The Mainstream Media has been taking shots at bloggers for years... And frankly, I've come to realize they were right all along. Bloggers are what is wrong with hockey coverage today. We are the terrorists of the sports journalism world.

Sure, certain individuals would have you believe that these MSM attacks are nothing more than sour grapes from a bunch of lazy hypocrites. Or that they're just misguided attempts to turn the clock back to a time when a J-School diploma trumped thoughtful writing and critical thinking. Or that they're nothing more than the last gasps from an industry that is teetering on the precipice of total destruction wrought by its own inertia, and that with every passing day these uninspired salvos from the grotesque rotting corpse that is traditional media outlets do less and less to highlight the very real issues surrounding the new realities of news content delivery, and instead only highlight their ever-growing hubris.

But no I say. It is those of us in the Oilogosphere who should really be looking in the mirror, before we've all been Pleasure Motored into oblivion. We need to start taking the criticisms from reporters more seriously. For example, one of the most common issues with us so-called "bloggers" is that unlike sports journalists, we're not accountable because we don't have to face the people we criticize.

Take, for instance, the latest blog post from anonymous Oilers blogger tommy-g. In the post he has the audacity to slander noted Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert numerous times, suggesting among other things:
  • He spends his off-seasons desperately trying to re-capture the glee he felt in 2005 while watching Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers. To quote:
I've been to five weddings this summer but I’m not complaining... It only takes us about 45 minutes to get our dance going and then we’re on the dance floor for the rest of the night. We like to make sure everyone’s having a good time and we’re so good at it.

  • He doesn't even have the intellectual wherewithal to finish a thrilling read like The Sign by Raymond Khoury. From Owatjee, a poster on what appears to be a militant Lebanese Christian website's forum:
Set against a backdrop of ancient and modern religious conflict, this solid thriller from bestseller Khoury (The Last Templar) explores a number of current planetary preoccupations, from far-right political demagoguery to global warming. While in Antarctica covering the breakup of the continent's ice shelf, TV reporter Grace Logan and her crew are astounded to see a bright, shimmering sphere of light in the sky.
To suggest that Tom Gilbert couldn't or wouldn't get through a book like that is just typical irresponsible blogger drivel.
  • He is constructing what can only be described as a KAOS-esque world domination HQ in his basement featuring 6 television sets.
  • He is so full of hate that he openly muses about the failures of his teammates/former roommates:
Everyone is going to be so jealous, especially Sam and Andrew. They’re not going to be able to handle it... I know that after about week [sic] they’re not going to have any idea how to do anything and they’re going to be calling me all the time about how to pay the bills and stuff. They’re just going to be sitting at home, wondering where things went wrong.
Seriously, can you imagine if this 'tommy-g' clown ever had to look Tom Gilbert in the eyes and say those things about him to his face? Never in a million years. So let's all tip our caps to the legitimate reporters of the world, who have the guts to not to ask any of the questions we want the answers to. And glove-tap to tommy-g, who despite being everything that is wrong with bloggers today, is surprisingly literate for a Wisconsin-based writer.


Always judge a player by his cover

So: Patrick Kane is a felon.

You can throw around words like allegedly, exaggerated, and unconvicted, but we all know that those bruises on Jan Radecki's 60 year old mug came from somewhere. Luckily for the young star, Kane plays in the NHL, where off-ice indiscretions are preferred to be swept under the rug so that the game can continue to "grow" in the American market. This stands in stark contrast to other leagues where off-ice indiscretions are pretty much the only indiscretions that can happen. Bloggers, commenters, and journalists alike have been expounding on the situation since it broke, but Radecki's very intelligent lawyer Andrew Lo Tiempo has already begun the quieting down process, which can only mean one thing...

He's in EA's pocket.

Yes, we're all very familiar with the Madden Curse, but a little Slow Fresh Oil Investigative Journalism© reveals that an NHL Curse has been raging for the better part of the last two decades.

Peter Forsberg
By all accounts, the 97-98 season was another banner year for Foppa. The Swede put up 91 points, helping his team top the Pacific Division and coming in second in overall scoring. Sounds pretty great, right? But how would you feel if you accomplished all that, only to be ousted in the first round of the playoffs by a bunch of punks in copper and blue?

Eric Lindros
Coming off a dominating season (as many coverboys do), Lindros receives a series of concussions that would derail his career and nearly dies.

Chris Pronger
In similar fashion to Forsberg, Pronger has a career year, pulling in the Hart and the Norris, but the Blues are tossed from the postseason by a hapless Sharks squad.

Owen Nolan
Misses over a dozen games for injury and nearly a dozen more for this gem.

Mario Lemieux
After returning from retirement and leading his team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000, Super Mario followed that up by only playing 24 games due to his hip falling off and watching his newly-purchased team miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

Jarome Iginla
Truth be told, not an extraordinarly bad year for Iggy, save an injury or two and some lagging production. But isn't playing for the Flames cursed enough?

Dany Heatley
I think we all know how this went.

Markus Naslund
Entire season cancelled due to lockout. Gee thanks, Markus.

Vincent Lecavalier
Nothing major, but Vinny came home from Turin sans-medal and squeaked the Lightning into the playoffs as an 8th seed. They lost out in the first round and watched some jerks levy the 8th seed in the West into a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

Alexander Ovechkin
This schmo posted a career-low 92 points after appearing on the cover.

Eric Staal
at his own bachelor party, suffered a decrease in offensive production, and became part of the first team to miss the playoffs twice in a row after winning the Stanley Cup.

Dion Phaneuf
Career low 47 points and the whole having to be a Flame thing.

Patrick Kane
That leaves us with the mouthguard-chewing, cabbie-heisting Kane. If he does stay on the cover, expect to hear very little about the incident until the game is released. EA has as much interest as Kane, the Blackhawks, and the NHL in keeping this potential inferno in a controlled burn. Radecki reacted as anyone would to assault and robbery, and he will likely also react to the hefty settlement as anyone would: silence.

So spread the word! Warn your professional hockey-playing friends! Write your Member of Parliament! To appear on an NHL cover is an act of hubris that will result in the Hockey Gods' terrifying vengeance.


What are the odds?

Hark, dear readers, and find comfort in my voice, for I have returned from a BDHS-esque road trip down and up the Western states of the Union. Although my vacation lacked the serenity of twilit nights whiled lazily away with my young family in darkest Canada, it made up for it with big city nights, incredible food, California girls, and a jaunt down the PCH whose jagged cliffs, crashing waves, and pubic hair-straightening chicanes will be forever seared into my memory.

Exorbitant wireless rates and long stretches of driving kept me from imbibing Oilers news (or lack thereof) at the pace to which I have been acclimated, resulting in a severe feeling of withdrawal. However, the cold sweats gave way to a certain ease of mind I haven't experienced since our team officially fell out of playoff contention. For the first time in weeks, I didn't wake up thinking about Dany Heatley (thankfully a non-issue), the Bulin Wall (as divisive as ever), or Andrew Cogliano's feelings (unhurt, I assure you). Instead, I relished the rays of the angry sun and let my brain steam in its own juices, dulling the pain with unbelievably cheap beer. Imaginary rosters and swarming microstats evaporated and I loved every minute of it.

Until I got to Vegas.

It was to be the last stop on our trip that carried us through Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SanFran, LA, San Diego, and LA again. 4 days of further debauchery to cap it all off, before striking out on the remaining 1500 miles that would lead us home. It started off well enough, with me and my compadre indulging in all the LV standards: giant margaritas in plastic skulls, mindless gambling, the Spearmint Rhino, food in ridiculous portions, and total disregard for the daylight hours. Despite all this, the Oilers fan in me urged me to hit a sports book and check out the futures board.

Big mistake.

One look at those odds, the bloated 50 dwarfing that tiny 1, and it all came rushing back. The uncertainty, the gaping roster holes, the vertigo brought on by the sheer face of competition that must be climbed to summit the mountain that is 8th place in the Western Conference. A week and a half of happy ignorance crumbled as the Mole Man of reality rent its surface with some nightmarish drill, powered on the hopes and dreams of Oilers fans and spewing out the black exhaust of our souls.

Sputtering on my Miller Lite, I braced myself against the swoon that pulled at the edges of my consciousness as my eyes stumbled up the list.

Nashville and Minnesota looked smugly down at us with their 40:1s, while Dallas, Colombus, and even Ottawa guffawed together like old chums, comparing the dimensions of their 35:1 chance of grasping Stanley's Mug. It only got worse from there. Three teams I used to circle as easy wins on the schedule (the Blues, the Sabres, and the Panthers) all sat 20 points up on us. Meanwhile, at 20-25:1, two teams with a Cup since the lockout, Carolina and Anaheim, hobnobbed with perennial post-season dropouts, the Habs and Rags. Calgary at 18:1 put a lump in my throat, the Human Rake's Flyers at 15:1 put tears in my eyes, and the Canucks at the same put me over the edge. My sobbing husk, heaped on the floor, was asked by a large man with a brushcut to bet some money or kindly drag itself off the premises.

It did the latter. As much as I wanted to pull myself together, pry a fifty out of my pocket, and drop it on the Boys in Blue and Orange, I just couldn't do it. I'd heard tale of loyal fans doing as much before the 2005-06 season and coming this close to a huge payout. How they bore the disappointment, I'll never know. Fifty bucks may be fifty bucks, but fifty bucks that's one enormous game away from $2500 would be too much for me to take.

Later on, swaddled in the high thread count of my hotel sheets, I reassured myself that I had made the right decision. I put myself through enough as an Oilers fan without having a dollar amount hanging like Damocles' Sword over the season. Odds are meant to be defied, but taunting Lady Luck is a harrowing pastime.