T-shirts, hoodies and more can be found here. The designs are super simple, with no mention of myself or the blog anywhere on the gear. That's the way I like things, and I figured you'd feel the same way. If you have any special requests, hit me up and I'll add them to the store. Enjoy.
...because it's been way too long. (Yeah, yeah...I know. I'm sorry.)
Last night I had a dream that the only way I was able to get proper NHL intel was to hide under a pile of coats at the GM's meeting.
Sadly, when it comes to obtaining information from the source, bloggers often come up on the short end of the stick. That said, being associated with traditional media doesn't always ensure open doors, as I taught you here.
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered I still had enough pull in my strength-of-dental-floss reputation to persuade former Ottawa Senators president Roy Mlakar to speak with me a few weeks ago.
Why are you only hearing about this now? Well, what started out as plans for an interview meant for Puck Daddy on Yahoo! became a very candid, no-holds-barred phone conversation which lasted nearly 90 minutes.
But, here's the rub: It was all off-the-record.
Ram, for all intents and purposes, has "gone dark" since his departure from the Senators organization nearly two years ago. And after talking to him at length, it became clear that he intends to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. Not that people haven't tried to get him to talk, even in situations similar to the one I found myself in that day. He told me that several networks have attempted to chat him up casually, and he shut them all down.
Why he chose to speak to me of all people, I'll never know. Maybe it's because he still thinks of me as that goofy 20-year-old girl on the radio. (The first thing he said to me was, "I miss hearing you on 'The Jim Rome Show.'" I guess you really can't escape your past.)
I knew 30 seconds into the conversation that what we would discuss couldn't repeated in a public forum, or used for any kind of story on Puck Daddy. I thought I would be upset; perhaps I would get angry after I hung up the phone. Surprisingly, that didn't happen. Roy was obviously guarded as our conversation began, but after a while he became candid and rather emotional as he spoke (which isn't necessarily surprising, as Mlakar was/is always a passionate guy).
I actually only had three questions planned - ones that I knew would require lengthy answers. But as we talked, the walls came down on either side. I took the opportunity to ask him everything I had been wondering about, and he answered with a remarkable amount of frankness that was, in short, phenomenal. I hung up the phone with a new perspective on the team that I hadn't had in a long time.
And what did I do about it? Nothing. I kept it that way because 1) I gave Roy my word and 2) it was the right thing to do.
Sometimes I worry that I go too easy on people that I interview - not necessarily in terms of questions, but in the overall set-up. I know that I'm a people-pleaser, so I want to make sure people are comfortable, and I end up explaining a lot of how the interview will ultimately appear to the reader. In one case, I actually went so far as to write up the piece and show it to the interviewee for their approval before filing it - a move that would probably make a J-school professor's head explode. It's likely due to these reasons that I get rave reviews from the subjects when the pieces come out. And, to be fair, when readers did compliment me on my writing, they almost always mentioned my ability to be diplomatic (this was work that had nothing to do with the blog, of course).
Now as I find myself on the outside looking in, I could have been a jerk about my talk with Ram. If you don't have a regular gig, what other way is there to get noticed, but to make a big splash? I could have betrayed his trust to do this. I would have outscooped a lot of people to do so. The cynical part of me who believes that the majority of bloggers out there still lack couth and decorum knows what they would have done. I don't buy the "it's them versus us" mentality in sportswriting - traditional or otherwise. It's very much every man and woman for themselves.
But that splash isn't worth burning a source. I know that from the few years I spent writing for a paper. No offense to the ones who know better, but it's something that your average blogger doesn't have a chance to learn. And speaking simply from a personal point of view, I know it's something that, morally, wouldn't sit right with me. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but that's another post for another time.)
I could've used this opportunity to get my name everywhere for a day - maybe longer. But then it would've been over. Would I gain prestige for it? Maybe. A gig? Nope. Roy's anger? Definitely. Give me my source, every time. Give me a chance for insight - a way to flesh out opinions that the run-of-the-mill blogger doesn't have access to. These are the things that make me actually want to keep writing, when more often that not, I find myself wanting to stop. In the meantime, my name can remain largely in the shadows for one day more.