As a fan who owned a mailing list, moderated a message board I always used to laugh to myself at the people posting and wrote we when talking about their team as if they had some kind of personal stake in it.
I have kind of come around on that and feel that way myself at times now, but not to a point where I'm going to protect the New York Islanders at all cost, right or wrong.
It's kind of funny when you see a hockey incident where two teams have several fan sites and long time fans of the team wrap themselves up in the teams flag regardless of who is right or wrong as they rip the other side.
It's also clear a few of these fan sites may have their living depend on protecting the team that gives them insider access and sure do seem to react to protecting the sweater as if they are part of that team, in other words, we.
Even worse is now the long time fans of the team employed by newspapers also have no problem protecting the team and lock room beat they are assigned when the pressure is on from outsiders. It almost comes off like an obligation when you see some people doing backflips to get out Sean Avery's message.
Once in a while they will rip an unpopular player in the room who's a target of the fans but for the most part they make sure they do not become a problem because it could effect their job. And something that an old book called Ball Four by Jim Bouton has always been right about is your as smart or dumb as how well you are playing.
Larry Brooks ripped Brendan Shanahan a while back, a few days later he did a public retraction as if he knew it would hurt his personal working relationship with Shanahan and led to other players tuning out Brooks. Either that or the Rangers p.r people called the Post sports editor and Brooks was called on the carpet.
Many of these people are life long fans and even thought they are passionate and critical it's another thing when outside media from other teams rip their team. It's one thing for the local writer to rip a team or a player, it's another thing entirely when a writer for the opposing team does it.
As Otter said in Animal House " He can't do that to our pledges, only we can do that to our pledges."
It's kind of sad because in the end it's like a bunch of politicians lobbying for their party now. No wonder Msg pays so much to own all Islander, Devil and Sabre content on their network.
This does not even bring into play the life-long fans of these teams or former players with ties to the organization currently working in the media for outlet's like Tsn.ca/Espn or any other hockey news information source. Most of these folks are former players and coaches with life-long bonds to organization's and possible future jobs back in hockey are in the balance.
Of course the Islanders do not have this problem because they have virtually no
die-hard fans representing them in the media business which is why the proverbial glass will always be half empty win or lose. When the next Tucker-Peca incident happens that's why you can read out of Toronto Peca jumped into Tucker's clean hit and the person at Newsday will be too busy telling the fans about the Islanders trying to remain viable to even bother taking a stance because they have no passion for the team beyond filing their story.
When Evan Grossman put himself on the hook and wrote the Islanders would beat Ottawa in the playoffs he was blasted in Canada, why bother?
If there are any fans with private web sites they are outnumbered and do not want to become a target by themselves and take on the masses who are backed by teams or correctly do not want to stick up for the club when it is wrong which I personally think is the correct choice. You have to give the organization praise when it's merited and be critical when you need to be or why bother unless you are a paid employee.
As I have written previously we have a writer or two at Newsday who's job is essentially a paycheck and an assigment and the job requirement is not for a
die-hard fan. If an incident takes place they will tell the Islanders side of things while the shock jocks at the paper like a Jim Baumbach or a Mark Herrmann will come in and remind us the Islanders are just not a major player on the New York sports stage or just make sure some negative angle is a major theme of what they write.
It's kind of like the Chris Simon incident last year, as fans we had to read about Simon and what he did wrong and most of it was fair and accurate. That said when Ranger sites or writers tell us about Chris Simon they forget to include his suspensions and stick swinging incidents when he wore their laundry a few years ago or how he beat up Dave Scatchard who was playing in a shoulder harness.
And sure you can go back as far as when Cairns wore a Ranger jersey and Rich Pilon an Islander jersey. The laundry changes, the spin for the laundry does not.
What I'm getting at is can some of these sites and writers tone it down and not lobby around their own team every single time, right or wrong? Are they under so much pressure and so biased it's not possible as if they feel they must influence public opinion?