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Old and Busted v. The New Hotness

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just a thought...

Instead of backsliding into the bloggers v. traditional media debate (round 3,189), why don't we start discussing where the true advantages lie for people in this business? What's more important to a writer - the prestige of an established outlet like a national newspaper, or the eyeballs that come with a highly recognized website? Would you rather make more money with a print gig while constantly worrying about layoffs, or would you settle for a slimmer wallet and the job security that online offers have been providing? How many significant paying positions can online sports media legitimately sustain? Can traditional media revamp itself via a different format (there's talk revolving around the iPad and other readers destined to come)?

There's plenty to discuss here, but with a lot more significance than the press box debate, which in my opinion, seems trite in comparison. Have at it.

Regardless of what your political affiliations are, it's humourous to hear some say that they want the federal government to back off funding for a Quebec arena, because they want the money to "stay in their pockets." Aww, that's adorable. Do you need a refresher on which country you live in? Money will always be demanded from the taxpayers, regardless of which party is in power. If it's not this project, it will be something else. That doesn't mean it's necessarily OK to fund this arena, but to assume that we'll all be spared a few bucks if it doesn't get done is naive.

And as for Pierre Karl Peladeau being the serpentine head of this charge (and assumed eventual owner of the new-school Nordiques): I'm sure he can be trusted. After all, everyone cares about hockey. When Quebecor bought Sun Media more than a decade ago, the newspaper business was already shot. It's not like PKP made the situation worse, right? The guy is an amazing, compassionate and competent businessman, and when it comes to NHL ownership, you can't screw it up at all. I'm sure he'll be a fine addition to the league.

More later.

2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa? Ummm....?

Monday, September 06, 2010

The local gossip this weekend has revolved around the rumour that Ottawa may finally be getting an All-Star Game. Obviously one of the biggest hold-ups has been the lack of proper facilities downtown, but with the completion of new convention centre next year, the city should finally be prepared to hold the event.

A couple of things:

1) Many people (both locals and out-of-town media) love to bitch about having to haul ass from downtown (where the convention centre will be located) to the wilds of Kanata for games. How do you think they're going to feel about doing it in late January? Bank says that part is not going to go over well.

2) Peering into the not-so-distant future - how many potential all-stars do you see Ottawa producing for its own game? Karlsson maybe having a breakout year...maybe? Barring some sort of major miracle, the kid's not going to morph into Drew Doughty anytime soon (or likely, ever). Any wild predictions? And how humiliating would it be to receive a mercy spot?

More later.

Come for the potassium - stay for the rage. Here's a mish-mash of topics that have been irking us lately:

Remember that ridiculous exercise in satire a few weeks ago known as the NHL Research and Development Camp? One of the biggest potential changes setting the Internet ablaze (or a-Twitter, to be more specific) was the discussion of doing away with shootouts, and returning to straight ties. At that time, I conducted an informal survey via Twitter, and found that the preference of ties over the shootout ran at least 10-to-1. Strangely enough, at the same time, FIFA was making news because they were discussing getting rid of ties at the next World Cup.

When the subject came up on Pardon The Interruption, Bob Ryan and Dan LeBatard (yeah, I know) surmised that this change might serve as another attempt at roping in the American audience, who aren't fond of the "everyone wins and let's go have some orange slices" approach.

You see where I'm going with this? I know you do.

Look, no one likes the soccer/hockey comparison. However...

We know that whenever large rule changes based in "excitement" such as the shootout are brought in, it's usually for one reason: To rope in new fans. And who are the new fans that the NHL cares about? The Americans. So don't you find it ironic that one league is headed back to ties, while another attempts the shootout -- but both seem to be failing at reaching the heights in the U.S. market that they obviously dream about? Time to try something else, kids.


Who was the first stringer to say, "Yeah, I'll do it for the exposure!" I'd like to kick their ass down a flight of stairs. This business is hard enough - what, with the lack of money, the super-saturated market with premiums placed on beat reporters (any damn fool can go into the locker room to get quotes; come up with a fresh, inspired opinion about this league in a sea of screaming voices -- it's a lot harder than you think). My latest pet peeve involves the reverence being paid to "the former player." Honestly, this has bothered me for a few years, but it's really beginning to become tiresome. A couple of things: 1) There are a few guys who possess the ability to move into media rather smoothly and they provide quality insight; 2) I understand there will always be a demand for a player's take, if you will -- the fans are intrigued by it. That said, it's getting to the point where if some scrub played 4 minutes in the USHL, he's all of a sudden worthy of a media gig. Woman, please.


I see the Kovalchuk drama train eventually pulling into one of two stations: 60-Points Town, or Blown ACL-Ville. It just dragged on too long for this season to end on a pleasant note for either Ilya or the Devils. If I'm wrong, remind me. I know you will.


Bloggers should be allowed in the press box if they dress without affiliation (i.e. no team gear), do not cheer, and are barred from asking players questions in the dressing room. (If you get the impression that I'm not hot on the idea, you'd be right.) The question still remains -- why the hell do all of you want access, anyway? For years, many bloggers insisted that being being allowed behind closed doors wasn't necessary. Everyone was content to play Bill Simmons. What changed? Furthermore, it bears repeating: The day that the NHL and its teams regard SBN, Yahoo! and similar in the same vein as Sun Media, Postmedia, CTVglobemedia etc., will be the first. The irony of course is that those sites are actually worthy of consideration into the box. I didn't say it was fair. That's just the way it is. It's a matter for the PHWA to settle (and I never wanted to join because I'm a fusspot like that).


One more thing: Please don't ask for season predictions, or to join your fantasy pool, or to participate in your podcast roundtables. The requests are coming in, and I'm turning them all down, largely due to my commitment to other projects. Oh, and I'm generally weary of hockey mania, and it's only September. You know how it is...maybe.

More later.