The honeymoon is over, and the first PR battle of the Jeffrey Vinik regime is in full swing. The opponent, who is doing a fair bit of damage through repeated rantings on Twitter and through the media, is Allan Walsh. Agent for injured forward Stephane Veilleux.
Lets start with that -- injured forward Stephane Veilleux.
Last night, news came out that Veilleux -- a pending unrestricted free agent -- was to have surgery later this week at the Cleveland Clinic on his shoulder. It would appear that Veilleux has a torn labrum -- verified by medical staff from the Tampa Bay Lightning as well as medical staff with the Minnesota Wild.
Th e Lightning, however, are not willing to pay for things regarding surgery, and a grievance is being filed by the NHLPA in response.
There are two different news stories on this today, as of the time of this writing, shedding light on the situation. One is from Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the other form Erik Erlendsson at the Tampa Tribune.
Oh, and Walsh on Twitter, grandstanding for his client.
The general gitst of all the articles is Walsh is not happy, the Lightning do not believe the injury is hockey related, and Walsh is not happy.
Assistant GM Tom Kurvers -- running the ship in Tampa while the search for team CEO and GM continues -- didn't help things with a vow-of-silence, blanket statement that went against the accusations:
"Per club policy, we are not inclined to discuss specifics with any player's injury, its treatment, or circumstances surrounding the injury publicly," Kurvers said. "Stephane is a valued member of the Lightning organization and we fully intend on providing any necessary medical care as dictated by the Collection Bargaining Agreement."
The problem here is, with what has come to light, valued does not appear to be a truth. And Vinik's world-class decree, a repeated mantra during press events, has suddenly become null-and-void in the eyes of those payign attention.
Pettiness over a players injury -- how it was sustained and where and avoiding cost responsibility -- does not support the "world class" standard. You would not hear of incidents like this with more storied organizaitons that are looked at as "world class".