Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It has to be Done ...


So as I perused the DC Sports Bog early this morning, as I usually do, I came across a paragraph that really startled me.

The Washington Post and Washington Post Live did a thoroughly miserable job of covering the Backstrom signing, and all involved parties should be exiled to Siberia. Love you too, guys. (On Frozen Blog)

This caught my full attention, for obvious reasons, so I clicked on over to On Frozen Blog to see what all the hubbub was about. I was amazed at what I read.

Before I go on, let me say that I am a fan of On Frozen Blog. It's on my Bloglines, and I think they do a truly fantastic job of giving the hockey community what they crave. I even had the pleasure of meeting one of their contributors, Gustafsson, at the DC Sports Bloggers Happy Hour. I was amazed at their coverage from the recently completed World Championships in Moscow, and we made it a point to highlight some of this coverage on Washington Post Live over the past few weeks. I will also say that I am a hockey fan. My dad was an original season ticket holder at the Capital Center, and whenever I get the chance to head down to Verizon Center for a game, I do so. I thoroughly enjoy the game, and hope that it reclaims its place in the American Sporting Culture. In fact, I am watching Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals as I sit here banging away at my laptop.

So, it pains me to get into a little bit of a pissing match via the Blogosphere, but stuff like this post just cannot be left alone.

I guess the main point he is trying to make is that hockey is being ignored by WPL. Well, the truth is, he is dead wrong, and just as he is free to vent his feelings about my operation on his blog, I am free to vent my feelings on his operation here. So, let's do a little dissection, shall we?

Confession: prior to Monday, I’d never watched ‘Washington Post Live.’

His very first sentence is one of the key statements of the entire post! Just keep it in mind

I’ve been busy this spring doing the work those associated with that program should have been regarding one of the region’s pro sports teams.

Where to begin? How about the simple fact that no one else in the region talks about hockey more than Washington Post Live.

You tell me the last time any other media outlet had a Capitals beat writer on to talk Caps? We do it often.

You tell me the last local media outlet that had a live interview with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman? Been there, done that.

How about showing video gathered by bloggers half a world away? You tell me the last time you saw anybody do that!

Oh, there's more.

How about some in studio guests?

George McPhee, done.

Alex Ovechkin, check.

I'm not saying that WPL does a better job of covering hockey than everybody else, but to make it seem like hockey is ignored is not really doing any justice to the truth.

I watched the 8:30 p.m. re-airing Monday, and was shocked, shocked, to see the opening roundtable discussion focus the program’s opening 10 minutes on Michael Vick’s breeding of fighting dogs.

Vick, after all, is QB for the Atlanta Falcons.

For all I know, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is really upset with Michael Vick these days. But ‘WaPost Live’ is really, really upset with him. Ten minutes, uninterrupted, worth of upset.

Fighting dogs.

Just so I’m not misinterpreted: the daily television program on sports for the newspaper ‘of record’ in town opened Monday with a prolonged discussion of a running (and ever armed) QB’s penchant for breeding fighting dogs.

Yes, I know that was long, but it's important. The fact of the matter is, he fails to mention that the basis of the whole 10-minute discussion was the fact that Clinton Portis, a Running Back for the HOMETOWN Washington Redskins (maybe you've heard of him), made some pretty damn controversial statements regarding the Michael Vick/Dog Fighting situation. Not really something I would consider a minor detail, what about you? I will also add that EVERY MAJOR MEDIA OULET is discussing the Michael Vick situation. Again, I'm sure this "minor detail" was ommitted for a very good reason.

A quarter of an an hour into the program host Russ Thaler paused for oxygen and in a cutaway to commercial alluded to a breaking roster development out at Kettler. At OFB we call that progress for puckheads.

Ok, remember how I told you to remember when the author said this was the first time he watched the show? Here's why. WPL was all over this one long before the actually press conference was held. The day the story broke that Niklas Backstrom would be playing for the Capitals next season, we had Joe Beninati, Comcast Sportsnet's Capitals play-by-play man, hooked up LIVE from Ottawa to talk about it. The next day, we had Washington Post Capitals beat writer, Tarik El Bashir, hooked up LIVE from the Post Newsroom to talk about it. What more do you want? Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think any one of our local affiliates provided any kind of meaningful coverage of the Backstrom signing until yesterday's press conference.

There are more things that I could go over, like the little jabs the author insists on taking at our viewership or our set, but I really couldn't care less about that stuff. I've said my piece without taking any cheap shots because I don't see a reason to.

What I can say is that you will not find anyone who provides better hockey coverage in the Washington DC Metro area than Washington Post Live. If someone disagrees, I'd love to hear from you. My guess is that not one of our local affiliates will talk any hockey until at least June 22nd, the day that the Capitals unveil their new jerseys.

"Grade A" my arse!


Phil said...

Preach on brother. SportsNet has always put more time into the game of hockey than any other local sports outlet.

Here's to hoping the rest of the sports media will catch up and bring hockey back to the place it deserves to be.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the point was the lack of coverage by WPL. I think the point was that in a day of HUGE news for the LOCAL hockey team. The LEAD story on WPL for over 10 minutes was about an ATLANTA quarterback and DOG FIGHTING.

What does any of that have to do with Washington other than a "highly educated" Clinton Portis saying that it can't be that bad of a felony. Portis being an idiot is bigger news in Washington than the Backstrom signing? (although it does mention Redskins, so I guess so).

I think you need to be a little less sensitive. It was not a slam on WPL and hockey... it was a slam on the choice of a non-local top story for 10 mintues over a local story.

At least that is my opinion.