What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Andrew Ladd blasted for choosing birth of child over Winnipeg Jets game

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

Before Monday, Andrew Ladd had never missed a game for the Winnipeg Jets since it relocated from Atlanta. In his single season as a Thrasher, Ladd missed one out of 82 games. So yeah, the guy’s a gamer.

But the captain missed the Jets’ game at the Dallas Stars on Monday, a frustrating 2-1 loss, because his second child was born on Sunday night: The couple's second child and first daughter.

You probably know where this is going.

There’s pressure on any athlete to time their baby-makin’ around their job, to the point where Roberto Luongo and his wife had a plan to induce labor before the 2008 playoffs. And there’s always going to be some critic that questions a player’s decision to put family first, like when Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk criticized NFL players for mismanagement of “nine-month family expansion activities,” language that confirms he may in fact be an android.

And so it was that Troy Westwood of TSN 1290 in Winnipeg questioned Ladd’s decision to witness the miracle of life on a Sunday and then not show up to join the Jets at the Dallas Stars on a Monday:

And …

Now, Westwood isn’t some jock-sniffer. He played 18 years with the Blue Bombers in the CFL, and he gets an eternal pass from criticism for his 2003 reference to Saskatchewanians as “banjo-pickin' inbreds.” He’s speaking as a former pro.

But he’s also speaking as a former pro football player, a sport in which they play significantly fewer games than in the NHL. Joe Flacco missed the birth of his child to play in Week 1 for the Ravens last season, one of 16 games. Ladd is missing one out of 82; and let’s not forget the real context here, which is that the Jets trailed the wild card by six points before last night with 10 games remaining; now, it’s seven and nine games left.

I have zero issue with Ladd or any parent missing a game for the birth of their child. Ultimately, it’s that family’s decision, and the athlete’s willingness to live with that decision – like when Hunter Mahan left the Canadian Open with a two-stroke lead in the final round to witness the birth of his child.

What about the teammates? What about management?

Depends on the situation. I watched Game 7 of the 2010 Bruins/Flyers series, in which Philly rallied from a 3-0 deficit, while holding my newborn daughter in a hospital room. I remember wondering what call I would have made if I was on either team with a baby due that day, or the night before. I also thought about exactly what Westwood pondered, which is the reaction of their teams if a key player voluntarily skipped what was undoubtedly the most important game of the season for it.

But as Alain Vigneault said when Luongo left, briefly, for the birth of his child: "That's more important than any hockey game and we expect him to be there, and that's where he should be.”

Ladd was there for the Jets 72 times this season. He needed to be somewhere else last night.

View Comments (512)
  • Ducks-Penguins Preview

    The Anaheim Ducks were making fools of the prognosticators during a horrible start after being a sexy pick to win the Stanley Cup following last season's deep playoff run. Anaheim seeks a seventh consecutive victory Monday night when it visits a … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Devils-Rangers Preview

    The New York Rangers value defenseman Ryan McDonagh's leadership just as much as his contributions on the ice, and losing him for any period of time would leave a major hole in the lineup. The 26-year-old captain is in danger of missing his first … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 hours ago
  • Okposo scores 3 as Isles rout Oilers 8-1

    Okposo scores 3 as Isles rout Oilers 8-1

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Kyle Okposo scored a hat trick after the Islanders opened a commanding early lead with three first-period goals as New York routed the last-place Edmonton Oilers 8-1 on Sunday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 hours ago
  • Habs top 'Canes on Andrighetto's SO goal

    Habs top 'Canes on Andrighetto's SO goal

    Ben Scrivens made big saves all weekend, helping the Montreal Canadiens to a weekend sweep. Scrivens finished with 34 saves and stopped all five Carolina players in the shootout, lifting the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Sunday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 hours ago
  • Andrighetto shootout goal lift Canadiens over Hurricanes 2-1 to sweep weekend

    Andrighetto shootout goal lift Canadiens over Hurricanes 2-1 to sweep weekend

    The Montreal Canadiens may have found themselves a goalie. For a second game in a row, the acrobatic Scrivens allowed only one goal as Montreal downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Sven Andrighetto's shootout tally on Sunday afternoon. Scrivens … More »

    The Canadian Press - 10 hours ago