Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: the internet


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Believe it or not I actually start out each week looking for positive things to say in this space. Great reporting, broadcasting, and writing are a true pleasure and I’m always excited to be able to talk about these when they occur. Another thing that might not be obvious is that I try to keep an open mind about all of the sports media, even those I don’t think are very good at their jobs. Just because someone has a bad track record doesn’t mean he or she can’t have good insights. So, each week I look for ways to challenge and revise my current perceptions of the people I cover.


Then weeks like this one come along and all I want to do is throw my computer in the lake. So without further fanfare let’s embrace the dark side and get to work dissecting the train wreck that unfolded after the Carlyle firing.


The Idiot


Randy Carlyle was fired as head coach of the Leafs. Phil Kessel called the Star’s Dave Feschuk an idiot after the latter asked Kessel if he was uncoachable. The full transcript can be found here and here.


As you’ll recall, Feschuk wrote a widely criticized article back in September in which he quotes several anonymous sources talking about how Kessel is uncoachable. The comments mostly trace back to Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott, who was not quoted directly in Feschuk’s article and has since claimed that those comments were mostly in jest. Feschuk also made news in the past for calling James Reimer’s mum to find out about the player’s health. This made him the object of several insults from ex-Leafs GM Brian Burke. (side note:  I had no problem with Feschuk calling Reimer’s mum)


So that’s Mr. Feschuk’s recent track record, and that is clearly an essential component of Kessel’s reaction to the question. It’s not just anyone asking him if he’s uncoachable; it’s that guy who wrote that article 4 months ago trying to stir things up and vindicate what he wrote.


Here are my 2 cents. It’s an objectively bad question. Furthermore, it’s an atrocious question for Feschuk to ask given his background. Let me expound on both of these points.


1) It’s a bad question — how can you tell whether something is a bad question? Well, for starters, if there is no good answer to it then it’s probably a bad question. What can Kessel say? Here are some plausible answers: “No”, “Ask the coach”, “We all have to take responsibility for our bad play”, “I don’t think so”, “I have played for lots of great coaches” …


There’s just not much to be said by the player because “coachability” is in the eyes of the coach, not the player. The question is a dud, and there’s a reason why no one else in the media has asked Kessel that question since Feschuk’s article. It’s not a question worth asking. It’s not a tough question; it’s a bad one. Good reporters don’t ask bad questions.


2) Consider the source — It’s not a stretch to think that no one other than Feschuk would ask that question in that way. Feschuk has to know that he is perceived as lacking credibility by the Leafs organization, as well as by observers of the team. His reputation precedes him when he walks into the dressing room. Rather than using that as motivation to refine his question to Kessel, he clumsily barrels ahead with the very same question he put on the table back in September. In so doing he is flagging to everyone that he’s still on the same bent. This is not smart. If he’s out to vindicate the story then a much better strategy is available to him: talk to Randy.


Feschuk comes across as someone who is out to get Kessel. From the audience’s perspective, this makes him lack credibility. When I read his work I have to ask myself whether he has an axe to grind with someone, and if what he is saying is really true or just a narrative that Feschuk wants to be true. Why would I bother putting in all that work? I’ll just go read someone else.


This is a pivotal career moment for Feschuk. People don’t become bad journalists overnight. It’s a slow process where you take the easy way out, try to convince people that you didn’t, and then convince yourself that you are still a credible journalist. But when the next time comes, you’ve lowered the bar and it becomes easier to take other shortcuts. By the end of the day you’re just throwing stuff out and saying “gotta ask the question” as a justification.


Winners & Losers


Feschuk seems to be mostly respected by his media brethren. This was apparent in the flow of support that appeared after Kessel called Feschuk an idiot. Here’s a brief summary. (note: I am reporting what I heard and read, but this list is far from complete. Please let me know of any relevant additions or clarifications.)


DamiEn Cox said that, actually, there was nothing wrong with what Feschuk asked.



Bruce Arthur, confessed friend of Dave, said this in a Star article: “(Wilson also said Kessel is hard to coach, echoing Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott in a coaches’ talk last summer. This makes all the carping about the Star’s Dave Feschuk asking Kessel if he is hard to coach confusing to me, to be honest.)”


He followed that up with this on Twitter



also, this:



Cathal Kelly had this to say:


“Upon opening the dressing room, Phil Kessel – who never talks – decided he wanted to talk first. Dion Phaneuf wears the C. He was supposed to go first. But Kessel was getting antsy and couldn’t wait. […] At the end, he wigged out when asked a tough question by Toronto Star columnist Dave Feschuk. “Phil, it’s been suggested within the organization that you’re a difficult guy to coach. Is there anything to that?” This is entirely fair, not least because people within the organization do say that. At best, management thinks of Kessel as a Coca-Cola-swilling Holy Fool. Kessel brushed Feschuk back, channeling De Niro – “You think it’s my fault? Is that what you’re saying? Is that what you’re saying? Is that what you’re saying?” That was also fair. But as he turned to stomp off, he once again could not help himself. “This guy’s such an idiot here,” Kessel said, laughing mirthlessly. “He’s always been like that.”


After claiming that Kessel usurped Phaneuf by speaking first, Kelly goes on to say:


[K]essel sets the tone for the entire room. He’s the only star, and as such the de facto alpha. His public numbskullery is a corrosive example to other incipient knuckleheads in the room. And like any locker room anywhere, there are plenty of those.”


The media perspective from the above is fairly univocal: tough but fair question, and if anyone acted badly it’s Kessel.


One person who deviated from this script was TSN’s Jeff O’Neill. Feschuk appeared on Leafs Lunch to defend his point of view and O’Neill asked (I’m paraphrasing) “if the question is a zero, why ask it?” This is an excellent question by Jeff. Feschuk’s answer is stunning: “that’s a fair point.” The thought that one should restrict oneself to asking questions that will yield meaningful answers had apparently not occurred to him until that point.


Players who become media members tend not to shine in the new role but this exchange highlights the much needed perspective they provide. As someone who has been on the receiving end of dud questions from reporters pursuing personal motives, O’Neill was a real asset here. Bryan Hayes did a decent job of managing the discussion but I wish he would have let the conversation between the two of them ride a little longer.


TSN also had ex-Leafs coach Ron Wilson on, who took the opportunity to say the following: “some of the core players have failed under two or three coaches, so it has to be the players’ fault.” Many people leapt all over these comments to support Feschuk. I’d just like to point out that the inference is invalid. Suppose I take my car to one bad mechanic who fails to fix the problem. Suppose I then take it to another bad mechanic who also fails to fix the problem. Does that mean my car is to blame rather than the people who failed to fix the problem? Obviously not.


The biggest loser in all of this was the audience. We were not well served by Feschuk, nor by the media narrative that this was a tough question. The whole thing was just very unprofessional. I’ll turn this over to you: who do you think came out looking good/bad/ugly in all of this?


Quick Hits


ESPN will soon offer online access to their programming without needing a traditional cable subscription. This is something for which many have been clamouring and it will be interesting to watch how this affects TV rights deals in the future. There is potentially more revenue here.


Still with ESPN, they backed Bayless’ claims that Johnny Manziel is a liar and an alcoholic because they believe that Bayless has sources that can confirm this. ESPN is just making things up as they go in my opinion.


Mirtle has a nice piece on April Reimer’s anti-bullying campaign.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • I’ve never linked Steve Buffery of the Sun before, but he has a sober and interesting discussion of the morning after in Leafs land.


  • I caught a few Tim&Sid segments this week. Regular listeners, I’d like your opinion on the following: when did Tim become the human laugh track for Sid? It could just be an artifact of the few segments I heard, but I don’t remember the show being so one-sided in the past.


  • And finally, the cherry on top of terrible sundae that was this week in sports media … Multi-platform Sportsnet contributor Jeff Blair spent last weekend contributing by trolling UFC fans, calling the sport fake and scripted. In related news, UFC rights recently went from Sportsnet to TSN.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

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Jonathan Giggs
Jonathan Giggs
January 10, 2015 11:16 am

TSN did well – everyone was talking about the Ron Wilson interview while Hockey Central was the same old thing. People knew Feschuk asked a question, not aware of what anyone else asked.

I don`t agree with much of what you wrote. Any question is fair and then the real event is HOW is it answered. Kessell seemed to be running away from much ado about nothing, much the way the Leafs play when things get tough. Kessell made me think the team has no hope with him, and he is their best player, scorer, etc.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
January 10, 2015 11:53 am

Mike in Boston,

Thanks for the weekly post; I very much look forward to your take on sports media.

I fully agree with your view of the Kessel-Feschuk exchange. I would add the following points:

1. Feschuk’s question was more theatre than good journalism. Phil is not comfortable with the media and it was highly unlikely that he would (a) say yes and (b) give an articulate, unemotional response. Feschuk knew this. It reminded me of the ambush-journalism segments of 60 Minutes from many years ago. On camera, 60 Minutes would surprise the subject of their piece and the audience would delight in the fact that the person would struggle to answer the questions and/or try and escape. Serious questions went unanswered but we were entertained.

2. If Feschuk’s purpose was to ask a good, tough question, wouldn’t a better question be to ask Phil if he thought he bears some responsibility for Carlyle’s firing and, if so, how?

3. On Leafs Lunch, Feschuk said that part of being a good journalist was taking responsibility for what you write by meeting face-to-face with the subject of your opinions. Yet, when Kessel asked if Feschuk thought he (Kessel) was uncoachable, Feschuk did not offer his opinion. He retreated to the position that others had said he (Kessel) was uncoachable.

January 10, 2015 12:06 pm

I thought Jeff O’Neill and Bryan Hayes did a awesome job this week talking Leafs dismissing Randy Carlyle and Kessel on Leafs Lunch on 1050. Big score getting Ron Wilson where the hell has he been ?!!!!!

Another great segment was on Tuesday night on TSN 1050 Game Night with Gareth Wheeler and Mike Hogan and guest TSN Anaylist Craig Button. Button and Wheeler had a great back and forth regarding the state of the Leafs organization as a whole. Great fiery debate and great radio.

As for Jeff Blair trolling UFC fans. No shock he is a corporate schill for Rogers. Why he is considered must listen to radio by marketers at Sportsnet 590 The Fan is beyond me. He has contempt for his listeners and is a complete clown. His show equals turn off the radio. Glad I listened to Dave Naylor this week instead of PTS with that douchebag. Freedom of sports radio it’s great.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
January 10, 2015 12:21 pm

I couldn’t disagree with you more on the Kessel issue Mike. Sure it was a question that wasn’t going to elicit an answer. I don’t think it was meant to. Rather than, as you postulate, it was vendetta based I think it was intended to show Phil’s character. Which it did in spades. He could have, many have, taken the high road and offered any number of plausible answers. He could have shown some maturity, taken some responsibility. Instead, as I also thought, he went all “are you looking at me” called Feschuk an idiot and lost the point, set and match.

The simple fact is people always go on about character, how character is key to winning teams. No one will ever accuse the Leafs of having too much of it. The question Feschuk asked was his way of showing people who and what their top paid and top dog player is all about. Himself. Its validation that the team is de facto lead by a guy who wants 20 minutes and 80 points and who cares little about anything else.

On a side note I truly believe if the Leafs are to ever achieve anything they need to move Phil. They are at least 5 years out from having a chance to be a contender. And even that is only a hope because they need a whole bunch of things to happen to make that a reality. In 5 years who knows what Phil will be. He’s not exactly a guy who is working hard to ensure a long career.

January 10, 2015 12:51 pm

I would have liked the Feschuk question a lot more if he had attributed the quote to an actual person eg Spott or Wilson.

January 10, 2015 1:18 pm

I think Feschuk’s question – and his support from certain writers – speaks more about the Toronto Star’s policies than Feschuk himself. Their editorial bent seems to speak for itself.

I recall during Rob Ford’s tenure as mayor, when I mentioned to my wife (a former journalist) that it really looked like The Star was doing everything it could to “go after” him on a daily basis. Like it was a personal vendetta. She pointed out that, “sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire. If you smell a rat, you have to do what you can to ferret it out.”

Now, we can debate whether that is good journalism or not, but it quickly became clear to everyone that the mayor of Toronto was a liar, a bully and a drug addict. Much of that was due to the efforts of the Toronto Star. They have also put the same effort in exposing Jian Ghomeshi and, most recently, Leslie Roberts.

Now, in Phil Kessel, I would suggest someone at The Star has the same vendetta. We have all heard through the years that Kessel marches to the beat of his own drummer. That he can be difficult. Clearly, the way he plays shows that he is more concerned about his own stats rather than those of his team. Feschuk is just doing his job in trying to expose the team’s highest paid player as a bit of a fraud.

He just isn’t doing it very well.

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
January 10, 2015 2:24 pm

In my opinion, Feschuk’s question would have been appropriate had it been asked in the context of serious journalism that included interviews with current and past teammates, coaches, executives to determine the validity of Kessel’s reputation. Instead, he came across as a real-life troll better suited to Twitter than a national newspaper. In addition, using Cox and Arthur as examples of support for Feschuk does nothing but support my viewpoint, in my mind.

January 10, 2015 3:10 pm

You hardly have to be a shill to think hat UFC lacks credibility.

January 10, 2015 3:47 pm

Blair had been critical of ufc in the past, just not very often.

Im sure that it changing rightsholders, along with its biggest fight in years, gave him an avenue to poke the bear.

I would say it was a good thing he was filling in this week, when the leafs stuff happened and had Grange and Friedman in the co-host chair instead of Reid or Sid.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
January 10, 2015 4:59 pm

Blair is a whole !!
He was also quoted as saying 2 of the TOP 3 sports stories in Canada in 2015 will be the Pan Am games & The Woman’s World Cup soccer.

Ahh I don’t think so Tim.

January 10, 2015 5:30 pm

No surprise that Bruce Arthur, in particular, would jump to Dave Feschuk’s defense. Isn’t St. Bruce the same man who wrapped himself in journalistic superiority and took on Damien Cox for his work in the summer? Just as suspected then, the tune changes when the culprit, in this case Feschuk, plays on the same team.

As for Phil Kessel, the guy clearly dances to his own, very different tune. Does that make him bad? No, not at all. It means a media meltdown town like Toronto may not be his best fit. In the meantime, the kid might just want to try enjoying his gig a bit more. Life’s truly not all that tough for a rich 27-year-old who plays hockey for a living. Think the boys back in Wisconsin making $26,000 a year getting drunk every night and telling old high school football stories would cut him any slack? Feschuk’s a Dale Carnegie grad compared to those guys.

January 10, 2015 5:42 pm

I think Blair did a nice job as McCown’s fill in. Not least of which because when John Shannon tried to interrupt him on the round table (as he does to everyone) Blair cut him off and said “LET ME FINISH”.

January 10, 2015 10:33 pm

You’re car analogy is horrible.

The first mechanic was the chief mechanic of a premier Nascar team (or in Ron Wilson’s case, a multiple division winner) and couldn’t fix the car.

The second mechanic was the chief mechanic of a Formula 1 team (or in Carlyle’s case, won a Stanley Cup). and couldn’t fix the car.

Maybe the car can’t be fixed.

Peter Ballantine
Peter Ballantine
January 10, 2015 11:32 pm

On behalf of all the real and intelligent Toronto sports fans, THANK YOU!

Only in Toronto, where the media is “So easy! Nothing compared to Montreal, New York etc!” would the blame be turned on your only super star player! Disgusting.

The whole conversation should have been about Carlyle’s HORRIBLE “tight defensive systems” that got him fired in the first place from Anaheim. Oh gee, what do you know? Horachek already has the Leafs giving up less shots/scoring chances than they EVER did under Carlyle.

All week the blame should have been focused on the sad and pathetic state that Burke/Nonis left this organization in.

Instead it became how the Leafs only all star, super star, point-per-game player, who entering this year, was second in the ENTIRE league in points!! Absolutely absurd.

The media would love to run the Leafs best player out so that they can be even worse. BTW, the major reason why Carlyle lasted this long was Kessel in the first place.

So in the end, F Feschuk, F Cox and F the other media members that should know better (Arthur). Follow the best in the biz; Mirtle, Chris Johnston, and Traikos (who is quickly on the rise).

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
January 11, 2015 9:49 am

I think Kessel’s wisdom has been overlooked, or understated.
Feshuk’s reporting is borderline on idiotic most days – Phil called a spade a spade!

January 11, 2015 10:52 am

Blair has been tootin the anti-UFC horn for ages now. Nothing new.

January 11, 2015 12:55 pm

As I said in a previous post, I think that if the basis of broadcasters opinion is based on who the rights holder is then I think fans of the sport get cheated. if Blair wants to take shots at a so called sport that is scripted,gimmicky and just foney I think he should take a look in his employers own backyard with there love affair and rights deal with the WWE. Coverage should always be based on the events popularity, not the broadcasters agenda. TSN definitely got the last laugh with the world juniors, NHL and Rogers got hammered. Winter Classic could never withstand the tradition of the world Juniors. Not Even Close.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
January 11, 2015 1:45 pm

Winter Classic could never withstand the tradition of the world Juniors. Not Even Close.

They ruined the so-called Winter Classic by having so many outdoor games last year.

OT is anyone watching Sunday night hockey? Personally, I don’t really bother with all that passionless pre-playoff season hockey but I was with some hockey fans this week who do when the subject of Hometown Hockey and the Sunday nighter came up. None of them had watched either. Maybe the people I know are outliers but for them Sundays at this time of year are all about the NFL and/or European soccer.

January 11, 2015 2:50 pm

I personally enjoyed Blair trolling the UFC. They should maybe start having some real PED testing and not the joke of a system they have right now… mind you the same could be said of the NFL and Tennis.

January 12, 2015 4:35 pm

Nothing wrong with the question, especially in the context of yet another Leaf coach being fired. A lot of people other than Dave Feschuk were wondering publicly if this core group (including Kessel) were coachable or (gasp) “coach killers”. It seems to me completely reasonable that Kessel was asked what he thought of that notion on the morning that Carlyle was rinsed.

Mark Hebscher
January 13, 2015 3:39 pm

Mike, I think this is a discussion that could have many different threads. Getting an interview with a player, however brief, is much different in a scrum situation than a one-on-one. It’s literally a feeding frenzy in the scrum, but if you have a particular angle to pursue, you have to insert yourself (and your question/statement) in such a way that you’re going to ruffle some feathers. Everybody looks at the inquisitor differently, and then focuses their look on the player, who is put in a difficult position. In a one on one, you have the luxury of preparing some questions or asking follow up questions for the time you have with the player. There’s nobody else trying to interject their line of questioning or their attitude. I agree that Feschuk and Kessel have some personal history, but Feschuk DID ask a question that ANY of us would’ve asked. It’s the WAY it came off that didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Both men need to do their jobs a little better, and the public needs to be a bit more understanding as to what pressure BOTH sides are under. This business can eat you up if you don’t have a thick skin.

January 13, 2015 4:34 pm

I agree with Mark on this. I also think that the question had to be asked. Perhaps it should have been asked by someone other than Feschuk (considering their history), but if you listen to the actual question, it’s really not that bad… “It’s been suggested to me that you’re a difficult guy to coach. Do you think there’s anything to that?”

Again, in the context of the coach being fired, that’s not too bad, in my opinion. And Kessel could have responded with “I’m not sure about that, but we all take responsibility yada yada…” Instead of blowing up and making it a story.

We complain that players are asked too many softball questions from reporters, and therefore, we get nonsensical answers. Here now, we get an appropriate question to a star player (who’s attitude has in the past been questioned by many others) and we are waving our finger because it was asked. You can’t have it both ways.

January 14, 2015 1:04 am

Agree with you totally: the issue I have is not the question per se, but how it was asked and the Feschuk context. It was as emotionally and incompetently delivered as the reply was, although one old argue that Kessel’s reaction was, in part, understandable as he was provoked or sucker punched.

What was interesting to me was the number of media folk who supported Feschuk. My sense is that the support was less merit or rational based and more like fraternity or union brothers standing up blindly for a colleague or even friend.

January 14, 2015 9:35 am

The Feschuck question was a simple one and with just a few words, Feschuk cut to the core of not only why Carlyle was fired but how the Leafs have played the last few years. Kessel is the Leafs highest paid and highest profile player. It was a simple and fair question on the lips of every Leafs fan to which Kessel responded like a child.

I have to defer to the many media in Toronto who, without even having to give it much thought, always answered ‘it was a fair question’ ( Jeff O’Neill excluded of course ). And most said (including Jeff Blair and Elliot Friedman) they personally had experienced far worse reactions from players over the years by asking tougher questions. There are a lot more microphones/recorders/cameras now than there used to be which are further leveraged by social media.

My question is why so few media played the full clip where at the end, post scrum, Kessel twice says Feschuk is ‘always disrespecting Leafs players’ *paraphrasing ( of the two links above, the one on the right has the full clip). I believe I only saw it on HNIC.

Tim & Sid as I’ve mentioned before are dregs. I tried listening to a show last week. They mention a guest coming up that I’m interested in, then for 10 minutes they talk and laugh about absolutely nothing. If I had to try and explain to someone what they were talking about, I couldn’t.

With Sammut filling in for Blair last week I was more tuned to Macko & Cauz and find myself actually enjoying that show now. They have a nice rhythm and are funny without the idiocy of Tim & Sid or Mike Richards. Though I have to admit I don’t think they know any more about sports than any avid sports radio fan would know. Blair has a genuine depth of sports knowledge and if there is a breaking Jays story I would have to listen to him.

And Jeff O’Neill also had the best comment about Kessel post-Carlyle firing ‘I called a couple people in Boston and they said Kessel wasn’t liked and was a bad guy in the room.’ Along with his obvious defensive liabilities.

January 14, 2015 2:07 pm

Maybe Andrew Walker is right about criticising analytics. According to the following link Tom Brady is either the 43rd (or 6th) most clutch postseason quarterback of all time.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
January 14, 2015 2:49 pm

“Agree with you that this was an option but I think the way the question was asked let him off the hook, at least in my book. If Feschuk was not going to be professional then I don’t blame Kessel for reacting badly.”

We clearly have a different take on this issue Mike. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t think the question was unprofessional at all. The answer was. If you’re going to take questions expect that you might not like all of them. But unless it is a pure insult then act like an adult.

January 14, 2015 11:59 pm

@Kamlesh If you think that article proves Walker may be right about criticizing analytics you should look a little harder. Only in 01 did the Patriots completely exceed expectations, 03 and 04 when they won they were 14-2 not exactly surprise Super Bowl winners. Every year since 04 they were disappointments in the playoffs or just did what was expected. If Brady were “Clutch” he would raise his performance to another level for them to win. But more likely in reality “Clutch” may not exist to the point people think. People think Derek Jeter is “Clutch” when really his playoff stats are pretty much equal to his regular season.

January 15, 2015 6:03 pm


You’ve completely misrepresented the article to which you linked.

Not that Chris
Not that Chris
January 15, 2015 8:41 pm

The last segment of today’s PTS with Ken Rosanthal about the was a must listen. Not so much for the interview, which was short, but the conversation afterword. Brunt and Bob went after Rogers pretty hard about their treatment of Paul Beesten, and it went a good 10 minutes.

January 15, 2015 10:43 pm

Bob went after management a lot harder than i wouyld have expected.

January 16, 2015 10:16 am

Agree they went after them very hard. Clearly very personal.

After a point it started to piss me off because even if Bob is bff’s with Beeston, I don’t really feel like Beeston has done much for the Fan 590 listenership – at least in this go-round – maybe he did in the early 90’s. He comes on, talks alot, says nothing.

January 16, 2015 12:24 pm

Wouldn’t you think with Bob’s network of contacts and insiders at Rogers he would know a little more about what’s going on with Beeston? If he does know anything he’s not saying. Just saying someone high up is treating Beeston poorly is not very good reporting. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t know more.

Don River
Don River
January 16, 2015 2:43 pm

I bet he knows why Beeston was canned. It’s probably too incendiary for Bob to say it publicly.

January 16, 2015 5:35 pm

Beeston: “You promised us X amount of money.”
Laurence: “You can’t have it.”
Beeston: “Go **** yourself.”

That’s my guess anyway.

January 16, 2015 6:04 pm

Man, Bob going hardcore on the Jays. I live in Toronto and NOBODY is talking about the Jays….it’s all Leafs/Raptors. In Bob’s/Roger’s world, they think people care about the Jays in January

January 17, 2015 10:38 am

@jamally – If Shannon can talk hockey all summer why can’t Bob talk baseball in the winter? Where do you think the phrase “Hot stove league” came from?

January 17, 2015 6:52 pm

Feshuck is a journalist doing his job and I think it was a question worth asking. He phrased it respectfully and the value in asking a question like that is a it gives him an opportunity to defend himself and explain why he is coachable. Instead he exposed himself for the selfish baby that he is. Jose Bautista was asked a similar question about whether he used steriods a number of years ago. Some people were offended that a journalist would ask him such a loaded questions, but he was more than happy to answer it because it gave him an opportunity to dispell any rumors that he used any PEDS. It was a smart question and one that everyone wanted to know the answer to. Dave Feschuk is an excellent writer and one of the few sports writers still worth reading (Cathal Kelly is good too) Everyone else is becoming a corporate shill. And as someone who works in sports media, I have a really hard time reading this column and a lot of the comments from people who ‘think’ they know all about sports journalism and have never spent one second in a scrum, in a dressing room, in a newsroom or in a control room. Listen to Mark Hebscher, he is the only one on this board who makes any sense.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
January 18, 2015 12:41 pm


Given that sports media often have to contend with the “you never played the game” critique from those within the sports they cover, I’m always struck by the irony of members of sports media dismissing the views of others largely on the basis that those people have not worked in media. Those who played, coached and/or managed at the highest athletic levels certainly have a unique viewpoint on their sport; however, it is a perspective, not the only valid perspective. Similarly, members of sports media will have a take on the Kessel-Feschuk issue that is unique and welcomed; I also believe that fans/consumers have a point of view that is worth considering on the merits of their arguments, not dismissed on the basis of a resume.

January 18, 2015 12:46 pm

Bob Canuck,

Well put. Nobody has a monopoly on thought and perspective … and those who try to impose one are generally just displaying a paranoid weakness.

Claire A Fye
Claire A Fye
January 18, 2015 9:23 pm

I don’t think Mark Hebscher is the only guy on this board who makes some sense. Almost the only one perhaps. Packers33 is absolutely right in everything else he said. The question was asked in a matter-of-fact manner and the answer Kessel gave was very telling in regard to his character. Feschuk is not supposed to be a cheerleader. His sources had indicated Kessel was a coaching problem and he gave him the opportunity to address the issue and the whispers. I do believe everyone who rights an opinion on this board has the right to do so. I just think most are truly uninformed on how media works.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
January 18, 2015 9:41 pm

Claire, the question in itself may or may not have been asked in a matter of fact manner, but it is hard to disassociate the on-going relationship between media/sport member, and what has happened in the past.

I don’t think you can look at this issue in isolation, and lend judgement on either party based on question/response.

They both interact daily/weekly for the past few years.
There is more to this than just asking a question in a matter of fact manner.
Kessel’s response likely alluded to that history.

I just don’t think you can look at something like this in isolation.

January 20, 2015 2:10 pm

I agree with other posters who mentioned that the reaction from media to Feschuk’s question sounded a heckuva lot more like ‘circling the wagons’ around a colleague, rather than an actual defence.

Any time Damien “Is Bautista Juicing?” Cox is defending the ‘asking (of a) question’, I immediately take the other side of the argument. Go Kessel!

February 3, 2015 12:08 am

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