Saturday, August 30th, 2014

A Fresh Start

13

I did not actually make a decision to stop blogging last January. The “season” started and I intended to keep writing. I even started a few posts. For one reason or another, I wasn’t happy with any of the results and abandoned them. One problem was that I found it very difficult to stomach the hockey media. I was bitter about the fiasco and hockey writers had to pretend that it had not happened. “Hurrah! The game is back! Time to support the league again! The fans are back! Revenues are up! Everything is great!”

I found that I was watching all the games, but I had stopped reading about hockey and I had stopped watching the hockey experts on TV. I couldn’t help hearing the big news – Brian Burke was fired! – but I have no idea what Damien Cox or anyone else thought about it. I am sure there were many fascinating narratives generated about teams and players but unless they were in the headlines I missed them. (This is a slight exaggeration. I did regularly visit Tyler Dellow‘s site and Pass it to Bulis.)

One thing I proved to myself is that bloggers do indeed need the mainstream media. Without the narratives generated by the league and the professionals there is very little to pontificate about. I sort of drifted away from it all.

For the record I was disappointed when Mike Gillis fired Alain Vigneault. He was the best – and most successful – coach the Canucks have ever had and I don’t believe managerial skills staledate. I was not, however, surprised Mike Gillis fired Alain Vigneault. No other option was available to him in this business. Vigneault was no longer marketable in Vancouver.

I was horrified when Gillis hired John Tortorella. I don’t like the system he plays, I often don’t like the way he uses players and I don’t like people who are frequently rude. The best you can say for him is that he is an interesting choice. The worst you can say for him is the last interesting coach hired by the Canucks was Mike Keenan.

Anyway. A new season. A fresh start. The Canucks are going to be a good team again this year and that means there be will be lots of fun to be had watching them play. Do they have a chance to win? Sure, they do. Is it a good chance? Of course not. Nobody has a good chance. The Canucks have very good goaltending, a strong defense, and, well, we’ll see how the forwards do.

It will probably be interesting.

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Comments

13 Responses to “A Fresh Start”
  1. James Mirtle says:

    “One problem was that I found it very difficult to stomach the hockey media.”

    Tom’s back!

  2. frz says:

    Great to see you back at it, Tom!

  3. Rajeev says:

    I was horrified when Gillis hired John Tortorella.

    It’s a shame. I’m torn between wanting the Sedins to win the Cup and not wanting Tortorella, who is both a dummy and a jerk, to achieve any success, notoriety, or happiness. The idea that the narrative would become Torts did what AV couldn’t is vomit-inducing.

    Welcome back, Tom.

  4. David says:

    Great to see your name back in my RSS reader again, Tom!

  5. SV says:

    So glad you’re back.

  6. Matt Caruso says:

    Tom, glad you’re back at it. For sake of discussion regarding AV’s marketability, I seem to remember you rejecting my suggestion (at the end of 2011-12) that a certain goalie could no longer be sold to the fan base. They could put a whale on a lard omelet and still sell luxury boxes was your gist.
    Are coaches different?
    The influence of fan psychology and media consensus on management decisions is an interesting area.
    There seems to be a point where it becomes too risky to go against the mob… and fail.
    Granted GMs and owners can feel this risk in different ways.
    Gillis’ initial resistance to the consolidating groupthink around trading Luongo at the end of 2011-12 delayed the inevitable which then became the impossible.
    But credit is due, turns out you were right – if circuitously so – about which goalie had to go!

    • Tom says:

      I think coaches are different for a couple of reasons. I think the Canucks would have sold out with AV this year. The problem is that the Canucks would have lost control of the season’s narrative right from the start. Luongo can make any problems with the fans go away with his play. AV couldn’t do anything positive until he won at least two playoff rounds. Luongo can be forgiven the odd bad goal, but AV? The first rough patch and the mob would be baying for his head. Who wants to go through that?

      I’m glad the goaltending worked out the way it did. I’d rather have Luongo and Horvat than Schneider. I thought Gillis got good value for him but the entire episode appeared to be handled so poorly, I had to shake my head. It felt like Gillis was being strung along.

      I can’t say the offseason didn’t give my confidence in Gillis a shake.

  7. beingbobbyorr says:

    One problem was that I found it very difficult to stomach the hockey media. I was bitter about the fiasco and hockey writers had to pretend that it had not happened. “Hurrah! The game is back! Time to support the league again! The fans are back! Revenues are up! Everything is great!”

    But it will always be thusly within the quasi-Capitalist framework that America & Canada operate: media acting as the adjunct marketing arm of the sport/team they cover, and ignoring the biases that lead them to do so (“Mirtle’s back!”). How will you stomach this in the future if you couldn’t stomach this in the near past?

    • Tom says:

      How will you stomach this in the future if you couldn’t stomach this in the near past?

      I’m just going to have to suck it up, I guess. The things I do…

    • James Mirtle says:

      I don’t think our coverage was very favourable of the league at all. The whole thing was clearly a money play.

      But the fans want hockey – again and again, they’ve shown they’ll put up with this silliness and come back regardless of what went on.

  8. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.

    Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop
    over time.

  9. Cornuck says:

    Welcome back, Tom.

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