Because I tend to not blog on the weekends, here is a feature that will run through the entire season. It aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact about each team that played. And hell, there’s a ton of other crap for me to blather on about too. And yes, I’m totally ripping off just about every other blogger ever’s weekly column, but that’s something you’ll have to deal with on your own time.
Danger: This post contains language that some people might not like. This will be the only thing on the site that regularly does so.
There was quite a bit of discussion in the hockey blogosphere this week.
Basically, it centered around this post from DMFB at Covered in Oil that detailed the way in which he was bullied out of a job and apparently his passion for the sport by some Oilers media people because he was liveblogging a game from the press box while there for another reason (to get quotes for an unidentified employer). Here, by the way, is a cached version of the post. You can see what all the furor was about.
The reactions to this have ranged from bewilderment at the Oilers’ ludditistic views on new media to flat outrage, both of which are understandable.. ish.
Look, I was once a member of the quote-unquote mainstream media. But I read Deadspin every day and all that fun stuff so, compared to I’d say roughly 75 percent of other actual media types, I was well ahead of the curve. But because I was mainstream media, I also saw why I shouldn’t have a blog at that time. On this blog, I’ve said some things that some organizations (see: Islanders, New York; Thrashers, Atlanta; etc.) would see as maybe not the best thing in the world to have coming out of their press box. Saying that the team’s power play “can’t do (swearword) all” and calling one of the Oilers a “disgusting hockey player,” is going to be frowned upon by The Suits, however true both those claims may be. You wanna piss on some shoes, that’s your prerogative (and frankly I encourage it because it makes for better reading), but people aren’t exactly going to be tolerant of it.
In THEORY, the Oilers should stay out of whatever a writer — or in this case, quote-getter — is writing because getting involved in that type of stuff takes you one step closer to making the mainstreamers into ventriloquist dummies for the organization (talk to some people on the Boston sports scene about this), which is obviously a bad thing. However, it’s their call. Do you think the Oilers organization gives a quarter of a poop about what the internet thinks? Yes, the Oilogosphere (how I loathe that term, by the way) is one of the most popular in hockey and it’s probably even No. 1. It generates a lot of pageviews and a lot of discussion. I understand perfectly well how blogs can drive mainstream news cycles and I clearly, in writing my own blog, see the value in that. But there was talk that Covered in Oil should be held with a certain amount of legitimacy because it’s generated over a million pageviews in the last however-many years. Certainly that is an impressive number for a hockey blog, and one I’m not even close to reaching, but my old newspaper’s website generated a million pageviews PER WEEK. And it was a suburban paper with a circulation of 100,000 or so and a crummy website. Imagine what the Edmonton Journal or Sun, papers serving a city of a significantly larger size, get a week. Besides, the Oilers will sell out the building whether or not some jerkoff with an opinion (from their perspective, not mine) can post a liveblog. In fact, liveblogs are read by people who don’t go to the games anyway, so they can eff right off too, I’m sure.
Also, I’m not so sure that blogging is really the same thing as what the organization views as “legitimate media.” The former will surely usurp the latter sometime in the not-too-distant future, and I look forward to the day. But in having a blog that gets a fair number of hits, that doesn’t mean you have to face the players and it doesn’t mean your opinion is worth anything to the organization.
I don’t want to come off as taking the position of, “I’m with the Oilers on this one.” I’m not. At all. The sports media world would be a better place if blogs were allowed to cover the team, as they are with the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. Such a practice, in fact, will often result in friendlier coverage. I know I’m less likely to badmouth a player in the paper/on the internet if he has come across as a good dude in my dealings with him (not that I won’t. I’ve been brutal with Glen Murray and Phil Kessel and both are fine guys to deal with). But my point is, if you’re saying things that you know aren’t going to be popular, then don’t expect to be popular.
Another thing to keep in mind, too, is that the guy from Covered in Oil was indeed in breach of the agreement he entered into in accepting his credentials. His being ignorant of what that agreement was doesn’t make it any less of a breach. In fact, let me go see if I can find an old Bruins press pass of mine.
Here we are:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR BOSTON BRUINS 2008 NHL PLAYOFF CREDENTIAL:
This “Credential” is issued by the Boston Bruins/TD Banknorth Garden for the sole purpose of providing arena access to an individual with a legitimate working function in connection with the event for which this Credential is issued (the “Game”). It is issued subject to the following conditions:
[Blah blah blah if you get hit in the face with a puck you can't sue us.]
Any unauthorized (they put “authorized” but that can’t be right) transmission, picture, or other depiction of game action, game information, player interview or other arena activity is prohibited without prior written approval of the NHL (as defined below).
[More stuff about not suing despite getting injured in a Todd Bertuzzi attack. Steve Moore should have read this more closely]
Credential is for use solely in connection with Bearer’s working function on behalf of Club or NHL. While within the arena, Bearer shall be subject to direction fo Club.
Credential is not transferable, may be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of the club, and will automaticall terminate if any term is breached.
I bolded the pertinent bits. So while the Oil may not have been right to do this, they were certainly well within their rights.
As for the other bloggers that were mentioned as also blogging during the game, the difference there, I think, is that 1) they are not calling players bad names, and 2) they are reporters doing their jobs insofar as the Boston Globe’s beat guys have a hockey blog that updates from the rink. Not exactly a guy who’s sitting in the press box waiting for the game to end so he can get reax quotes.
Here’s another quote that the commenters on Covered in Oil seem to have grabbed upon as being a bad thing for the Oilers to say:
He also gave me a lecture about how if I was going to work with the Oilers in the future, I may have to demonstrate a little more professionalism.
Calling Denis Grebshkov a spaz= professionalism. Got it.
The other thing that really turned me against DMFB, apart from the fact that he was an Oiler fan (I kid!), was this thought:
Truthfully, there’s a lot about the professional sports world that bothers me that really came into focus during this whole thing. I could list examples, but basically it all boils down to the fact that I’m uncomfortable with the amount of attention paid to what are basically games, and I no longer want to be a part of it.
That’s just remarkably douchey and tastes very much like sour, sour grapes.
How about this, internetters? We agree that both were in the wrong. The Oilers shouldn’t make it their business to approve or disapprove of what’s being written about them, and DMFB shouldn’t be pissing in the team’s cereal if he wants access. Fair?
This all goes back to the old Buzz Bissinger gimmick of the responsibility of bloggers. Do we really want to “piss the crap out of” a thug like Zach Stortini?
What We Learned
Colorado (1 game, 2 points): All they need to do to win in front of Andrew Raycroft is score five goals a night. Sadly, that’s an upgrade over Petr Budaj.
Dallas (1 game, 0 points): Why is Brenden Morrow the captain of this team? He took two penalties in the last six minutes of a one-goal game, and both for stupid reasons. Unsportsmanlike conduct and a slash? Give the C to Modano. Jesus Christ.
Montreal (1 game, 2 points): Best in the East, and I love what Tanguay and Koivu are doing for my fantasy team. Keep it up, mon amis!
Phoenix (1 game, 0 points): Not as good as I’d hoped out of the gates, but I still love Enver Lisin and always will. He had a goal Friday (sorry about the lack of a Good Night, all 20 of you who read it). Hurrah!
Boston (1 game, 2 points): Not sure the decision to start Manny Fernandez against a Sens team that has been property of Tim Thomas the last few years was such a good idea, but I guess it worked, eh? And congrats to Patty Bergeron on getting his first goal. Let’s hope he wins the perserverance award or whatever they call that thing.
Ottawa (1 game, 0 points): Not sure the decision to enter the year with Martin Gerber as the No. 1 guy was such a good idea either.
Toronto (1 game, 0 points): Yeah, well, y’know.
Pittsburgh (1 game, 2 points): I swear, Geno Malkin’s quote on what coaching Michel Therrien gave him before he set up a goal was, “Mike said, ‘Score, I need (a) win, score.’” If only it were that easy in Tampa.
Washington (1 game, 1 point): Ovechkin still has like three points, if you can believe that. Somehow, Washington is 3-1-1.
New Jersey (1 game, 2 points): New Jersey is 4-1-0 with a goal differential of +1 (10 GF, 9 GA). Don’t tell me Marty Brodeur’s not the greatest that ever lived. He’s like 50 now and he’s still doing this.
Atlanta (1 game, 2 points): Memo to league: Cover 17. He’s pretty good. It will help you win at hockey. Really.
Buffalo (1 game, 1 point): How about Tommy Vanek? Seven goals in five games? He’s already gotten like 20 percent of his production from last year squared away. This is the kid Buffalo paid for.
Florida (1 game, 2 points): I can’t tell which is a more embarrassing way to phrase it, that the Islanders got shut out by the Panthers…
New York Islanders (1 game, 0 points): … or the Islanders couldn’t score a goal against the Panthers.
Detroit (1 game, 2 points): Good thing they have the best offense in the game. Even against should-be-good defensive clubs, they can hang five spots.
New York Rangers (1 game, 1 point): When the Voros train stops chuggin’, this team’s in a boatload of trouble.
Minnesota (1 game, 2 points): Yup, the Wild needed a shootout to win 1-0 against the LIGHTNING! They’ve got plenty of offense aside from Gaborik, yes indeed.
Tampa Bay (1 game, 1 point): This is a remarkably bad team. Just unbelievable.
Nashville (1 game, 2 points): What a Jekyll and Hyde team this is. Some nights no one shows up, and others they drop a touchdown on the not-so-bad Blue Jackets. This must be a frustrating team to support.
Columbus (1 game, 0 points): I really want to like this team because of Rick Nash. But goddamn is it a struggle. The rest of the team seems so, I dunno, lousy.
St. Louis (1 games, 2 points): Keith Tkachuk has been just unbelievable this season and he’s carrying the team for sure. Anywhere they get will probably be because of him. The fat bastard’s still got it.
Chicago (2 games, 3 points): Word on the street is this Pat Kane’s going places. Six points in two games this weekend. Wow.
Calgary (1 game, 0 points): The good news is Todd Bertuzzi has five goals in five games. The bad news is everything else that’s happened this year.
Edmonton (1 game, 2 points): The Oilers should kick bloggers out of the press box more often. They’re undefeated.
Philadelphia (1 game, 0 points): Dear christ what happened to the goaltending? It’s just been awful and it’s killing an otherwise very good team.
San Jose (1 game, 2 points): Jonathan Cheechoo has HOW MANY goals!?
Vancouver (1 game, 0 points): The first loss of the season is always tougher when it gives Joel Quenneville his first win. I just don’t like that guy for a nonspecific reason.
Carolina (1 game, 2 points): Yeah, but two points playing the Ducks. That shouldn’t even count.
Anaheim (1 game, 0 points): Not so good. Not so good at all.
Other things I picked up on
Don Cherry’s solution for dealing with Ryan Hollweg being an asshole: Chris Simon slashing him in the face. Good to know Grapes reads the blog. … Who am I kidding? Don Cherry has never seen a computer. … Speaking of Don Cherry, my favorite part of every Coach’s Corner is Ron MacLean’s bemused stare while Cherry rants about ties or junior mite hockey. Totally underrated portion of the broadcast. I live for it. …Jesus Christ, Mike Smith has a .944 save percentage throught three games?! … The Flames getting swept in the back-to-back Battle of Alberta nights completely ruined my weekend. … I find it amusing that the Boston Red Sox (the team I support, by the way), completely crap themselves in Game 7 against the Rays. The better team won, and all the Boston sports fans are idiots anyway. They like Jason Varitek, case closed. … The cable in my bedroom has been screwy all week and it’s seriously affecting my ability to watch games on Center Ice while working at my desk. You don’t care, I very much do. … Anterro Nittymaki may have given up a ton of goals to the Sharks, but the save he made to rob San Jose in overtime was a thing of epic beauty and I’ve considered writing poems about it. That’s how pretty it was. … Sarah Palin was massively underwhelming on SNL. She didn’t even do anything. … I submit that there is no better show on television than Mad Men on AMC. … Stan Fischler called Marc Staal “the new Lidstrom,” on Inside the Rangers this week. He also predicted a Norris win in the next three or four years. Oooooookay, Stan. Marc Staal will be lucky if he’s the next Mark Fistric.
Play of the Weekend
The aforementioned save by Mr. Nittymaki. Wowzers.
Gold star award
Nikita Filatov gets it this week. He knows why.
Things I’m telling myself so I can sleep at night
Miikka Kiprusoff has given up 22 goals in five games. But he gave up 23 in his first five when he won the Vezina and the Jennings. He’s a slow starter.
Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Coaching decisions made by total idiots
1. Steven Stamkos is only getting 10:12 a night in Tampa Bay. JUST 14 SHIFTS! How has Barry Melrose not been fired yet? Better yet, how has he not been fired into the sun? I understand he doesn’t kill penalties, but Jesus, let’s get the kid into a game, huh? If I paid for a hockey ticket to see(n) Stamkos and saw him skate around for 10 minutes, I’d feel ripped off. Hell, I’d feel ripped off if I were Oren Koules too. Saw II wasn’t nearly as scary as Melrose’s coaching ability.
2. Claude Julien looks at the stats one day and goes, “Hey Tim Thomas had a sub-1 GAA against the Senators last year!” Then he starts MANNY FERNANDEZ!? The knuckledraggers on NESN were talking about how it was an understandable move because these are two different teams now. Yeah, really? The Bruins player turnover on the blue line was ONE person. The Sens turnover at forward was like three. It was a dumbass move and the Bruins are lucky as hell that the Sens couldn’t even score on Manny “Awful at being a goalie” Fernandez.
Organizational decisions made by total idiots
1. Know who can’t coach against the Red Wings? Joel Quenneville. The fact that Denis Savard had to pay for the Blackhawks’ dumb insistence that it pay TWO mediocre goalies $12.something million is stupid, and ol’ Soup Strainer may have lost a shootout and won a game, but the ‘Hawks are good enough that Savard should’ve gotten a few more whacks at it before getting tossed out on his ass.
2. Mike Keenan still has a job and it’s ruining my life.
Why we need truth-in-advertising laws
This was on NHL.com today.
The who are what?
Next week’s game I’m totally going to watch on Center Ice if I’m home
That San Jose vs. Tampa Bay game next Saturday (7:30 PM on Sun) is Dan Boyle’s first against his old team. He should be looking to kill someone. Possibly Jay Feaster. Plus who wouldn’t want to see the Bolts give up 12 to the Sharks? I look forward to it.
Event that should replace the shootout and would be just as relevant to hockey skill
Mighty Ducks 2-style lasso round-up. It would definitely help the Flames and their Stampedin’ ways. They need all the help I can get them.
Soccer update only I care about
Liverpool sneaks by Wigan of all sides 3-2 with a late comeback following a red card to a Wigan player. Just like clockwork for the best team in Britain. Meanwhile, my friend Matt’s favorite club, Tottenham Hotspur, are winless in eight matches against some pretty awful clubs. I have taken every possible chance to mock him for this, and will do so again here: Hey Matt, remember that talk that Spurs were going to make it to the Champions League? Will you settle for the Championship?
The No. 1 DVD I own and kind of want to watch this week but likely will not
Half Baked. One of my friends dressed up as Sampson Simpson for Halloween this year. It was easily the greatest costume ever conceived and set a new gold standard to which all costumes should aspire.
Best Sampson Simpson moment in the movie…
Thurgood: “Operator with an emergency breakthrough from your sister.” Sampson, it’s Sheila. Momma fe..
Sampson: SHUT UP, BITCH!
Christ, I might watch this one now.
An update on last week’s “No. 1 DVD I own and kind of want to watch this week but likely will not“
Fargo? Not so much. I did watch Barton Fink, however. John Goodman is so great in that movie it’s insane that he didn’t get some kind of Supporting Actor nomination. The guy from “Roseanne.” Yes. Really.
Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week
LW Ilya Kovalchuk
D Cam Barker
RW Micheal Blunden
Hawks 1st in 09
Flames 2nd in 09
Hawks 1st in 10
Maple Leafs 2nd in 10
Hawks 2nd in 11
Let’s square this one away tomorrow!