Damien Cox Takes On Bruce Dowbiggin

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s worth taking note. Writers in this city may not like each other, and they clearly compete however they rarely take on another in their publications. There is a professional courtesy I guess you could call it to not dumping on your brothers and sisters at other papers. Well, there is a a situation going on between the Star and the Globe that will be worth keeping an eye on.

The following appeared in Bruce Dowbiggin’s column today in the Globe and Mail:

“Inquiring minds wanted to know why Detroit’s incomparable defenceman Nick Lidstrom missed the final two games of the Western Conference final between the Red Wings and Chicago. The media spoke only of the ubiquitous “lower-body” injury. And when Lidstrom appeared tired and mistake-prone in the Final against Pittsburgh, questions were raised again about his fitness to play. Was it an ankle? A knee? Under the NHL’s Orwellian injury disclosure policy, a postal-code approximation of the hurt was all that was given to the media.

Actually, Lidstrom had a damaged testicle from being pitch-forked by Chicago’s Patrick Sharp in Game 3 of the Western final. He needed all the time between the cheap shot and Game One of the final to rehabthe injury. As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story”.

While it’s considerate to Lidstrom that such an . . . er, intimate injury be hushed up, the cover-up damages the league’s credibility in several ways. First, we now have a better understanding that Lidstrom was not tired or old or ready for retirement– as suggested by more than one announcer or reporter. Second, the cover-up denied the opportunity to expose Sharp’s disrespectful abuse of one of the league’s superstars – a necessary discussion in lieu of the league’s willful denial on head shots.

Many of the embedded reporters covering the NHL are complicit with the game of wink-wink/ nudge-nudge on the laughable supposition that reporting an injury might affect the outcome of a series. When Matthew Sekeres reported in these pages that Vancouver’s Mats Sundin had a right knee problem, you’d have thought he passed nuclear secrets to the Iranians.

The reality is that players know who’s hurt, where and how badly. Always have, always will. When Calgary’s Daymond Langkow played with two broken hands in the first round, it was obvious he could not take faceoffs properly. The only people left out of the loop on injuries are the ticket buyers– those who are paying in excess of $500 a seat for the Stanley Cup final — and the vast TV audience. In the NHL’s view, they are not worthy. Pay up and shut up.

This noblesse oblige stems from hockey’s cultural subset that was refined when Ozzie and Harriet ruled the airwaves and underpaid reporters made a little extra money writing for the owners’ program. It is now perpetuated by the Brian Burkes and Darryl Sutters, who derive their power (and amusement) from controlling information. With salaries and CBAs now public knowledge, injuries are the final frontier that a GM can use to dismiss reporters and fans with “if you only knew”.

Somehow the NFL has had full reporting on injuries without compromising a single game. The NFL is the gold standard fans now expect. Every day the NHL cloaks itself in the shrouds of subterfuge adds to the perception of the league as out-of-date and fan unfriendly.”

Now, in response to that, Damien Cox issued the following on his blog in the Star:

Interesting to see the new sports media writer of Canada’s national newspaper is going about his business in the same laissez faire manner as the last one.

Today, we are treated to a diatribe about how all the “embedded” reporters at the Stanley Cup final – none actually named – were hiding the true nature of Detroit defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom’s injury, and that it took the courage for this intrepid Globe and Mail writer to break the news (from Calgary, apparently) that Lidstrom had suffered a testicle injury when he was slashed or speared.

It was suggested that reporters – again, all unnamed – were “complicit” with the NHL’s secrecy policy on such injuries, which is about as insulting to a journalist as you can get.

Well, I’ll leave the Globe writer to sort out the insults with his colleagues at his paper – some of whom are among the best in the business – but who he apparently believes are in cahoots with the NHL. But just for his information, Lidstrom’s precise injury was reported by The Star last week.

Now he knows the rest of the story.

Seems you might need to read all the media reports out there – or actually attend the sporting event in question – before calling others in the business hacks.”


Why would Damien write such a thing???

Well had Dowbiggin down, say 3 seconds of research he would have found this article from 5 days ago:

“It came with Detroit’s best players – Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Johan Franzen and Brian Rafalski – all on the ice, and all making either bad decisions or coverage errors. Lidstrom has done his best after suffering a nearly catastrophic injury to his testicle in the Western Conference final, but he looks tired and worn. Rafalski has also missed time in these playoffs with an injury, while Zetterberg and Franzen sure looked like four games in six nights had left them gassed.”

Oooops. Damien ran that on June 5th.

I don’t know how many times I have to say it, until people start betting on the NHL in large numbers, the NFL comparison is totally irrelevant. I am so sick of this story—-who cares???? Bruce, if you are going to use an example to beat a totally dead horse, pick a good one.


Lastly, an open challenge to ALL the Sports teams CEO’s and Execs and all the other awesome bloggers in the GTA- I have sponsored Brady for his ride to conquer cancer- I put up $50. Match or beat me….Come on we can do it!!! The link to donate is here

Richard Peddie, Brian Burke, Brian Burke, Bryan Colangelo, Paul Beeston, JP Ricciardi, ARGO Brass where are you- this lowly writer put up $50…..match or beat me…..
Down Goes Brown, Pension Plan Puppets, EyeBeleaf all you guys, every penny counts….help the guy out!


here are your links:



  • comment-avatar
    Mike S 9 years ago

    I love a good confrontation…………I guess we can add this one to the list………….here are some of the others:

    1) Strachan VS Milbury (HNIC Hot Stove)
    2) Cox VS Simmons (TSN The Reporters)
    3) Derringer VS Simmons (Q107 & Toronto Sun)
    4) Kypreos VS Wilbur (Sportsnet)
    5) Doug MacLean VS McCown & Brunt (FAN 590)
    6) Doug MacLean VS George from Hamilton (FAN 590)
    7) Brian Burke VS Brady (AM 640)
    8) Hogan VS TSM (this site)

    Did I miss any??

  • comment-avatar

    Numero UNO has to be Cito vs. Mccown, Simmons and Dave Langford.

    I also loved when Mccown actually took on the former commissioner of the CFL- Smith I believe it was….

  • comment-avatar
    Mike S 9 years ago

    I forgot to include Garrioch VS Brady on my list………..I have a feeling Garrioch is not going to sponsor Brady

    The CFL commissioner that McCown slagged was Lysko……………in fact, Lysko ended up suing McCown for the things he said……………not to be confused with Sean Avery suing Happy Howie Berger………….not to be confused with Ted Saskin suing Wilbur…………..never a dull moment in the sports media world.

  • comment-avatar
    Julian 9 years ago

    What was the Derringer/Simmons one? Details! I remember hearing Damien Cox call Brady and they both intelligently went back and forth. You could tell Cox was a bit embarrassed about that Burke headline, and Brady has always said he respects Cox’s work a lot.

  • comment-avatar
    julian 9 years ago

    I have a feeling Garrioch couldn’t fit on a bike. Any bike. Including a Chopper.

  • comment-avatar

    Donation matched. Let’s hope Toronto’s other writers, regardless of whether they are hobby, amateur, independent or professional media, can get on board with this also.

    Thanks for including the Ride info in your blog. It’s a great cause, and this sort of thing rarely gets the type of exposure it should in traditional media. Which is what makes the blogosphere so impactful. Thanks again.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike S 9 years ago

    Here is the Derringer / Simmons background:

    A few years ago Simmons took a shot at Derringer in one of his Sunday columns (I can’t remember why)………..he also made a reference to the drug problem that Derringer apparently had in his earlier years…………..when Derringer read the remarks he was pissed…………..he made Simmons the “Tool of the Day” on his Q107 show and he ripped him for a good five minutes (he even sarcastically referred to Simmons as “little Stevie boy”)

  • comment-avatar

    […] at the Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the top cancer research hospitals in the world.Courtesy Toronto Sports Media: Lastly, an open challenge to ALL the Sports teams CEO’s and Execs and all the other awesome […]

  • comment-avatar
    dmoon 9 years ago

    Pierre McGuire was on Detroit radio this morning and he actually said he knew the injury but “out of respect to Lidstrom” wasn’t going to get into specifics. So the host had to clue the listeners into what the hell McGuire was saying.

    Also, the host jokingly started with “Why do you hate the Red Wings?” which launched Pierre into an annoyed defense, even after the host repeatedly said he was joking. Dude needs to get a sense of humor.

  • comment-avatar

    […] bother fact-checking. In fact in 2009, Dowbiggin himself made claims in one of his columns and was taken to task for his lack of research by Damien Cox. Embarassing that such a professional would make such a gaffe like that, […]