Hello and welcome to the Internet.
Or the boring version: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Internet_map_4096.png
Once you Visit the internet you will never leave and sometimes you are here without even being aware of it. It is a place filled with infinite knowledge, gossip, trends, and news that all spread faster than a fire in a room filled with newspapers soaked in gasoline inside a house made out of paper and dry pine. This place can shock you, make you insensitive to gore/pornography, and even be dangerous if you’re too naive. It is a place full of ugly and plenty of beautiful. The biggest “IT” about the inter-webs is that this place is addictive, like special K and Blue Sky (for our Breaking Bad fans) addictive. Nothing is really private on the Internet and nothing ever gets deleted, it can only be lost.
Much like a bar scene in a big city. You have your good spots and your iffy spots and some locations you try to avoid at all times. You’re reading this because, like me, you are a hockey fan and like me you probably scowl at your girlfriend’s tabloid magazines, while in reality you are hungry for gossip yourself. Your heroin mix is not filled with glitz, glamor, and bikini shots, but filled with mustaches, blood, and guts. You think so anyway.
Hockey news, or any sport news, is still mostly gossip and speculation and while we used to turn to newspapers, radios, and Sportcenter years back, we get our fix on the Internet these days. Our beloved stream of whispers is mixed in with opinions and detailed statistical breakdowns. It is faster than older or more traditional mediums and leaves lots more room to speculate, guess, and participate in the said speculation and guessing. The Internet is awesome for gossip as it can take a rumor to myth then to legend status in minutes, not years (see: “Gangnam Style”). Twitter and other forums are just a huge scale of broken telephones games, and while some of you will point to reliable sources, most can’t help to get baited and be exposed to the rumors and arguments or conversations that keep the gossip machine pumping. (See Michael Kovacs’ take on Premier League Soccer Gossip)
The point? Well this lockout is quite frustrating to those who are sucking on the info tit. It’s frustrating because while we may be aware of all the details and whereabouts of what celebrity had who at whichever NYC hotel with pictures to boot, we could barely get any leaks of these god damned negotiations. I mean not even a blurry pic of Bettman at a table or any significant recordings of negotiations behind the closed doors. We have Presidential candidates being taped secretly during their election campaigns, but not Donald Fehr or Gary Bettman? C’mon Man!
To me this is a failure on the Internet’s part (Looking at you, imaginary investigators). I really expected in this day and age where people can find everything about a girl who let her dog poop on a train based on a few clips of YouTube, to come through with some real info leakage. Instead we are baby fed crumb by crumb of details through your McKenzies and Dregers. It is both frustrating and infuriating. I know these are private negotiations, but damn it, they are our teams. It would be nice to know the details, the true conversation vibes, and the true causes for lack of hockey right now, instead of the speculations and blame games we seem to be participating in. Not to mention the sort of media warfare that both NHL and NHLPA are playing to win/lose fans’ grace.
It must be said something about the trust and secrecy from both parties. The amount of information, or lack thereof, that is being leaked is impressive. You have conference calls with hundreds of players and we do not have access to any of it. It would be nice as a paying customer to judge these “bright” minds in what they are doing and their true intentions. I understand that these negotiations cannot be made public, than again I can see a great benefit to it, but the fact that not much has been exposed is frustrating. I would love to get my hands on some of the private e-mails between the players and maybe a few messages between Gary Bettman and Jacobs. Those would be immensely intense pieces of information that could help us clear the air and shine some bright consumer justice light into these negotiations. The few leaks here and there seemed to be carefully placed crumbs for us to find that help shift the opinion of the fans and media alike. It does all seem rather forced and not as genuine or transparent. We are being left out of these negotiations no matter how much both sides plead with us about how much fans matter.
The type of leaked information and news that I would want to see would be along the lines of this. This article from sun-sentinel.com goes over some numbers that you would usually assume about a Florida based hockey franchise, they are a poor team struggling to pay the bills. Then we get government audits of one of the NHL’s poster boy poor franchises, and low and behold… they make money. Interesting, no? While the execs at the NHL head office preach about poor teams, yet NHL is setting record revenue, when we put some of the numbers under the microscope, things change.
“It is difficult to assess what the lockout is costing the Panthers. But the county audit shows that arena profits dipped to their low point of $1.024 million when the 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout, and jumped to $11.7 million the next year when the NHL returned.”
So this makes you wonder right? What are the true financial numbers and who is really losing money? It is obviously clear that if a team owns their own stadium, or at-least the teams owner owns the stadium the team plays in, they make money not just from Hockey Related Revenue. Beer, parking, hot-dogs, and everything else that ends up in the arena coffers is helping the owners of these teams come out in the black. The fact that some of these franchises are losing money will probably help them with their tax breaks from the government, but does not change the fact that it still ends up profitable for these corporations to continue to own hockey teams. This information is what we need leaked and it has been tightly locked away from the general public.
It also, for the lack of a better term, stinks that our hockey gossip has been filled with nothing but a single topic of the damn lockout. Experts that are sharing thoughts and expertise on this topic have popped up everywhere someone can write something worth a penny or two (We have been busy bees ourselves). While our minds have already been conditioned over the past 7 years or more to expect news, results, and information at almost instant rate, the lockouts delays or the filter each side is using is quite frustrating. There is not much to know and not much that we can do. Not Anonymous (not one is a hockey fan?), not older players (
@Jeremy_Roenick), and not even fan made videos have had an impact, and while we usually have an impact as a world wide Internet community on issues impacting our daily lives, we are being withheld and slightly shunned from this process.
So while this was a rather dry Happy Hour, which is highly irregular, for hockey fans it has not been that happy either.