At any rate, Mike Chambers has been filling nicely with succinct coverage and well-written blogs, with Dater's only recent contribution being the latest "Avs Mailbag" entry. So let's dig into that! In this Mailbag entry, Dater tackles eight questions, with varying degrees of success.
The first question asks of Dater, "how would you... decide to build the Avs' defense for next season?"
I suppose I could make a crack such as "thank goodness Dater is not in charge of building the Avs defense for next season," but that could be read as to imply that he could do worse than has been done this season, and to be fair, I don't think that's necessarily true. I think that monkeys could fling their feces at a marked-up wall as a form of rudimentary decision-making process, and reach a better result, roster-wise, than this year's Avs have done. Have I just implied that Dater could build an NHL team better than a group of monkeys flinging poo? Yes, I have. I leave it to you, the reader, to decide whether I have insulted Dater or monkeys to the greater degree.
However, I do think that the Avs GM (either Pierre LaCroix, or the guy they currently have pretending to the be GM instead of LaCroix) has done a better job building this defense than Dater has done answering this question. Dater COMPLETELY dodges the primary question the person asked here, and instead answers the supplementary question, "Did you think this slump was going to happen?" This allows him to go to his " I told you so" voice and to throw in vague cliches like "hunger," rather than risking an answer that would require him to look forwards rather than backwards and to offer some actual insight and/or analysis. Answer #1: D--. Yep, that's two minuses. The F is reserved for the monkeys.
Question #3 is a fairly stupid question: "Is (Anderson) really available for trade?" Dater resists the urge to answer a stupid question with a stupid answer, explaining that the only player that the Avalanche would not trade if they had an offer is Duchene, but that no serious contender would trade for Anderson right now, anyway. He's right... if ever a player laid a big, stinky egg right when he had the opportunity to cash in BIG TIME as a free agent, it's Anderson. I don't know if the Avs' list of untouchables really starts and ends with Duchene, but it's a good enough answer to get a B.
Question #4 reads: "Could please ask Adam Foote why he has yet to play in Columbus since he left? He divided the lockerroom and sandbagged it here his last year and has yet to show his face on the ice in an Avs uniform."---Tadd, Columbus, Ohio
Dater's answer: "Well, actually Foote has played two games in Columbus since leaving there for the Avs. They were Dec. 5 and Jan. 2 of last season. Those must have skipped your mind, Tadd."
This is one of those cases where Dater's answer is actually 100% correct, but since he only included the question to give himself the opportunity to make himself appear smarter than the person who asked the question, he gets a poor grade. Not only does Dater love the low-hanging fruit, but he frequently makes a big deal out of it when it gets it... and luckily for him, his readers seem to give him plenty of opportunities. A responsible reporter would have given this question the ignoring it deserves, but Dater pounced on it. His snotty pettiness leads to a D+ grade here.
Question #5 is from a Hejduk fan in some part of the other side of the world where, I'm guessing, the sun never rises and they poop in a trench cut down the middle of the street. This guy is practically begging Dater to tell him that the Avs will get better in much the same way some doe-eyed kid begs his mother to tell him that mommy and daddy still love each other. Dater, demonstrating no compassion at all, tells the truth and essentially says, "Probably not, but hang in there anyway." Answer #5: C-... accurate, but in a useless manner (The grade here is higher than for #4 only because he's much less of a dick about it this time, but still below average because of the inclusion of the phrase "burnin' watchin' Hedjie"). Again, as in the last question, he's probably correct, but he's now addressed two stupid questions just to make himself appear smarter... essentially what I'm doing with this blog, except I'm not getting a paycheck for it.
Next is an Altitude/Haynes and McNab question. I always find it interesting to read how Dater views the ethics of other journalists. He correctly points out that Haynes and McNab are employed to "promote the brand" of the Avalanche, rather than as objective reporters, and then goes off on a tangent about how he would do it if it were up to him... not really the question that was asked, but OK. His comments there are pretty close to my thoughts -- Altitude is a bit of a joke as far as "coverage" of the Avs is concerned (although I seem to have noticed a distinct improvement over the last couple seasons) -- but then again, Dater's coverage in the Post leaves a lot to be desired, too. An example of that is in this question: in the process of answering it, Dater uses the words "I," "My," or "Me" thirteen times. The question was not about you, Dater, it was about Altitude. B-, and I feel that I am being generous with my grade here (six "I/me/mys," BTW, and that's with me throwing in three at the end... oops, make that four).
The next question was a quickie about Altitude switching from the game to the Nuggets game. Not really an "Avalanche" question much as it is a "television" question, but at least Dater answers it quickly and succinctly, and doesn't waste much time on it... but he could just as easily have chosen to not include it at all. That's three questions in this mailbag that aren't really worthy of being published or answered... it sure seems like Dater is padding this thing with creampuff questions. Is he not getting enough questions sent to him for this feature, or is it that the easy ones are the only ones he feels comfortable answering? Creampuff answers get creampuff grades: C-.
Right after I get done bitching about lame questions, the final question rolls up, about the Avs' ownership, and whether their focus on the Nuggets and the Carmello Anthony issue have hurt the Avs' chances at making the playoffs this season. A decent question, and a good one for Dater to close with... how does he handle it?
Well to be honest, he puts the barrel of the bat on this one, and gives a great answer. I pretty much agree; as many problems as this Avalanche team has, I really don't think they can be laid at the feet of the owners. Much like the Rockies, this team has decided to go with a "grow from within" philosophy, and they're sticking with it. Kroenke has never failed to sign the checks, and as many issues as they've had this season, I don't think changing philosophies halfway through will make things any better in the long run.
Kudos to Dater for resisting the rather easy mob mentality answer, and basically responding that the Avs are following a formula that has created a number of successful NHL teams recently (Chicago, Pittsburgh), and that the ownership has had little bearing here one way or the other. I give Dater an A- on this answer.