The NHL and the Internet has done a great job of exposing main stream media. Before the advent of Internet sports writers could twist a story to suit their point of view and make guys like Jim Matheson into HHOF sports writers. When Nail Yakupov didn't talk to the media after a game at the world juniors in 2012/13 Matheson took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.
It's time for igor larionov to tell his client nail yakupov that wearing the C means you talk. Kid needs wake-up call— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 2, 2013
Followed up by this Tweet after many fans responded to his first comment.
Why do people fall back on theory players don't owe media so don't have to talk. Media are link to fans who can't get in dressing room— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) January 2, 2013
The problem here is that old media guys just don't seem to get it. The Internet has given fans access to teams and players that they never had before. Anyone can follow Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz or Nail Yakupov and get a glimpse into their lives. In fact shortly after Nail Yakupov got drafted he spent an entire day just responding to Tweets from fans. Instant media is what people want and that is why the newspapers are having such a tough time staying afloat.
Since I started doing the post game thoughts on Copper and Blue I haven't had much time to watch the "Post-Game Raw" segments with the coaches and the players on the Oilers website. So while watching my Twitter timeline tonight I noticed some posts from @Kinger999 aka PDO that caught my attention.
I think @SportsnetSpec could take some of his own advice and be the last one off the ice. Learn something about hockey besides facepunching.— Brian King (@Kinger999) January 23, 2014
Really, we all know that @SportsnetSpec is getting his show run by guys who watch hockey as an activity. Not a job.— Brian King (@Kinger999) January 23, 2014
What disappoints me most is that @SportsnetSpec collects a pay check to basically scream "HIT SOMEBODY."— Brian King (@Kinger999) January 23, 2014
To read the entire PDO rant take a look at @Kinger999's Twitter feed by the end Mark Spector blocks him without even a response.
The whole rant got me thinking about how the mainstream media portrays things to the average fan. So I checked out Mark Spector's blog to see if he had written about the incident and in typical MSM style there was just a twist on what had occurred. Here are the quotes from Spector's article:
"He didn’t want to fight. He didn’t want to fight," repeated Oilers captain Andrew Ference. "Luke (Gazdic) went over and talked to him. You want him to just jump (Kassian)? You guys would be the first ones to (write about it)."
Alas, head coach Dallas Eakins’ response to the Oilers systemic lack of physicality was similarly phrased to Ference’s. He liked their physical game, actually. Was happy with the level they were at Tuesday.
If this was in The Edmonton Sun or The Edmonton Journal many readers would think that Dallas Eakins just avoided the question and moved on but that's not what happened. As @Kinger999 alluded to below is the clip in its entirety. Mark Spector's question comes around the 2 minute mark, the question is a little tough to make out but Dallas Eakins' response is classic and goes until the end of the clip as other prominent media personalities jump to Spector's defence.
Guys like Jim Matheson and Terry Jones have passed the torch onto a whole new generation of sports "reporters" like Mark Spector who don't seem to understand the game nor do they understand the Internet. They can report whatever they want but as more of this information is available on the Internet the more people will stop reading or listening to their opinions. If they don't realize it soon they'll lose the common fan. If they lose readers the next thing they'll lose will be their day jobs and have to move back into their mom's basements to hack out some nonsensical blog trying to claw their way back to relevance.
Guys like Tyler Dellow are already starting to nip at the heels of guys like Spector. Sportsnet knows that with its new NHL contract that fans want better reporting. TSN has been the gold standard for years and the only way for Sportsnet to gain legitimacy is to stay one step ahead of other outlets and dinosaurs like Mark Spector will be the pieces cast aside for legitimate reporters and writers.