Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On injuries, and the announcement of them

After a meeting at the Plainview office this morning, I got word that Garth would like me to get over to Iceworks for practice as soon as possible. I already knew about Chris Simon, but figured maybe it was related to that. Nope. Maybe it was news on Brendan Witt. No. (Should have an update Thursday). As usual, it was what I least expected.

Turns out the league was looking into the matter of us not properly disclosing an injury. When I heard this, I was shocked. I didn't even know what player the league could have been talking about. Garth said it had something to do with Bruno Gervais.

Now, I love Bruno. I always say it: if I had a daughter, she could marry him. Incredible kid. Real good young defenseman who's going to get even better. But what possibly could be controversial about Bruno Gervais? Was it THAT slow a day at the NHL office? (Just kidding).

I spoke with the league and cleared up the misunderstanding. The league thought we "refused to disclose" Gervais' injury on Tuesday. What went wrong is they only saw a report from yesterday morning and didn't know that we officially announced what was ailing Bruno around 6:00 pm, an hour before faceoff.

It's important I share with the fans what I told the league today. More than anyone, you are owed an explanation of how, when and why we announce injuries.

I completely agree with the NHL's recent move to strictly enforce the proper dissemination of injuries and prognoses. The whole "upper body" and "lower body" thing was getting silly - and this is from the organization that brought you last year's classic, "general body soreness." (!)

That said, I will always believe that the media is owed a detailed injury report on a player only when that player MISSES A GAME. Let me explain.

We all know about the guts these players have. Hockey players play hurt all the time. Let's say Freddy Meyer was kept out of practice today, but we knew he was determined to play in Thursday's game in Toronto. Does it make any sense at all to tell reporters - and by extension, the fans, yes, but also the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS - what's ailing Freddy? Why would we put a bulls-eye on a wrist, his back or his shoulder?

Why give the Leafs even the slightest competitive advantage?

More than that, why put Freddy unnecessarily in harm's way?

I'm using Freddy as an example. He's not hurt and is playing tomorrow. As some of you know, he did gut out a big chunk of the second half of last season with a finger as twisted as an Auntie Anne's pretzel.

Bruno is injured. Heading into yesterday's game, Ted Nolan told reporters he would be a "game-time decision." At 5:00 pm yesterday, when I realized Bruno wasn't at the rink, I informed Garth it was time to go public with an injury announcement. Our trainer Garrett Timms confirmed it was a strained oblique and by 6:00 pm, everyone reporting on the game had an accurate update. Bruno is day-to-day.

As Keith Olbermann used to say, aren't we all?

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