There was great volume of high-pitched conversation about the Capitals taking place late last Thursday night, near the end of the Penguins’ 5-2 seal-clubbing of the Caps, and the most intriguing of it emanated from the Twitter feed of former Washington Post and Capitals reporter Jason La Canfora. La Canfora, who covers the NFL today, spent 10 years at the Post, on the Skins beat the back half of his tenure there but also a few seasons on 15th St. as Capitals beat reporter. His stint on the Caps’ beat was wedged between ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (then Rachel Alexander; thoroughly forgettable coverage) and Tarik El Bashir’s fine work. La Canfora I thought brought quality and commitment to his work covering the Caps. His hockey chops were well earned, too — previously he covered the Red Wings while with the Detroit Free-Press.
Today La Canfora has more than 270,000 followers on Twitter. Though I’m not an NFL devotee and don’t follow La Canfora on Twitter, his contemporary thoughts on the Caps aren’t irrelevant, to me anyway. Early last Friday morning an OFB Twitter follower alerted me to a string of La Canfora tweets that he thought vividly amplified my Caps’ autopsy of that morning. I didn’t get around to searching them out until deep in the weekend, but when I did I couldn’t find any Caps-related La Canfora tweets, from last Thursday night and any other time. Weird.
So I asked around a bit. Indeed folks in Twittersphere did see La Canfora take the gloves off last Thursday night in 140 characters, directed at Capitals management. Better still, a 4th estater who follows La Canfora on Twitter had the tweets still cached. He pasted them into a Word document and emailed them to me. Behold:
There’s more than a little bit of Joey Kocur Detroit in that roundhouse syntax. This was a reporter — years off the beat to be sure, but still with extra distinctive street cred with which to weigh in on a pressing Capitals matter of the moment — delivering a gutsy vantage, unafraid (initially, at least) of offending management sensibilities. The perfect example for his contemporary puck peers in D.C. to emulate. But they’re sentiments no longer to be found on La Canfora’s feed. Search for yourself, but you won’t find them; they’ve been obliterated.
The JayB4 addressed in the tweets is a Jay Brooke, a Caps’ fan, and his feed has plenty of dialogue directed at La Canfora last Thursday night.
What gives? When did La Canfora delete his tweets, and at whose behest? Media members deleting tweets is considered poor form, and so what are we to make of La Canfora white board wiping away his whole string related to the crumbling of the Nation’s Hockey Capital? It’s a particularly interesting matter to yours truly, as I’m fond of reminding of the lavish civility the professional press in these parts ever impart upon Mr. Leonsis’ hockey club.
And by the way, La Canfora was spot on.
Update: Thanks to Dan Steinberg for pointing out that the tweets are still there and one needs to click “ALL” instead of “No Replies” to view the tweets. And there’s more there than we initially thought.
Jay Brooke is the founder of the Caps Road Crew. This is the guy who was so passionate about the Caps that he’d obtain group seats and charter buses to away games so that 50 other fans could join him. He no longer has season tickets and refuses to wear any of the thousands of dolllars of Caps merchandise he owns due to the way the organization is run. He just got fed up with being treated like a number on a ledger instead of a person.
Some comments are so important that upon arrival in my email inbox I immediately forward them to the full OFB team, with instructions to read them at least twice.
The LaCanfora tweets don’t appear to have been deleted. You just have to make sure you’re viewing it “with replies,” since they were replies to @JayB4. https://twitter.com/JasonLaCanfora/with_replies
Reader Mike is right, and a better tech sleuth than I. You can’t see the tweets on La Canfora’s main feed, but his handiwork of last Thursday still exists. And buried there is also this:
Guys, Jason and I are friends dating back to when Jason covered the Caps. Back in that time period I traveled to see the Caps play on the road a lot (like 10-15 games a year). He and I used to meet up after games and have a couple drinks and talk hockey, sports, life, etc.
Obviously since Jason’s career has rocketed, from the Post to NFL.com to CBS. We haven’t been in touch much over the past 8 or so years, but he’s a great guy and I bet he’s an awesome father and husband. In the past he’s regularly hosted meet ups with readers & twitter followers because he likes hanging out and good discussion. Like me, he’s a passionate guy when he cares about something and he’s never been one to back down on something he believes in. And most importantly, Jason lives and grew up in Maryland and was/is a Caps fan like us.
All of that said, I think folks are making a little much of the Twitter discussion between Jason and I last Thursday night. Look, it probably wasn’t any more dissimilar than the discussion two other guys who aren’t happy with the Caps situation might have had the very same night. But it was two guys venting, valid points or not we’re just expression our frustration and our opinions and it so happens that one of us is, for better or worse, famous now (and that God that it isn’t me, LOL).
Anyway, please just take it for what it really is, just a couple guys getting frustrated and bouncing comments back & forth while watching the Caps have a bad game against the one team we really don’t want to see that happen against.
The tweets could have stayed. I would say Jason was spot on with his comments.
If I were a staunch Caps fan, I would be looking for change and answers, too. I watch my wife, the Caps fan, shake her head everyday at the fact that the team is staying the course. I thought there was some promise to this year’s team (almost so far as me tossing money down on them winning the Cup), but there’s a lot of “bad wiring” in the machine right now. Something needs to be done soon, for sure. My favorite and beloved team (which will go unnamed and I promise you is not one of the Pennsylvania teams), is struggling, too, and we had the world promised to us by the ownership and management. Fast-forward a few seasons and nothing has changed except maybe things have gone a little backwards. A unified voice of displeasure and social media bits like Jason’s may need to get amplified in order to force something to be done. I would be surprised if nothing were addressed by the end of February if the trend continues for the Caps.
Ah, and, of course, I just read the comments about the tweets not being deleted. But my point remains about chirping, tweeting, or what have you, for the changes that are needed for this team to regain its success. I may not entirely be a complete fan of the Caps (although I do have a soft spot for them), but after watching their rise in talent and elevation of play on the ice, there is no reason this team should be in dead last in the league.
Jay, I appreciate your perspective, greatly. It’s not without merit. But recognize that Jason brings to any discussion of the Caps a unique credibility. He saw the team/organization day in, day out, in ways most do not. And of course he did carry off his most recent discussion in public, though a few of us (me especially) had difficulty tracking it down.
Speaking of the “lavish civility” with which the local press treats the Caps, the Tracee Hamilton column in the Post today is a model of the form. Putting aside the merits of her argument that McPhee deserves more time, she is so ill-informed on the “facts” that she uses to make her argument that it’s embarrassing. McPhee has stocked the pipeline with “young talent”? His “forte” is the draft? This is an organization that is ranked 18th in Hockey Future’s prospect rankings. And a team that has no non-goalie, other than Perrault, playing for them that was drafted below the first round.
Fingerman, I have pointed thoughts relative to Hamilton’s fitness to comment on hockey/Caps, as well as what her hire represents. I will share them in email to you.
Thanks for the great article..