Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Habs Media Tells Us What They Really Think

Last week, the day that Carey Price signed his contract, there was a conference call. The media were invited to ask questions of the young netminder and Team 990 broadcast the thing live. Only in Montreal, I know.

The vast majority of the call was from a script. Same old questions and Carey's same old rehearsed answers. I tuned in on the dial, but I didn't really "tune in". A funny thing happened part way through, though - a new voice and some unexpected questions. Turns out a blogger got in on the call.

The first question he asked caught me off guard and so I didn't catch it all. It sounded largely like effusive praise. The second question, however, was the moment that made listening in worthwhile. Launy "The" Scwartz asked Price if he was working on anything specifically in the summer. Whether he was taking steps to improve his lateral movement and his glove hand (I had a chuckle at that point, bold question). It was interesting bacause for the first time on the call, Price hadn't got an answer ready-made on his tongue. He knew questions would come about Halak, about the contract, about striking and about his touring rodeo show. But someone questioning his glove hand? That was a poser.

Price sidestepped the answer, but the interest in the questions didn't end there..The mainstream media apparently took some offense to the questions. This article on AllHabs chronicles the whole thing, but here are a few choice quotes:
“I think it was embarrassing. It was a total fellatio festival. The guy is ridiculous. If he wants to talk to Price that way let him show up at an autograph signing.”
- Mike Boone

“The reporter/goalie/fan on Carey Price conf call was ridiculous. Carey u were unlucky, u have potential. Embarrassing and very sad.”
- Tony Marinaro

It also led to some general discussion on who should and who shouldn't be permitted to ask questions at these events. The general feeling I got from the AllHabs summary was that once again the mainstream guys just can't handle having keen amateurs stealing any airtime:

“A journalist around the Montreal Canadiens would come from being around the club, having a sense of what is going on in the room, and you’re able not only to hear the words that are being spoken but you’re able to interpret them a little bit and able to analyze them a little bit.”

This clearly re-sparked the debate around the blogger vs. mainstream media question in Montreal again.

AllHabs pointed out the terribly self-fulfilling definition of a journalis above. Only those allowed into the dressing room are journalists. And only those currently allowed into the room are allowed in. So, only the current gang are journalists. Never mind that others can do a good job of finiding stories from outside the room, never mind that the dressing room material is pure rehearsed garbage. The clique must stand.

In my experience, the media play friendly for a while but are quick to show their disdain when they are threatened. It's only natural of course, as they have the most to lose (their jobs). In the past the threatened mainstream has been downright nasty, and bigger blogs than this have been bullied by the crew for doing so little as linking stories.

Now I don't have to tell you why I think blogs are necessary and most times superior to mainstream material. For the subset of fans that crave to look deeper into happenings, stats, backgrounds and stories, the mainstream media just don't cut it. I started reading blogs because they took different angles and dealt with issues more interesting to fans like me. I started writing because I thought other like-minded folk would like more and different takes on the subject matter.

This story just call this whole thing to attention again. Did I want to know what Carey price felt about the media reports about him striking? Not really. Did I want to know what he'd been working on in the summer? Yes, I did.

The fact that it took a blogger to ask the question after a summer without a smidgen of news for these Habs beat reporters to write up tells a tale all itself. Sure, there were a few off-beat questions, but this is noth8ing new. The blogger still scored the gamewinner on this conference call. Some others continued to hit post after post.

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