BREAKING: Chicago Blackhawks at the center of yet another major scandal

Ryan Smitheram
December 10, 2023  (9:40 PM)

A fourth-round pick in the 2001 NHL draft, Jordin Tootoo became the first Inuk to play in the NHL and endeared himself to Canadians when he became known as the "Tootoo Train" during the 2003 World Juniors. Tootoo played a lot bigger than his 5'9, 200 pound stature, hitting everything in sight and fighting guys often much bigger than him.

Tootoo has been very open about his substance abuse and mental health since retiring after the 2016-17 season and has even written a book about his career. The book shares countless stories, triumphs and struggles as well as some shocking behind the scenes information that the NHL might not be too pleased about one of its former players revealing.
One such instance that Tootoo shared was from the end of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Tootoo played 50 games for the Hawks that season, but was placed on waivers. Instead of reporting to the AHL, Tootoo mysteriously ended up on LTIR for the rest of the season and, in his book, Tootoo explained what actually happened behind the scenes. It was not a good look for the NHL.
"When I wasn't claimed by anyone, I went in to talk to Stan.
'Hey look,' I said, 'I did you guys a favour by signing, because you were stuck as far as signing another veteran guy. Now, it's your turn to return the favour. I'm not going down to Rockford [their AHL affiliate]. My wife's pregnant, she's due in February. I'm not moving back and forth with my daughter and my wife. Put me on long-term injured reserve, and do whatever you have to in order to make it look right, because I'm not going to go play in Rockford—end of story'.

My shoulder really had been bugging me quite a bit. Stan said, 'Get me an MRI on the shoulder and we'll use that as our out.'
And so that's what happened. I packed my bags and went down to Rockford for one pre-game skate just to say that I was there and that I wasn't ready to play, healthwise. Then I went on long-term IR and never heard from anybody in the organization for the rest of the year."

To no one's surprise, it happened with the Blackhawks because, well, what haven't they tried to cover up? I can't imagine the NHL will be happy seeing that an injury was exploited and/or embellished so that a player would not have to report to the minors and would also allow the Hawks to remain cap compliant. It begs the question of just how many season-ending or career-ending injuries have been embellished to provide a player with salary and a team with cap relief?
With all of the heat right now surrounding salary cap circumvention accusations through the use of LTIR in the NHL, this could certainly lead to some LTIR rule changes when the next CBA negotiations occur.
The now 40-year-old Tootoo managed to play in the NHL for 13 seasons with Nashville, Chicago, Detroit and New Jersey. Over his 13 seasons, he amassed 65 goals, 96 assists and 1010 PIMs in 723 games.
BREAKING: Chicago Blackhawks at the center of yet another major scandal

Do you think the NHL will make changes to their LTIR rules after Tootoo's latest claims from his book?

Yes21447.8 %
No23452.2 %
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