Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Other Side and More

More on the Times
I was happy to promote Dave Caldwell's article in The New York Times the other day, both as a way of publicizing news on the Islanders and in recognition of the paper giving the team proper coverage. Now here's the other side.

In case you didn't know, the Sports section in the Times has started a hockey blog called Slap Shot. The archive only goes back to November 20, and it appears that the people behind Slap Shot are still trying to figure out what it will be all about. So far, it's certainly not the Islanders.

Slap Shot is subtitled, "Rangers, Islanders, Devils and News From the NHL." Just next to the subtitle, you will see that the "About Slap Shot" description states, "
Slap Shot, the New York Times hockey blog, reports on the Rangers, the National Hockey League and anything that glides quickly across a frozen surface anywhere on the globe...." So, maybe not so much the Islanders and Devils.

Despite entries being made on nine dates as of 12/2, only one focuses on the Isles. Naturally, it addresses attendance issues, specifically the turnout for the Dallas game on 11/26. Here is the entirety of It's Lonely at the Coliseum:

Announced attendance for the Islanders-Stars game Monday night: 8,161.

Capacity is 17,576. Do the math.

Granted, it’s the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend, but an alarm bell must have gone off at N.H.L. headquarters.

For the most part (exception: Nashville), the sure-fire solution to flagging attendance is a winning team. It worked once on the Island.

Let's do the obvious one first. 17,576? I don't have to do any math to call that one out. With so much attention paid to attendance at the Coliseum over the last decade, you'd think that 16,234 would simply roll of the tongue (or fingertips). Maybe I've been asleep for a few years, the Lighthouse project has been approved, and the Coliseum was already renovated and expanded. No, you say? Still 2007?

Why am I not surprised that the only entry about the Islanders in Slap Shot is about the attendance? I do not deny that a crowd of 8,000+ is problematic. But it is neither new, news, nor a signal that the franchise is suddenly in trouble. In fact, based on statistics and on-ice performance, attendance is one of the least problematic issues for the Islanders this season in general and over the last two weeks. Take a quick survey of Islander blogs and you will find no shortage of hockey-specific issues that merit discussion. It would be nice to see Slap Shot sink its teeth into a few of these.

I will give Slap Shot credit for one thing. It's blogroll does not shy away from linking to blogs belonging to organizations that are competitors of the Times, including Newsday, The New York Post, and The Daily News.

Hockey Night in Canada on Blogging
By way of James Mirtle's blog, here is Hockey Night in Canada's feature on bloggers mixing with the traditional media in covering hockey:

I enjoyed the piece and thought it was fair. I do wish that coverage of this story would cease mentioning Islanders bloggers being permitted to wear jerseys. It's rarely mentioned that those who do wear jerseys are not in the actual press box and are required to remove their jerseys before entering the locker room. More attention should also be paid to the idea that, league-wide, some bloggers are intent on converting their blogs into new-media careers, and others are content to blog for the sake of blogging. The groups can, and should, co-exist, cooperate, and benefit from each other.

Twelve consecutive games with 2 goals or fewer. We already know it's a team record. Anyone with a lot of down time or a connection at a stats service want to weigh in on the league record?

When things go wrong, there are daily calls for major changes. The truth is that Jarome Iginla is not coming here. For an infusion of offense, the Islanders will most likely have to resort to a skilled young player who just hasn't clicked yet at the NHL level. Someone like a Brandon Bochenski, not that I'm recommending him specifically or reporting anything in the works (we bloggers have to be careful these days, or risk a good mocking). I hope that the season doesn't come down to relying on such a player finally fulfilling his potential as the result of a better situation. I hope that the answer comes in the form of elevated play from guys named Guerin, Comrie, Sillinger, Hunter, and Bergenheim.


Okposo Island said...

Funny, I thought the EXACT same things as you with regard to Slapshot. No coverage and wrong attendance. I was gonna write to complain, but who'd listen?

Sadly, unless this team has a '93-esque playoff run, nobody's covering us.

islesblogger said...


Great post. Never heard of Slapshot so now I will have watch that one develop.

The video and Mirtle post got me to respond with a post of my own at 2 AM. Keep up the great work bud.

Michael Schuerlein

Outsider said...

Thanks for weighing in, guys. The bloggers are getting ornery! Looking forward to reading your post, Mike. 2 AM posting always makes for some good material.