Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Jon Jordan on 09/09/10 at 08:42 PM ET
This is not a story.
Alas, I’ve been forced to write something on the matter because there’s no shortage of lunacy out there right now.
What’s been made of Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis’ recent Twit-roversy is shameful.
How far it’s gone is embarrassing.
And, really, it’s much ado about nothing but, in an effort to talk some sense into the masses, here goes nothing:
The guy used a public forum to express an opinion and, in doing so, he pissed a bunch of people right the hell off.
So what? Happens all the time, right?
With tens of thousands of followers, Ellis’ rant about NHL salary escrow and the “hardships” of being a multi-million dollar athlete reached a widespread audience no different than if he had stood behind a microphone outside the St. Pete Times Forum with a similar audience of in-person onlookers so, yeah, he probably should have been more sensitive to the plights of (and more cognizant of the existence of) those “in attendance” on less stabile financial ground.
But he wasn’t, people reacted emotionally and he apologized, which is where it all should have ended, probably.
It seems, instead, that those offended persisted with their backlash and Ellis continued to defend himself and talk folks down from the ledge.
Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski took Ellis to task at Puck Daddy and was later berated by the goalie himself for having to resort to Twitter as a source of news. (We can assume that both player and organization didn’t care much for Wysh’s “elitist jackass” description of the web persona Ellis’ comments had created. We can also hope all parties involved remember the kind of mud-slinging far worse that happens on the web and in print throughout the NHL season, for varying reasons.)
Ellis “Drastically underestimated the power of Twitter,” he posted and, later, quit the social media giant altogether.
And the snowball continued rolling downhill thereafter.
Wyshynski was criticized by fellow tweeters for escalating the situation (a.k.a., running a story and offering an opinion on the situation) and the Twitter trend #danellisproblems was then joined by #wyshynskisfault, with both good for some much-needed levity as the topic continued to be discussed for a fourth straight day.
Tampa beat writers and hockey scribes elsewhere have since chimed in and, well, molehill? Meet mountain.
This should have been stopped long ago.
Nevertheless, in a world where people tune in on a weekly basis to watch pseudo-celebrities attempt to earn “jobs” with Donald Trump, learn a few dance moves and… (Hell, I don’t know… Whatever else happens in those shows…) Point is, of course this was going to get all kinds of attention!
The “power” of Twitter is fictional - at least in comparison to the power of the individual. Those that didn’t like what Ellis had to say had every right to fire back as many did. They also have every right to pay him no mind whatsoever (‘unfollow”, that is, in the Twitter world). And those that didn’t care for Wyshynski’s coverage of the ongoing saga could certainly have left that alone as well.
But they didn’t. Of course they wouldn’t. This is the Internet Era, where everyone’s a critic and, worse, many think they’re untouchable, blasting away at anyone and everyone who puts forth an opinion.
How many of these people would have shot back at Ellis, had my in-person comparison been the medium for his message? Some, sure, but not many, I’d guess. And Ellis himself surely would have left those quips out of any such address to a gathering of fans in that situation as well, if only because he’d know what his words might do with so many eyes staring right back into his.
As the long-standing, unwritten rule in the hospitality industry goes, “No religion or politics at the bar.” Applying that to athletes interacting on the web should probably include, “No finance discussions with the commoners” as well. I don’t have any interest in juxtaposing the money difficulties that a professional hockey player experiences with complaints about the 10% escrow that comes out of the measly paychecks from my full-time line of work, despite considering myself a specialist in that particular field. (See that, Dan? “The Man” gets after little old me too!)
And since we’re tossing a few rules around here, let us remember that the best way to express your disdain for something a potentially Scarlet B-donning “blogger” has written is to ignore it completely. (It’s our industry’s Kryptonite, kids. And I gave it to you just like that - cause you won’t stay away. You can’t. You’re a web-head, like it or not.)
But none of this will ever happen because it’s just the way we are now, sad as that may be.
It’s a poor reflection of society, really.
It’s a subject that should have died yesterday.
And, above all else, it is not a story.
Hurry the hell up, hockey season. We all need you.
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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.
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