Hockey Journalism – Dummies not Ventriloquists

Here are three things that my father taught me…

1. Order the soup or the salad, not both. That’s how they get you.

2. Never date the waitress at your favorite restaurant. Even if she’s a hot lesbian cheerleader with low self esteem, stay away.

3. If you want the truth talk to the ventriloquist, not the dummy

Is anyone as pissed off as I am lately at the latest group to have their 15 minutes of fame: the hockey reporter as celebrity. Since when does a guy who bases his articles on conjecture, rumor and opinion deserve to be treated like Elvis, the skinny Elvis.

The Al Strachan’s, Jon Dolezar’s, John Davidson’s, Ray Ferraro’s etc… of the hockey world are nothing more then gossip columnists disguised as “sports journalists”. The last time I had anything to do with journalism we were basing our stories on these little things, I’m not sure if anyone has heard of them, what’s the French name, oh yeah, FACTS!!!!!

These Hedda Hoppers seem to dispense information like the kid from the exorcist; vomiting a spew of sensational stories and truths based on rumors or secret sources. The absurd catch–22 that seems to work in the favor of the reporter is that the secret source can never be revealed and no one from the team is willing to take the time to dispute the story. Does anyone remember Brian Burke’s tirade against Al Strachan a few weeks back on HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) in which Burke (GM for Vancouver) went on the air to refute Strachan’s claim that Burke was not going to be resigned because of his wanting 2 million dollars a year?

Later that week Strachan appeared on a radio call in show and said that his source told him that was the case and he was able to piece together the rest because some of the other better GM’s in the league make upwards of 2 million a year. Does anyone else see the crap that Strachan is full of??? When the moderator of the call in show pressed Strachan he got defensive and tried to switch topics. How does a so called journalist get to make a leap like this and get it published without a fact checker? At the very least this is irresponsible yellow journalism and at it’s most dangerous it’s a lie. It’s my personal dream to see one of these guys sued and then taken to court and be made to reveal their secret sources. Would anyone else be surprised that these sources all live within the mind of the reporter?

What bugs me the most is that these rumors get reported by other outlets and once they get reported people believe them to be fact. All the call in shows and pre-game shows take these reporters and put them in a clip on tie, put some pancake make up on them and let them talk about their crap and then record it like it’s the truth. My question is why not go to the source? Why not get the owner, GM or player to talk about it? Here’s why…. Because 9 out of 10 times the sensational becomes just plain old vanilla:

Bertuzzi wasn’t resigned right away because he didn’t want it to interfere with the rest of the season. Burke said it, Bertuzzi said it, Bert’s agent said it and Dave Nonis said it. What was Al Strachan’s , Nik Kypreos’s and Bill Clement’s take? Bertuzzi hates Vancouver, hates Burke and will not play here next year. What sounds more inflammatory? What story will get more readers in your column? What story will get more calls on your call in show? Exactly.

Just think of all the trade rumors that seem to make their way from these guy’s mouths and pens onto the air and the page. How many are accurate? How many not? Most of the time these guys find out about the trade the same time we do…

When you report on enough trades eventually you’re going to hit one. The same model exists for those con artist that can speak with the dead. Ask enough questions and guess what…you’ll find somebody who has a relative with a letter “J”.

No one picked up the Kovalev to Montreal trade.

No one knew Jagr was headed to NYR

Francis to Toronto? Nope.

What I want people to realize (at least hockey people anyways) is that these guys are jerks. They need to sell papers, advertising, etc.. and will do anything to achieve that goal. Your opinions are just as good as these guys. Do your research and read as many stats and factual sources as you can and they will have nothing over us. It’s my goal to bombard every media outlet that reports this crap or employs these jokers with as many complaints as possible. Talk to the owner of the circus and not the monkey. Hockey fans deserve it.

Below are some of my favorite stupid things that these jackasses have written or said in the past few weeks.. you be the judge..

“I don’t like the post-Bertuzzi mindset of the Canucks, I will be surprised if they win any games down the stretch”. Nik Kypreos on Sportsnet.

Hey chowderhead guess what? The Canucks have won 5 in a row and have put Colorado down into 4th and them back into 3rd in the conference.

“I heard that as soon as Cassels is back skating he’s going to be shipped to Vancouver” Al Strachan, Team 1040, Mackeachie in the Morning.

Hmm, what line is Cassels on for the Canucks…is he playing on another Vancouver Team???? I just don’t seem to see him.

“He seems like an odd pick up for a team not going to the playoffs”… Al Strachan talking about Montreal’s pick up of Alexei Kovalev .

Weird… Is Al following the same NHL as we are? Has anyone checked the standings?

“Jiggy, is staking his claim to be mentioned in the same breath as Roy, Brodeur and Hasek” Darren Pang – ESPN

Are you freaking kidding me? This guy has one hot playoff and all of a sudden he’s Jesus with a blocker. Giguere is good with a defensive team in front of him and average without. Even the Anaheim back up Gerber has had a better year.

“What a stupid play by Matt Cooke, it’s no wonder they’ll (Vancouver) be out in 5”. Bernie Federko, FOX SPORTSNET…

Hey, Bernie, refresh my memory, who won that series? This is the same guy who said Bertuzzi was afraid of the St Louis defence. That was before he laid out Jackman, and MacInnes. I could also see the fear in Todd’s eyes when he put steamrolled Jackman

“That’s why they got Selanne and Kariya… They’re magic” Bill Clement, ESPN.

Hmmm, what type of magic? I’m gonna guess the kind that disappears. For godsakes be objective and just admit that Kariya and Selanne have been a huge bust this year…HUGE!!!

“It was sickening, I have never seen something so grotesque in my life, I was disgusted”… Bill Clement on the Bertuzzi hit.

Yes, it was horrible, nothing like the walk in the park that was the Granato hit on Wilkinson where Wilkinson went into Spasms on the ice or the Matteau hit, or the Brashear hit, or the 70’s flyers of which you were a part. Remember those red stains on the Spectrum ice…. Good times. Talk about selective memory!

Here are my top 8 worst media guys who report about the NHL in random order. Each guy is as putrid as the rest/

1. Al Strachan – What’s with the combover. The phrase “face for radio” was coined for this guy. He’s a liar plain and simple. My sources tell me he’s a loser.

2. Nik Kypreos – I know, I know, he played the game. But I don’t even think he believes the crap that spill from his mouth.

3. Bill Clement, Gary Thorne – Clement is a jackass plain and simple. Who could forget his 10 seconds of silence during the 2002 Olympics when he pretended that the Canadians had made him speechless because they were so bad. Hmm, who won gold? Oh that’s right the Belarussians…jackass. I hate these guys, HATE THEM !!! They are a huge reason why no one watches hockey in the US. Would you watch anything that was hosted by two dumbasses. Remember that Bryan Dinkleman kid from American Idol…..exactly.

4. Darren Pang, ESPN – Hey does anyone remember Pang’s NHL career because he sure wants you to. He loves to tell us why his critique is so valuable when he “breaks down” the goalies. This is the equivalent of me telling you how to eat right and exercise…. I can’t even see my feet beneath the Cinnabon boxes. Pang had a half a cup of coffee in the NHL with a G.A.A. of over 4. That’s 4 goals a game folks. I could do that.

5. Greg Millen – I love Ottawa. I love Ottawa I love Ottawa..oh wait am I doing a Calgary Pittsburgh game? Ok. I love Ottawa, I love Ottawa.

6. Almost every FOX Sportsnet announcing team – From Bernie Federko to the meatwads who do the Colorado games these guys are blatant homers through and through. The homerism is to be expected but not at the expense of telling the story of the game. Be honest. If your guy checks a guy into the boards from the back and gets 5 and a game be honest. Not “Worst call by an offical ever” right guys from Boston. The awesome part of that was just after Thornton got the boot, the exact same thing happened to Knuble I believe and then it was an obvious penalty.

7. Ray Ferraro – If you could harness the charisma that is “Chicken Parm” you couldn’t run a lite brite for 3 minutes. This guy has all the excitement of cream of wheat in a white bowl. His personalized license plate is a series of random letters and numbers. My favorite Ray Ferraro quote “Steve Yzerman is a good player” Holy Crap !!!! It’s Watergate all over again. Track down the people at Pullitzer.

8. Pierre MacGuire – We get it … you’re cool You have the monster of the game, Remember that you exist because of the game not vice versa.

Ok, let’s hear back.

PS. Sorry about the quick, stream of consciouness writing, I’m very Joyceian today.. Also, I need to pee.

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