1/20/08

Creating hockey perception for fans 101

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/20/2008 04:47:00 PM
Someone has to do the dirty work so I guess it has to be me.

I want to make clear as always writers do articles based on their editor in terms of space and many times content. Fans often see a headline and blame the writer but most professional writers have that done for them.

Nothing like a Sunday in New York where the Ranger beat writers in the media business are creating perception while our only full-time beat writer is off on comp time and is not a life long fan of the Isles anyway. Our writer just files his story unless his plane is delayed or Chris Simon is suspended which brought out his two most passionate blogs of the year along with missing New Year's at home.

Professional and hard working is how I would describe Mr Logan's work but in terms of passion it seems to me he's not an Islander fan and just covering his assignment, it's not a job requirement to be a life-long Islander fan to cover the club for Newsday and no blame can be placed on Mr Logan for that.

Isles are out covered and out blogged by such a large margin it's impossible to ignore who's creating the perception. The same perception that comes out and is critical of Mr Wang when he signed Rick DiPietro but ignores it now when other owners do the same thing?

Meanwhile Mr Wang's classy efforts are not even covered beyond one article.

The same perception where Larry Brooks writes a classy article on Al Arbour and right next to it does another article to rip Mr Wang on Neil Smith the same day, even though there was no update on this story at that time?

Needless to say if you read only one side of things of course it's easy to influence your perception.

Welcome to Sunday Hockey in New York and the very small and limited lobby of people who control what your hockey perception should be. Of course this goes to Leon Carver, Bill Gallo, Dick Klayman and the Times, Journal News and current Newsday sports editors.

Ranger reporter Steve Zipay controls the Sunday NHL column for Newsday and in a market the Islanders are barely covered when he's not talking about the Rangers in that space he's reporting on outside markets. Islander fans have to look to Canada's professional writers or other markets for our teams Sunday information which begs the question why not make it all Islander-centric and have the Islander beatwriter do the article?

In the Daily News you have John Dellapina today when he's done hyping Brian Leetch for about three pages feels the officials are not being fair with his team and shows plenty of passion about it here while Peter Botte is given a few short paragraphs for some home games and no blog. Mr Botte today is never allowed to express much of an opinion or can I tell if the long-time Islander writer is passionate about the club in any way?

Can anyone see Mr Botte being as annoyed in print or a blog as Mr Dellapina if the Isles were not getting the calls? Did not see it last season when the Isles powerplay to penalty disparity was around minus ninety which was second worst in the NHL.

When FAN590's Howard Berger took on Ranger forward Shawn Avery and could not back his claims the Ranger beatwriters let him have it good in their media space.

Can you imagine Mr Botte, Greg Logan or Dan Martin doing likewise or the reports of Mr Berger barred from the press box?

Instead we get Larry Brooks poking fan at Radek Martinek for being angry Ryan Hollweg pulled at his stitches after a game?

NY Post: Larry Brooks today is out there demanding more recognition for former Rangers and talking tradition like no one hired to cover the Islanders ever will bother doing for Butch Goring and about half the dynasty era players as the Post website designer Steve Soderwell does a daily blog here while Dan Martin is provided no blog and is provided a very small amount of space for home games only when he's the writer assigned.

Outside of Mr Martin going out of his way to tell the public the first Caps game was not a sellout which Chris Botta pointed out in his blog I have read virtually nothing from Mr Martin all season where he shows any passion about the club.

That said I was wrong on Evan Grossman when he had the beat.

Can you ever see a Post Islander beatwriter lobby for a night for Butch Goring or the other dynasty players as life-long Ranger fan Larry Brooks did today?

Some may recall a few years ago a relative of Bob Bourne writing the Post Sunday sound off was highly offended about the Islander great being considered under-rated which Mr Wang as usual stepped up and did something about as this teams best owner who respects tradition and makes up for past ownerships neglect.

Over at the Journal News where the Isles used to get some limited coverage for games Sam Weinman writes passionately for the Rangers, the Newark Star Ledger also is out telling the Rangers story in their blog. For those wondering over at the NY Sun, Islander updates are very infrequent these days from Kevin Greenstein while even the Staten Island Advance has a Ranger blog.

The Times has a full-time Ranger blog now from Lynn Zinser, it's peripheral blogs talk about hockey tournaments in Europe more than Islander hockey in New York as they ignore the fans in their blog demanding full-time Islander coverage but go cover Kyle Okposo's Bridgeport debut and have Dave Caldwell make rare appearances at the Coliseum.

Of course it goes without writing it Newsday is the only place with an Islander blog in a newspaper where Greg Logan when he's not on comp time is outworked about four to one on average vs Steve Zipay here I ask why not cut Ranger road coverage out of Newsday entirely and double up on the Islanders if that's how it works in Manhattan with the sports editors and the Isles?

This does not even include our friends at Msg (you remember, the folks who produce Islander hockey games and own the rights to the telecasts?) where Mr Trautwig took a shot at Rick DiPietro earlier this season and even Chris Botta asked where's the Islander coverage on their sporadic shows recently after a game?

The station where Stan Fischler never writes or says a negative word on the house team, never travels to the Coliseum to report on games anymore but is quick to point to the gloom and doom surrounding the slightest adversity on the Isles or Devils here. The folks creating the perception at Msg include John Giannone, Sam Rosen, Mike Crispino, Bob Wicheusen, Dave Maloney, Kenny Albert, Joe Micheletti plus anyone else who holds an Msg microphone who know from Marv Albert's experience how they have to sell the Msg product the way they are told or find a new job.

Yes, I know Fran Healy got to do his interview with Mike Bossy for his Halls of Fame where I watched and wondered how long before Mr Healy asks if the Isles dynasty got it's fair share of attention?

For those curious Msg personalities hired to cover Islander hockey do have blog space at Msg. Billy Jaffe's last blog was in early December, Howie Rose has not done an Islander centric blog all season but had several Met updates. Deb Kaufman's last Islander centric blog was on October 22nd. Butch Goring has not been provided a blog spot at the Msg site. Mr Jaffe always tells us he's at the morning skate as does Mr Rose, so why not do some updates for the fans?

Chris King and Steve Mears who are not Msg employees and work for the Islanders do not have blogs but also do the Islanders television updates, post game shows and practice reports for those wondering why I did not single them out here.

Finally we all know Scott Burnside, Teri Frei, Barry Melrose and Dick Ebersol are always going to hype the New York markets for their networks because that's where Espn had it's sportszone. Sam Flood who is in charge of NHL on NBC guarantee's a
Ranger-Red Wing final would draw in casual viewers at the Winter Classic as Richard Deitsch at SI told us here so we know what the NBC agenda is geared toward with Mr Ebersol behind that.

Never mind the fact Ranger ratings on Msg last season were far below Islander television ratings during the John Spano era and their local and national playoff ratings were terrible to where Richard Sandomir in the Times told us the Rangers playoff ratings were 38 percent lower than the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in New York here or that the Sabres doubled up the New York playoff viewing audience last spring here according to countless articles even with Islander and Devil fans helping the Ranger numbers.

We also know the Michael Farber's, Adam Proteau's and Lyle Richardson's also spread the word from the folks creating the New York Hockey perception to Canada and other markets and that the Espn Sportszone in Manhattan is big business as is Rockefeller center where NBC is located.

So what is my point here?

Very simple. Just because one team has more fans in the media business telling you what your perception should be does not mean it is the correct perception. I'm also not doing this to tell you these folks should not be marketing their favorite team or not be passionate if they are fans of a team because that's what I would want for the Islanders folks covering them in the media if there were ten Islander fans controlling perception and no Ranger fans.

My point is you are only getting one side of the hockey story so do not be so quick to accept one-sided coverage as fact.

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