Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Score One For The Shrivs: Empty Netters May Be On The Way Out

The chatter started on Twitter last night and it gained steam over the course of about 12 hours.  Apparently, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette is considering canceling the blog “Empty Netters.”  If you’re not familiar with Seth Rorabaugh’s product, it’s a daily (and sometimes more frequent) compilation of stories from around the NHL.  It’s timely, often funny, and a must-read for hockey fans all over the world, not just Penguin fans.

And, for reasons I can’t figure out, the PG is gathering their brain trust together on Monday to discuss whether it should get rid of it.

I get it.  It’s hugely popular, costs nothing to produce, brings readers to the PG and is practically trend-setting when you consider the number of NHL MSMs who don’t do anything close to it.

So, yeah…cancel it. 

I’m going to point you to an interview Patrick Hoffman did with Rorabaugh here at the Empire back in 2008.  Rorabaugh exlained his philosophy and the goals he’d set for Empty Netters.

I think above all else, I try to make this a place hockey fans will visit regardless of allegiances. I’m a hockey fan and I try to offer something that will appeal to all hockey fans in general Obviously it does concentrate on the Penguins since I work for a Pittsburgh news organization, but I like to think a regular hockey fan would be interested in what I have to offer. During the Cup final, we had a lot of hits directed our way from the Detroit News and quite a few Red Wings fans expressed praise for EN so I think my hopes are valid.

Oh hell yes.  Cancel it.  Cancel it now.  It’s amazing what we’ll put up with as hockey fans.  The league expands to markets that have no business hosting hockey.  They patronize us with gimmicks like the shootout and overseas games that accomplish exactly nothing except exhaust the teams playing in them.  They allow, or even promote, officiating that is the laughing stock of professional sports.  And then, the MSM in a market home to a rabid (although front-running at times) fan base elects—-or allegedly is considering to elect—to do away with a product with an apparent huge upside.

Empty Netters, and the few blogs like it hosted by MSM outlets, is a frigging gold mine for those of us who get our hockey news, laughs and opinions from Al Gore’s baby.  The question being asked today shouldn’t be whether to eliminate it, but why aren’t more papers putting out a similar product?  More specifically, why the hell can’t our diggers do what Rorabaugh’s been doing for years?

It’s the frigging internet.  It’s taking a few minutes per day, setting Google alerts, reading blogs that interest you and pushing the good stuff to your audience.  Ever think of that Kulfan? Khan(!)? St. James?  Oh hell no.  That level of effort is unheard of in Detroit.  Ahhh…but maybe it’s not the effort involved that we should be questioning.  Maybe it’s what they’d have to endorse. Who does Rorabaugh link to?  Plenty of mainstream stuff, but also Pens blogs like The Confluence, PensBlog and plenty of others.  Can you imagine Ted Kulfan pointing us to On The Wings or Winging it in Motown

Not today, not ever.  No chance.  The beat writers are a paranoid, lazy lot.  You can’t imagine a scenario where Ansar Khan would recommend a quick look at Nightmare on Helm Street and neither can I.  It’s ludicrous.

But not in Pittsburgh.  In Pittsburgh, at the Post Gazette through the efforts of Empty Netters, the only goal has been to promote the sport through creativity, practically zero financial cost and the efforts of one guy. 

Until maybe Monday.  Unfortunately, in the Hoffman interview Rorabaugh may have seen this coming a few years ago.

I think the newspaper industry overall is taking the direction towards online media. I really feel within 10 years you’ll see a major American newspaper quit printing an actual physical paper and go to an online version only. It won’t be Pittsburgh. We still have an older population here and pardon the stereotype, but older folks just aren’t as Web savvy younger readers. The Post-Gazette is kind of in a unique position because we do have so many loyal older readers who do expect that paper on their stoop at 6 a.m. but we also have so many younger displaced Pittsburghers around the country who flock to our site and get their Pittsburgh news that way.

Looks like the shrivs are raising their voices and Empty Netters may be on the way out. 

Go here to see how you can voice your opinion.  After you do that, feel free to drop a line to the editors of the Detroit dailies and remind them that there’s plenty of hockey news out there we want to read, and lots of angles we’d like to see explored; other than the absolute crap ladled to us by the Deep Diggers.



Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink


Tony's avatar

Well said, my friend….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 11/05/10 at 03:28 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

The newspaper industry: America’s frightened, clueless, 98-year-old blind grandmother.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 11/05/10 at 03:29 PM ET


Thanks for pointing out the interview I did with Seth back in November 2008!

Posted by Patrick Hoffman from Fairfield, CT on 11/05/10 at 03:40 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

It’s taking a few minutes per day, setting Google alerts, reading blogs that interest you and pushing the good stuff to your audience.  Ever think of that Kulfan? Khan(!)? St. James?  Oh hell no.  That level of effort is unheard of in Detroit.

Oh hell, are you kidding?  These are the same chowderheads who think reporting on training camp roster cuts a month into the season is perfectly good journalism.  The DD are light-years away from acknowledging that there is such a thing as NOT towing the Hahn line, let alone start something like Empty Netters.

And episodes like this make me thankful for the Emperor being independent of any media outlet, or thankful of him just being there, period.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 11/05/10 at 04:02 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Good lookin’ out Chief.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 11/05/10 at 04:07 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Good Job IwoCPO !! The Putz-Gazette is a JOKE !! It’s going Bankrupt because of this same GENIUS Decisions sick

Posted by Evilpens on 11/05/10 at 04:09 PM ET

Osrt's avatar

zOMG Rosby!11!

Oh, sorry.

Well written piece for a great cause Iwo. Maybe Empty Netters finds its way to KK?

Posted by Osrt on 11/05/10 at 04:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar


Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 11/05/10 at 04:45 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/05/10 at 04:49 PM ET


Posted by monkey from bat country on 11/05/10 at 02:49 PM ET

That was good

Posted by NathanBC on 11/05/10 at 05:02 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


Can’t even get thru a semi-serious thread without you making me spit Propel Grape all over my computer screen.


Posted by RWBill on 11/05/10 at 05:03 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t know what Propel G is, Bill, but you need to get your spacebar checked.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/05/10 at 05:08 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Just got off the visaphone with Ozzie.  He says he’s doing good, feels good, and is playing good, he just isn’t getting the breaks.  And I’ve got to tell you, he looks great

It’s taking a few minutes per day, setting Google alerts, reading blogs that interest you and pushing the good stuff to your audience.

Jesus, man, do you realize what you’re saying?  A good Digger in a single month pops out literally tens of articles, nearly all of it recycled platitudes direct from the mouths of people who know stuff.  You think you can get that from a blog?  Ha.  I think not.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/05/10 at 05:09 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Posted by NathanBC on 11/05/10 at 03:02 PM ET
Posted by RWBill from boarding The Hasek, beer me v00x! on 11/05/10 at 03:03 PM ET

I am pleased you appreciate that image as much as I do.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/05/10 at 05:10 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

you need to get your spacebar checked.
Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/05/10 at 03:08 PM ET

It reads “JFC Monkey,”, with the JFC in pictorial form.  I cud hve used the Return button with periods as carriage return placeholders to move everything down the page.

Posted by RWBill on 11/05/10 at 06:03 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by RWBill from boarding The Hasek, beer me v00x! on 11/05/10 at 04:03 PM ET

Tee hee.

I keed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/05/10 at 06:07 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Happy Hudler to start, and Franzen is in, so who sits?

Miller (thats my guess, through no glaring shortcoming of his own)

If someone from the fourth line sits, do you leave Abdulkader with Modano and Cleary? (yes)  And have Hudler play with the 4th line where he can’t keep up?

Who knows what long term gems, or turds, Uncle Mike might discover on this magical mystery tour.

Posted by RWBill on 11/05/10 at 06:10 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I DO have a problem with spacebars, commas, errant Capital letters, and erections using the iPad during the day, so I quite probably view some display and images differently than a desktop PC.

Posted by RWBill on 11/05/10 at 06:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

To tell the truth, Bill, it was a bad attempt at making a joke about Propel Grape

A mistimed space completely changes the meaning.

Mandingo reported on the GDT that Eaves had an ice pack on his ankle earlier, so he might be the one who sits.  I agree with his comment that says if Eaves is 100%, then Miller sits.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/05/10 at 06:19 PM ET


As much as I disagree with some of you, thank you.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 11/05/10 at 08:22 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com