Monday’s Seinfeld Award Winner

Seinfeld Award? Yes, you recall Seinfeld, the tv show about, nothing. Well here at TSM when a scribe writes a story without saying anything they get the Seinfeld award. We have a winner today and the column may well be the winner of the year.

Today’s winner is Bruce Dowbiggin who’s column about media savvy could be pretty interesting. He looks at Jim Balsillie, Eugene Melnyk, Dany Heatley and Patrick Kane and the weeks they have had in the public arena. Now, the theme of article as suggested by the title is clear, “Media savvy severely lacking in Coyotes saga”, the problem is Dowbiggin’s article doesn’t really say that. It doesn’t really say anything.

“Usual Suspects’ first rule of journalism: There is no problem you can’t make worse by laundering it in the media. Just ask Jim Balsillie and Eugene Melnyk. Or Dany Heatley and Patrick Kane. Years from now students of the fourth estate will look back at this past week and say, “This was not their finest hour.”

Ok, I get that. From the public perspective none of the above would call last week good in terms of public relations. Balsillie filed a court document that may have blown up in his face. In the document he called into question the character of some of the current NHL owners in response to his own character being questioned. Melnyk was one of the named owners and he reacted by smearing Balsillie right back in a public forum. Was it Melnyk’s worst hour? Hardly. He reacted in a way many of us would expect him too. He didn’t start the fight, but it surely looks like he ended it. You all know how much respect I don’t have for Dany Heatley. However, I wouldn’t say this was his worst week either. He didn’t thrust himself into the media, rather that came at the request of others. Don’t get me wrong, he did request or demand the trade, however I am not really sure how much this is the player making his own decision or the agent wagging the player. As for Patrick Kane, this wasn’t his finest hour? Ummmmm, I think things were way worse the week the “cab incident” occurred! Having to read a prepared statement isn’t nearly as bad as the stuff that was written about him everywhere (here included).

Dowbiggin’s multiple paragraph piece on Melnyk and Balsillie says nothing, zero, zilch, nadda. Really, there is so much a guy like this should be able to say. He has been in this business for years. I am sure he could have cited numerous examples of good and bad that these guys could have followed. Instead we got an article about nothing. Too bad.

He then moves on to Kane and Heatley.

“Dany Heatley and Patrick Kane both engaged in a little pre-emptive media spinning last week. To avoid distracting reporters from pressing Olympic issues – such as, “Is the Canadian jersey too boring?” or, “Why is Brian Burke’s tie always undone?” – both star players fessed up (sort of) to the summertime blues. ”

Again, this piece is full of angles that Dowbiggin could have explored. There are tons of athletes who have handled trade demands and tons of stories to tell about they handled better and worse than Heatley. There aren’t enough trees left in the world to cut down and turn into paper to write all the stories about athletes who have run afoul of the law. Count this as an opportunity wasted. So much to say, so little said.

“The real purpose of the non-disclosure disclosures was not to shed light on the issues but to allow both Kane and Heatley to tell pesky reporters, “Guys, I already addressed that in my press availability. Next question?” Mission accomplished.”

That’s it??? That’s all you got? No opinion of your own? No expert opinion? No comparisons? talk about leaving me wanting more….well, not more, but….anything.

Congrats Bruce, your column in today’s Globe and Mail has won you the TSM Seinfeld Award for Monday August 24, 2009.

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