Yeah, I get the underlying theory that players will target a specific area of an opponent’s body if they know the area is not fully healthy. But that’s an issue quite easily solved – that is, if the league had the stones to severely punish any found guilty of intending to injure an opponent.
And please, let’s not get bogged down in an argument over the difficulties of deciphering a player’s intent. The league already does that when it comes to other on-ice incidents; it certainly could extend that decision-making process to this area as well.
But perhaps the NHL is right to insist on maddeningly vague statements to their customers. And perhaps they should take that philosophy to its logical extreme and refuse to identify any player who has been injured. Which would leave us with wonderful press releases like:
“A (your team here) employee possibly suffered what may or may not be a serious injury sometime in the last year or so. He/she will perhaps miss anywhere from 10 minutes to 4,000 hours recovering. Maybe.”
Come to think of it, perhaps the league should also stop announcing which players score and assist on goals. You wouldn’t want to give the opposition a heads-up on your talent distribution, right?
• It’s not all bad news on the NHL upper management front. Get a load of this gem of a quote from Mike Murphy, the league’s senior vice president of hockey operations, regarding the undisputable success of the shootout:
“I think (hockey purists) realized it's not always about their feelings but about entertaining fans and giving them an exciting product,” Murphy said.
Somebody give Mr. Murphy a prize! And while you’re at it, please point his logic in the direction of the league’s injury disclosure policy.
This game is an entertainment product, not a dogmatic religion. The sooner that attitude prevails in all aspects of the NHL, the better off the game will be.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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