Monday, June 2, 2008
GMs discuss icing rule, injury information at meeting
DETROIT -- The biggest topic during the NHL general managers meeting at the Stanley Cup finals on Monday was how much information teams should be required to release about injured players.
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.
In the salary cap world, there is even more concern about long-term injuries. It is not easy to replace a player lost to injury, because of the limited financial space under which each club operates.
The only true argument in favor of announcing specific injuries was the right of fans and media to be told exactly what is wrong with a player.
"We're trying to determine what really is the need to know the specificity of an injury either to the place on the body or the severity," Montreal Canadiens GM Bob Gainey said. "Fans want to know if a player won't be available, and if he's not available to play then he needs to know that."
Other issues debated hours before the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the finals included no-touch icing and the fight instigator rule.
Switching from touch-up icing, in which a defensive player must retreat to his zone to touch the puck before icing is whistled, might cut down on the rare injury caused by an onrushing forward but would likely create a greater number of infractions.
"You are going to have more and more icings," Lamoriello said. "If you look at the amount of injuries that have occurred, even though one is too many, it's part of the game."
Although it is often on the agenda, not much changes in regard to the instigator rule. Fewer penalties were handed out for it this season, yet fighting was up.
"Those things continue to be there because there is not one view or a strong view," Gainey said. "We've had some different views so those continue to be on the agenda and debated."
Cliff Fletcher, the Toronto Maple Leafs' interim GM, indicated the club was close to hiring a new coach to replace the fired Paul Maurice. Early buzz suggested the team was in contact with recently deposed San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson.
"We're in negotiations right now with a coach," Fletcher said as he hustled out of the hotel. "Hopefully we will get it resolved in the near future."
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Jay Feaster said the sale of the team is expected to be up for approval at the next NHL board of governors meeting on June 18.