Leon Draisaitl was in pain – very bad. And it was obvious to everyone.
The star center was visibly struggling with an ankle injury during the Edmonton Oilers’ run through the playoffs last spring.
But as is tradition in the playoffs – and even often during the regular season – the team only claimed that Draisaitl had a “lower body” injury and remained available to play.
Despite this attempt at diversion, the opponents knew very well the nature of the injury of the German, who had to endure a few blows in the sensitive area.
It wasn’t until the Oilers were eliminated that the seriousness of the injury was confirmed – a sprained ankle.
In the age of social media and covers from every angle, it’s hard to keep information secret. Also, with sports betting growing in popularity, why is the NHL lagging behind in injury disclosure compared to the NFL, NBA and MLB?
“There’s definitely a balance,” NHL assistant commissioner Bill Daly said before the start of the season. There’s 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 the health of players.
“That’s where we are. ”
And while Daly added that the Tour’s sports betting partners have not requested changes to injury disclosure in order to provide bettors with as much information as possible, players know that the day fans will be aware of every pull, sprain or bruise is not necessarily very far.
“If it was up to me, I don’t think people would even know our salaries,” Chicago Blackhawks center Max Domi said. It’s nice to be able to fly under the radar. But I understand that is the reality of today’s world. ”
The deals between the league and sports betting sites are part of hockey-related revenue – the roughly US$5.2 billion that is split 50/50 between owners and players, according to the collective agreement.
Further contracts with casinos or other sports betting sites will only increase this figure, but players are worried about having to disclose every injury.
“Maybe we won’t have a choice because of sports betting,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. But we certainly saw it in the playoffs with Leon’s ankle. She was targeted.
“It is something worrying. ”
Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper acknowledged that players will likely have to agree to be “a little more transparent” about their ailments.
“It will affect the decisions of bettors, he noted. We’ll have to live with that and hope that players have enough respect for each other not to target certain regions. ”
Columbus Blue Jackets defender Zach Werenski, however, reminded that a rival will always seek to exploit an advantage.
“You saw it with Draisaitl,” he said. You can 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 would definitely err on the side of caution. ”
Werenski added there’s nothing wrong with aiming at an injured player, as long as it’s done by a legal means during play.
“You almost prefer to know nothing to play tough, but fair against the player,” Werenski said.
However, Philadelphia Flyers forward Cam Atkinson added that the days of the news never getting out are essentially over.
“There are no more secrets,” he said. Even if you are the best friend of a player on another team, whether he reveals information to you or not, the rumor will quickly spread.
“That’s the reality of the world today. ”