Leblond And The Magical Injury

JerseySenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - 2007:  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond of the New Jersey Devils poses for his 2007 NHL headshot at photo day in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

Tom Gulitti reports that the Devils have recalled Matt Corrente (just after sending him down to make room for David Clarkson). And how did they make room? Well, the put Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond on IR with an upper-body injury.

The injury is retroactive to December 17th, so Leblond will be eligible to return... well, now. He can be brought back whenever the Devils need him.

He hasn't played since December 9th, though, so when and where, exactly, did he get this injury?

And why is he (as Gulitti reports) still practicing with the team despite this injury?

Gulitti answers this quandary himself when he notes that this is the second time this year that Leblond has been placed on IR due to a mysterious injury. The first time was when the Devs wanted to activate Dean McAmmond.

There's no question that this is all BS. Leblond has been relegated to uselessness, and the Devils need room for players that might actually get some ice time, so they made up an injury for him, as they've done in the past. He's perfectly fine and is practicing with the team, and is eligible to return if someone else gets injured for real.

I have two little thoughts regarding this piece of information:

First of all, is Leblond really any worse than, say, Drew Peters? The big center isn't exactly the most prolific fighter, and last night got chucked early on for not having his jersey tied down properly. He makes dumb mistakes, and plays a similar game to Leblond. But at least the latter has some youth and excitement to him—not to mention the longest name in NHL history.

Jacques Lemaire wasn't happy with the Peters incident last night, but he clearly favors him to Leblond, and I don't understand why.

The second thought is that the Devils should not be allowed to do this. Look, I'm a huge Devils fan, and I track the team as part of my job (I watched Peters' gaff from the Prudential Center press box last night). But I'm not going to sit here and defend this move.

There is obviously no injury here, and it's not the first time the Devils have done this to Leblond this season. Maybe he got hit by a stray puck and had to miss a shift in practice, so the Devs latched onto that and used it as the technical excuse needed. I'm certain they found some way to make this legal.

But that doesn't mean it SHOULD be legal. The NHL should crack down on this. There's a roster limit and there are waiver rules, and a team shouldn't be allowed to have extra players thanks to some minuscule injury that would mean nothing on more important players.

I don't know how the league can seal this loophole, but they should somehow. I'm not unhappy here—if Leblond isn't playing anyway, I'm glad the team found a way to add another player in his stead. But from an objective point of view, it really is ridiculous.