Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Honesty: A New Policy

I've never really considered Ken Hitchcock to be one to throw caution to the wind. His teams play a fairly tried-and-tested defensive system, he relies upon his star players to make plays, and he seems to employ thought before speaking. In other words, Ken Hitchcock is like a lot of his NHL coaching brethren. However, it was a refreshing blast of honesty today when Ken Hitchcock spoke to Marc Antoine Godin, the managing editor and senior writer at The Athletic Montreal. As we know, teams are notoriously vague when it comes to injuries to any player, but it seems Ken Hitchcock wants none of that scene.

Godin posted the following exchange that he had with Hitchcock on Twitter today, and it surprised many.
For years, we've been told that NHL teams won't disclose injuries due to players targeting said injuries to try and keep a player from being on his game, but Hitchcock said that no player does that. In the past, there may have been a handful of guys who would specifically try to disrupt a star player from playing his game by targeting an injury, but Hitchcock is now telling us that era has sailed past.

The fact that he wants to avoid the whole "game", as he calls it, with reporters about injuries is refreshing. Having dealt with this fact at the university level, I can understand coaches not wanting to see a player re-injure him or herself or aggravate a minor injury, but the level of secrecy that hockey coaches go to in trying to keep injuries a secret is pretty ridiculous.

Most coaches won't relent when it comes to their disclosure of injuries. It's one of those things that just won't change until everyone starts doing it, but no one will ever want to be the first coach to come out and declare that his star player has an MCL sprain and will be gone six to eight weeks. It will remain as a "lower-body injury" that will keep said player out of the lineup "for a few weeks". That's just how it is, and while I appreciate Ken Hitchcock's candor and honesty, I can't see anyone else buying into this idea.

Honesty may be the best policy, but the NHL coaching fraternity will never buy into that.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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