Kukla's Korner Hockey
by petshark on 08/01/11 at 10:42 AM ET
Nope, the Sharks haven’t made any big announcements lately. Dan Boyle stayed in town this summer. Good call, considering the weather elsewhere. Undaunted by having his Twitter account interfered with, Logan Couture announced his intention to golf on Saturday: “Heading to the course for 27 holes of golf today. Chances are i’ll be taking more shots today than @biznasty2point0 takes all hockey season.” Sunday, Ryane Clowe went “up da shore with the Willow bear for a feed of nan’s jiggs dinner.” Google Translate couldn’t help me with that, but it sounds lovely. Also Sunday, Woo Shark James Marcou engaged in some rigorous activity, per a tweet about being dehydrated.
Sharkie’s jumping off a building this month, which is fitting if Sharkie’s as tired of waiting for hockey season as I am.
Bret Hedican is opening an ARP Clinic in Walnut Creek. Sounds like they can relieve your pain, unless the pain is NHL game withdrawal. Only time can cure that.
Today I read an article by Will Leitch for the August 15 issue of The Nation. He discusses pro sports and the influence of a better informed audience on negotiations between players and teams. Avid sports fans know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in their sport of choice, lots more than they knew a decade ago. In many ways, fans are lookouts for the sport, noticing trends and incongruities even when it’s inconvenient.
Leitch opens with a statement that some hockey fans may be uncomfortable with:
It has been more than a decade since the labor issues of major sports leagues have dominated the conversation as they have this summer. (Unless you want to count the NHL as a “major” sports league.) -The Wired World of Sports
(Cough, gag, whimper, sniffle…) It took me a while to go back and finish the article after reading that. But I did.
Leitch goes on to explain that it used to be a lot easier for spokespeople to sell the public on whatever convenient fib they wanted to sell. Fibs like the extent to which the NFL tried to keep the matter of concussions under wraps. No more. Everyone who cares knows and if an NFL owner claims he is being abused by greedy players, he’s going to have to hire someone to come up with a doozy of an elaborate tale.
It’s a lot harder now to make the argument that negotiation failure is a cut and dry case of greedy athletes refusing to be team players.
This proliferation of noise presents problems too. The audience can be sidetracked by an errant comment about a goalie’s whereabouts being unknown during the playoffs. Or we flip out because someone said someone refused to not drink for a month, a year and a half ago. Sharks fans don’t have these problems as much, perhaps because the organization is a little tidier about controlling information. Maybe everything in Sharkland is every bit as shiny happy as it looks. Maybe there just aren’t so many hungry reporters sniffing around.
With or without rumor and gossip, fans have the tools to sift the flotsam from the jetsam. Sometimes we even find a fact adrift.
This education of the fan base did not come about overnight. Yes, the net was there in 2005, even the movie was 10 years old. But did as many fans have the skills to use the web yet? Were documents as readily available as they are now? Like pathways in the brain, we need to use a tool a lot to really know how to use it.
The NFL has done much of the groundwork for the NHL’s next CBA negotiations, not only on the subject of concussions. I’m curious about the lifetime health care option those NFL guys just got. That sounds nice… wait, I want that, for me! Also, the degree to which the public is watching, and how that can affect the outcome of a negotiation, is clearer.
I have some confidence that the NHL will avoid a lockout, just because neither side will want to alienate their newly vigilant audience. We probably won’t have full video access to the talks but we will have many more eyes, ears and typing fingers paying attention.
While I often complain about lack of disclosure from hockey teams, (‘cause I want to know everything) I know that secrecy is proof positive that what fans think matters. That isn’t going away. The problem is quickly becoming less about controlling information and more about making the facts suitable for public consumption. There’s some saying about the curative properties of daylight. I’m not sure computer monitors and smart phones count as daylight, but it’s a start.
Or maybe I’m just a very optimistic pinko lefty who reads stuff like The Nation.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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 firstname.lastname@example.org