• Alan Watt

    by Tyler Dellow • October 20, 2008 • Uncategorized • 34 Comments

    I haven’t said anything here yet about Dave Berry’s little run-in the other night but, having heard Gregor’s subsequent interview with Alan Watt (Oilers VP of Communications, Broadcasting and Publicity) on his show, I’m finally moved to write something here about all of this that I think is something more than just some online complaining.

    First of all, I’m amazed at how far this story has gone, what with it having moved from Covered in Oil, to local media members, to Finland (this link leads to an English translation, such as it is) and now, to Elliot Friedman. The Finnish translation is awesome:

    Oilogosphere is a fairly sizeable one thing piled around a new media concentration. Full of potential to express the visibility and interest in Oilers about it – and now harnessing to tell about how clammy man Kevin Lowe is all about.

    It was always about making sure that the Finns know the truth.

    I’m not super interested in the specifics of Dave’s situation – he obviously broke their rules and I take him at his word when he says it was unintentional. The Oilers have enough of a reputation in terms of being heavy handed about stuff like this that the rest of his story strikes me as eminently plausible and, although I don’t know Dave, I know Mike and Chris and they seem like straightforward honest guys. I assume that Dave is the same way. I think he’s very funny writer, with a good eye for the game who apparently was kind of losing his zest for cheering for a large corporation and, when he got the stick in the eye, that was the end of that. Understandable.

    The one thing that got me – and I mentioned this in a comment somewhere else – was that I can see another reason why the Oilers would be hostile to blogs, generally. In addition to providing a forum and a commentariat that they’ve got no control over (even in the limited sense that if I point out how painful it is to listen to Pat LaForge selling tickets on a PPV while everyone ignores the game that people, like me, paid to see, I don’t have to worry about getting dirty looks at the rink tomorrow), blogs are a form of competition in a way that the traditional print and electronic media aren’t really. Watt’s response today really drove this home for me. Here’s a rough paraphrase of Watt’s response to Gregor asking him about all of this on his show:

    We spend $100MM more or less to put on NHL hockey in Edmonton. As a result of that, we own broadcast rights. When it comes to blogs we would like to think that edmontonoilers.com and nhl.com is the place to go for your e-information. What bloggers are is content people. When you have content and a critical mass of people, you’re selling stuff and you can charge for stuff.

    Watt went on to spout some of the usual stuff about being unable to identify the good bloggers from the bad – the quote I wrote down was something like “How do you figure out who is a legitimate blogger with a critical mass and who is somebody who decided to be a blogger tomorrow and which one do you let in?” Man, if I was the owner of a $100MM operation and I thought that independent blogs were a media entity I wanted to court and this is what my (presumably handsomely rewarded) VP of Communications told me…I’d be wondering why a man who is unable to tell the difference between this and “somebody who decided to be a blogger tomorrow”, is the VP of Communications of my $100MM business. The issue here, I think, is one of where people online who are interested in Oilers information find that information.

    In essence, I take him to be saying that the Oilers view online commentary of the team to be something different than newspapers, radio and TV, in that it’s a revenue stream that flows from the ownership of the hockey team that the team can capture just as readily as some unrelated person. They don’t need to own a newspaper, a radio station or a TV station, which they would to capture the revenue that flows from the reporting of all things Oilers in those mediums. With websites though, any idiot can set one up. As the Oilers already own a website that draws a lot of Oiler related traffic, they can capture the flow of traffic and attendant revenue themselves. It’s not like Darryl Katz needs to buy a TV station or a radio station or a printing press – make sure he’s got enough bandwidth and he can compete with any online content provider anywhere.

    That, in my mind, more than tone of the content (although he mentioned that), more than this stuff about rightsholders (which I don’t recall him mentioning to Gregor) is what is really drives the Oilers position on blogs. The Oilers, it sounds like to me, view the various blogs around the Oilogosphere as competitors.

    I can see why the Oilers don’t want bloggers in their press box because the type of content generated through access at the arena – namely quotes from players, embedded video and sound clips – is stuff that they can offer online themselves. I’d be interested to hear from the various media types who read this site (feel free be anonymous in doing so) whether there are any rules about, for example, someone like Brownlee just dumping the contents of his dictaphone (or whatever they use to record interviews) onto OilersNation or whether a Journal beat writer could record some video with a handheld and put it up at the Journal’s site. You can kind of see how they’re delineating an area here, one in which they have the resources to provide that kind of information and to generate revenue with it. From their perspective, why give it away for free?

    Where I think Watt misses the boat is that he talked about content generally. There are lots of different kinds of content. In that narrow area, I think that their policy of “no blogs never” makes sense. With that said, and with the greatest of respect to the people there writing blogs who aren’t Edmonton Oilers players, I think that they’re going to have a hell of a time generating something like a lot of the stuff that gets published on your various Oilers themed sites. What the Oilers have a monopoly on is access to players and coaches and information of that nature. I’m hardpressed to think of any successful hockey blog that’s built on access to players and information. They’re built on offering interesting analysis, insight and writing that isn’t available elsewhere.

    In terms of the MSM versus the blogs in the analysis/commentary/entertainment area, the difficulty a lot of sports media have in terms of offering analysis as good as that found on blogs is that, to be candid, they don’t have the background to deal with a lot of the topics that come up. It’s not the skillset that one acquires with a j-school background. The reason that I prefer blogs for analysis is that, depending on which site I pop into, I can draw on the benefit of Lowetide having known Howie Morenz personally or Fenwick being a guy with fantastic critical thinking skills. The training that MSM guys have doesn’t provide with the multi-disciplinary backgrounds that they can then bring to bear on various hockey related issues.

    I can’t see how the Oilers will do any better in the analysis area because, to be honest, blogging is not an economically rational decision for those people. It’s certainly not for me. For people who can offer the really good analysis (and I’m not making a judgment on my own stuff there; I just put up stuff that nobody else does and have some expertise that sometimes lets me write about stuff with a background that MSM hockey writers can’t), they’ve probably got more lucrative things to do with their time. If the Oilers phoned me tomorrow and offered me a fulltime job producing analysis for their site, I’m sure it wouldn’t make economic sense for me to do. I doubt it would make economic sense for most of the people producing really interesting analysis to do so. In short, I don’t think that you can buy the really good interesting hockey writing, unless the author is willing to sell it at a price less than his or her time is worth. I would imagine that few people would be willing to make that sale if it comes with all sorts of restrictions on what you can say.

    So on the analysis/commentary/entertainment side of things, I think that the Oilers are probably missing the boat if they realistically see themselves as competing with someone like Lowetide or Battle of Alberta or me or the guys at Covered in Oil. There’s a niche there that I don’t think that they can fill, unless they’re either willing to pay talented people market value for their time or give them the platform of edmontonoilers.com without restriction. I doubt that they’re willing to do either of those things. If you look at MLB.com, they’ve become a tremendously successful media operation, generating huge revenues for MLB. They haven’t produced any opinion writers or analysts that anyone takes seriously or who are must read guys though.

    The really interesting implications, looking down the road, are in what happens when the Oilers start to see everyone who isn’t paying them for access as competitors. As more and more people get on the web, it would seem to me to make more and more sense to try and drive those people to edmontonoilers.com by having it be the only place you can go to find out what Craig MacTavish had to say about last night’s game or who’s expected to dress tonight. That, to me, is the logical terminus of the line of thinking outlined in Alan Watt’s interview on Gregor’s show. It’s a shame that he doesn’t talk to bloggers; it’d be interesting to ask him that.

    Update – David Staples talks to Watt: One of the commenters seems to determined to argue against what I’ve said here on the basis that Watt is wrong or that I’m somehow misinterpreting him. I encourage you to go read David’s full post – I’m going to try not to quote too much here.

    Part of the reason that no media outlets are allowed to blog live from Oilers games is that the Oilers want to have this kind of information only available on their own official website, Watt says.

    Watt says many of the blogs are trying to get increased traffic so they can make money, but the Oilers don’t want to give up that traffic. “We spend $100 million a year to create NHL hockey in Edmonton and there are some things that we think we own. This is one of them (the live blogging rights).”

    Perhaps some blog company will come along with $10 million a year for the exclusive rights to live blogging, then the Oilers would look at that. “That’s the business we are in,” Watt says.

    Adds Hebert: “Why would we want someone go to another site to catch game updates when we want them to go to Edmonton Oilers.com because it’s going to generate bigger numbers and, in turn, generate money?”

    Watt says that when it comes to interviews with the players, the Oilers now want to go direct to consumers. “We would like our website and NHL.com to be places where people can find that information exclusively as possible, and as a result of that, traffic, and as a result of that, monetization.”

    That’s pretty much exactly what my interpretation of his comments to Gregor was. Like I said, I have no problem with that and it’s a fair explanation. I don’t think he comes off very well in the rest of it. I think he comes off as a grandfather who doesn’t know how to set a VCR, to borrow Mike W.’s phrase, who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about when he makes his reference to threesomes in the basement.

    About Tyler Dellow

    34 Responses to Alan Watt

    1. October 20, 2008 at

      Great post Ty.

    2. October 20, 2008 at

      When I was reading this sentence:

      I’d be wondering why a man who is unable to tell the difference between this and “somebody who decided to be a blogger tomorrow”

      I thought for sure the “somebody” link was going to my site!

      Hubris in my own ineptness?

      Perhaps….

    3. mc79hockey
      October 20, 2008 at

      I actually thought linking someone would be a bit of an asshole thing to do.

    4. October 20, 2008 at

      Unless it was McLea…

      ;)

    5. mclea
      October 20, 2008 at

      I think you’re over thinking this. Covered in Oil is a site where all the following have happened:

      1) The proprietors have being very negative with respect to the building of a new arena.
      2) The proprietors have been very negative with respect to Kevin Lowe’s performance as a GM.
      3) The proprietors have occasionally been negative with respect to the former owners, and the team in general.

      Given this, why in the world would you want the one of the proprietors:

      1) Hanging in your press box
      2) Eating your food
      3) Enjoying your product for free

      This isn’t freaking rocket science. The Oilers don’t need blogs. They’re the only game in town in a hockey mad city. They don’t need some philistine like Dave mouching off of them in the press box. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

    6. mc79hockey
      October 20, 2008 at

      Terry Jones called the current owner a drug lord and suggested that he was a flim-flam man. I’d suggest that he’s a little more widely read than Berry. Plus, in the end, they did give Dave his press pass back. I don’t think that your take is accurate.

      Go dig out Watt’s interview on Gregor’s site. When he gets asked about this he goes right to the issue of content and you can tell from his answer that he isn’t just speak extemperaneously. This is something that the man has thought about.

    7. slipper
      October 20, 2008 at

      Well the Oilers actually reinstated Dave’s press pass so perhaps you should direct all of these inquiries towards the organization, mclea.

    8. October 20, 2008 at

      …”or whether, a Journal beat writer could record some video with a handheld and put it up at the Journal’s site.

      Calgary Herald was doing this quite regularly for awhile last season, then stopped abruptly. Wish I could remember the exact details, but I got the sense at the time that the decision wasn’t an editorial one.

      Anyway Tyler, that’s an interesting take on the whole scene; I hadn’t thought of it that way at all (maybe because, as you illustrate well, equating nhl.com or oilers.com with blogs in any way doesn’t make a lot of sense).

      The way things are going with edmontonoilers.com and their counterparts makes things interesting for the Traditional Media (Non-Rightsholder Division); people like Joanne Ireland and my man Lefebvre. I think the teams probably will continue to gravitate towards providing a lot of things like interviews online directly.

      So with the Herald and Journal not really needed to relay the Just-the-Facts stuff, what are they going to do with their column inches? And what exactly will access be good for? (That’s a legit, not rhetorical, question.)

      Seems to me that there will be an opportunity for the dailies, once they are freed from the grind of providing the nuts & bolts stuff AND from the constraints entailed by the need for access, to gravitate more towards analysis (that’s right — BE MORE LIKE BLOGS!!1!1!).

      Then again, I thought the same opportunity existed for The Hockey News, and they seem to have gone in a different direction.

    9. mclea
      October 20, 2008 at

      Look, I don’t think the Oilers care at all about blogs for the reasons stated above. I think that Dave broke a rule, was caught, and some PR rep was heavy handed in his response. That’s it.

      I know everyone wants to make this a bigger issue than it really it (like Loxy trying to frame this as some sort of human rights issue, shoot me in the face), but I’d be real hesitant to suggest that the actions of some nobody PR rep are somehow representative of the Oilers organization as a whole, or evidence of some sort of conspiracy against bloggers.

      Dave broke a rule. Some PR was an a**hole when he dealt with him. That’s it. Welcome to the real world. Let’s not try to make this a bigger issue than it really is.

    10. mc79hockey
      October 20, 2008 at

      Would it help if I bolded the sole paragraph dealing with Berry’s situation in which I say, basically exactly what you’re saying, if perhaps with less of a conspiracy angle in that I don’t assume the Oilers were out to get Berry?

      Am I somehow misinterpreting what Watt just said on the radio?

    11. cambo
      October 20, 2008 at

      “…we would like to think that edmontonoilers.com and nhl.com is the place to go for your e-information…”

      He can’t be serious. A team website?

      Great essay.

    12. lowetide
      October 20, 2008 at

      Damn bloggers, ruining everything. If only they would send their questions to Jim Matheseon…

      Excellent post, MC. One thing is for certain: this is a Katz owned team now and The Who was right.

    13. slipper
      October 20, 2008 at

      One other certainty appears to be that Terry Jones fat jokes won’t be appreciated under any ownership regime.

      9:17 pm: Made-up fact: Terry Jones does the wave with the crowd; Joanne Ireland only glares at him disgustedly.

      Why can’t professional sports have a fake media like the Daily Show and Colbert Report are to American politics?

      The real calamity of this event is that I will not be able to read nuggets like this for the remainder of the season:

      “Anyway, you have to wonder what, if anything, LA GM Dean Lombardi is thinking here, throwing Jeff Finger money at a dude who spent most of last year putting his skates on the wrong foot and trying to order hot dogs from the bench, or whatever the fuck it was Stoll was doing to manage a whopping 15 points at even strength last year.”

      And LT, no matter how much these greasy smarm bags try to blow smoke up your ass, remember: you’re on our side. Right?

      Right!?!?

    14. lowetide
      October 20, 2008 at

      I don’t know, slipper. My wife has used EXACTLY that phrase (“greasy smarm bag!”) enough for me to wonder.

      Aloud!

    15. mclea
      October 20, 2008 at

      The Oilers, it sounds like to me, view the various blogs around the Oilogosphere as competitors.

      In order for the blogs to be “competitors” to the Oilers, there has to be a material amount of revenue to compete for. Tyler’s uses the example of MLBAM, probably because its the only sports related internet property that makes any kind of money. However, MLBAM makes money in three way, in order:

      1) Selling subscriptions to access online streaming of games and other video content
      2) Ecommerce – using the website platform to sell other MLB items, such as tickets and merchandise.
      3) Selling advertising on the site.

      It should be pretty clear to everyone reading this that blogs will never in thousand years compete for the two main sources of revenue. As for the third, MLB.com gets something like 6.2 million unique visitors a month, which is about 6.2 million more than any Oiler blog. And as Tyler has said, they aren’t getting those visitors because of any blog like content. They’re getting it because they’ve invested millions of dollars in a user friendly platform that makes it the obvious place to go for MLB content (such as scores, stats, gamecasts ect).

      So I’m sure that Watt wants Oilers.com or whatever to be the one and only stop for Oiler fans online. But even if it isn’t, it doesn’t matter in the slightest because:

      1) The Oilers don’t make a material amount of money online.
      2) Even if they do in the future, it will be by doing stuff that blogs or online forums can’t possibly compete with.

      So again, the suggestion that the Oilers find the blogs to be competitors is ridiculous, regardless of how you interpret what Watt said.

      Source for unique visitors

      Major Revenue Sources for MLBAM

    16. mc79hockey
      October 20, 2008 at

      Well the paraphrase – and I assure you it’s a good one – is right there McLea. You tell me what you think he’s trying to say. I agree with you that the idea that the blogosphere is a competitor of oilers.com is ridiculous. I don’t see any other reasonable interpretation of what he’s saying though. It should hardly be a newsflash to learn that the NHL has no idea what they’re doing. They’re a brutally marketed organization. MLB is handing out free PitchFX data to people; the NHL can’t even make the tables on their horrific website sort properly.

      I don’t see any other way to interpret what he’s saying. Telling me that I’m not his competitor doesn’t really do anything – I agree with you there. If you want to argue with me, explain what the hell he meant.

    17. mjsh
      October 20, 2008 at

      I am an old guy who has followed the Oilers since they were born in the WHA. i have even been in press boxes in the AJHL. I can remember being told not to cheer. I think the fuss has been a little much. The Oilers have the right to restrict their press passes. Dave and the other bloggers have the right to blog in whatever manner they like.

      My most important point is that I very much enjoy reading the blogs, a form of media that did not exist when my long time friend Ken Baird was an Oiler. Ken Brown for that matter. As far as the Oilers site is concerned, I rarely go there. Interesting, eh. So Dave, Lowetide, oilers nation et al. please keep up the great work.

    18. October 20, 2008 at

      This is an interesting post and a really insightful quote from Alan Watt.

      Revenue is the key portion of the equation here.

      For most organizations, earning media coverage – even on-line or blog coverage – is a key part of generating corporate revenue, be it in the form of increased sales, sales leads, raised profile, brand enhancement, etc.

      For professional sports teams, the equation is modified in that too much external coverage actually represents potential lost revenue.

      Eyeballs that go elsewhere for information deprive the teams of click-throughs and ad dollars; live-blogging and grey-market on-line streaming reduces audience numbers for TV and PPV. Declining consumption of traditional media means potentially less rink-side advertising from the Journal and fewer paid cross-promotions in the Sun (be sure to collect all the Oiler medals!).

      Moreover, alternative sites, like the one I’m commenting on right now, limit the Oiler’s ability to control the message and their brand positioning.

      I would suggest that Watt knows full well the difference between a quality blog and one that will last all of two posts (one of which will likley feature a picture of a goalie with a beach ball photoshopped behind him). Given that the Oilers would prefer their credentialed media and their web-sites be the go-to source for information and the preferred web destination for fans, it’s in Watt’s and the Oiler’s interest to lump all other sites together in the low-quality can’t-be-trusted camp.

      It’s short-sighted to be sure, but when was the last time the NHL or an NHL executive did something that made you think they were ahead of the curve?

    19. October 20, 2008 at

      If we all sit back rationally and think about it; well spending so much time, money and energy on any pro sports team is just ridiculous.

      I’m not sure whether it’s to his credit or not, but this Allan Watt guy has a way of reminding us all of that without even trying. This every time he speaks.

      Instead of regaling us with old school hockey stories on the weekend … maybe Lain should go and visit his grandmother at the retirement home. Maybe I should spend more time with my family and less with you lot. Fenwick and Pat the same. Maybe Biff should remember when Pocklington held Fuhr’s mortgage and Staples’ hand, and embrace his own nature. Maybe talented writers like Chris, Andy, Mike, etc should be churning out prose on a subject that really matters. Maybe a lot of things, I suppose.

    20. slipper
      October 20, 2008 at

      Trivial pursuits keep me out of trouble.

      There are far better things I could be doing with my time than following hockey, I’m sure. At the same time, there are far, far worse things I could be doing. That could be said for just about any hobby, though.

      Unless you’re trying to cure AIDS in your free time.

      The business side of sports would certainly sour me to the whole experience if I allowed it to; but I don’t allow it to. Why would I? Considering how much of my own personal income I’ve actually declared over the past decade, it would only make me a hypocrite.

    21. October 21, 2008 at

      Ah yes, the instincts of the media-relations professional: People are promoting our product worldwide for free? My god, how can we stop them?

    22. David S
      October 21, 2008 at

      MF37 – VERY well spoken. Alan Watt might not be the nicest guy around, but he’s no dope. I am certain that he considers blogs of all types to be competitors for “attention”, which as MF37 has indicated, eventually turns into revenue. The only way that happens is if the messaging and product are consistent and dare I say it, controlled.

      Naturally, Mr Watt will go out of his way to deride any media form that he does not control as he would view them to be competing for attention that he wants to manipulate for financial gain. That’s pathetic, but understandable if MC’s interpretation is correct.

    23. October 21, 2008 at

      Instead of regaling us with old school hockey stories on the weekend … maybe Lain should go and visit his grandmother at the retirement home. Maybe I should spend more time with my family and less with you lot. Fenwick and Pat the same. Maybe Biff should remember when Pocklington held Fuhr’s mortgage and Staples’ hand, and embrace his own nature. Maybe talented writers like Chris, Andy, Mike, etc should be churning out prose on a subject that really matters. Maybe a lot of things, I suppose.

      Maybe I should actually get laid instead of talking about the Oilers doing it.

    24. mc79hockey
      October 21, 2008 at

      Alan Watt might think that you already are. I’m not sure what else to make of this:

      “There are a lot people out there who are gathered in threesomes in a basement somewhere, and you have to read that for awhile and then skip over it, and you might have to go to two or three more before you get anything that’s any good.”

      Yeah, not like the stream of Pulitzer Prize winning brilliance that pisses out of Oilers.com. Just keep pumping out the cutting edge “Steve MacIntyre: Gentle Giant” content coming! A story about a guy who waited forever to make it to the NHL, a tough guy who’s a nice guy? I’ve never heard of such a thing! It’s not a boring, cookie cutter puff piece at all!

      The best part of it all is, after a couple of years, they can get rid of Tencer and just use his stories as templates, filling in the blanks with the name of the current guy who toiled in the minors forever and who is a tough guy on the ice but a nice guy off of it.

      Hell of an organization. How about we see some playoff berths?

    25. October 21, 2008 at

      Loxy I insist that you do! Visitng relatives though? I’d rather talk about hockey.

      And Vic if I make a living covering a junior hockey team am I wasting my life, or is that OK because the guys don’t really get paid (…usually) because you’re going to send me into crisis mode ;)

    26. October 21, 2008 at

      Incidently I agree with mc79 here. The Oilers are basically suggesting that it isn’t in their interest to let you into their games for free to do something (live blogging) that hey may be able to make money from doing themselves.

      TV, newsppaer, radio… they can’t easily do those things. They can easily create blogs and try to make money off them.

      The thing that I’d suggest was wrong about their thinking is that the more people there are talking about the Oilers online the more chance their blogs would have of drawing a large audience. The reason the Oilers website could do so well is partially because there’s such a giant community of online Oiler fans who all link to interesting articles or websites. In theory all the Oilers traffic helps each other to some extent.

    27. October 21, 2008 at

      The thing that I’d suggest was wrong about their thinking is that the more people there are talking about the Oilers online the more chance their blogs would have of drawing a large audience. The reason the Oilers website could do so well is partially because there’s such a giant community of online Oiler fans who all link to interesting articles or websites. In theory all the Oilers traffic helps each other to some extent.

      Whoa whoa Poindexter, they didn’t teach us this “networking effects” stuff at NAIT back in ’65. Are you suggesting that official sites devoted to an entertainment enterprise and independent ones can actually be symbiotic? Because from where I sit (was copying a press release and got my tie stuck in the mimeograph machine) that’s crazy talk.

    28. October 21, 2008 at

      I’d be interested to hear from the various media types who read this site (feel free be anonymous in doing so) whether there are any rules about, for example, someone like Brownlee just dumping the contents of his dictaphone (or whatever they use to record interviews) onto OilersNation or whether a Journal beat writer could record some video with a handheld and put it up at the Journal’s site.

      I don’t know the Oilers’ policy on this, but the Gazette can put up a fair amount of audio (and even some video, I think) on Habs Inside/Out; I don’t know what their pre-arrangement with the Canadiens is, but it’s something to point back to in terms of MSM-blogging convergence.

      live-blogging [...] reduces audience numbers for TV and PPV

      Does it really? The only way it “replaces” anything, is if you’re 1000 km away from the nearest Edmontonian broadcast with shit Internet, so even streaming audio is kind of shit. Live blogging is, if anything, a companion, like chatting with a friend on IM or the phone or something (or even — gasp — having him over for beer while watching).

      Grey-market streaming (the bit I excised), yes. That, I can see a clear and obvious beef with. Live blogging’s negative effect, however, is greatly overstated.

    29. lablawyer
      October 21, 2008 at

      First of all, I’m amazed at how far this story has gone, what with it having moved from Covered in Oil, to local media members, to Finland (this link leads to an English translation, such as it is) and now, to Elliot Friedman

      And now to Deadspin. It’s on.

    30. dashingsilverfox
      October 21, 2008 at

      “Alan Watt might think that you already are. I’m not sure what else to make of this:

      “There are a lot people out there who are gathered in threesomes in a basement somewhere, and you have to read that for awhile and then skip over it, and you might have to go to two or three more before you get anything that’s any good.”

      Yeah, not like the stream of Pulitzer Prize winning brilliance that pisses out of Oilers.com. Just keep pumping out the cutting edge “Steve MacIntyre: Gentle Giant” content coming! A story about a guy who waited forever to make it to the NHL, a tough guy who’s a nice guy? I’ve never heard of such a thing! It’s not a boring, cookie cutter puff piece at all!

      The best part of it all is, after a couple of years, they can get rid of Tencer and just use his stories as templates, filling in the blanks with the name of the current guy who toiled in the minors forever and who is a tough guy on the ice but a nice guy off of it.

      Hell of an organization. How about we see some playoff berths?”

      How the hell do you read my mind?

    31. sketchy
      October 21, 2008 at

      or even — gasp — having him over for beer while watching

      Not without expressed written consent you’re not.

    32. October 22, 2008 at

      . . . blogging is not an economically rational decision for those people. It’s certainly not for me. For people who can offer the really good analysis (and I’m not making a judgment on my own stuff there; I just put up stuff that nobody else does and have some expertise that sometimes lets me write about stuff with a background that MSM hockey writers can’t), they’ve probably got more lucrative things to do with their time.

      I think this is basically correct and what seems to me an obvious truism that doesn’t get recognized nearly enough. Without getting into a personal evaluation or subjective valuation of professional MSM hockey writers (or media PR types) or their abilities and/or realities of their career paths/viability of alternatives, they are, for the most part people without the attractive professional options that other types (many of whom become the successful types of bloggers that we all know) have.

      Of course some entered the journalist game because they loved it and were touched by God with the gift to move pen to communicate at what time in the first period Sergei Fedorov deflected a weak Jeff Schultz point shot to tie Alexander Mogilny for most NHL goals by a Russina, but for many, the wide variety of career options that you see in bloggerdom (lawyer, software engineer, banker et. al.) were simply not available to those lucky/unlucky fools. That they took the very real risk of being highschool reporters of women’s track and field in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and, thankfully, it paid off, good on them. That such success gives them some sort of insight that others not faced with making such a ridiculous (and let it not be ignored, pecuniarily irrational) career choice, I don’t think so.

      To wit, if Tyler or Vic or Gabe or Tom or JP did the equivalent of the below in their respective careers, I imagine they would have hell to pay (notwithstanding that people like them would never dream of uttering something so asinine). Take us home Dave, Larry, and David:

      Zigomanis has been a major factor in that, of course, but most of the Penguins’ returning centers have upgraded their performances on faceoffs.

      The four most active Penguins players on faceoffs, with their success rates this season and last season, are as follows:

      • Max Talbot, 58.2 percent, 45 percent.

      • Sidney Crosby, 55.4 percent, 51.4 percent.

      • Jordan Staal, 43.5 percent, 42.2 percent.

      • Evgeni Malkin 34.6 percent, 39.3 percent.

      “Everyone’s moving in the right direction,” Staal said.

      ***

      Yes, it’s true, the players will get their 56.7-percent of this year’s gross, regardless. The collective will not be harmed. But individuals such as Schaefer and McLaren, veterans who have paid their dues literally and figuratively, will be. They are in the minor leagues, stuck because of the whipsaw effect of re-entry waivers and the lack of the bonus allowance. They are in the minor leagues because the NHLPA did not act decisively when it should have.

      ***

      Last season, Forsberg scored 14 points in nine regular season games for the Avalanche, showing that he can still carry the load, then scored five points in seven playoff games, showing that maybe he can’t.

    33. Dennis
      October 22, 2008 at

      How in the — useage of poetic blogger license coming right up — sweet fuck did Watt know that I once had a threesome in a basement???

    34. Jerry MacWire
      October 23, 2008 at

      And I would go to Edmontonoilers.com for accurate and unbiased insight for the same reason that I would go to progressiveconservatives.com for a balanced view of how our government is being run?

      Allan Watt for president of Canada, ah er…

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