By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Jack Edwards is drawing a different kind of criticism on Friday.
The NESN Bruins play-by-play man is a bit polarizing, often drawing the ire of fans who perceive him as a Bruins homer. He has a distinctive play-by-play style with some idiosyncratic go-to phrases ("can of corn", "tumbling muffin"). But what he said after Stars defenseman Roman Polak apparently suffered a serious injury on Thursday night is garnering real anger.
Polak crashed into the boards head- and shoulder-first and laid motionless on the ice after missing an attempted hit on the Bruins' Chris Wagner during the Bruins' 2-1 win over the Stars. Seconds after play was stopped due to Polak's injury, Edwards said that the play "has a little bit of bad hockey karma".
Color commentator Andy Brickley noted just before the comment that Polak's injury appeared "self-induced". And that's not necessarily untrue. Polak went for a shove to Wagner's lower back just as the Bruins winger turned away from him, so he partially caused his own fall into the boards with his momentum. What Edwards likely meant is that your actions have consequences, which is the simplest way to define "karma".
But perhaps it was not the best choice of words in the moment, especially since Polak laid still on the ice and could have suffered a serious neck injury. Polak is a physical player who has been suspended in the past, so to call his injury "bad hockey karma" could easily be perceived as a needless celebration of a guy getting stretchered off. The fact that Edwards said it well before they knew the severity of the injury didn't necessarily make it any less offensive.
So now, Edwards finds himself under fire for the comment. (Warning: Salty language below.)
I have tremendous respect for the Bruin players that sent best wishes. All class. As for Jack Edwards, to say Roman’s injury was “bad hockey karma” while he was laying on motionless on the ice, you are truly a piece of shit and an absolute disgrace. https://t.co/NiUyScZFW1
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 4, 2019
Jack Edwards, you can be a dick sometimes. When someone is lying on the ice in clear and obvious pain, you do not call it “bad hockey karma,” what makes it worse, is that it was Roman Polak. This is the same Roman Polak that brutally broke his leg in the playoffs 3 years (1/3)
— leafsfanopinions (@anonymoushocke1) October 4, 2019
Show some class Jack Edwards. It’s just a game, hopefully Polak gets better soon and makes a full recovery. Jack should get fined for his comments, absolutely ridiculous. @NHLBruins #jackedwards @DallasStars https://t.co/8Q1BWxk91D
— Normal Leaf Fan (@leaf_normal) October 4, 2019
Jack Edwards saying that Roman Polak deserved is injury pic.twitter.com/Srn0bA5lGG
— Jo Jo (@Goldxbox6) October 4, 2019
Jack Edwards said Polak deserved to be injured? Classic Boston announcers.
— Jack (@Cersnack) October 4, 2019
100 dollars says that Jack Edwards said it. That moron vomits idiotic nonsense every time he opens his mouth to say anything at all. https://t.co/KTFhVK0tte
— Aaron the "de facto captain" (@Aaron3675) October 4, 2019
It's fair to assume that Edwards did not mean to say Polak deserved to suffer a serious injury, or that he was happy to see him get stretchered off the ice. But when you're that public of a figure you have to expect to face some blowback when you even imply that you're blaming a player for injuring himself. Especially when it was as serious as it looked for Polak.
The good news is, the Stars have already reported that Polak has full use of his extremities after viewers feared the worst. That's the important part. Edwards probably didn't mean to criticize Polak as badly as it sounded, but an apology probably wouldn't hurt.
Update: Edwards is not, in fact, going to apologize. He told Chad Finn of the Boston Globe: "I stand by my real-time call, and I think [Brickley] nailed it when he said Polak’s injury was ‘self-induced.’" Not surprising that Edwards would be the guy to take a stand to own the snowflakes. Just admitting he could've chosen better words wouldn't have hurt anyone. Now he has to hope his latest statement doesn't lead to any more trouble for him.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].