In Response

Dirk Hoag from the excellent Predators blog, On the Forecheck, left a comment in the previous post about bloggers credentials that I wanted to address. Please keep in mind that I know Dirk, like him a lot, think he’s an excellent blogger, and have met him in person. This isn’t snarking at him, and I asked if he minded me replying to his comments here. So this is all on the up and up.

Dirk’s comments are two-fold, so I’m addressing them as such:

1) Good luck on getting accreditation for bloggers. From what I understand, it was Colorado which led the charge to restrict credentialed bloggers in various cities from having access to visiting teams.

I don’t know if this is exactly the case or not. I know that I have heard the same things, and I know I have heard from people that have talked to the Avs that they don’t seem to keen on the idea. That said, I don’t know how it has been presented to the Avalanche, and I don’t know if there has been a group effort to do so. That said, it doesn’t hurt to try, and it might lead to all of the bloggers here upping their game. Which never hurts.

2) What would media credentials do for bloggers that would truly enhance their ability to counter what you see as failings of the Denver Post? Do they really need ‘we need to work hard and take it one game at a time” quotes to do that?

This is something I’ve heard from plenty of people, and I don’t buy it. Looking at the Washington Capitals experience, they have a rich field of content that goes beyond the stock quotes. I recently discovered the work done by Media Chameleon, and I would say their audio documentaries go beyond what most of the MSM would consider worth doing.

To address the specifics of the Denver Post, You would diversify the tone of the reporting,which is essential to any medium. We don’t just have Law and Order as the only crime drama on TV. We don’t just have on 24 hour news station. But in Denver, we have one newspaper, with two guys. That’s it. Terry Frei was the best of the hockey writers, but he doesn’t do as much Avs writing anymore. Just to spread the coverage out would help. How was the hockey media in Nashville before bloggers were introduced to the press box? That’s where Denver is right now.

I understand the concerns, but I would rather see the chance taken that things will change for the better than not at all.

Time for the Avalanche to Open Up

Today on twitter, I went on a bit of a rant.  And hey, that’s what twitter is there for at times, a bit of a rant. But once you get to around 10 tweets on the same topic, it’s time to close twitter for a minute and open up the old blogging software, dusty though it may be.

I read yet another sour-puss post in the Denver Post today, which I usually avoid at all costs.

Aside – I want you to think about that for a moment.  I’m a  fan of the Colorado Avalanche, and we have one newspaper in town.  And I try to avoid reading it because of the content.  One source with press credentials, and I TRY not to read it.  Isn’t that kind of telling?

There were parts of the post that bugged me, but none more than this:

When push came to shove, the Avs couldn’t win the big ones – again. It was right there for them: two out of three wins against Phoenix, Vancouver and San Jose, and they would have been in good shape for the playoffs. But they got one out of six possible points. Let’s face it, the Avs choked away a win the other day against Vancouver, the one game that stood out to me as proving these guys still aren’t ready for prime time yet.

The number one thing that bugged me was not the word ‘choked,’ but the word ‘again.’  Yes, again the Avalanche were not good enough to make the post season (most likely, as there is the mathematical possibility that they could sneak in).  It isn’t the gloom and doom of that word or that sentence that bugs me.  It’s that we have seen this before.  We have seen this perspective over and over.  It’s copy / paste every few games.

It isn’t that the Denver Post (and to be honest about it, Adrian Dater, the most visual of the Post writers) needs to be fans of the team.  That isn’t their job, and isn’t the way their writing should be structured.  But at this point, the emo message is that you are a fool to think this team was anything but losers.  You would be a mook to be a fan of this team.  And it was all inevitable, and is going to continue.

The Post needs to do it’s job, and that is report the news.  And they need to be given the leeway to state their opinions in the appropriate places.  It isn’t that the Post needs to conform to us, the fans.  But we don’t need to conform to their output either.

The overall issue here is a lack of choice on the part of the fans.  The Denver Post is the only credentialed media outlet that consistently puts out Avalanche material.  They don’t have to do anything other than what they are doing, because they aren’t pushed to do so.  They are the only game in town, and that’s the choice made by the Avalanche themselves.  The Avs are traditionally very closed off to the media.

But tradition has a way of falling when confronted with new successes, and as the blogoshphere has proven, success is available.  Examples like the Capitals, Predators, and Islanders have shown that bloggers can be healthy additions to the media availability.  They can provide what the papers can’t, won’t or don’t have time for.  They can be a positive addition to the ranks of the press box.  And now, more than ever, it’s time.

This summer, I’m asking for an Avs blogger summit.  A meeting of the bloggers who want to be granted credentials or given access to the Avalanche.  This would be an initial first step in collectively seeking to work with the Avalanche to get in the door.  I’m asking for this in the spirit of inclusiveness, to get many perspectives.

This will not be an overnight process.  Bloggers of many stripes have been around for years waiting for the opportunity.  But if the mountain won’t come to us, it’s time for us to go to the mountain.

If you’re interested, please let me know in the “contact me” link up above, or click here.  Lets do this.

The Message was Lost in Translation

You should really go read Ryan Lambert’s ‘What We Learned” post for this week on Puck Daddy.  No, really, you should.  At least, the first part about the Drew Doughty contract negotiations, because it’s really good. I mean, it’s one of the more well thought out posts I’ve read about what the Kings are doing with this contract that is becoming more drama than business.

Like this:

What does he hope to accomplish by making these very public declarations? Is Doughty going to all of a sudden jump up and say, “Well heck Don Meehan, I really wanted that 25 grand!” and immediately fly to Los Angeles and, like Bobby Ryan before him, negotiate his own cap-friendly deal?

Short answer: No. This isn’t An Offer He Can’t Refuse. As of this writing Doughty’s missed two days of camp, so he’s currently looking at a paltry salary of $6.75 million a year. How horrible.

The only thing Doughty will likely care about at the end of the day is that Lombardi didn’t demur and say, “We’re not going to discuss the details of ongoing negotiations at this time.” By throwing out scraps here and there — what the team has already offered, what the player is looking for, how much each missed day of work will cost him, etc. — the only thing Lombardi can do is piss off his best player, not muscle him into finding a deal he or his representatives find unacceptable.

There’s more to read, and it’s worth your time.  But skip the headline:

What We Learned: Dean Lombardi’s lucky sports fans are idiots

I’m not a regular reader of Lambert, and it’s because of stuff like this.  It’s frustrating to read something like his take on the Doughty contract and see it underscored with name-calling and vitriol.  As smart as his take is, it’s undercut by the confrontational headline (and more in the post itself).

If you were to go to your boss, or your co-workers and tell them that you have a great idea, one that would make the company millions, and they would be pure morons if they didn’t listen and take your advice, you would be considered a fool.  You would have cut your own throat, and I can almost guarantee that you would be ignored.  You could take your idea and do what you wanted with it, but you would do it alone, because you turned off the people you were trying to communicate with, and ultimately influence.

Which is what Lambert does over and over.  And perhaps it’s in the name of style, and it’s a style that he likes.  But what it does is hurt his message.  What is the point of writing a well-considered post like this, only to shoot it dead before it is put on display?

I had an interesting chat with Ryan on twitter (@twolinepass), and he said a few things that I found interesting:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115804263397072898″]

Unfortunately, if that’s the goal, it’s presented poorly.  It’s going to be ignored from the get go, as the lead is buried behind a confrontational headline.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115804966224011264″]

I don’t know what’s so irrational about being upset at being called names.  I do think it’s irrational to stop reading Puck Daddy over one writer two tries to get people’s goat (and I don’t completely buy every fan that says they don’t read it).  If you don’t like something, skip that post and move on.  Sure, it’s an editorial decision to have Lambert write for the site, but having several voices on a site generally strengthens a site.  But to blame the readers for reacting poorly to a confrontational style is putting the blame in the wrong place.

So I responded:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Tapeleg/status/115805146033819648″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115805796192878592″]

And there lies the rub.  I don’t believe for a moment that Lambert doesn’t care.  As the Shakespeare quote goes, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  (And no, I’m not calling Lambert a lady)  If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t write his posts, he wouldn’t try to spread his opinion, and he wouldn’t engage with hockey fans.  He would simply shake his head at we, the fans – the idiots – and keep to himself.

None of this is to tear Ryan Lambert a new one.  He has his style.  It’s his voice that informs his writing, and as caustic as that voice can be at times, it also makes him an interesting hockey writer.  Unfortunately, that style can be a huge barrier to entry.  This is more a plea, or a request for consideration – from both sides – that it isn’t necessarily the message that’s the issue, but the way it’s presented.

 

Columbus Meet Up

I believe it was Ex -Poet Lauriete Billy Connnely who said you should never meet a favorite poet, because you will be dissapointed.

And yet, here I am, venturing out into the public, to meet up with Blue Jackets bloggers and fans alike.

Monday, around 6:00PM, a few of us are meeting up at Mac’s, my favorite bar in the Short North.  If you happen to be around, you should stop in.  Meet a few of the Blue Jackets bloggers, and talk about hte upcoming season.  You can find us by looking for the jerseys.

Mac’s

693 N High St,
Columbus
, OH

(614) 221-6227
?

Map to Mac’s

Draft Day and Happy B-Day, JAHL

It’s time for the NHL Draft, and I am woefully unprepared. Luckily, since the Avs traded away their first round pick – if they even had one (I told you I was unprepared) – there is little I have to know today.

For anything I really need to know about the Avalanche and their draft, I can turn to the excellent blog Colorado Avalanche Prospects. Jori keeps us updated on all the action around the leagues pertaining to players in the Avs system. I don’t know how many other teams have a blog like this, but it’s unique as far as I have seen. If you are interested in Avalanche prospects, go check it out.

Last year, I was able to attend the draft, so I had all my reading material ready. This year, I busted ass on the drive from Tampa to Washington DC, just to get here in time. Aside from XM Radio, I have very little idea of what to expect, other than the obvious conclusion that Samkos is going to be selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Either that, or they wasted a lot of money in web development.

As a side note, and to stoke my own vanity, today is also the second anniversary of Jerseys and Hockey Love. Two years in blogging years feels like about 14 in real life (any real connection between blog years and dog years is strictly coincidental), and if I were to have an honest assessment of this past year of blogging, it would be a little disappointing on my end. I feel like I had things I wanted to say, but felt I shouldn’t, and that, as necessary as it was at the time, took too much time off from writing. if I had kept the pace, I feel like JAHL would be a little better place, and the quality of writing would have been better. I also miss some of the humor that I used to bring to the blog, that has fallen by the wayside (aka, I used to be funnier).

For what it’s worth, I plan to do more. By more, I mean that I have a new (hockey related) project in the making, and it’s going to need some help. I should be ready to announce what I plan on doing in about a month (hey, that’s better than Battlestar Galactia).

I do want to thank the people who read this blog, and especially the people who comment. I started Jerseys and Hockey Love to talk about hockey, and even though a blog is more of a one way conversation, it’s the commenters that make it fun. If you haven’t commented here before, take the ten seconds to say hi, and make sure to comment on other blogs. It makes the bloggers feel like they are fighting the good fight.

Community

Maybe it’s the offseason looming, or maybe I’m just getting more and more frustrated lately, but I’ve really been concerned with the lack of a community in the hockey blogging world. Sure, there are little networks, focused around blogrolls and individual teams, like the Oilogosphere, one of the tightest knit groups around. I mean, they even play street hockey against each other.

MSM sports journalists have a forum and site to go to for discussion of the issues, stories, or just plain BS that relates to them. Bloggers are a technical enough bunch, but really haven’t had a place to go.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but haven’t had the (insert excuse here) to do. In other words, I haven’t stepped up to the plate.

Let’s celebrate a few people who have:

First off, we have Bethany from Bethany’s Hockey Rants. She has started a social network for hockey bloggers. It’s brand new, and a little rough around the edges, but it’s there, and it’s waiting for you. Go sign up, and contribute. It will only live off the strength of the membership. Plus, it takes a serious commitment to set up something like this, so kudos to Bethany for doing this.

You can find it at:

http://hockeybloggers.ning.com/

Next up is Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy. He’s been linking to the good stuff all over the hockey blogging universe, more so than a lot of the larger blogs. He certainly deserves credit. Thanks, Greg.

Puck Daddy can be found here.

Having a hockey blogging community doesn’t mean we all have to get along, agree, or even like the same things. I disagree with many of the things that the Avalanche bloggers say (and agree with plenty of it, too), but that makes for some good discussion.

Keeping an Eye On the Games

Tape Central is up and running in full swing tonight. How am I keeping an eye on the games?

Screenshot 02-9