As a Canadiens fan, I am not in the least impressed by the fact that the team refuses to provide any details about Max Pacioretty’s injury. But I’m not particularly surprised.
The Habs are the ultimate control freaks when it comes to massaging the information that leaks out of the Bell Centre and this is only the latest example of the team’s mania for making sure every piece of news is officially sanctioned by the Canadiens’ PR machine.
So Patch has an upper-body injury. That’s pretty well all kindly ol’ coach Michel Therrien was willing to say on Wednesday. Now I know there are other NHL teams that would be just as secretive but what gets me here is the near complete lack of criticism of this Soviet-style communications strategy.
The one exception is Réjean Tremblay who had a great column in Le Journal de Montréal Wednesday blasting the Habs “big propaganda machine”. So why is no one else in the media grumbling? Because they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. If you dare to throw a few darts in the direction of Canadiens management, you kiss goodbye to the paltry access you have right now – that access being carefully controlled interviews with carefully selected players on carefully chosen topics.
Tremblay – who I usually disagree with – is right. The fans have a right to know if Pacioretty has a concussion or not following a hit from Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Sunday. (It was a non-event of a hit, shouldn’t have even resulted in a penalty. The problem was that Patch fell awkwardly.) He left the game and the Canadiens announced that he will not be playing the final two games of the regular season. Therrien wouldn’t say whether he would be ready for the start of the playoffs next week.
“We know exactly what he has,” Therrien said. Then nada. As in – we know but we’re not telling.
Apparently Therrien and his cronies are hiding the truth from the public to protect Pacioretty.
“We have to protect the players, that’s the most important thing for us,” he said, as reported in Dave Stubbs’ column. “There are things we can’t tell. We’re a week away from the playoffs.”
Translation – Therrien thinks we’re idiots who are happy to live in a world that’s a cross between 1984 and Brave New World. As in – war is peace, Big Brother knows best. He’s protecting Patch? So if other players know he has had a concussion, they’ll go after his head in the playoffs? Well they already know he has a concussion. No this is all about controlling the flow of information to the fans and it’s an insult to everyone who pays the hefty ticket prices, beer prices and cable subscriptions that help keep the Habs in business.