March 28, 2023
NHL players speak out about future of 'vague' injury reports -

NHL players speak out about future of ‘vague’ injury reports –

Leon Draisaitl hurt – big time. And it was visible to everyone.

The Edmonton Oilers center struggled with an apparent ankle injury during most of the NHL playoffs last spring.

But as is customary in the postseason – and often during the regular game schedule – the team only announced that one of its stars and keys to success had a “lower body injury” and was ready to play.

Attempting to dodge didn’t have the desired effect, as opponents knew exactly where Draisaitl felt pain, and some even took a hit or two on the German’s damaged ankle.

It was only after the Oilers were eliminated that the extent of the injury — a sprained ankle — that Draisaitl was struggling with was revealed.

In the age of social media and replay, when it’s hard to keep secrets and the increasing focus on gambling throughout sports, why does the NHL continue to lag behind the NFL, NBA and MLB when it comes to injury disclosures ?

“There’s clearly a balance,” Assistant Commissioner Bill Daly said ahead of the start of this season. “A balance between being more transparent about a player’s condition and the balancing factor of putting their health and safety at risk. This balance has been struck for 15, 20 years in favor of protecting the health and safety of the player.

“It still sits there.”

And while Daly added that the league’s gambling partners have not requested changes to their injury policies to give bettors as much information as possible, NHLers know there may come a day when their bumps and bruises, strains and strains are public will anytime.

“If I had my way, I don’t think people should even know how much money we’re making,” Chicago center Max Domi said. “It’s nice to just fly under the radar. But I understand that the world is going.”

The gaming contracts the league has signed in recent years are included in hockey-related revenue (HRR) — the owners and players of the $5.2 billion circuit being split 50/50 under the collective bargaining agreement.

More lucrative deals with casinos or sites could increase this number over time, but there are caveats to reporting violations.

“Because of the gambling side, they might have to go that route,” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. “But you definitely saw it with Leo’s ankle (in the playoffs)… some goals are in progress.

“You worry about it.”

Washington goaltender Darcy Kuemper said players will probably have to accept being “a little more open” when it comes to complaints.

“It’s going to really affect how people invest their money in games,” he said. “I just have to live with that and hope that (players) have enough respect for each other not to target certain areas.”

Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon said that’s a big question when the stakes are high.

“If you’re going to play through something in the playoffs, you don’t want everyone to know that your finger is broken,” he said. “They will slash you.

“I know injured players in the other team and I haven’t said anything. I’m not really trying to hurt anyone.”

Columbus defender Zach Werenski said opponents would seek every advantage.

“You saw what happened to Draisaitl,” he said. “As a healthy player, you’re probably saying, ‘Oh, HRR… let’s get it started, let’s grow it.’ But there are definitely two sides. I’d probably just play it safe.”

He added there was nothing wrong with legally targeting a player fighting an injury between whistles.

“You almost prefer not to know and just go hard on a guy and play fair,” said Werenski.

“The NHL is pretty vague about injuries.”

But Philadelphia winger Cam Atkinson added that the days of keeping that information in-house are mostly gone.

“There are no secrets,” he said. “Even if you’re best friends with someone on another team, whether that guy is providing you with information or not, word gets around pretty quickly.

“nature of the animal.”


San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson ranks second in the NHL with nine goals in 12 games behind McDavid.

The 32-year-old, who won the Norris Trophy in 2012 and 2015, leads all blue-liners with 15 points after scoring his first hat-trick of his career on Tuesday.


Seattle rookie Shane Wright has dressed for just five games and averaged a paltry six minutes and 51 seconds on the ice.

The 2022 NHL draft No. 4, who scored his first professional point with an assist on Oct. 19, has been a healthy scratch in four straight contests.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 2, 2022.


Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

Joshua Clipperton’s Weekly NHL Notebook is published every Wednesday.

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