A rant because of headshots, but not about headshots

March 8th, 2010 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

Hey hockey fans, it’s Monday and I’m not in a very good mood. I saw the Matt Cooke-Marc Savard headshot and it was pretty bad, like all the other stupid hits we’ve seen recently. And because of Sunday’s headshot, I have a bit of a rant.

Don’t worry – it’s not about headshots – I’m done ranting about those. And besides, there is a crack team of NHL GMs that includes a few former goons assigned to clean that up in Florida this week. Instead, I want to talk about the events that followed the hit. First of all, for those who haven’t seen Marc Savard eating Matt Cooke’s elbow, here’s the hit:

Now, I watched Mike Milbury explain why this was a dirty hit on NBC. It was as painful as watching last night’s Oscars. It was inexplicably long and drawn out  (that’s what she said!!). For as much as Milbury said – and it was a lot – he didn’t get to why the hit was actually dirty. Allow me to break it down in a few words: Cooke extended his arm. Of course, parallel’s to Mike Richards hit on David Booth were drawn. But here’s the difference: Richards’ arm was tucked in and Cooke’s was not. It’s that simple, job done. Somehow, in a segment that was long enough for me to make a grilled cheese sandwich, burn it and think about making another one, Milbury didn’t really explain that. I was frustrated but laughed it off thinking the explanation was provided by a man who traded Zdeno Chara and Jason Spezza for Alexei Yashin (who is still on the Islanders books until the end of next season).

I move on to Sportsnet thinking the quality and insight might be slightly better. Wrong. I get Daren Millard and Bill Watters tell me the exact same thing. Nearly word for word. I have to tell you, the level of hockey analysis was very concerning yesterday. It was like everyone was drinking the same stupid-koolaid. Or caught the same Cooke elbow.

Here’s where my rant starts. Most of the “traditional hockey media” blast bloggers and fans because they aren’t true analysts who played the game. Remember, these guys are the experts! Most of these people will tell you blogs and online communities exist because of technology and the internet. And maybe too much free time. But I think it has more to do with the fact that hockey fans around the world are frustrated with terrible hockey analysts on TV and are seeking out coverage they want and value online or elsewhere. Anyone who watched Darren Pang and Pierre McGuire argue whether a player was left wing or center on TSN’s trade deadline coverage probably knows what I mean.

On a daily basis, I find better discussions on forums. blogs and Twitter than I do on National TV broadcasts. Hockey has a great online community, but frankly, I’m not sure if that’s because of the great fans around the world or because of the dreadful coverage we all have to watch on a nightly basis.

Stay classy, hockey analysts. Thank your lucky stars you still have jobs.

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  1. Matt Reitz says:

    You should see the smile on my face. Perfectly said!

  2. Sens19 says:

    Well Put! Milbury especially is just unbelievable most night, of all the not-so-expert analysts out there he’s the one I’m most shocked at still having a job

  3. Kyle says:

    I get a kick out of old media types who loathe fans and the uprising of fan-generated content/discussions. It’s actually laughable. They’re threatened by it for sure. I spend as much time now reading blogs and analysis by intelligent hockey fans, and yes, thanks to the internet and technology, even those “who never played the game” now have a voice.

    Just as radio and TV gave the experts their ivory tower to shout from, fans now have their own forum to gather and discuss…without them.

    Clearly the experts are threatened by this. 10 good, smart fans can break down a game better than 1 hot-air-filled analyst. Fans are posting their own blogs, videos and podcasts. The experts aren’t about to go bellyup any time soon, but things will never be as they once were for them. And trying to perpetuate the belief that bloggers and fans on the internet all have too much time on their hands is just plain stupid.

    Yes, all of the tools are now around for fans to make things the way they want them to be. It puts the onus squarely on the experts to be better than ever…or else. With so many “experts” on tv and radio now, the quality of analysis and opinion is slipping. Experts often accuse the online channels of just being a place where fans try to shout over one another…well talk about the the pot calling the kettle black. Time after time we see the old media types try to become the show rather than add value to the game itself.

    They had better gain some perspective on what is going on or many of them will find themselves looking for work elsewhere.

  4. Fantana says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The quality of analysis seems to be much higher among bloggers than the on-air personalities.

    It would be great to see these cable TV stations replace guys who consistently get it wrong (hello, Bill Waters) with some of the better bloggers who consistently get it right. I, for one, would tune in far more often if this were to happen.

  5. Matt Reitz says:

    Great comment Kyle. The cool the blogosphere and fans on the internet is that the cream rises to the top. If a blog is good, it will get more readers. If a blogger is good, more people will spread the word. Its the polar opposite of the traditional media where the same old thing is recycled because “that’s the way its always been.”

  6. Buddy Oakes says:

    Excellent post. Media and where folks get their information is changing rapidly but many of the “experts” are stuck in the 20th century. Change will be slow but will happen. It is hard to imagine how things will be five years from now. One thing for sure is it will be the internet based media/bogs that will be at the head of the pack. The old guard is scared to take chances with change, but net folks embrace it.

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