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Thursday, November 17, 2011


The proliferation of sports media and the sheer number of outlets have spawned a  "the sky is falling mentality"when covering teams. On sports radio in Toronto, with two sports stations, four newspapers, several TV stations and a great number of social media outlets, there is not a stone left unturned when it comes to analyzing the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The trickle down effect is starting now in the Ontario Hockey League.  There has been an increase in social media coverage, fan sites, TV coverage, blogging, radio coverage, the list goes on.  For the most part these mediums have a "live in the moment" sort of mentality.  Never look back, never cast an eye forward, always exist in the present.  It's sort of like OHL discipline, but that's another story line altogether. 

Fans will offer an opinion, and start a thread that is purely based on emotion and observation from afar.  If you believe the fan sites, Niagara's Mark Visentin can't stop a beach ball and should not be considered for Team Canada's World Junior team.   In fact one thread on the popular site was entitled "Visentin Horrid".  A tad off base, and sensationalist don't you think?  A more well-reasoned approach to Visentin's early season inconsistency can be found in this great article by the St Catharines' Standard. You can read it HERE

I'll admit that I will "lurk" the fan sites.  They can have offer something of a barometer in terms of how a fan- base is feeling, but for the most part, and I know that I run the risk of alienating myself here, its a bastion of ranting from the those who have "The Smartest Guy in the Room" syndrome.  They think that they have all the answers, but normally it comes from a position of bias.  Again, I have no problem with the expression of opinion.  Heck, I'm a law teacher who regularly teaches The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Freedom of Expression.

However, analysis can become downright silly and its not just limited to the fans.   There have been those in the media who love to play arm chair commissioner and start throwing out number of games a player should be suspended before the decision is meted out.  I'm not sure if the motive is to lobby, or if there is a pool out there for this, but I don't think it serves a purpose.  Debate the merits after the suspension and at least you have a basis point for discussion.  Doing it before and promoting it through various forums, to me is a tad irresponsible. 

- Curious decision-making to say the least as Ryan Rupert gets 5 games for stick swinging and connecting while Alex O'Nell gets 10 games.  Precedent, it seems, is a dirty word, for the OHL

- Freddie Hamilton and Ryan Strome really shone in the Subway Series.   Freddie Hamilton was a 5th round draft pick.  No, that is not a misprint.  This guy is going to be a fine NHL'er and a lot scouts and teams have some 'splainin' to do about how they missed him

- Ice Dogs take on Mississauga Thursday November 17th at 7 pm on the OHL Action Pack/TV Cogeco.  Ed, Al and I will have the call.

Steve Clark

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