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A Few Questions For The Hockey Media

from Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated,

With the Stanley Cup Final in full swing, I empaneled four respected NHL media voices for a short roundtable discussion on the business.
The panel:

John Buccigross, SportsCenter anchor, ESPN.com NHL columnist, Sarah Kwak, NHL writer, Sports Illustrated, Bob McKenzie, NHL insider, TSN Canada and Aaron Portzline, NHL writer, Columbus Dispatch

SI.com: How would you evaluate the quality of hockey coverage in the United States on all platforms, and why did you answer as you did?

Kwak: I actually think the quality of coverage in the States is pretty good. It's the quantity in quality places (traditional major media outlets) that I think is lacking, particularly in the regular season. And because of that, I don't think there's a huge amount invested into hockey coverage.

When I first started on the NHL beat seven years ago, at my first Stanley Cup Final, it seemed like all of the major newspapers sent their hockey beat reporters to the final -- even if their home team wasn't playing. But each year since, there seems to be fewer and fewer U.S. national writers covering the full Final. That said, I don't think there is any shortage of good, quality opinion and analysis out there, especially on the Internet.

There are some local newspaper reporters/bloggers who are doing good work. But the thing about the Internet is that it's not always easy to distinguish U.S. vs. Canadian coverage, and it's not easy to distinguish smart, informed analysis and opinion from filler. Generally speaking, the Canadian coverage is better, particularly because, as I mentioned before, they invest in hockey and make it a priority.

McKenzie: To be honest, in terms of the Internet -- Twitter, media sites etc. -- I don't really differentiate between Canada and the United States for coverage. I don't see any big discrepancies in the quantity or quality of hockey coverage from those on Twitter or working for publications/sites in one country or the other.

Twitter has allowed for a lot more voices to be heard and, for the most part, the more the merrier. The good people, regardless of whether they're from Canada, the U.S. or Europe, shine through. Those who don't have a lot to offer don't flourish. Whether it's a blogger or a beat writer or a feature writer, I love how many options there are to be informed and entertained with hockey coverage.

The platform where I believe the biggest difference has been made is on conventional television. (Disclaimer on that, of course. I do a little work for NBCSN, so it's hardly an objective view, but I think the quantity and quality of hockey coverage with the NHL's national deal in the U.S. is light years better than it has been for a long time.) My sense, and it's more anecdotal than empirical, is the number of games and the manner in which they're presented can't help but contribute to the growth of the game in the United States. I also think the local team broadcasts have worked on quality control and, in many cases, are far better now than they were before.


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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