State secrets

- April 11th, 2014

I get that the NHL is not the NFL, that hockey teams adopted the policy a few years ago of keeping people completely in the dark with regards to player injuries.
I don’t get why, I just get that it has become the accepted (by most) way of life in hockey’s biggest league.
I can almost understand why a coach would treat an injury as a state secret if he was involved in a gruelling playoff series with another team. If his top defenceman has a bad right knee, he wouldn’t want the opponents to deliberately try and make that knee worse. That could also hurt his team’s chances of winning the series.
But over the course of the regular season? Not so much. And in the case of Mika Zibanejad, I am completely befuddled.
Zibanejad left Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils at one point in the third period and did not return.
Afterwards, reporters naturally asked coach Paul MacLean for an update.
MacLean, who chatted with his staff for at least 20 minutes before the media availability, is always extremely coy when it comes to injuries. But on this night, his answer was embarrassing.
He said Zibanejad was taken to the hospital for “precautionary reasons.” The hospital? What happened to him?
“They couldn’t do stuff here that they could do there,” said MacLean. “That’s all I know.”
So an important, 20-year old Swede went from a game to an ambulance to a hospital, and the coach has no idea why? He didn’t ask anybody while he was standing around dissecting the game sheet? He doesn’t care?
Of course MacLean has an idea what the issue is, but rather than update the media (and the fans) he chooses to play dumb. Or lie, however you want to see it.
Heaven forbid anyone knows that Zibanejad has a concussion, or a busted shoulder, or whatever else is ailing him.
Imagine if the Toronto Maple Leafs caught wind of even the smallest details? Surely, they would use the info to their advantage in Saturday’s mammoth Battle Of Ontario – or the Battle For The Glory Of Being The Second Worst Team In The Province.
As one reporter said: “I don’t know whether to tell people to relax or be worried.”
Neither do I.
But I do know that this veil of secrecy regarding injuries is well passed the ridiculous stage.

Categories: Hockey

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3 comments

  1. Bobby Goodman says:

    Well said Donny! I don’t get it the “secrecy” either. Perhaps Zzzzz was taken for further tests to see if he has a heart?

    I listened to the DAC interview; damn he’s an engaging individual, isn’t he? Reporters were trying to pry some information out of him but couldn’t. What is wrong with saying it was a hockey related issue or not (and saying he didn’t know is just another lie). It was unbearable to listen to, but consistent just the same. Secrecy and nonsense is what we get most of the time. As Pierre suggested, with him as DAC we should be “scared to death”, we may have him here for two more years! His inability to respond inteligently to qestions proved he indeed is “numb”.

    Lets assume he is hurt and can’t play on the weekend, what would be wrong with revealing his ailment? Is the problem an upper or lower body injury, upper right or lower left? Could it be an upper footal or lower footal. Is it a body injury. It’s all nonsense of course.

    I’ve never seen a guy get the creds outside his hockey playing carear as Shanahan! Immediately after retiring ’09, Shanny accepted an offer from the NHL to become the NHL’s Vice President of Hockey and Business Development. BUSINESS DEVIL- UPMENT!!??? To offer some insight he said: “In a broad sense, I think obviously, I am going to be another voice in the hockey ops, but at the same time people like John Collins and Gary and Bill are going to allow me and teach me the business of hockey.” In other words, he was just window dressing! He went on to say: “What I was excited about in their offer to bring me on board is that it was wide open for me. There was not going to be any room with a closed door and I would be given an opportunity to see and learn. As time goes by there will be some days where my role is more hockey specific and some days where my role is more business or marketing specific.” The NHL took great care in selecting a man who in all probability has an highschool education to build the brand in North America and in Europe over some who played in the NHL and have Business Degrees? He must have done a hell of a job, it last 2 years!

    Immediately after leaving his position as “President of Hockey and Business Development he succeeded Colin Campbell as the NHL’s chief player disciplinarian. His performance over the last 3 years has been plagued by inconsistencies. And now, the one-time comedian (ie: mock interview of a Sen riding a stationary bike was a great idea but absolutely lame), is again a prez: President of Hockey Operations in Toronto! His skit wasn’t funny at all, I would have loved it but it poorly written, and served only to prove his depth…he swims in the shallow end of the mental pool! It will be fascinating to see what happens in Toronto. He, like Linden and Lord Burke are defacto GMs. Whoever they select may hold the title but will have an expiry date; their positions wont! Lest see Shanahan’s genius at work.

  2. Dantheman says:

    Don, you are spot on. The whole injury secrecy act is comical at best. If a player hurts himself, you can be assured other teams have a good idea what the injury is. I have to think that Zibby probably was suffering from vertigo or some sort of breathing disorder (I.e asthma) to be rushed to the hospital and for him to show up the next day with no apparent physical injury.

    Too bad tonight’s game means nothing. Imagine shelling out a few hundred bucks to watch two teams who having nothing to play for and that it is most likely most players are thinking of their upcoming super deluxe golf vacation instead of what should have been a playoff type matchup.

  3. Bobby Goodman says:

    Donny, why did Kassian have to play? Is it important he get his allotted ice-time which has averaged less than 5 minutes TOI this year? Does he make the team better (if so how)? Players like Kassian are a dying breed. Big lugs, for the most part, fight big lugs and it is a trade off. If one team doesn’t play one, the other is idle and the other team can take advantage (even if they are on the ice for 5 minutes or less). I don’t like watching them at all.

    It is fascinating to me that Bruce gave Karlsson a star for the way he played last night (“another strong game”). It is a very sad and oh so very obvious. The guy spent the entire game with wingers, had not hits, no take aways but…again…led his team with 3 give aways! He now has 113 for the season, 13 more than the next player. He has 47 more give aways than Captain Spezza! But, it is Spezza’s “turn overs” that are always discussed. Even last night, Galzy brought it up and I don’t get it. They talked about Stone, MacArthur and Turris but nothing very complimentary about the Captain who now had 10 more points that Turris! If some could score goals, he would have had 2-3 more points last night! At one point, Simpson had to ask if 23 goals and 66 points is having a bad season (it would be the leading scorer on 13 teams in the league – that’s a lot of bad season out there!). It must have been a bitter sweet moment for all the “True Senator Fans” out there. All the bloggers, letter writers, those who call in to radio and the Lemmings who boo him in his own rink. The Sens beat the hateful Leafs but (damnit, Spezza got the only goal in the 1 – 0 win! Ouch!

    Can you imagine that a NHLer takes the time to tweet to his minions of followers (there are at least a couple here) liking the small number of potatoe chips in a bag to small breasts in a bra?! Yep, he is hurting emotionally alright; isn’t he doing the Organization proud! Pure class this kid!

    Letang, back from 2 months off got an goal and an assist yesterday in his 2nd game. They played the Flyers! The DEFENCEman had 2 points, 4 shots, 3 hits, earned a take away and didn’t give the puck away. He also got into scrums and didn’t spend every free moment endearing himself with the oppisition with friendly dialogue. I would bet that if the Pens were out of the playoff picture right now, he, like Turris and Methot would be off the Belarus to play for their Country in the WHC.

    Smitty is playing good hockey right now. He can really skate, has a decent hands and a good shot. Why doesn’t he (13g) sit in front of the net on the PP? The Sens looked awful on the PP, I want Karly to move the puck up to the forwards quicker and preferably when they are in full flight! I hate the delayed play with the back pass (usually Spezza) forcing everyone to STOP at the blueline!

    I am picking Boston to defeat Detroit, Montreal over Tampa (Bishop is out) , Pitsburgh over Columbus (it wont be easy) and Flyers over NYR.

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