I had a lot of reactions to the (apparent?) end of popular blog comments at this From The Rink post, but the business of blogging isn't an area I like to navel-gaze about here. So briefly, the lesson for me boils down to this: The Islanders and most NHL clubs whose beat coverage has declined will somewhere down the line have to create a model like MLB has done, in which each team site has a dedicated beat writer free of editorial interference from the club. Better yet, the NHL needs a separate entity for such an arrangement, as MLB does -- one that is completely free of the influence of the hockey departments around this rather insular league.Point Blank, many of which I left in
I'm one who appreciates Newsday's Greg Logan's coverage very much and hope it continues infinitely -- I can't emphasize that enough, I think Logan's independence is vital even if Chris Botta's access was often strangely closer. But the newspaper industry is what it is, so NHL clubs would be merely prudent to prepare for the worst. Granted, the two leagues are in different revenue universes, but this has always struck me as an inevitable investment, one a little different than Botta's post-employment arrangement with his old club.
Regarding possible conflicts of interest, I contacted an excellent veteran MLB.com beat writer to clarify how MLB's arrangement works. He told me this:
"I, like all my colleagues, am neither a team nor a league employee. I work for a separate company named MLB Advanced Media, which the clubs formed in 2001.
And I hear nothing from the club or the league. Can’t think of a single occasion, literally, when I have heard anything in eight seasons covering the team."
Chris Botta would make for an excellent voice in such a position, but I can only imagine that a man at this stage of his career and life needs more than, say, a young beat writer would command. It's a tough dilemma, because the alternative, a standalone blog, is not a business proposition akin to, say, a central Asian oil reserve.
More reactions, including Botta's surreal YouTube video to calm and redirect fans in a week when the story isn't supposed to be on him, after the jump:
- The underground captive plea from Botta:
- Islanders Outsider with a very interesting take on why one suggestion -- moving Point Blank to SNY -- wouldn't work.
- Islanders Independent and NYI Five Hole each plea to save Point Blank, as a petition mounts. (I personally don't see a petition nor email doing it. It will take a totally new arrangement, or this will be one of those "too soon for its time" transitional casualties before the next era of NHL coverage.)
- This reaction from a frequent Tweeter is interesting, a little similar to how I'm viewing things, in a Web 2.0 way: It doesn't have to be (maybe can't be?) Botta, per say, but NHL team sites should eventually carry something more than PR dept. coverage or risk venturing into WWE info control land.
- 7th Woman hopes Botta sticks around. I'm sure he will in some form.
- Also: Bettman is one of the (Warning: loaded term alert!) "special" guests coming to the Lighthouse rally.
- And totally un-bloggerly nor Lighthouse-related: Drive for Five's Patrick reviews the Islanders 10 Greatest Games DVD.
Don't forget the Lighthouse rally and public hearings are Tuesday, Aug. 4. Have a grand ol' weekend.