Category Archives: backbone

Just come out and say it, Sports Illustrated. You hate hockey.

No more pussy-footing around. No more lip service. No more bullshit about “journalistic integrity”. Not after this tabloid trash headline:

Bullshit.

Attempting to connect the taunting that has followed Alex Burrows’ bite to Aaron Rome’s late hit on Nathan Horton is a blatant attempt to lead the casual fan’s opinion away from hockey.

Meanwhile, on this week’s cover, there isn’t even a secondary mention of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NBA Finals have the cover, as they have every bloody spring since 2001, with blurbs about baseball and Stanford QB Andrew Luck. College football isn’t even in season! The one thing you fetishize even more than the swimsuit issue is that blessed Cover of Sports Illustrated, and you don’t consider the championship of the highest level of hockey in the world worth so much as two square inches of text.

Don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining, Sports Illustrated. You hate hockey, and you have zero respect for hockey fans.

 

Taking a Break

I have no desire to be a part of the circular firing squad the hockey blogosphere has formed around Sean Avery and Gary Bettman, and I can only repeat myself so many times.

Time For American Hockey Fans To Stand Up

Yinz went and pissed me off.

This excellent example of the NHL giving a clinic on keeping its fans happy comes via Mr Top Shelf himself…

Cousins of Ron Mexico, thebiglead.com

Meanwhile, the NHL can’t even get nationally-televised playoff games done in HD. No wonder no one takes them seriously. After all, MLS gets more consistent national television coverage in the HD format. Pathetic.

Bruce Ciskie, AOL Fanhouse

Just another example of this “wonderful” partnership Gary Bettman always brags about the NHL having with Versus. This sad stuff doesn’t happen if the NHL is with ESPN.

Seth Rorabaugh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Versus/Golf Channel HD fucks up and decides to show a tape-delayed golf tournament, apparently without telling the NHL, and it’s the NHL’s fault?

ESPN treats the sport of hockey and its fans like shit 10 months of the year, starts acting like they care again for the playoffs, then goes back to its bad old ways, and it’s the NHL’s fault?

Sports Illustrated hasn’t had a hockey related cover since the 2002 preview issue (no, the cast of Slap Shot doesn’t count), hasn’t had the Stanley Cup champion on the cover since the 2001 Avalanche, and generally acts like the NHL doesn’t exist, and it’s the NHL’s fault?

When do we start holding the American sports press accountable for the way they treat our game? At what point do they respect us as implicitly as they respect football, baseball, and basketball fans, not just when it’s convenient for them or made inconvenient by us?

The NHL can stay on Versus, but only if Comcast lives up to its end of the bargain. No more tape-delayed Golf Channel content during a hockey game for the rest of this year. Next year, get your own HD channel; no more sharing with Golf Channel, period. Bull-riding, mixed martial arts, and the Mountain West conference aren’t cutting it. If you don’t have one of the other Big Four pro sports by 2010, just shut down, because you’ll never be serious competition.

For those of you who want the NHL back on the “world-wide leader”: Stop groveling. Do you want the NHL to come crawling back to Bristol, begging for scraps from ESPN’s table, or do you want ESPN to invite hockey back into the fold? Because if ESPN doesn’t want the NHL, we’re just going to trade one set of indignities for another, and nothing will get better.

At a high level, yes, Gary Bettman’s stewardship of the game has been questionable at best, incompetent at worst. That’s a big part of what’s gotten us into this mess in the first place. But blaming him for a specific screw-up at Comcast, and letting “Versus HD/Golf Channel HD” off the hook, does far more harm than good.

The next time the media bullies us around, and they will, we can do one of three things:

  1. Turtle like Claude Lemieux.
  2. Turn our backs on our abusers, point at Gary Bettman, and say, “This is all your fault!” whether it is or not, then turtle when we get beat up again.
  3. Fight back.

Here’s ESPN’s ombudsman. Here’s Versus’ feedback page. SI.com apparently doesn’t want you to contact them on-line. You’ll have to find their letters address in the magazine.

Be polite. Be fair. Just don’t be silent anymore.

Stand up.