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So much for respectful disagreement

October 5, 2006

As I noted in a previous post, the blogs that make up the links in my side bar are a varied sort. 

Most of them seem to be written purely from a fan’s perspective, with the proper doses of passion (misguided and otherwise), news with their views, and of course pure speculation.  These are invariably my favorites to read.  I can get the “real” news from any number of mainstream media sites, but if I want to know what a fan of a particular team thinks about something I go to visit these folks.

There are a few who are more dedicated to the analysis of statistics and applying these to their thoughts on the game of hockey.  These interest me in an ancillary capacity.  I’ve done some(extremely) elementary statistical analysis, mostly when I try to figure out where the Blue Jackets “really” place in the NHL standings.  Usually, to my dismay, the team still lingers near the bottom.  But I digress…

Every blogger has their own personality and this comes through in their writing.  Some come across as polished and professional fans of their team (Christy at Behind the Jersey often falls into this category).  Some are die-hard, unapologetic fans of their teams and do not censor their thoughts in any way (the guys at Battle of California and Battle of Alberta are great examples).  A few others are involved with mainstream media outlets (paid or otherwise), but have their personal blogs on the side (Paul Kukla and James Mirtle). 

If you are a regular reader of any website (those I’ve linked to or others you frequent), you probably unconsciously apply that writer’s personality to everything they write (and rightfully so, I believe).  That’s why my finding today surprised me a bit.  Over at Tyler’s mc79hockey today, he rips into Paul Kukla’s recent entry at his ‘other’ blog which is hosted at the NHL website.  In his blog, Paul encourages hockey fans to call up five friends that aren’t big hockey fans and encourage them to watch an opening night game.  Based on my experiences reading Paul’s work, that’s just the kind of guy he is.  If I recall, he did something similar during the Stanley Cup playoffs, inviting a bunch of people (non-hockey friends) over to his house to watch a game on television to try and grow interest in the game. 

Paul is interested in growing the popularity of the game of hockey in a grass-roots fashion.  It may not work for everybody, I know that just because Paul suggested that I do so doesn’t mean I have to do it.  As I read his entry, Tyler implies that Paul’s suggestions are endorsed by the NHL, which I would be willing to bet good money they aren’t.  I’d say without question that Paul is responsible for all content and opinions appearing in his blog (I confirmed this with Paul).

Perhaps by suggesting his “Five Phone Call strategy”, Paul is hoping that we’ll each come up with our own way (which may be better, who knows) to bring new fans to the game.  What I’m learning more every day, is that I find myself aligning more and more with the fan-view that my favorites possess.  I may not agree with you, but in the end we’re all fans of the game.  If I believed too much about what some of the stats guys write, I’d write off this hockey season because apparently my Blue Jackets (who despite the worst collective record in hockey the last five seasons have great fans) are already out of it.

Bottom line, I don’t think Paul’s suggestions are harmful to the game.  Anyone who finds his blog likely comes from two sources.  One, we read his regular site (www.kuklaskorner.com) daily and check out his NHL.com bulletins for more material by someone we enjoy.  Two, a casual fan is hopping around the newly redesigned NHL website and finds Paul’s blog.  Either way, fans of hockey are reading Paul.  And if there’s one thing that anyone from any walk of life wants, it’s to be around others who feel the same way you do.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench, hockey fans.  Enjoy the full slate of games tonight, if you can.

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7 comments

  1. Well. I just lost my appetite after seeing Tyler’s entry. I sure hope he enjoys the attention he’ll be getting for writing such tripe without realizing Kukla isn’t some corporate puppet for the league, as he seems to assume.


  2. I know that just because Paul suggested that I do so doesn’t mean I have to do it.

    No, he actually says that you have to do it. Look again!


  3. Notice how he neglects to respond to the fact he made the assumption that Kukla’s comments were NHL-sponsored, or tailor-made by their marketing department.

    Play to your only strength, I guess, right?

    Oh, and their criticism of AdSense (Google Ads) is horribly inaccurate. AdSense is who controls the type of advertisements that are seen in large part due to the programming of the ad system, not the NHL. The NHL would have to be alerted to some bad ads by seeing them, then have to contact Google/AdSense to see about having them removed from however they pop up for site viewers. At that, Google Ads are something which a website ads on their own, and does not involve being paid to put up ads by Google. In short, it has nothing to do with the regular advertising method wherein advertisers buy time.

    In short? Tyler and his baseball-bleating buddy are pretty ignorant.


  4. Notice how he neglects to respond to the fact he made the assumption that Kukla’s comments were NHL-sponsored, or tailor-made by their marketing department.

    Well, to be blunt, the NHL chose him to write for them for a reason. I believe Paul when he says that he actually believes that and that the NHL doesn’t ask him to write that specifically but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the NHL chooses a fan blogger who happens to write columns suggesting that people should phone other people and tell them to watch hockey.

    Oh, and their criticism of AdSense (Google Ads) is horribly inaccurate. AdSense is who controls the type of advertisements that are seen in large part due to the programming of the ad system, not the NHL.

    First of all, I thought that they were Google ads as well. I’m not so sure now – the NHL is selling ads directly on their site. Secondly, if they’re running a site, they’re responsible for the content. The content is their responsibility. That’s why it looks ridiculous when their “independent” blogger writes pieces commanding us to tell our friends to write and hockey and that’s why it looks bad when their advertising is for sleazy products. They have the ultimate control/responsibility for their product.


  5. “but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the NHL chooses a fan blogger who happens to write columns suggesting that people should phone other people and tell them to watch hockey.”

    Of course it’s not a coincedence. But like you admit, that doesn’t mean that he’s being fed corporate jargon to churn out to his readers. Honestly, and maybe it’s just me, but I took the sales pitch he made with a grain of salt. Not in the sense that he wasn’t asking people to call friends, but the whole pseudo-telemarketing conversation. You call a friend, ask them if they want to come and watch some hockey, see if the idea floats or sinks, and that is that.

    “I’m not so sure now – the NHL is selling ads directly on their site. Secondly, if they’re running a site, they’re responsible for the content. The content is their responsibility.”

    The people at the NHL site can’t magically conjure up the exact same line of Google Ads that you or your friend got with the snap of a finger. Sure, they’re probably on the lookout for things, but there’s always room for improvement.

    Furthermore, who is to say you can’t have both Google Ads *and* normal ads which people buy time for? Of course using Google Ads on a professional sports website is sleazy and ultimately bush league, but they need to be directly tipped off to any bad ads such as the ones pointed out. I doubt they have people at computers around the clock refreshing the page going “Hmm! Are these Google Ads that were generated good for our target audience?” That’s what customer feedback is for.

    Regardless, the whole logic behind your friend’s argument was that the webmaster gave explicit permission for illegal scams and surveys just so long as they got precious advertising money, when in reality they have no control over what AdSense generates unless they’re told about what generated. Then they still have to tell AdSense to tinker with the coding for NHL.com’s advertising generator via Google Ads.


  6. Some are die-hard, unapologetic fans of their teams and do not censor their thoughts in any way (the guys at Battle of California and Battle of Alberta are great examples).

    I am often apologetic on BoC.

    Sorry for beating you in G6 and 7, Calgary.


  7. Earl,

    My characterization of your passion was certainly not intended as a negative comment. I appreciate fans who love their team(s) through thick and thin.

    Keep it up.



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