I've been working on the webdesk, but here's some afternoon updates from wires and elsewhere on the NHL gambling scandal:
Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber is calling the Rick Tocchet case the biggest crisis of Gary Bettman's time at the head of the NHL, which when you think of it (the lockout, Todd Bertuzzi, the Fox puck), is saying something:
In the wake of the police probe, Bettman has to disassociate the league and its teams from lotteries that are popular in western Canada, find a solution to the Pittsburgh Penguins' future that does not involve casino slot licenses and work vigilantly, in conjunction with the Players Association, to root out any problem among the players.
Cut the Pro-Line/casino cord? Not likely, unless this thing is heading out of control. But in a world where the ownership of fantasy league stats are grounds for litigation, anything is possible.
Hockey Page refugee John LoFranco sends along a link to Joe Boughner's Media Scout post in Maisonneuve (thanks JLo!), Boughner wondering with plenty of justification about the use of anonymously-sourced information:
The coverage of this story raises two other serious concerns, though: the use of an anonymous source and the publication of libellous material. While Tocchet has been formally charged and has responded publicly to those charges, another individual named in the Big Seven coverage has not been charged with anything, let alone convicted. The person’s name first appeared in an Associated Press article based on anonymous sources. Using an anonymous source can be a dangerous practice at the best of times, but using someone else’s anonymous source is irresponsible.
Linking someone to criminal activities when he or she hasn’t been formally charged or offered a comment on said activities is libellous—plain and simple. Under more lax U.S. libel laws, such practice has become standard, but in Canada, such allegations are only permitted in very specific situations.
Along those lines, an interesting little tidbit buried at the bottom of this Arizona Republic report from this afternoon:
Hagerty also said some of the reporting from Canada has “taken considerable liberties” with the facts of the case.
Hagerty said the vast majority of those who placed bets likely would not be charged. But, he said, the investigation could result in more arrests.
“Some of the individuals who placed bets potentially face criminal charges depending on the nature of their activity and the level of activity and whether they were involved in any acts that were illegal in the state of New Jersey,” Hagerty said.
Meanwhile, over in Turin, where they're playing an Olympic hockey tournament pretty soon that is fast becoming overtaken by this news, the COC is saying "it's an NHL issue", and really what else would you expect them to say? Oh, and in case you're playing Pro-Line or some other kind of playing tonight, rest assured: The odds are unchanged.