Hypothetical Questions, Actual Dumbassery

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You know, one of the oft-repeated truisms about Leafdom is that the frenzied media atmosphere is the product of the market's obsessive (or delusional and sheep-like) interest in all matters Blue and White. The fans want to read about the Leafs every day, the story goes, and so the media is compelled to turn every misplaced pass, ill-chosen word, or exposed dong into a front page, updates on the nines, soap opera.

And for a long time, I believed some of it. While realizing that a lot of what got printed was garbage, I believed that the pressure to come up with new angles meant that occasionally a working journo would have to seize on some nonsense to deliver a 'scoop' and stay relevant.

The last vestiges of that sympathy were swept away like a fart in a hurricane when I saw what the mittenstringers have come up with today.

Consider the situation. We have the most exciting, wide-open Leafs training camp I can remember. The team is in a total state of flux, with opportunity and peril present in every area of the team. Off the top of my head, here a few interesting stories:

Luke Schenn - will he stay or will he go?
Will Pogge be a viable #1 by season's end?
Ron Wilson - how is he coaching? Who does he like? What is the essence of his system, and are the Leafs getting it?
Cliff Fletcher - are there any moves coming before the end of camp?
Kulemin- how is he adapting to the NHL game? Where does Wilson want to put him? How is he adapting to Canadian life?
Jason Blake? Is he back? Is he changing his game? What is his role on the team? 
Steen and Stajan - are they ready to step up as leaders and thrive with increased ice time? Are they top 6 guys or career checkers?
The power play - who anchors the second unit? How does Van Ryn look back there?

These are literally just a few of the questions of interest to Leafs fans, and I didn't even mention over half the roster. There are intriguing hockey stories all over the place. Yet what do the mittenstringers give us?

Berger and Cox both took Tanenbaum's answer to a dumb hypothetical to savage the guy about 'MLSE not knowing what they are doing OMG what a maroon wanting to be competitive.' I'd be tickled to see their reaction if he had said all that mattered was one Cup. Oh, and apparently according to Damien, Roy Halladay is better at throwing baseballs than Tanenbaum is at running a franchise, or something. I guess DC Talk didn't study the fruit basket I sent him last week. The one with all the apples and oranges.*

Feschuk, on the other hand, takes some innocuous remark from Wilson about the Leafs being the Yankees of hockey and stretches it out to a painfully unfunny column. Come on Dave, Wilson's right - they're both gonna miss the playoffs this year. (FEEL THE BURN JORN).

No, this isn't the pressure to come up with a story. This is all these guys know how to do. I used to assume, despite all my criticism, that these guys knew more about how the game is played, what winning and losing hockey is than I do; for despite my love of the game, I skate like a drunk Wozniewski and my playing experience is limited to road hockey and dominating the various iterations of EA's NHL game. I've never played organized ice hockey.

But now I'm thinking the mittenstringers write all this look-at-me trolling bullshit cause at the end of the day, they don't understand hockey - how games are won and lost, how to measure the contributions of players, how franchises are built, how different penalty killing systems work, how a coach balances instilling a system and letting individuals flourish - they don't understand any of it. They don't write about hockey because they can't write about hockey. Prove me wrong, guys. I'm not holding my breath.

*This allows us to outline DC Talk's Other Sports Corollary
1. The only other sports DC Talk likes are country club sports; all other Other Sports are only referred to insofar as they serve to bash MLSE by comparison. Oh, and the CFL. Whatever.

** Be sure to enter our Berger '1967' Competition! We are going to do a tracking bar and prizes and everything! See the previous post for details!

5 Comments

Good stuff.
For the "1967" contest, I'm gonna go with 42 times. Is that low? I don't read Berger, ever, so I'm shootin' in the dark here.
Feschuk's last piece was the worst "hockey-related" article I've seen in a long time. It wasn't funny at all and it was unnecessarily rude. Such pathetic indignation over such a trivial point.

Varry Galk said:

Hey, for the Berger contest, do comments like "41 years" or "four decades" or "since expansion" count? I say yes, but before I predict, I'd like a ruling.

brett said:

Its obvious fuckchuk was drinking when he wrote that article on Wilson. Perhaps you have to be just as wasted to get the point?

Richest team in baseball = Yankees
Richest team in hockey = Leafs

Dat der equation is a real doozy!

Gonna pour myself a lil' stiffener to help me figure it out.

D²an D¹aoust said:

Just stumbled across your blog, though not in a drunken hapazzard way.

Yeah, it does seem that many Star columnists, most Sun columnists, and a few others in Toronto are practically dead from the neck up. But is this disease of coxanalia, that is to seemingly exploit an angle until reality becomes ultimately meaningless, a symptom of the environment of pro-sports today? I suppose the ludicrous amount of drachmas thrown around to the Tie Domis of the world makes it difficult to look at the world of sports through a rose-coloured electron microscope, but still, I don't think that should precipitate a wholesale shift of focus away from the ice and onto the boardroom. Sure, MLSE blows goats, but I don't think that is reason enough to treat every aspect of Leafdom as a footnote to a general thesis. Sometimes I think these writers have a yearning to get MBAs more than they have a desire to write about sports. Or as in the case with Berger, write a three volume encomium to the common man.

I guess writing about the general connection and maybe importance of sports, how it may be a window into the soul or how it reflects some little microcosm of society may seem a touch naïve in today's atmosphere of moneyed athletes who share a couch with indifference, but still, as you guys write, that doesn't detract from the fact that there are stories to be told beyond the mere navel lint mining of just what the status of the Leafs, in the grand scheme of the sporting universe, exactly is.

I say 1,425 times that Berger mentions 1967. By the time he hits 753, the FAN will probably realize that he has some rare form of rabies that he refuses to succumb to. If only they could have him put down, for his own sake.

Keep on keepin on!

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This page contains a single entry by Godd Till published on September 27, 2008 10:30 AM.

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