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GMs Discuss Injury Disclosure Policy

The biggest topic at the GM meetings in Detroit was how much information teams should be required to release to the media about injured players, according to this report.

For years, the customary disclosure of injuries -- especially around playoff time -- was either upper or lower-body injury. The thinking was that if the extent or the location of an injury was revealed, then that player would be at risk once he returned to the ice.
"Come on, we're all big boys, we all know exactly what happens out there," New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "You're going to play, and you play to win. Not play to hurt, but play to win."
Lamoriello said every GM was in support of limiting the flow of information about injuries, and said protection of players is the sole reason.

I bring this up, of course, because it's been an issue for years in Washington. I thought GM George McPhee was slightly more revealing about injuries last year than in previous seasons. But in most cases, McPhee chose to reveal less than some of his rival clubs. For example, when a Philadelphia player is hurt, a detailed injury report is usually given to reporters (and, by extension, to the fans) before the game is over. The Flyers, though, are the exception.

When a Capital goes down, we get "upper body injury", "undisclosed" or simply that he will not return to the game. Occasionally we are told what exactly is ailing the player, particularly if the injury was obvious to anyone watching. But other times we are told nothing at all and must track down the details from a source. That is, if anyone is willing to talk about it, which is rare because players and team officials aren't allowed to divulge their injuries to reporters per team rules.

As far as the players' feelings on this subject, I would have to say they are mixed. Some don't want anyone to know the nature or extent of their injury because it could make them a target. (But I must say that while targeting may occur, a lot of the time players don't know who is hurt on the other team, much less where a particular player is hurt, even if the info is public.)

Some players, though, want the information to be out there because the injury could be affecting their level of play, sometimes to the point of significantly limiting their effectiveness.

So my question for Insider readers is this: As a hockey fan and a paying customer, do you feel NHL teams should be more forthcoming about injuries? Or are you okay with "upper body" and "undisclosed"?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 3, 2008; 11:24 AM ET
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