Liar, Liar are Ron Wilson’s Pants On Fire?

“It’s not a lie, if you know the truth”

A quote you see here quite often. I have argued on many occasions that we fans only want the truth. We pay the big bucks so we deserve it.

With that in mind, it is interesting to look at Howie’s most recent post. The gist is that once again the Leaf Brass is lying to the fans about the state of injuries and he aint gonna take it anymore! His thought process is they lied before and there are signs they are lying now…

“The only area in which the Leafs are more inept than winning games is issuing “news” about injuries. Paul Maurice repeatedly made himself look like an idiot [which he isn’t] during his two-year term as coach of the club. Kyle Wellwood had a “slight” groin problem; Carlo Colaiacovo’s knee required “just a bit of rest”… and on it went.”

“I stood firm a couple of years ago on the inescapable fact that Eric Lindros required his torn wrist ligament to be operated on, despite blanket denials from all sides. It’s the reason I confronted Quinn after a Leafs’ practice in Denver in January, 2006 about Bryan McCabe’s groin “strain” actually being a slight groin “tear” – as I was informed behind the scenes.”

So let’s look at the facts. Howie is comparing lying (such an ugly word I know) about the severity of injuries to players who resulted in lengthy stays on the injured list. We aren’t talking about an extra couple of days. We are talking about numerous weeks, not days. It’s no excuse for lying, but lets make sure that we are comparing apples to apples.

“News flash: Jeff Finger’s “minor” foot problem has been down-graded to moderate, and he’ll miss the first week to ten days of the regular season.”

When I read this for the first time, I thought Finger was going to be gone for the first half of the season. Compare Howie’s take on the Finger issue with that of the Star:

“While the injury, according to coach Ron Wilson, is no more serious than that, the 28-year-old can’t yet comfortably put his foot in his skate boot.” So, the injury isn’t any worse, it’s just taking longer to heal. That doesn’t sound like a conspiracy to me. ““Every day it gets a little better but he doesn’t have to skate through the pain – it’s training camp,” said Wilson. “Hopefully he’ll only miss a couple of games and be ready to go in the second week of the season.” Sounds like good judgment to me. Doesn’t sound like a cover up to me.

Here is what Howie had to say about Kubina:
“Accordingly, you can probably forget seeing Pavel Kubina or Nikolai Kulemin in the line-up when the Leafs begin the regular season. On Wednesday, in St. Louis, Wilson claimed both players are sidelined “a week to 10 days” with knee problems. If Wilson is anywhere close to the “accuracy” with which the Leafs have embarrassed themselves in recent years, neither Kubina nor Kulemin will suit up until late-October.”

Here is what the Star had to say about Kubina:
“Pavel Kubina missed Wednesday’s loss at St. Louis with a bruised knee. However, he skated in practice on Thursday and will be ready for the season.“Everything seems to be a go with Pavel,” said Wilson.”

Hmmm, who do you believe.

Here is what I don’t get in Howie’s story…the point. I understand what he is saying, but I don’t get the rationale. Howie starts with the issue of the lying. I am ok with that. He then says that it wasn’t Maurice’s doing, rather he acted at the behest of JFJ (to be fair, Howie has a great line there “learly, Maurice was speaking at the behest of then-GM John Ferguson, who would neither confirm nor deny that he’d been born. But, it didn’t help Paul’s cause, or the team’s). Ok, so in the old regime, it was JFJ. However, Cliff replaced JFJ and that left us with Cliff and Maurice. Wilson replaced Maurice and that brings us today. Howie says “Now, it’s Wilson playing the “let’s lie about injuries” game inherent to his profession, but likely not on behalf of Cliff Fletcher, whose basic honesty has been the hallmark of a long NHL career.” Here is what I don’t get. Why would Wilson lie at this point? Where is the benefit and to whom? Why would Cliff, who’s honesty has been the hallmark of a long career allow it? Howie hurls the accusations, but provides no theory or explanation.

“This subject drives fans of the Blue & White around the bend, primarily because they want to be treated with honesty and respect by the team they have so loyally followed through the years. And, really, they deserve nothing less. Understanding, however, that they’ve long been played for fools by the Leafs, it is met with a shrug when injury nonsense is filtered through the media… their only link to the hockey club. Without recourse, fans vent their anger on the messengers, oddly choosing to align with those at the root of the deception.”

True and, not so fast. Lying of any shape does piss us off. It has to be lying though. I think we all owe it to Wilson and Fletcher to see where this headed. When I hear a guy is a day to day and he is out for months, I will be right there with Howie. Now, for the second part of your point. Our only link to the club isn’t the media. Blogs, message boards and other modern means of technology all appear to be appealing to hockey fans. Our anger which gets vented at the media is unanimous in picking on those who don’t give the home team a fair shake. That is difference. Be fair and balanced and you will see less hate mail. When all you do is constantly bitch and moan about the team, what fan is going to support your cause? We are sick and tired of the train wreck coverage of our sports teams. Don’t confuse people filling your email inbox with anger at the cause. It’s just that you are the cause of our anger. Your message has gotten stale.

7 responses to “Liar, Liar are Ron Wilson’s Pants On Fire?

  1. Howie filled in two spots on his bingo card… he got “reference to inbox” and “speak for the fans without quoting any”. Nice work Howie.

    The highlight of the column, though, was this:

    “… the Ottawa Sun’s enterprising columnists, Bruce Garrioch”

    I can confirm from first-hand experience that Garrioch, while large, is still only one persion.

  2. It hasn’t been a year since Howie was threatened with a libel suit. Perhaps “lying” should not be a subject matter of his?

    Or has his mysterious informants disclosed a potential “cancer” of the foot, for Finger?

  3. torontosportsmedia

    DGB: Classic, absolutely classic.
    Sutherland, I totally forgot about that! Brilliant

  4. You see vagueness about injuries with a lot of teams all the time. I remember Rick DiPeitro being out with “general body soreness” one time. I don’t think it’s *technically* lying, more like not telling the whole truth. Over at Barry Melrose rocks they talked about NHL trainers are really unclear especially with head injuries (although some of that is because head injuries are tricky to diagnose/treat)

    Sorry if it’s a bit long and I don’t know if it makes sense (lack of sleep + bad cold +unfamiliar laptop )

  5. I’ve never really cared one way or the other about injuries, what they are or how long they keep a player out. For my POV, if Howie wants to be annoyed about lying, take issue withthe whole “upper body/lower body” injury vagueness. At the end of the day, if a player is injured, it’s not like I need to know what it is to send an injury appropriate sympathy card…

  6. Does anyone else believe they (the teams we cheer for) owe us anything other than a championship? I personally do feel the need to know about injuries nor how serious or to what extent… all I need to know is that a player will not be in the line up due to an injury and may not return in 2-3 weeks. Is that not good enough anymore?
    As a coach, why would I tell anyone one of my regulars have a lower body or knee or any info on a injury? Is it to appease fans or media to the extent that all know the severity of the injury and exact cause or nature of it so next time my player returns to play, players like Avery and his like can take runs at him where his injury was? So “lying” to fans/media, IMO makes more than sense and I encourage my coach/team to lie about every injury and their extent.

  7. torontosportsmedia

    The only league that I know of where injuries are treated as THE LAW is the NFL, and that is entirely due to the amount of influence gambling has on the league. Teams have to accurately report injuries or face hefty fines.

    i raised this issue due to consistancy. When JP used the famous line (it’s not a lie if i know the truth) it was in reference to BJ Ryan’s injury). I can’t bitch and moan about that “lie” and not at least mention Howie’s beef. Does it bother me in the playoffs when teams don’t say a word? No, I think it is pretty funny actually. I know it drives the media nuts, but I could care less. I do think that if a guy is going to be out for a long period of time they should say so.

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