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The Best Article You Haven’t Read Today

March 30th, 2009 | by torontosportsmedia

How many of you read this gem already today:

“Cable is a great invention, but it’s ruined hockey. Maybe all sports for all I know, but hockey in particular. Televised hockey coverage consists of inane softball questions, rehearsed responses and panels of nattering heads. Why they even bother “interviewing” players is a mystery. Here’s a typical question:

“Given the Habs have you down by three goals, how important is it to come out with some extra jump in the third period in hopes of narrowing the gap?”

Raise your hands, all of you… That’s what I thought. Too bad too, because quite frankly it’s the best damn sports article I have read in these parts for some time! Kelly McParland’s editorial is so bang on. The article starts with Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau “exploding” after another moronic question about “the celebration”:

“You want to go there? It’s 10 friggin days since it happened,” Boudreau erupted. “We have talked to Tampa’s coaches. We have said our speech. The people that are bringing this up are you guys. Nobody cares about it anymore. But you guys want to bring it up because you want to see a riot, then you want to talk about retribution. It’s the dumbest thing in the world. You’ve got to have better stuff to talk about.”

No, Bruce, they don’t. Sad but true, they don’t. How typical is the hypothetical question posed by McParland in the above paragraph? It’s every frigging game! It is nice to know that the we Leaf fans aren’t the only ones forced to listen to the completely moronic intermission questions being asked by the former employee on rogers 10.

“The players have been conditioned to expect such pap, and trained to respond in kind. Any young prospect with promise undergoes media conditioning in which they’re coached on a handful of key methods for filling 20 seconds while saying nothing. Most barely make eye contact; few bother to break out of a monotone. It’s excruciatingly dull, but you can’t blame the players. The industry has brought this on itself by committing itself to hours of airtime every day, whether or not it has anything of interest to report. The time has to be filled, so pointless interviews, repetitious replays and mindless banter become crucial to filling gaps between the commercials.”

Exhibit A one Sidney Crosby. Is this what we really want from our players? I agree again with McParland, can’t someone come up with some original questions or content so that we don’t want to poke our eyes out with screw drivers every time the question is being answered?

“Unfortunately there are too few Ovechkins and too many cable channels. Most players understandly retreat deeper into their cliches and monotones. The gap between the athletes and the press pack grows wider. And hockey viewers suffer, along with the game. ”

McParland discusses the Alexander Ovechkin back and forth analysis and then ends with the above comment. It really is so sad. Competition and hard hitting coverage weren’t intended to drown us in the minutiae were they? I mean does the fact that we have TSN, Sportsnet, The Score and Leafs TV to name just a few of the television networks who cover every lace breaking incident. Are we to be bored out of our chairs by all this coverage? Is that what the intent was? Please tell me it wasn’t. How have we the fans gotten screwed by too much coverage? Where, someone please tell me, has the quality measure gone? Every ex-player is now “an insider”. It’s a joke.

Speaking of jokes, did anyone hear you know who on the fan this am? I guess in this instance it could be one of 2 people. First Don Landry started talking about Twitter. Now, I don’t know what they teach in journalism school, but in Law school, hell in grade school I was taught to never speak out on a subject I know nothing about. I don’t know, call it common sense. Anyways, Landry started to talk about twitter today. He did so after admitting that he had no clue what it was. He then felt compelled to say ” Well, can the twitter guys make any money from Twitter?” Before anyone could say anything in response (like um no, Don they haven’t figured out how to monetize this yet), Landry answered his own question, ” Of course they do, why else would you make it.” Parsley on the plate my friends. That is what Mr. Landry’s contribution to the morning show on the Fan are. Except, parsley, to some at least looks good.

After that bit, Mr. Toth took to the airwaves. Yes, Toth, despite not having anything worthwhile to ever say, and posting the world’s worst blog post ever about a fight with his wife was flying solo this am. Right out of the gate it was nothing but gems. First he uttered this line of sheer brilliance:

“People forget that superstars have that passion for the game”

HUH??? WTF! Toth was saying how Crosby and Gretzky were notorious for chirping at the officals early in their careers and how Gretzky hasn’t lost the intensity since he became a coach. Then he uttered that moronic comment. Does anyone think that a superstar in the NHL isn’t passionate? No really. Am I the only one who has NEVER forgotten that? But wait, it got better. First let me remind you that Mr. Sensitive should be about ready to head over to his favorite eatery to start preparing for his daily read of the sports pages after doing the show in the largest media market in the country and arguably the biggest hockey market in the world, for which he gave up many of his sportsnet tv responsibilities. Anyways, then he started to tell us how he was thinking of the layoffs at the CBC while watching Hockey Night in Canada (one of the only profitable shows our network has). Well it really bothered Toth that HNIC had 4 on air talents (Milbury, Stock, Hrudey, Maclean) to do highlights. The insinuation was that how dare they have 4 guys do the job of one while having to axe 800 jobs at our network. I repeat, HNIC is one of the only profitable assets the CBC has. This is not the place to start looking. Second and more importantly, these guys don’t (I can’t imagine) get paid per segment. They get paid on a nightly or game by game basis. But wait… Then, Toth started to take issue with the choice of PJ Stock as the one to be actually analyzing the highlights. Really, Toth was calling out the performance of a media member! What a farce. Here is a talentless moron calling out someone else? Are you kidding me? Then he had the nerve to start making fun of the city of Peterborough because Stock is from there????? Buddy, do yourself (and maybe your Mrs. too (hey you wrote about her not me)) take a LONG look in the mirror before you even think about being a media critic. You get paid (gasp) for commentating on sports. Once you start to do that, then perhaps you can try to expand your wings and look at your peers. Don’t get me wrong, I could really care less for or about PJ Stock.

PJ Stock, has more in common with Toth then perhaps Toth ever thought. You see they both represent exactly what McParland wrote about this morning. They are filler. Not even very good filler at that. They both take up time in the inordinately long day of programming that their bosses have to fill. Does anyone else remember the old Peter Puck cartoons they used to show? Or the skills showdown? How much better were both of those then what we get now? Hell, even the rumour segment on HNIC is unwatchable. When Milbury, Strachan are the insiders, it’s time to go outside.

Keep up the good work Kelly. There are many a sports sections that could use commentary like yours.

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3 Comments

  1. Good post. As for the article I don’t agree that cable ruined hockey I think that sports channels in general have exposed how shallow the talent pool is in the sports media. Furthermore the internet (namely blogging) has shown that there is a huge market for information out there that is not provided by the major sports media. And yet no one in the TV world has caught on to that.

    If you want to talk about mindless chatter during a broadcast try to watch a Nascar race on Fox, the coverage is 5 hours of sheer inanity at about the Mike Toth level.

    Last night’s race was a typical example with Fox not going to commercials during cautions only to break for commercial just after the restart and then coming back after crucial developments had occurred. GRRRR!

    So trust me it isn’t just hockey that has suffered.

    And let me commend you on the continued correct of lose vs loose.

    Now we just have to start working on then vs than.

    As in PJ Stock has more in common with Toth THAN he realizes :)

  2. torontosportsmedia says:

    I hope it makes you smile every time I write a post that I think of you :)

  3. Nothing makes me happier :)

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