Canucks respond predictably to allegations about drinking culture

·MLB Writer
Trevor Linden is not pleased with what’s been written about his team in the Irish Times. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)
Trevor Linden is not pleased with what’s been written about his team in the Irish Times. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

On Thursday, Gaelic football player Lee Chin spoke out about the drinking culture surrounding the NHL – and the Vancouver Canucks in particular – and apparently the club did not appreciate it.

Hours after Chin’s comments, Canucks president Trevor Linden released a statement categorizing the claims in the Irish Times as falsehoods that misrepresented his team and the game in general.

Linden is understandably steamed about the contents of the story as they don’t exactly paint the Canucks in the best light. Chin produced a couple of explosive quotations, including his description of a tradition known as “the change up”.

“And they have this thing called a ‘change up’, when a player is not on form, not scoring. The manager will call a ‘change up’, and basically that player has to go out and ruin himself for the night, then come back the next day, with the attitude of you just don’t care.

“So they send him out, drink 20 pints, go off with a couple of women, whatever he wants. And come back the next day. That’s the way they live. It’s the culture, what they believe in, letting off steam like that. I don’t know if they look at the science behind it.”

While there are two sides to the story here, it’s worth remembering where the incentives lie. Chin would have to be unbelievably desperate for press coverage to make up seemingly-outlandish claims about his time spent with an NHL team. There’s very little for him to gain, and credibility to lose if he was proven to be spinning a yarn. Exaggeration is certainly in play here, but it’s hard to envision the purpose of him lying outright.

On the other side of the coin, Linden has every reason to vehemently deny every word that Chin says. The reputation of his team is at stake to a certain degree, and discrediting a completely unknown foreigner isn’t the hardest task.

Despite what some economists would tell you, human behaviour doesn’t always perfectly coincide with incentives, but in this case it’s not hard to envision a scenario where it does.