape on Wednesday to joke around about the incident with reporters, but said if things take a turn for the worse between the skate and game time, he won't hesitate to let associate coach Ralph Krueger run the bench for a second straight game.
"I'll be fine … if I don’t yell," said Renney, who estimated that it took about 12 stitches to close the wound. "Good luck for me, eh? No, I'm good. I'll give it a good go here tonight. If I have to step back, I will."
It was suggested by a reporter that it might've been for the best that he missed Monday's 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, mainly because he probably would've given his vocal chords a workout.
"I know I would've," Renney said, smiling. "I might've been throwing water bottles."
On a more serious note, Renney said he won't start wearing a helmet for protection in practices but did think it was a subject worth debating -- especially at lower levels of the sport.
"It's tough to answer, because in amateur sports [coaches] should be [wearing helmets]," Renney said. "We have to protect those people who have other occupations other than coaching hockey. So, in order to do that I think people should be protected. I wouldn't do it myself … although there's an argument to be made."
There is also a personal, firsthand experience that can be used for educational purposes. Renney said he learned a lot about rehabbing knee injuries while going through the process himself last summer, and now has experienced what it’s like for hockey players who get similar head injuries.
"I [injured] my knee this summer and went through a long rehab with that and that gave me a great appreciation for our training staff -- who deserved the gift certificates for meals I gave them -- and certainly for the players who have to go through rehab," he said. "Certainly with the head, it's a whole new ballgame. [It's] good to experience that and have an appreciation for what they go through."
Renney also got an interesting text from a fellow member of the coaching fraternity who was also injured in a practice on Monday. Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff had three ribs cracked when he was accidentally run into by Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold.
"He texted me," Renney said of Ruff. "He said, 'It was a rough day for coaches. I just snapped three ribs.'"