The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/04/11 at 09:59 PM ET
Now when Ken Holland proposed that the NHL allow teams to disclose injuries as “upper and lower-body” ones, the intent was to protect players during the playoffs and allow teams to use their better judgment during the final few weeks of the regular season. It had nothing to do with teams telling reporters that somebody was suffering from a “lower-body” injury during training camp, nor to encourage teams to engage in obfuscation of the first order all year long. The Hockey News’s Ken Campbell believes that the policy should be revisited, and for once, I agree with him. I think it needs to be restricted to the playoffs and those last few weeks of the regular season, and then teams should have to at least be marginally honest when it comes to somebody having a sprained wrist when it’s actually his knee:
All the [Canucks’] secrecy led to the longstanding debate about whether the NHL should disclose injuries. [Canucks coach Alain] Vigneault maintained he would do whatever is allowed to protect his players and not give his opponent any kind of edge. The media certainly has an appetite for knowing who is hurt, who is healthy and how long players will be out, but does it make a difference to the fans?
Feel free to debate that among yourselves.
It was brought up that the National Football League, the most successful league in the world, has a policy of providing detailed injury reports by the Thursday before the game. That’s largely to appease the enormous gambling population that exist in the NFL, something that is virtually non-existent in hockey.
Actually, according to former NHL Players’ Association executive director Bob Goodenow, the story of how the NFL began disclosing injuries is an interesting one. He once told me that it all began in 1987 when the NFL players went on strike and the league responded by using replacement players. Knowing there would be little interest from a competitive standpoint, the league implored the powers that be in Las Vegas to run a betting line, thereby creating interest at least among those who put money down on games. Vegas complied, according to Goodenow, but in exchange the league had to begin disclosing injuries. If that is indeed the case, don’t expect hockey’s longstanding policy of secrecy to change anytime soon.
It’s not as if there’s big betting on hockey, legally, anyway, in the U.S., but Pro Line’s huge in Canada…
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.