If you don’t know about James Mirtle, we can’t be friends. Thems the rules around these parts. What makes sites like Mirtle’s and Kuklas Korner so useful is that they catch pretty much everything you will need to know about hockey. This is especially helpful when you miss a few days, like I did this weekend.
I’ll admit I don’t have many thoughts on the Sabres just yet, but I do have quite a few questions about this.
Clubs no longer are required to disclose the specific nature of player injuries. Clubs are, however, required to disclose that a player is expected to miss a game due to injury, or will not return to a game following an injury. Clubs are prohibited from providing untruthful information about the nature of a player injury or otherwise misrepresenting a player’s condition.
I guess that fits the current model, which is Lindy Ruff claiming someone has a “lower body injury” and “will miss some time” while Tim Connolly is wheeled off on a stretcher, clutching his eyeball and screaming in pain. This new rule makes it “playoff time” all the time, and probably will wind up being a better policy than the NFL has. Remember when Tom Brady made the injury report for three straight years? Yeah, I think the NHL is trying to avoid that.
However, here’s my question: what impact will this have on fantasy hockey?
You may not be aware of this, but this year the NHL will see a significant shift in attention to the online market. NHL.com is relaunching with more video and online content, and individual teams have been encouraged to develop their site more in order to attract new fans. The Sabres have already stated they would be putting funds into their site and SabresTV, and it will be interesting to see just how committed they are to the product.
However, one of the most interesting moves the league has made is teaming up with Yahoo Sports to offer officially licensed fantasy hockey. This is a major move for a North American sports franchise, and unlike the MLB and MLBPA, which is fighting fantasy baseball at every turn; the league has encouraged fantasy sports as a means of growing fan interest.
How then, does this policy that allows secrecy in player injuries affect a player’s status in hockey leagues? Remember last year when Richard Zednick was seriously injured and listed as day to day? There were plenty examples of this kind of absurdity, but that one stands out the most.
So what is going to happen when Shea Weber gets his inevitable injury? Will I have to keep him on my team for three months as he remains day-to-day? Should I drop any player that appears in the injury report? Should waiver wires be reconfigured to allow for “oopsie dropsies” when a player appears to be out long term and instead is dressed the next night?
There are some out there that are more capable of answering these questions than I. Perhaps Mr. Mirtle can shed some more light on it, and let us know how his draft went this past weekend. However, I have a feeling that I’m not overreacting by being concerned about this. There’s no way of knowing how far coaches and GMs are going to take this, but if I know anything about this league; it’s going to get worse before it gets better.