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Principe's Blog: Two Sides of Tom Renney

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
It's an understanding that Renney has when it comes to separating what happens at the rink and what doesn't. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
I was standing in the Edmonton airport awaiting to hop on a plane with the Oilers bound for Nashville, when these two little kids came up to Tom Renney and asked for an autograph. He obliged and chatted them up while he signed. Not long after that he spotted the kids and their parents sitting together away from where Renney was seated and Tom went to see the kids and the parents and talked some more. As well, a lady asked if she could take a photo with the head coach and he said "yes" with a smile. When she checked to make sure she wasn't bothering him Renney's response was, "Are you kidding? You just made my day".

A little insight into the kind of person Tom Renney is. A true gentleman who really wants to make a difference in people's lives. Two small gestures of kindness from a coach who probably should be scaring small kids away considering where his team sits in the standings. It's an understanding that Renney has when it comes to separating what happens at the rink and what doesn't. It's not like he skips out of Rexall Place whistling showtunes. You can bet it's anything but that. However, a little distance helps you come back with even more when the next game arrives.

If anyone has read the start of this blog thinking I'm making Tom Renney out as someone who doesn't care, or isn't all in to the Oilers, then they have misread what I have written. Also they probably didn't see the Edmonton coach on the bench for the home game against Phoenix. Holy livid Batman. The first year Oiler bench boss was like a volcano ready to erupt..and he did twice. First a goal by Ray Whitney did it or at least the call that it was a goal. Then it was the unsportsmanlike conduct call on Linus Omark (diving in shorter terms). Both set the coach with a full on rage towards the officials. A chance to make a point with the men in stripes and those in copper and blue.

Now let's get this straight, Tom Renney was royally pissed at the officials. First for calling a goal at ice level which made it impossible for video review to provide a counter argument. As for the Omark play, the official made the call and not long after that Phoenix sealed it with a powerplay goal to make it 3-1. Two calls that might have cost Edmonton the game, but it gave Renney a chance to do a couple of things. First blow off some steam that had been building, you might say, all season long. Secondly a chance to show those on the bench, in the stands and watching on T.V. that it's not quitting time for the Edmonton Oilers.

You don't think while Renney was ripping on the refs that every player on his team wasn't watching this thinking, "Holy is he mad" and right after they should have been thinking about how much he still cares about the season. Game 71 with no playoff aspirations left Renney could have just simply said a few words got a little mad and let both moments pass. Instead he got a lot mad. He elbowed the glass, he spewed some words his mom always told him not to use and he showed anyone and everyone he had not given up. His bosses saw that, his employees (the players) saw that and so did the fans. His way of saying I haven't stopped caring so you sure as hell better not. Prime examples of the two sides of Tom Renney.
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