Sunday, November 9, 2008

MYOB: Injury Status in the NHL

Alright, I suspect I'm in the minority given the bellyaching I'm hearing about the new NHL p0licy around injury disclosure, but I've read it all and still fail to see why fans are remotely upset about this.

Now, granted, Wild Assistant GM Tom Lynn has been his usual direct, no-mincing-words self on the subject, which is rubbing Wild fans the wrong way. I can see why it comes across abrasive and arrogant to fans, but I appreciate his candor and directness. Seems like Riser's the good cop, Lynn's the bad cop. That's fine with me. Somebody's gotta be the asshole.

And I'll be honest, I agree with Lynn on the injury policy. As a fan, I don't need to know what the injury is and I think any observant fan can look at a player's skating and/or traveling status (through beat reports and such) to get a reasonable sense of the severity of the injury.

I don't understand why paying fans are so deserving of the details of a player's injury. They're out. They're not playing. What else do you need to know? If you have tickets, they're still out regardless of the reason. If you're thinking about buying tickets and you're only going to see that player, as mentioned above, it's pretty easy to get a gauge of the player's status.

Since this has started, I've not once felt deprived of the information I needed to make decisions around this team. Granted, I'm not buying tickets to NHL games too much but if I were, it wouldn't be based on whether one or two players were in or out of the game.

What am I missing here? Help me out, because people whose reasoning I usually have a good deal of respect for are up in arms and I'm just completely taken aback by it.

Now, from a beat reporter's perspective, I get why Russo and others in the media are frustrated and pushing back in their way. It's an insult to their intelligence when they can clearly see players limping around the locker room, icing this or that body part, etc. to have to dance around what they know to be true. That goes against the mentality of a journalist.

But fans? I don't get why you're upset. What difference does it make other than assuaging your curiosity? What decisions are you making differently, or are having difficulty making, as a result of this change?


Nick in New York  November 9, 2008 at 1:07 PM  

As I said on Russo's Rants, it's really more HOW he's saying it than what he's saying (or what he's NOT saying) in the case of Lynn.

I'm all for a solid good cop/bad cop, but do we really need the management of the sports teams we root for to pull ANY kind of cop job on us?

You don't want to tell us what's going on. Fine. I really don't have a problem with that. But don't tell me that I'm somehow not sophisticated enough to understand why you're doing so.

To me that's not bad cop so much as just downright obnoxious.

It's not like these guys are general managers of the year or anything.

And, even if they were, look at Kenny Holland over in Detroit. He's not sitting there telling Wings fans that they just don't get it.

That's my beef.

As for Lynn, he has just always rubbed me the wrong way. Respect is earned in my world. But he's been running around with his chin and chest puffed out since day one. I sort of feel like we, in the State of Hockey, don't really need to put up with that kind of crap. This isn't the NFL.

Ms. Conduct  November 9, 2008 at 1:17 PM  

I haven't been around the Wild org nearly as long as some of you, so I don't have years of vitriol built up with regard to Lynn. I'm sure I'll get there, though I tend to be more sensitive about him in his dealings with the Aeros, and at least right now, he and Troy Ward have made this team better (I know you're having a hard time believing that after last night's game).

I figure, I don't have to have dinner with the guy so I don't care if he's an asshole. I guess because he's always like this, it kinda rolls off of me at this point... like, "Oh, that's just Tom being Tom." and taking the information I need and leaving the "tone" behind.

But I get that you're more upset with the presentation than the issue itself, however, there are seemingly lots of folks that ARE genuinely pissed about the issue itself and that's what I'm curious about.

So, subtract Lynn's statements from the equation: What's the big deal?

Nick in New York  November 9, 2008 at 1:24 PM  

I think you have to take what RUSSO'S saying with a grain of salt too. Not that he's not getting the information he's asking for, or that people aren't emailing him, but that getting the inside dope on things like injuries IS his value added to the world of sports reporting.

I can sit there and watch games on TV and talk about what I see and you can read it or not, and enjoy it or not. But I can't tell you thing one about what's going on in the room before and after games. Russo can. As far as hockey info (setting aside the little sub-culture we've created on and around his blog) is concerned, THAT'S why I read him religiously.

So, taking away even one aspect of his ability to provide an inside element threatens him. Plain and simple. Not personally, probably. But certainly professionally.

In that way, what's he going to rant about?

The emails he gets asking why we haven't signed Jagr, Gretzky and Rocket Richard, or the emails he gets from people complaining that we don't know more about where Burns is hurt?

Ms. Conduct  November 9, 2008 at 1:39 PM  

I see what you're saying... that makes sense.

Okay, so now, whittling away Russo/Russoville/Wild fans, as I feel sure I've seen kvetching about this outside of that arena (Puck Daddy?)... are fans actually upset about this? Or is this a Wild phenomenon (somewhat being fueled by Russo)?

Nick in New York  November 9, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

My guess is that it's fringe elements of both.

There are about three posts on Russoville already to the effect of "It really isn't an issue for me" and they've come from people whose opinions I generally respect.

Nick in New York  November 9, 2008 at 1:53 PM  

...and, if I'm being honest, part of the ethos of the Minnesotan Wild fan that's been around since the North Star days is this sort of stinging feeling of insult over how the Stars ditched us.

The whole "State of Hockey" thing was brilliant by the Wild in that it played directly into Minnesotans' feelings of hockey royalty (American, at least.) Actually, it played directly into Minnesotans' feelings of how their hockey royalty status was spat upon by the league and Norm Green when they moved the Stars.

Minnesota just isn't famous for much - at least not much that matters (Bob Dylan, Lutefisk, softball, sticky notes, Garrison Keillor, Prince) - but hockey, insofar as anything related to hockey is famous in America, is one of those few things that we know, are good at and take pride in.

So, having lived through the ignominy of having the professional embodiment of that source of pride taken away from us (and, worse, because we weren't good enough fans according to the owner), I think we're a little extra sensitive to any new perceived or real slight along those lines.

So endeth my hockey psychology lesson for the day.

Ms. Conduct  November 9, 2008 at 1:56 PM  

Yeah, I'm starting to see those, too, and feeling relieved that there's not some overarching perspective that I'm obvious to.

Okay, now that that's off my chest, I get to watch Aeros v. Syracuse. And I can't even drink since I'll have to pick up DH at the Texans game midway through it and then I need to write a bunch. God help me.

Ms. Conduct  November 9, 2008 at 1:57 PM  

Er, that would be "oblivious to."

WRT - Wild Road Tripper  November 9, 2008 at 5:29 PM  

Ms. C: It's not that he said it, it's the fact that they must think that someone on the other team doesn't know the information already. That, in this information age, is something I cannot believe. Every game can be seen (well, almost every one) on some media outlet or another, live or on tape.

Read my comment from 9:58 AM this morning on Russo's Rants. That will explain the rest of this.

Ms. Conduct  November 9, 2008 at 5:55 PM  

Point taken, WRT, though your Russoville comment this morning speaks more to your distaste for Lynn, Riser, and the Wild management. I'm trying to separate out the issue from the Wild to the league as a whole, but your comment here addresses that.

I don't totally agree with you though. If Russo hadn't said it was his back, would you have any specific idea what was wrong with Burns? We saw his leg get hurt but it's his back, apparently. Or both. Whatever. Which is exactly my point. He's out. I don't need to know why. And if there's a chance that it helps him upon his return for the specifics of his injury(ies) to not have been blathered about the media, then why not?

We as fans gain little to nothing by knowing the specifics, yet there is a chance that if they can keep the specific nature of certain injuries quiet, they can protect a few players. What's the greater good here?

Russo thinks its reasonable for the playoffs... I don't see the distinction for the rest of the season. Either it's useful or it's not.

Life_As_A_Redhead  November 10, 2008 at 8:29 AM  

I actually have no problem with this. And I can see lots of benifits for the teams.

I have no idea why anyone is upset.

hipcheck  November 10, 2008 at 2:06 PM  

I am not upset by not knowing about an injury (we usually end up getting the inside scoop from a player or GMDM or Doug Moss anyway - we are nosey fans :P).

It does make me giggle when they say an undisclosed injury or lower body injury etc because most of us who have seen the game, know what happened and can ascertain what is injured.

Sometimes as a fan, I do wish to know because 1)I want the player to be ok and don't want them to be rushed back and 2)it's nice to know how long someone will be out because they somehow add value to the game and are not easily replaced (not that I would stop going because a player was out - when Carcillo was out last season, I still watched every game but you could tell the team was missing his energy and if Doan was out for an extended period of time? I think we'd fall apart).

I have no comments on the Lynn/Russo thing because I don't know enough about the Wild to comment but those are my thoughts from a Phx fans prosepective. I guess we have a little different situation because we have a chance to really interact with the players/management that a lot of other teams do not have. It makes us feel closer to the team and feel like we should have all the info.

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