A Hockey Town Turns the Other Cheek

The most influential and important hockey writer today wrote this about HockeyWashington yesterday:

“This is where the Washington Post has failed its readership for, oh, about 30 years: It counts empty seats at the Capitals games and uses that as a barometer for its hockey coverage; dismissing the fact that there are hockey fans who only attend a game here or there, and are still watching the NHL well after Washington’s season comes to an end.
The blockbuster box office for the Capitals this summer speaks to two things: The bandwagon nature of the D.C. fan (indisputable) and the reaction from the hockey community to the current incarnation of the team. The guy who works at the Pentagon and cheered for Rod Gilbert as a young Rangers fan is buying the same season ticket as the kid who grew up in Arlington, Va. cheering for Peter Bondra — they both love the game, and luckily have the means to watch Alexander Ovechkin 41 times a season.
Capitals fans are a proud group (to which my colleague Mr. McKeon can now attest). But what makes Washington an indispensable [emphasis OFB’s] NHL city goes beyond the fortunes of the local team on or off the ice. For years, the naysayers have been saying D.C. will never be a Capitals town.
They miss the point: It is now, and always shall be, a hockey town.

In about a hundred words Wyshynski captured perfectly the Capitals’ present as well as its black-media past. We ought never to forget this moment. Particularly as you, dear reader, made it happen. With a little help from Ovechkin.
As it relates to Wyshynski’s colleague, Ross McKeon, who authored sheer stupidity on Yahoo last week, I say it’s time to let the reactionary outrage die, save for this reflection: I’m of the opinion that someone who’s vested in the coverage of hockey as McKeon has been (for decades) has something akin to a solemn obligation to report on the game for its general betterment. Which he didn’t do last week. Put plainly: hockey can’t contract and endure the MSM slings and arrows that would follow. (Kornheiser would unretire to chime in.)Washington's Sea of Red
This is not to say that hockey writers like McKeon ought to sugarcoat bad news, or fawn over the sport in general. But they ought to recognize that they operate in a Third World of sports journalism (Versus; D9 of WaPost), and they ought to try and cover the sport in an uplifting fashion, to report today with an awareness that hockey is operating in a bit of a Golden Age, while still largely being ignored: its appeal is truly global; it’s far and away the sports leader in new media synergy and buzz; it’s welcomed at Wrigley Field; and it’s a money-maker!
So why in the world would a reporter imbedded in it want to piss in the punch bowl? We already have ESPN doing that for us.
No matter. Some prejudices (15th St. NW) die hard. But old grievances now can be shouldered aside. Once they were our offseason substance and sustenance; now they are substance-less distraction. The present is packed (to the roof) with unprecedented passion. Next month the Capitals will turn away fans from an SRO assembly at Kettler for a rookie scrimmage with the Flyers. That home opening night with the ‘Hawks — not even a conference foe — will seem like a Judas Priest concert at the Pringle, circa ’86.
Once upon a time we parried and thrusted with every stab directed our way. Today we can look upon the attackers with pity. For you see, Greg’s right, that’s the prerogative of a hockey town.

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4 Responses to A Hockey Town Turns the Other Cheek

  1. Mike says:

    The one comment that I haven’t seen made yet with regards to what Mr. McKeon wrote last week about contraction is this: What he did was draw people in to read his sites blogs and look at the content on his site. In short, he got people talking about Yahoo!, even if it was to talk about how stupid his comments were (and still are) 🙂

  2. J.P. says:

    I love GDub’s work (as well as his company) and all, but you’re really going with “[t]he most influential and important hockey writer today”?

  3. Lee (PTO) says:

    It saddens me somewhat that people still look on Verizon Center as a second home stadium for the Flyers/Rangers/Flightless-Aquatic-Fowl and 2 years ago we’d have to just bite our lip and take it. I saw all the Wings jerseys for the ’98 Cup Finals, and that was one of the most embarrassing moments of my hockey fan-dom. That’s NOT what any of us saw last season going down the stretch and if we can keep packing our own building with Caps season ticket holders, it’ll effectively put that *opinion* of our fair Capital’s home to rest. BUT… we gotta have a ‘Cup to do it. There’s no denying that a championship would go a long ways toward establishing the Caps as a premier team in DC.
    “Go the distance”, Ovie & Co.!!!

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