I always kind of laugh when once a year or longer a publication will mention the Long Island chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America awarded something to an Islander player or nominated them for a league award like the Masterson.
Where is this association of hockey writers when basically one person at Newsday covers the club on a full time basis during the season?
Can I apply after owning a mailing list for seven years, writing for websites and moderating/owning message forms regarding the club. I have problems even remembering the roster of people who have covered the club locally for the last seven years as hockey coverage in New York has decreased dramatically.
I think it goes like this:
Newsday-Valenti, Hahn, Logan
Post-Berman, Baum, Grossman, Martin, Everson-Brooks infrequent updates.
Daily News-Stephenson, Botte or Dellapina infrequent updates.
Times: Caldwell, Ron Dicker, A.P aside from features and rare Caldwell appearances.
NY Sun-Kevin Greenstein features only
Journal News-rare updates at best
No wonder the Islanders are reaching out to fans to start blogs and come report on games. I'm a little disappointed Chris Botta stopped ripping the media earlier this summer after getting into it with a few writers and promised a media-watch column every two weeks through the summer that he did not follow up on.
Just for reference when I started getting into hockey on-line a site called faceoff.com used to have weekly reports from Peter Botte from the Daily News. The Sporting News used to feature an Islander report from Alan Hahn weekly. Information was much easier to find and few sites were pay/subscription.
Those days are over and sites like that folded or scaled back hockey coverage or demand you pay for what I consider worthless content. Many teams do not have beatwriters on the road anymore to save money so you read the AP/ticker and club website for game information and check out the opposition. Once in a while a Newsday beatwriter like a Heyman, Powell or Howard will show up and the work looks like it's from someone who has only seen a handful of games because they are required, they provide nothing but filler and the die-hard fans know much more.
A major part of all this is the sports editor is the final say with regard to a teams coverage. I can only question the beatwriters content and effort here covering the club. It's kind of like fans blaming the beatwriter for the headline, papers have people to write the headline for a writers article, but we read something and blame the writer because his article is beneath someone else's headline.
Of course the major part of talking about the Islander media starts with new beatwriter Greg Logan, who was assigned to cover the club after Alan Hahn was
re-assigned the Knicks beat last summer. Let me start by writing anyone would have been an upgrade from Hahn after 05-06 who seemed to have an problem with some players and clearly the clubs PR director, Chris Botta was not happy with his work or lack of effort.
Worst of all Mr Hahn got very lazy and sloppy in his reporting of the games and information after the lockout. He never reached out to all the players on the roster. We read more on our European players in Europe and Canada in season then we ever did in Newsday. How long has Radek Martinek been here? Anyone ever read one quote from him in Newsday, even though he tries to give an interview once in a while on FSN.
Was it that tough for Mr Hahn to update his mailbag when in Pittsburgh their writers did one every week or two through the lockout? He claimed to be a life-long fan of the club and wrote two books (that badly needed editing) was it that hard for him to show some enthusiam if he grew up a fan? He ignored the clubs 25th anniversary of the 1980 cup during the lockout and only after fans contacted Newsday were some token features written with excepts from his book the following Sunday.
Mr Hahn sure had no problem constantly reminding us in his limited space that we are not a major market team so our space is limited.
Early years Hahn rated a solid C+ but his final year declined all the way to an F and not because of his negative view toward a losing team in 05-06. You want the beatwriter to tell it as it is, but from my perspective he just did not have any enthusiam for his job and the work was as sloppy as the club on the ice. In fairness Milbury was either a tough person to interview or one who fills quotebooks and makes the job easy. Later we found out his father passed away so maybe that was a problem all season his last year also.
Greg Logan: I don't want a homer covering the club and he shows signs of being one once in a while. Maybe he wants a good relationship with the club but so far I have to give him high marks. He took over the beat during some very tough times in the front office last summer.
If Logan wants to be critical that's great. A few times he seemed to take the high road during adversity where Snow and Nolan deserved some more tough questions, especially Nolan who went with Dunham too long and it practically eliminated the club from playoff contention. I like his blog updates and he does a good job but I don't think he understands this is the only newspaper blog the Isles have and the club needs all the updates it can get. Steve Zipay will put up three small updates in a day, Logan will do three big updates in a month. Meanwhile several of the other major papers have their their writers blogging because they understand the space in the paper is limited for hockey. The Islander blog at Newsday is critical to the coverage of the club.
Logan's work running down the Smyth trade was outstanding as was his getting an
interview from an airport as he flew here from Edmonton. Logan was also quick to point out blog views equals coverage. Islander fans set record numbers in Newsday
and newspaper coverage/backpages increased. That's what he mentioned in his first blog and he followed through which is what die-hards like myself look for.
All writers miss some items in reporting, Logan is no different but he had a very good first season here and I would rate his work a solid B under a lot of fan scrutiny from folks behind keyboards who have it easy like myself.
Peter Botte: I cannot blame Mr Botte for not being allowed to cover games, that goes with sports editor (Leon Carver?) at the Daily News. When he reports his work is usually very good and brings a lot of information. He knows when the club deserves credit and when they deserve to be ripped. Never saw any tendency where he played favorites.
Botte's been around for a long time on the Islander beat, he no longer is permitted to cover road games and the News will sometimes not send him to home games. I would give the editor an F and Botte a B+....
New York Post: Evan Grossman left for NHL.com in season last year and aside from an infrequnet Dan Martin home game article that read like A.P coverage we have not had a new full-time writer named to this point. What's interesting here is I was never a fan of Grossman's work at the Post but his Islander/NHL features at NHL.com are outstanding. I have doubts the Post will spend money on a full-time replacement and Larry Brooks noted the Isles ignored him in a conference call this summer so clearly Botta is not happy with the club's treatment.
Post sports editor Gallo has never given the Isles a fair shake in the Post, he get's a F while Grossman unitl the point he left rated a C. Grossman created a stir in Ottawa in the 2003 playoff when he picked the Islanders to upset the Senators.
New York Times: Again a F to the sports editor for not assigning any beatwriter to the club, Dave Caldwell game articles were so infrequent I cannot give it a fair rating, his Islander work from years ago would rate a B.