NHL training camps are already beginning to crank up. This portends a high likelihood that your local birdcage liner will soon come out with an “NHL Season Preview” package (probably in a Saturday edition, behind the strip club ads and erectile dysfunction advertorials). Even at smaller papers, the package can appear to be pretty impressive. How did Stu Sportswriter have the time to pull all those nuggets of info on all 30 teams, in between covering high school soccer tournaments and profiling the starting tight end at State U?
Come, step with LeNoceur behind the curtain…
You see, LeNoc wasn’t always a renegade hockey-blogging lawyer. Back in the olden days (we didn’t even have MySpace, and downloading a 20-second porn clip in less than an hour was just a wistful fantasy), yours truly was a journalist. An ink-stained, poorly dressed, lazy-ass print journalist, no less.
True, there are a few hardworking exclusively print people out there. One or two of them (maybe) cover hockey. The rest of us gathered our news the old-fashioned way: we waited for someone to spoon-feed it to us. And believe me, there are a lot of spoons out there.
Hockey journalists’ special friends at NHL headquarters are toting a homeless-shelter-soup-kitchen-sized ladle of goodness–an entire, team-by-team package of well-researched team previews. With pictures! We don’t even have to pay AP or Getty Images any royalties! Because I am now part of a team of renegade hockey bloggers, I present for you the Official NHL Communication Department Season Preview Package:
The first thing you’ll notice is that these previews are boring as all fuck. Perfect for the newspaper. Have you ever tried reading one of RD’s Avery pieces while sitting on the can? Stifling the giggles so that the guy at the urinal doesn’t report you to security (or worse) tends to not lead to a pleasantly cleansing experience. Cases of severe laughter-suppression-induced-clenching can lead to lengthy and debilitating constipation. But a nice, bland, grey newspaper…mmmm, relaxation ensues and business is taken care of.
This package was distributed through “official” channels to “the media,” which shockingly did not include MYFO (and after all the nice things we’ve said about Gary Bettman). But if your local paper’s NHL preview seems unusually…well-researched…at some points, especially regarding teams that are not located within 1,000 miles of your hometown (“Daymond Langkow has averaged 67 points in his three seasons in Calgary, while missing only three games”), I can assure you that it’s probably not due to Marty McHack staying late and coming in on weekends.
So now you know the Wizard, and how he comes up with these giant NHL preview packages. And it turns out he’s just an old, bitter, lost little man with delusions of grandeur, and a disturbing propensity to offer little girls a ride home in his hot air balloon.
And you wonder why print people hate the Internet…