Nicklas Lidstrom's Busted Ballsack And Other Tales Of NHL Woe

If Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom looked a little sluggish at times during this Stanley Cup Finals, he has a very, very, very good excuse. He suffered a "nearly catastrophic" testicle injury in the Conference Finals. Now how do you feel?

Personally, I feel that if there is one way you don't want your testicle injury to be described, it's "nearly catastrophic." Lidstrom actually missed the final two games of the Chicago series after Patrick Sharp allegedly gave him the "how's your father" with his stick, but the true reason for his absence wasn't widely reported—officially he had a "lower body injury" a fact that Globe and Mail opinionist Bruce Dowbiggin laments in his latest column.

It's been pretty standard practice since forever for NHL teams to mask the true nature of their player's injuries during the playoffs. Ostensibly, it's to protect them from opponents who might take certain liberties with another player's weaknesses. (See Lidstrom get the business again on this replay from Game 6. It's a lot tougher to watch when you know about his previous "catastrophe.") But when fans watch certain players flail about the ice while helplessly asking, "What is wrong with that guy?", whose interests are really being served here? It's not like official injury reports keep anyone actually associated with the game—players, coaches, officials, reporters—from knowing what's really going on with the enemy. It's just that no one will talk about it publicly.

Toronto Star writer Damien Cox takes exception to Dowbiggin's assertion that he is in the tank for the NHL. He did report the true nature of Lidstrom injury. Sure, he did it after Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals well after anyone stopped caring, but it is in there. (In the 15th paragraph.) The truth is that Lidstrom is not the only player skating with mysterious injuries—Sergei Gonchar is another—that are obviously not common knowledge to the public and are never fully explained. It doesn't do the players any good to let fans think they are more able than they really are.

But media catfights between two Canadians are always fun.

NHL's injury policy a pain [The Globe and Mail]
Completed Homework [The Spin]
Kurtenthoughts: Jim Balsillie, Game 7, the Sedins, Nick Montana and More! [Kurtenblog]