Leon Draisaitl was hurting — a lot. And it was obvious to everyone.
The star center visibly struggled with an ankle injury during the Edmonton Oilers’ playoff run last spring.
But as is tradition in the playoffs — and often even in the regular season — the team only claimed Draisaitl had a “lower body” injury and remained able to play.
Despite this attempt at diversion, the opponents knew very well the nature of the damage to the German, who had to endure a few blows in the sensitive area.
It wasn’t until the Oilers were eliminated that the severity of the injury was confirmed – a sprained ankle.
In the age of social media and front pages from every angle, it is difficult to keep information secret. And with sports betting becoming more mainstream, why is the NHL lagging behind in injury disclosure compared to the NFL, NBA and MLB?
“There is a balance,” NHL assistant commissioner Bill Daly said before the start of the season. There is a balance between being more transparent about a player’s health and putting their health at risk. This balance was established 15 or 20 years ago in favor of protecting player health. »
“That’s where we are.”
And while Daly added that the Tour’s sports betting partners have not requested changes to injury information to give players as much information as possible, players know the day fans will be aware of every strain, sprain or bruise may not be very far . .
“If it was up to me, I don’t think people would even know our salary,” Chicago Blackhawks center Max Domi said. It’s nice to be able to fly under the radar. But I understand that this is the reality of today’s world. »
The deals between the league and sports betting sites are part of hockey-related revenue — the roughly $5.2 billion that owners and players split 50/50 under the collective bargaining agreement.
Contracts with casinos or other sports betting sites will only increase this number, but players are concerned about having to disclose any damage.
“Maybe we don’t have a choice anymore because of sports betting,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid chimed in. But we certainly saw it in the playoffs with Leon’s ankle. She was targeted. »
“It is somewhat worrying. »
Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper admitted that players should probably be willing to be “a little more transparent” about their ailments.
“It will affect the players’ decisions,” he noted. We’ll have to live with it and hope the players have enough respect for each other not to target specific regions. »
However, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski said a rival will always look to exploit an advantage.
“You saw that with Draisaitl,” he said. You may tell yourself that it would be nice to do it to increase the income of the circuit, but there are really two sides to the coin. I will definitely err on the side of caution. »
Werenski added that there was nothing wrong with targeting an injured player as long as it was done in a legal manner during the game.
“You prefer to know almost nothing to play hard but fair to the player,” Werenski said.
However, Philadelphia Flyers forward Cam Atkinson added that the days of news never coming out are essentially over.
“There are no more secrets,” he said. Even if you are best friends with a player on another team, whether he reveals information to you or not, word will spread quickly. »
“That’s the reality of the world today.”