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Report: NHL to discuss bullying at GM meetings

Nov 12, 2013, 10:43 AM EDT

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Bullying will be one of the topics discussed during today’s NHL general managers meetings in Toronto, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Lavoie reports the NHL “wants to make sure what goes on in the NFL won’t happen in hockey” — an allusion to the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito controversy in Miami, where Incognito is being accused of spearheading a “culture of harassment” in the Dolphins’ dressing room, with Martin being the primary target.

Regardless of opinions on the Miami situation or the notion of bullying being an issue in the NHL, the league is probably doing the wise thing in getting out in front of any would-be issue. (Remember, we’re not that far removed from the Dustin Brown-Sean Avery relationship being described as “bullying” by former teammate Ian Laperriere.)

What’s going on in the NFL right now is ugly, so trying to avoid any potential ugliness with a preemptive strike makes sense.

Regarding the NHL GM meetings, it’ll be curious to see if the topic extends to rookie dinners. An annual rite of passage practiced by a number of professional teams, the rookie dinner — one where the veterans dine, usually at an expensive restaurant, on the first-year players’ dimes — has also come under scrutiny in the Dolphins saga.

From Fox Sports:

The [Miami] rookies were stuck with a $30,000 bill during a recent team dinner. Veteran defensive end Jared Odrick tweeted about the incident, showing off a picture of the team at dinner and even following it up by noting how expensive the bill was. “Yes that bill would make you sick,” Odrick tweeted out later. He’s since deleted the Tweet from his account.

Rookie safety Will Davis, who makes $405,000 this season, confirmed the report soon thereafter with a tweet of his own.

It’s not uncommon for veterans to have a bit of fun at the rookies’ expense. Many teams will have rookies pick up the bill on a big meal or a similar outing, but while $30,000 might be chump change to vested veterans, it’s a lot of money for rookies who likely are only making somewhere in the $400,000 to $1 million range.

To be fair, the NHL does not appear to have any similar issues regarding its rookie dinners. In the wake of the Miami situation, Fox Sports Florida asked former Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen about the evolution of these meals.

“Traditions have changed over the years since I was a rookie,” Dineen said. “There were things (then) that probably are not acceptable these days. That’s just the evolution of sports in general. It can be looked at a lot of different ways.

“I think it’s gotten to the point with the maturity of leadership in the NHL that instead of turning this into a ‘We’re going to get these guys,’ it has turned into, ‘Let’s turn this into a really nice evening.’ “

  1. amityvillefun - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Perhaps they should focus on more important matters like the amount of concussions we are still seeing in the league and head shots still being taken.

    Nah, focus on bullying, it’s a hot topic these days. Let’s not worry about stupid stuff like the players’ brains or their lives after hockey.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      I hate when people make the assertion that an organization as big as the NHL can focus on one thing and one thing only.

      what you’re saying is “I’m ok with bullying happening, as long as there’s still concussions being administered.”

      • nj666 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        what you’re saying is “i’ll eat up the hype that espn spews out about bullying, there for its an important issue”

      • amityvillefun - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Yeah, OK dude. Bullying is gonna make you cry. Boo hoo. A hug fixes that.

        I’m just saying they have bigger fish to fry and more important things to focus on. Concussions are a major issue in the NHL.

        I guess it won’t be a hot topic again until Crosby can’t remember where the rink is.

      • pxland - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        @amity – Bullying can be a big deal, and is a pretty terrible thing.

        I give credit to the league for addressing it before it has come out in the media as a problem. Maybe there is nothing there, I hope there is not, but if there is ignoring it now is the wrong move.

        Also, do you think they haven’t addressed the concussion issue quite well. It seems to be one of the main things they have focused on for a few years, and as Ib said, they can look at more than one issue per meeting.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        nj666. nobody’s buying into any hype. substitute any other important or not-important issue there could possibly be and my point remains. you clearly missed it. the NHL pan can fry two fish.

      • stepanup - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        @nj666 – Last year there was a report that 1 in 12 teens have attempted suicide stemming from bullying. But of course it’s only an issue because ESPN talked about it…or the NY Daily News.

        Excerpt – “Overall, the suicide rate among teens has climbed in the past few years, from 6.3% in 2009 to 7.8% in 2011, numbers which reflect the trend gaining national attention as more teen suicides are reported as a result of bullying”

        If bullying is tolerated at the professional level, then why wouldn’t it permeate the schools where the students idolize athletes?

        @amityville – A hug still fixes everything, right?

      • nj666 - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        @stepanup what do teenagers offing themselves have to do with professional hockey players? No hockey player ever killed himself over bullying so your argument is irrelevant.

        Its lame that they’re already turning this into an “issue” when it really hasn’t been a problem in the NHL. Had this not have been hyped up by the nfl and espn the nhl wouldn’t even discuss it because its a non-issue in the NHL. Hockey players are different than the meatheads of the the NFL.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        what’s your beef with it then nj666? are you in the NHL? are you going to have to sit through a bullying movie? is this going to reduce your team’s chance of winning? what? the only reason you’re taking a stand on this is because of this newfangled bullsh** idea of “if it doesn’t bother me, f*** everybody else.” you aren’t somebody that has to deal with professional sports bullying, so why should we worry about it, right? leave it alone dude, it doesn’t affect you.

    • c9castine - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      i was unaware the concussion issue went away. pretty sure its talked about from some angle every day here on PHT.

      these are well developed human brains that go to this meeting…i know you can’t type and breathe at the same time which is why intelligible statements come out of your computer but these guys can handle talking about a few different issues in a few hour time frame.

  2. nj666 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Another example of the stupidity of the NFL flowing over into the NHL…

    • joey4id - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      ok. What are other examples?

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        I’ve noted the no-answer.

      • joey4id - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Hahaha! Not much gets by you…..

      • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        what’s sad is that I get paid while I read PHT (like many others). what’s this country coming to?

      • joey4id - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Many are making money off of you, so don’t be to hard on the country. I was actually commenting from the beach in Mexico last week. 😉

      • joey4id - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        and BTW, not getting paid….

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Bullying? Hahahahahaha

  4. sjsharks66 - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    It’s very rare when teammates drop the gloves on each other. After they do, it’s handled. The coaches seem to have control over their locker room unlike the NFL. This is not a problem Bettman.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      yeah but look at that Downie/Landeskog “incident.” whether it was a big deal or not (we don’t know the whole story), that could have ended up making somebody verrrry uncomfortable in their locker room. and whether or not certain people give any merit to an the feelings of players, they affect on-ice performance, something the league surely wants to keep as high as it has been. at the very least, it’s worth bringing up, even if it’s just asking coaches whether they have any inkling of a problem and giving guidelines as to handling it.

  5. ck44sps - Nov 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Bettman is the biggest bully in the leauge. So now when a fight breaks out are their fines for bullying win you win.

  6. northstarnic - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    “So now when a fight breaks out are their fines for bullying win you win.”

    Umm, what?

    • ibieiniid - Nov 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      took me a few reads. “when a fight breaks out, are there fines for bullying when you win?” it’s still horrible logic, but at least I can sort out the english part of it.

  7. hockeyflow33 - Nov 12, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I can’t wait until bullying is completely forgotten about in a few months.

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