Thursday, February 24, 2011

All Things Avs posts: Sharks/Avs recap

After a few blog entries that simply reviewed the recent trades the team has made without offering a great deal of insight, Dater had this entry after the Avs got shut out against San Jose.

Up to this point, Dater had done a reasonably good job with his assessments of the two big trades over the weekend: he seemed to understand the reasoning behind the Anderson trade (they were not going to re-sign him anyway, might as well flip him for somebody they might be able to hold on to and develop) and kept his remarks largely in the "boy, things sure happen fast!" neighborhood. And his comments on the Stewart/Shattenkirk-Johnson trade were equally balanced: Dater worries that giving up Stewart is a mistake, but he also knows that Johnson is exactly the sort of player he's been saying the Avs need all along, and you've got to give up talent to get talent. Again, up to this point, he'd been OK, and those blog entries together receive a C+ grade.

But all it took was one game to end all that. This blog entry is a return to the mopey, pessimistic, sky-is-falling attitude that pervades Dater's work... if it had stopped there, then it would have been merely bad. However, this blog entry also offers an example of one of the prime reasons Adrian Dater should be removed from the Avalanche beat: his clearly-stated bias towards certain players and against others.

Dater starts with a variation of his "I'm not one to (blank), but...," this time saying, "I'm not going to start second-guessing the Stewart-Johnson deal tonight, after one game." I have my doubts, but let's take him at his word on that, and move on...

Next, he digs into the Anderson trade. Remember, he was pretty shruggy about this one up to this point, but that was before Anderson stood on his head for Ottawa that night and sent him all into a tizzy.

But I still want to second-guess the Craig Anderson deal some. I still can’t believe Anderson is gone. He was so great last year, and now he’s gone, traded for a guy who has been terrible all year in Ottawa. Can’t believe that’s all that came of Anderson, after a first year in which he literally carried the team into the playoffs, playing 71 games.

So, you can't believe it. OK. Rub your eyes, take a deep breath, and get back to work. Guess what? Anderson was terrible all year in Denver, too... so what's your point? One good game in Ottawa and he's a Vezina candidate?

Oh, and do you have any idea what the word "literally" means, Dater? This is one thing I can't stand for, is when a person who is PAID TO USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE treats it like this. "Literally" is a word, it has a meaning. Learn it.

So many fans seem to think he “quit” on the team this year. Does anybody have any evidence of that? I sure can’t find any. 

Well, there were all those times he half-assed a save attempt, where he played like he didn't really care. He didn't look like the same goalie he did in the first half of last season, and even his biggest fans would admit it. Ironically, the Ottawa game Dater is talking about that convinces him that Anderson should have been the Avs Goalie Of The Future is all the proof some of us need to show that Anderson's play this season was the result of giving up on the team... in his first game in Ottawa (a team with pretty bad defense, themselves) he performed like he hadn't for Colorado all year. Looks like pretty convincing evidence to me that he might have been holding something back with the Avs. Good riddance to him.

Sorry, but I’m an Anderson guy. I think this: I think Anderson DID feel less wanted this year, after the Avs didn’t give the time of day to his agent toward talks on a new contract.

Two problems with this one. First, it came to light right after this that the Avs DID, in fact, offer Anderson a very nice contract and a substantial raise, and he turned them down. Glaring mistakes like this are why real reporters routinely include something called "fact gathering" as part of their work.

The big problem here, though, is:  "I'm an Anderson guy." How often do we see a professional journalist proclaim the guys he likes and doesn't like the way Dater does? It's just ridiculous... journalism is all about being free from bias on the subject you are covering, and what bias you cannot rid yourself, you do your best to mask and keep out of your stories. Not only does Dater fail to make an attempt to keep his personal bias about the Avalanche out of his writing, he pretty much flaunts it. Frankly, I can't believe he hasn't been fired for this sort of thing. He should be.

Then he had a couple of bad games, and suddenly he was in a rotation basis with Peter Budaj. That’s where I split with the coaching decisions from there on the goaltending. I still think Anderson needed another bunch of games to play by himself before he started to be in a platoon position with a guy who has NEVER proven himself as a No. 1.
AD, he had more than "a couple of bad games." He was under .500, and his backup had better stats than he did. This is the problem with bias in reporting... it makes you unable to discern (and thereby report) report the truth. Bias is poison to journalism.

Now, if you're one of those who will dismiss it by saying "But it's only a blog!" consider this: yes, a blog writer is different than a journalist and is subject to different ethical boundaries (if any)... but when a blog writer IS a journalist, it creates a major problem, and this is a perfect example of it. It is a conflict of interest to get paid as a journalist to cover the Avalanche, and then spew out ill-informed and completely personal opinions on the same subject, ESPECIALLY on the same website.

And why take a dig at Budaj here? Budaj did his job as the Avalanche backup this season. Anderson failed, spectacularly, in his job as the starter... but what does Dater do? Defends Anderson, attacks Budaj. Recall just a bit ago when I said that bias poisons journalism? There's the evidence of it, right there... no hockey mind or journalist would ever suggest that the problem with a team is its backup goaltender.

After bitching about this for another few paragraphs, Dater then returns, as you knew he would, to second-guess the Johnson-Stewart deal for a while. Big surprise, right?

Dater does get one thing right in this blog entry, and this is it:

I was wrong.

He's wrong about a lot of stuff, folks, but that hasn't stopped him yet.

Grade: F

Postscript: The comments section produced an interesting exchange. 

Why are you so quick to cut Andy all the slack in the world and just as quick to throw Budaj under the bus and back over him? 

Jimbo (me):
I agree... Dater goes out of his way here to make excuses for Anderson, but when it comes time to discuss Budaj Dater dismisses him with one sentence.

Whether Budaj hs proved he can be a #1 goalie or not, he DID prove to the coaches and the Avs that he gave them a better chance to win than Anderson this season, and that says it all... if Budaj's as bad as Dater says and the Avs STILL went with him, then we've just learned everything we need to know about what Andy brought to the team... if Dater put his massive bias aside for a bit he might be able to give a better analysis on the goaltending situation, but he'd rather be the writer with an edge than the writer with the insightful commentary and analysis. 

Congrats on the most idiotic post of the 100 comments so far. Bravo!
How many games has Budaj won lately, I wonder? Oh, and Anderson won 13 games this year, and Budaj 12 so far. So there goes your statement about giving them the best chance to win.

Jimbo (me): 
How is my comment idiotic? I said that the coaches and the Avs had pretty clearly stated that Budaj gave them the best chance to win, as evidenced by his increased workload as the season went along. Prove me wrong... go ahead. Show everybody what an idiot I am, or admit what a petty, unprofessional writer YOU are. 

I thought I made a pretty good point, don't you? After being given a very heavy workload to start the season, and then again after he returned from his knee injury, Anderson eventually fell into a platoon situation with Budaj, and then near the end it seemed he might actually be headed towards a backup role. They ultimately traded Anderson away, of course, and on top of all that, Sacco actually said at one point "Right now [Budaj] gives us a chance to win"... the clear implication being that Anderson did not.

That sure seems like a lot of compelling evidence to back up my statement that the Avs' decisions (and statements) about the goaltending told us a lot about what they really thought of Anderson as the season went on. Dater apparently doesn't like reasoning that follows a linear path, however, as it clogs up his frothy-bias machine and he has to spend the rest of the night getting it running again. So instead of responding to the argument, Dater throws out some facts that don't really support his point (or damage mine), and lashes out, calling my post "idiotic." Classy.

Now, it was pointed out that it might not have been Dater himself posting as "Adrian," and I responded that if this was the case I apologized to the real Dater... but frankly, I have little doubt it was Dater who wrote that comment. All it does is show how thin both his knowledge of the game AND his skin really are.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding your comment about the coaches believing Budaj gives the team a better chance to win--and the real-or-fake Adrian's response that Anderson had 13 wins to Budaj's 12, thus somehow making you wrong--it should be pointed out that, on the season, Anderson has 15 losses to Budaj's 12.

    I think I'll go post something to that effect.