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Claims of harassment at SBP

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The following was sent this morning to myself, several bloggers (including Scarlett Ice and Puck Daddy) and the majority of local media. Commentary is open, so feel free to chime in:


(REF: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=photos&gid=18029289557#/group.php?v=wall&gid=18029289557 )

When I read about the RSA on online forums and discussion boards, the comment made most by online critics is that there is nothing wrong with the atmosphere at Scotiabank Place, that they’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable nor have they ever been told to be quiet by the staff at SBP. I beg to differ...

On December 12th, the RSA had its biggest and most successful gathering to date. 40+ RSA members gathered in section 303 for the Carolina Hurricanes game with the intentions of being “Loud & Proud” as the official “SENS ARMY” would put it. With all the issues concerning attendance this year, you would think that the Ottawa Senators organization would’ve been delighted to see us! But, this couldn’t be any further from the truth...

From before they even dropped the puck, SBP ushers were eye-balling us from every post. We assumed they had never seen Sens fans as dedicated as us before and didn't think much of it (remember, this is Ottawa – home of some of the worst fans in Canada). But that was short-lived as the ushers began asking anyone near us “Are they too loud? Are they bothering you?” – Everyone simply answered “No, they’re fine”. Shortly after, 2 security guards showed up to tell us to deflate a beach ball one member had brought to the game – apparently due to safety reasons. Strange seeing as good’ole Spartacat himself launches hot dog missiles into the crowd at every game.... None the less, we complied, deflated the ball and continued to enjoy the game. This is when SBP staff stepped up their efforts and began random ID checks within our group only. I’d never seen this at a game before and didn’t understand seeing as the average age within the group was 25-35 and that we all provided identification when we purchased our beers. (I'd like to see them try doing random ID checks in the 100 level!) It was becoming painfully obvious that they really didn’t want us there! Not long after, one RSA member threw a handful of popcorn at one of his friends, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before we knew it, our section was surrounded by 8 police officers in full uniform. Our 2 friends were asked to leave and weren’t given any explanation. All of this happened before the half way mark of the 2nd period! And for the rest of the game people around us were continuously asked by ushers if we were bothering them, and the answer continued to be “NO!”.

This truly was one of the saddest things I have ever seen at Scotiabank Place (apart from Patrick Lalime’s post-season play). All we wanted to do was cheer on the home team to the best of our abilities, but instead of being encouraged, we were repeatedly harassed and demoralized by a rude and unprofessional staff who wanted nothing more than to kick us all out. I always knew how unfriendly and unwelcoming the staff at SBP could be, but never did I think it was this bad!

This is going way too far – we are sick and tired of going to our own arena simply to be made to feel unwelcome. We were the most supportive and vocal fans out of the mere 16000 that showed up. But instead of being praised we were treated like dirt. Treating customers this way isn’t good practice in any business, nevermind one that's struggling to keep it's customers returning. This must end, and until it does, you can expect to see us at games, still cheering our loudest and being supportive of the team despite what any usher might say.


Manatee suffers neck fracture

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Upsetting reports coming from overseas regarding former Ottawa Senators goaltender, Martin Gerber. From Greg Wyshynski and Russianhockeyfans.com:

Troubling news from the Kontinental Hockey League, as former NHL goalie Martin Gerber suffered a neck injury while playing for Atlant Moscow -- one that's going to keep him hospitalized for months, according to Russian media reports.

According to Russian site lifesports.ru, during the second period a Vityaz forward ran into Gerber. As a result Gerber ended up lying on the ice. After being tested by the team's doctors Gerber was put on a wheel stretcher and taken off the ice. He was sent to a Podolsk municipal hospital where he was diagnosed with a compression fracture of the third cervical vertebra.

Gerber was apparently motionless for some time before being taken off the ice. Horrible stuff. Here's hoping the Manatee can make a full recovery.

Your weekend Chewable

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wouldn't you like to know what the Sens are thinking when they advertise that there are less than 4,000 tickets available for tonight's game against Carolina? Oh sure, they have to get the word out. But does anything over 500 imply any kind of urgency that it might sell out? Doesn't it do exactly the opposite? I don't know about you, but when I see numbers like these, I'd be going right past Capital Tickets, and directly to a scalper. You know their asses are desperate during these nights. You know, if I were to go at all.

Go ahead and chew on that.

The media: To blab or not to blab -- and at what cost?

I caught a bit of Bob McCown's show yesterday, and there was a discussion regarding the media coverage of Tiger Woods' alleged indiscretions.

You'll notice that all of these "breaking news stories" and "exclusives" have fallen under two unbrellas: Magazine tabloids and the Internet. Traditional media was a non-factor, and largely served as an regurgitator.

McCown stated that the decision to shy away from these stories -- be it marital issues, drug problems or anything else that would be considered a secondary issue beyond the sport -- was not due to journalistic morals or ethics.

Apparently journalists don't fear appearing unseemly (and yes, that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek). But they do quake at the idea of being sued for libel.

Potentially understandable, right? Well, let's crack this open a little further.

How do tabloids and sites like TMZ get away with it?
Having a crack team of expensive lawyers on retainer surely doesn't hurt. We hear of gossip magazines being sued all the time. Sure, the plaintiff in question wins on occasion, but more often than not, we never hear any more about it. If suits are being settled, obviously cash isn't an issue. Have you seen what's going on in the journalism industry lately? Newsrooms barely have the funds to heat their offices, let alone something as large as a lawsuit. And that brings us to question No. 2...

How are tabloids and Internet sites getting to the sources, making the likelihood of libel a lesser issue? Two words: Chequebook Journalism. 24-year-old Jaimee Grubbs was reportedly paid $150,000 for her interview with US Weekly (Grubbs was the one to receive the now-infamous voicemail from Tiger Woods, asking her to remove her name from her greeting message, in case his wife tried to call).

The idea of paying a source for information is, again, a financial hardship that a newspaper would be unable to cope with. More importantly, it's one of the last big taboos still standing in traditional media. Enough of these scandals have come to pass that expectant players in the drama already know the score: If someone wants their story, they're going to have to pay for it. Why would they give their information to a newspaper for free? Tabloids ensure a payday and 15 minutes of fame. It's a win-win for them in their eyes.

Is libel the only thing that the media fears in these situations? Come on now.
Yeah, I didn't completely buy that either, and it comes from personal experience. For example, if you're dealing with a story that involves something like drug use, there could be others involved who would make life generally frightening and dangerous for you. And let's just say if an off-duty cop is warning you about this, because the police themselves are extremely wary of said persons, it does make you think twice. You could have all the proof you needed -- up to and including incriminating photographs, but people like this don't really give a damn. They just want to cause trouble. Generally, I don't scare easily, but it made me reconsider. Furthermore, based on the way the industry was headed, I didn't see it doing much for me in the long run. A lot of grief, with little purpose, I suppose. Oh, and I probably would have lost my press pass. The horrah (tongue-in-cheek reprise).

Many people continue to have problems seeing these stories mixed with traditional sports reporting, but the fact of the matter is, it sells. Big time. And anyone who thinks that isn't an issue for traditional media outlets -- they need to check themselves. It may not be right, but it pays. That's the bottom line these days.

More later.

On my hiatus from Twitter...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I figured I'd address this here, seeing as so many of you are e-mailing about it.

Yes, my Twitter page is gone. No, I'm not currently tweeting anywhere else. I decided sometime ago that I was going to take a hiatus from the application until 2010. That might mean the beginning of January, but maybe later, depending on how I feel. Why on Earth would I do such a thing? Well, there are a few reasons. Want to know what they are? Too damn bad -- go eat a banana and skip this part, if you must.

1) I only really gave a crap about 8 or 9 of the people that I followed. That means I created a separate column in my TweetDeck for them (everyone does that, right?) and pretty much all others fell by the wayside, depending on my reading frequency. Go ahead and assume that your feed was in there, if it makes you happy. I will confirm that both Bill Simmons and his wife were part of this group. (Aside: Simmons's is the only account I have ever bookmarked and he's the only person to tweet something I cheered at -- the announcement of a podcast with Dave Jacoby, featuring a one-hour discussion on MTV's Jersey Shore. I wish the Simmons family would adopt me -- they're easily my favourite strangers on the planet. I'm also scared to admit that I may have a bit of a crush on JackO. I think we were meant to drink socially together on a regular basis.)

Uhh...moving on...

2) The media can eff off and like it. There are exceptions of course -- my buddies PW, P-King, Jason, Neate, Greg and Michael Rand at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (whose work I especially adore). There are others, naturally...my brain is fogging at the moment. That being said, I got particularly peeved whenever I saw press pull this stunt on Twitter:

"Hey, I'm interviewing (player name) tomorrow. What should I ask them?"

Here's an idea, Mensa -- why don't you do your own goddamn work?

Granted, I'm no J-school grad, but this is the way I tend to operate when prepping for an interview:

* Strike all questions that can answered with yes or no;

* Strike all questions that begin with, "tell me/talk about...";

* If you're 95% sure you're already know the answer to a question, strike that as well.

See what's left? That's your list. Hop to it (then pay someone to transcribe, of course).

For the record, this is also the reason why 95% of interviews generally blow. Zero effort.

3) The incessant retweet. Brent Wallace is reporting that Chris Phillips will be eating oatmeal after practice -- let's all spread the word! Don't we all follow the same media/larger bloggers? Knock that crap off.

4) Women are annoying and share too much useless information. A lot of chicks proclaiming an interest in sports/hockey on Twitter can probably account for 1% of their tweets to be relevant. The other 99% of the time, you're getting stuff like, "I have a migraine" or "I can't sleep!" Here's an idea: Take some Advil and an Ambien, then belt up. (Alternatively, go have crazy drugged-out sex like Tiger Woods -- allegedly. I don't give a damn either way.)

5) Live-game tweeting. I understand chiming in here and there, because we all do it. But unless it's a big event, or you're actually present, no one needs minute by minute updates of Ottawa v. Tampa Bay or similar.

Those are the top five, and I'm sure there are more, but that'll do for now. Part of me is missing it -- The Driver's been on point with some legitimate smack-running, and I've been performing menial tasks while sporting a sequined eyemask. The photos are bank. But the majority of the hockey bits likely will end up here, so you'll just have to deal with it for the meantime.

I won't lie, though -- it's nice to be missed. Thank you very much. I'll see you back over there next year.

Whaa, brah? (SoCal-style)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Don't mess with a man who wears his hair in mini-pigtails.

Instead of hanging out in Toronto at C'est What with Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski and Dany Heatley Speedwagon (like I was supposed to), I was stuck in Ottawa last night watching this nonsense. I caught a couple of gems from Dean and Galley -- you know, before I got fed up and starting baking instead:

Dean (after Matt Carkner's 6-second fight with George Parros): "Matt Carkner is too valuable of a player defensively to be taking bad fights. I know he had to stand up for himself (against Parros) there, but..."

Galley (after Brian Elliott let in a brutal goal from just inside the red line): "That's not an easy save -- a puck that gets dumped down...it's gonna skip before it gets to you."

Alrighty then.

P.S.: The server at C'est What tending to Greg and DHS reportedly played with Carkner back in the day. I told them to ask him if the Ottawa defenceman ever spoke in full sentences. (Relax, it was a joke. Save me your bitchy Monday retorts.)

On Tiger Woods...

Friday, December 04, 2009

"For every gorgeous girl out there, there's some (dumbass narcissist with too much money and obviously not enough brains in his melon) who's tired of f*cking her."

-- Author Unknown

My friend JB first said this to me and I never forgot it -- but the additional bit in parentheses is mine.

Here's hoping that Elin sticks it out for the bare minimum, collects her cash and re-emerges as some effed-up death metal/burlesque star who only wants to be known as "Lady Lingonberry." Come on, you know that would kick serious ass.

Quick hits from SoCal

Thursday, December 03, 2009

* After sending a text to Bad Religion's Greg Hetson, warning him that Ottawa could put him to sleep at the Staples Center: "Thanks -- I'll bring a book." (Ed. Note: The game was actually better than expected.)

* Gord Miller: "Remember, Ottawa no longer has their swingman in Christoph Schubert."
Pierre: "Excellent point, Gord. Schubert was very valuable as their swingman."

The Driver: "Pfft...valuable at swinging the door open to the press box."

A bit muddled, but the point was made.

* Chris Phillips isn't going to win any awards for his acting skills. What a brutal dive by the veteran in the second half of the third.

* Pierre on Brian Elliott's frustration after the sixth goal: "Whenever you start hitting inanimate objects with your stick, that's a whole lot of ugly."

The Driver: "If that's the case, (Elliott) should've hit (Matt) Carkner."

For the record, The Driver has been on Wayne Simmonds's bandwagon for some time. I think a team with Fisher (with country/American-Idol-hybrid-music-offensive-firepower) and Simmonds would send him into a seizure. You know -- the good kind.

P.S.: So amusing to see the east coast crowd stand up and take notice that the Kings are a fun team to watch, and they're actually talented. Thanks for joining us in 2009, Mensas. Consider springing for Centre Ice sometime -- it's a lovely tonic to boost you out of the Eastern Conference coma.