Thursday, December 27

I Don't Think the Who Even Liked Hockey

Dearest Readers. Imagine my surprise when I logged into HS/HS this mid afternoon to write a scathing dressing down of the current state of hockey media only to find Moose, hero to all, had already done something along those same lines. Great minds think alike and also cheer for the Oilers. Not to fear though! While this type of miniature setback would normally have caused me to not only not write an article but also to never log into the site again, instead I shall forge ahead and instead turn this post-boxing-day day into an anti hockey news pile on. Besides, if Moose and I continue writing two articles a day each for the next three weeks on how we don't like the way our team is covered by the media we will still be about thirty articles shy of Greener's current record. And so...

I would like to officially strike "The Kids Are Just Alright" from the hockey writers lexicon of lame standby cliche's. Today in the Edmonton Sun there were two references to that song in two SEPARATE articles. And this was the second time that this had happened, the other in the Edmonton Journal when Cogliano and Gagner were making their bids. Second time. Let me clarify, the second time that song had been referenced TWICE on ONE day in two SEPARATE articles. That's not including the multitude of times its appeared the rest of the year. Check this out!

Feb 07, Linda Cohn, ESPN "WHO are you? These Pens are Alright!"
Sep 07, Larry Wigge, "In Chicago, these kids are alright!"
Nov 07, Mcleans Magazine "Hockey's new face, the kids are alright"
Feb 07, "Hit on Drury tough to call; Kids are alright"
Mar 07, CanesCountry "The Kids Are Alright"
Nov 07, "These kids are ALRIGHT!"
Jan 07, "Future of hockey: The Kids Are Alright"
Dec 07, "Young unassuming defenders tearing it up for preds, the kids are alright"

That took me three minutes to find. That's one page on google. There are over 9000 results that come up with "NHL" and "Kids are alright" as the search words. That's not including the numerous "plays" on the title. I know I know, newsflash, sports reporters are lazy? They use cliche ridden ridiculous hyperbole? Say it ain't so! But in the ongoing quest by league commissioner Gary Bettman to "grow the NHL brand" by finally expanding to Tijuana or the Sudan where hockey really belongs, there has been a big push on improving the media coverage. Take, for example, the riveting "on the bench" mid period interviews conducted by all FSN broadcasts. I for one was tired of waiting till intermission to hear a heavily accented "its a team effort" from a sweaty breathless Finn. Or, and I'm sure Moose will correct me here, but I believe its the St. Louis broadcasts, they jam a reporter in the teeny space between the benches, where he can't really interview people because of the glass, and he can't really hear what's being said on the benches because of the glass and the fans. All Access indeed! Just a squinty bald guy with his finger in his ear speculating wildly based on the face he saw the backup goalie make while reaching for a gatorade.

What I feel the league should be doing is working with the players to improve their intervieweeism. Cliche answers to cliche questions in the NHL have become an epidemic. This is well trodden ground here I know but my god, I don't even listen to my own players being interviewed anymore! Hockey interviews are like watching a split screen of two people on the phone having two completely different conversations. Gene Principe (that paragon of hard nosed journalism) will fire off a question about a cheap hit in the first, Steve Staios will respond by talking about ice fishing in the off season, Gene will make a hesitant attempt at sticking to his guns and looking for an answer, Staios will barrel forward and reveal that his defensive partner is quote "good" unquote, after which Principe will conclude by randomly singing happy birthday to the play by play guy and we'll cut to commercial to the tune of Roger Daltry informing us that,apparently, the kids are alright.

After watching Sam Gagner interviewed a few days before christmas I turned to my dad and said "Not many personalities in the game of hockey, huh?" The last good answer to a question I heard had to be when Doug Weight was an Oiler. I don't know if there's been anyone even remotely interesting since. That's not counting Georges Laraque. I think he got a free pass because he was mildly retarded and sounded like Andre the Giant choking on a loaf of bread.

So maybe its not the media's fault. Maybe the players are just boring. Maybe it does get tricky to write articles every day for 300 days (if you're a Canadian writer) or 34 days (if you're in the Carolina's) and you're not getting any help from the people you're supposed to be covering. Well that's why I say just quit it. Let the people come here for their "news"! We at HS/HS will endeavor to not use cliche's. Maybe we'll even create some new ones. I'm sure there's something to be drawn about the state of the game from "Love Shack" by the B52's, I'll read the liner notes now... hmmmm. Nope. This might be harder than I thought...