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Upper Body/Lower Body

The Washington Post's Curtis Rush and Isabelle Khurshudyan wrote an excellent article about the NHL's inconsistent injury disclosure policy:

Ken Hitchcock was tired of the dance. In his 22nd year behind an NHL bench, the Dallas Stars head coach decided he would break from the prevalent, league-wide trend of referring publicly to player injuries only as "upper body" or "lower body" ailments.

"It's an injury and within two hours after we tell you [the media] it's upper body, you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you?" Hitchcock said earlier this season.

The practice of vague, binary injury designations was adopted decades earlier by coaches who believed they were protecting their players by being vague. They theorized that opponents aware of injury specifics would target the ailing body parts or otherwise exploit the injured players. But Hitchcock does not buy that logic.

"The players don't go out and say, 'He has a broken left pinkie, and we're going to go after that pinkie,'" Hitchcock says. "Nobody thinks like that."

The "upper body"/"lower body" convention has been allowed to persist because, unlike the NFL, the NHL does not have a policy requiring teams to release injury information publicly. But the practice is under increased scrutiny in an age of distrust for corporate communication and of increased concern around the treatment of concussions - an injury commonly lumped into the "upper body" category.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dallas+stars, ken+hitchcock


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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