The Professional Hockey Writers Association is tasked with the job of voting for various year end NHL awards. One of the awards they vote for is the annual end of season all-star team. The teams are split into first and second team, and include one left wing, one centre, one right wing, two defencemen, and a goalie.
Despite the fact that the PHWA sent a memo to its voters reminding them that Alex Ovechkin played right wing this season for the Washington Capitals, some members saw fit to vote him to the NHL All-Star team at left wing, a position he played for only four games this season under Adam Oates. It wasn’t just a few members of the media either, it was enough that Ovechkin finished 2nd amongst NHL left wings, and made the second all-star team. This is in addition to him being on the first all-star team.
Edit: Out of 178 voters, 45 put Ovechkin at Left Wing… or over one-quarter of the PWHA! Incredible.
This is ridiculous. Despite (apparently) watching and reporting on the games as part of their job as Professional Hockey Writers, enough of the voting block didn’t know what position the NHL Hart Trophy winner plays. To make matters worse, the PHWA sent its members a a memo on this prior to voting, and they still managed to screw it up.
For years we have heard the debate, usually on twitter, from members of the main stream media (and I’m looking at you Damien Cox, who has been leading the way), that hockey bloggers are unprofessional, that only members of the main stream media know enough about the game to write about it, that our opinions and pieces don’t matter. Lets be clear, this isn’t a rant against all members of the main stream media, as many show much deference and respect to the blogging community. No, this is a rant against those who think they are better just because they have a job writing for a newspaper.
While blogs vary in quality, there is no doubt about that, I think Mr. Cox and others who have complained about bloggers have to look at their own group. The PHWA or the representatives of the very main-stream media that they have defended in their crusade against the bloggers have screwed up this vote, and screwed it up royally. I know that there are a lot of bloggers out there, including the entire hockey department of this site, who can tell you what position the NHL’s leading goal scorer, and MVP played last season. However there are obviously a lot of members of the PHWA that can’t.
The big loser in all this, Taylor Hall, who finished third in voting for LWs. Hall is on an ELC and may have had bonuses attached to his deal had he been named to an end of season NHL all-star team. Oh, and Hall also plays left wing, by the way; and finished 2nd in scoring by LWs. Chris Kunitz who finished first, was on the first all-star team.
We really shouldn’t be surprised though, when the voting results were tallied for the NHL awards, we saw PHWA members giving votes to Patrick Kane, Nazem Kadri, and Jiri Tlusty for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward.
Take this as a lesson, just because you write for a big publication, or have main stream media credentials, doesn’t mean you know more about the NHL than many fans out there, and I don’t want to hear another member of the MSM ever looking down on the bloggers and internet hockey community again.
… and thats the Last Word.
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