Mike is off planet visiting so you are stuck with me today.
Couple of thoughts then it's over to you for random thoughts…
So, question for you….
One of the most interesting "engagements" I had since writing here took place a few years back. I was on the phone with this individual and they were none to happy with me for breaking a news story about changes at their outlet. "Why do you have to do what you do? Why do you write about these things? You know you are talking about people's lives!"
I found the conversation pretty ironic to be honest with you.
It happened that this conversation took place right around the NHL Trade deadline where EVERY outlet does very little but talk about who is rumored to be traded where.
When I raised that point to this individual this person got silent and then hung up.
So, why I am raising this now?
Well, I am curious your thoughts on a related issue.
Rumors are abound that significant changes are coming at Rogers and their NHL "team". I have written about this a few times and I've been very specific in NOT naming names.
Curious, sports media fans…
Forget the juicy love for gossip that some people have (or all people for that matter), do you think I should be writing the names of people I hear could be on the chopping block????? Forget the legality of it just for arguments sake and to keep it clean.
Do you think there's ANY difference between reporting that someone may get traded, cut or signed then there is to someone being pushed off print, web, tv or radio?
Is there a difference between the media either calling for OR speculating that a coach, scout, gm or CEO be terminated and us (Mike and I) doing so here?
I'd love to know your thoughts.
On the topic of Rogers and NHL all I will say is that it seems to me that everyone there, on air and off, is walking on eggshells. Nothing has been said publicly or privately so people are left to wonder. That's not a good thing. However, what exactly are the powers that be supposed to do? You don't usually tell people that changes are coming until, well, it's time to make them.
Several people told me this week that the news of Don Cherry's re-signing for next year was not appreciated by many staffers. With so many worried about their future why announce that Grapes is returning and Grapes only.
What I have been told is that the cuts could very well be significant. I am told that those who have a long term deal are NO safer than those with expiring deals. I am told that those who have to travel specifically for work could be either endangered or told to remove the travel requirement in order to keep their jobs.
Timing? That's the number one question I get. Well, it won't be before the end of the playoffs. The question is before or after the draft. One insider insists it will be before. Another points out that many of those who could be effected are slated to be part of the NHL Draft show so it won't be until after. For now? We wait.
Did you happen to catch Stephen Brunt last week on Ali? One word- AWESOME. This proves again that Brunt remains number one in the market and in my opinion is the most under-utilized person Rogers has at it's disposal.
I spent the week in Seattle this past week. I was shocked that there was as much NHL coverage on local tv as there was. No, not arena talk, actual Stanley Cup game coverage. My bet for what it's worth is that the NHL will move to Seattle, but not downtown as has been rumored; I think an ownership group emerges in nearby Bellevue. When the NBA was there, apparently that closer to where the fans lived.
First Ali and now Mr. Hockey. It's been a brutal couple of weeks for the remaining greats of yesterday. What it has meant is that the sports coverage has improved dramatically as there has actually been interesting things to talk about. It's been a great few weeks for those of us who love story telling.
I never met Ali but I suspect we will never see as dominant a personality as him for the rest of my life.
I was luck enough to meet Howe on several occasions. The first time he came to do drop a puck and sign autographs at The Palace of Auburn Hills for a Detroit Vipers game. It was a hugely political move at the time as the Vipers were owned by Illitch rival Bill Davidson. My thoughts on meeting Gordie? He was as advertised, a perfect gentleman. The real memory was of Mrs. Howe who too was exactly as advertised. She was defiantly the boss! The next time I saw him he actually suited up for the Vipers and the last time was at a Red Wings game (while little TSM was playing at the Joe as part of a tournament). Always the nicest guy you'd ever meet and LOVED talking to kids about hockey.
Radio ratings came out this week.
I've been told that TSN remained nonexistent on the scale and that the Blair show was up, again. Should I come across actual numbers I will comment then.
The lesson in the ratings game is simple. You need content to succeed. Content in this market is Maple Leafs then Blue Jays. I don't know what it will take for the Raptors to get there on the radio. Sadly, maybe nothing ever will.
I picked up yesterday's USA Today prior to getting on my flight. Not a word anywhere in print on the NHL or the Stanley Cup.
Speaking of flights… Am I the only person who wishes that the airlines BAN reclining seats. I mean it's a domino effect. One person goes back because they are selfish and everyone behind them follows suit. I'm relatively tall (6'2) and yesterday on my 6am flight the guy in front of me pushed back (because the guy in front of him did) and he was so far back I couldn't use my laptop. Kindly, after I asked he moved forward 6 inches. Either make the rows a little farther apart or take out the recline button. It's stupid.
What do you do when the grey market takes over the sales of your tickets? Push up the price apparently! Hamilton the big play on Broadway was upset with the secondary market for the top ticket. What did they do to combat this? Raised the base price of course. Reportedly ears perked up at MLSE.
How do you know you are irrelevant?
I just Googled MLSE CEO:
Here is what I got:
That's even funnier as I was going to comment on this article from the Toronto Star. The image above speaks for itself I guess.
By the way… Nelson Millman called it a day yesterday. Nelson was the first PD to reach out to me on this blog. We didn't always agree, or get along but I can't tell you how much he helped me over the years with nothing else but two things: perspecive and professionalism. Nelson ALWAYS took a call; NEVER told me anything but ALWAYS treated me with respect. As someone who does this for fun it's all I ever ask for. Good luck and thank Nelson. You are a legend. Keep your head down on the links and best of health to you and yours!
Lastly, I am curious to know how many of you actually pay for content behind paywalls?
Thanks as always for reading and reaching out.