Saturday, February 12, 2011

All Things Avs blog: Dater goes mental on officials for helping Jackets bully poor Forsberg

This is Dater's postgame thoughts from the Avs/Blue Jackets game, which Columbus won 3-1. It is pretty standard Dater whining, sky-is-falling, these guys are pathetic/they have no heart stuff, until this point:

Referee Stephen Walkom didn’t dignify the proceedings tonight. I try to stay away from analyzing the referees, but they do a job just like any other guy out there and deserve to a look once in a while. Walkom let a few blatant calls go tonight, some involving Forsberg. Overrated, overpaid Sammi Pahlsson pulled his usual clutch and grab, hit’em-after-the-whistle routine once tonight on Forsberg, and old-school, time-has-passed-him-by Walkom just swallowed his whistle and let Forsberg get wrestled to the ground behind the play.

Guys like Walkom should do the hockey world a favor and retire, because he doesn’t know anything about today’s faster game and how to call it. He seems to want every game to go back to the clutch-and-grab disaster it was prior to the last lockout, and that ain’t the way it’s done any more Steve.

Better to take that league pension and go back to the backwaters of the sport you so clearly miss. Nobody else in the modern world does. But one of Walkom’s good ole Canadian boys, Rick Nash, got looked at crossways by American Paul Stastny in the second period tonight and Walkom blew his whistle and administered a slashing penalty – a slashing penalty, on a guy whose stick never actually touched Nash? Yessir, two minutes in the sin bin for Stats, while more rodeo hockey could ensue on guys like Forsberg without consequence.

So, first star tonight to Stephen Walkom, for giving us all a nice circa 1998 game out there. Well done, NHL marketers.

Where to start with this? Well, first of all, if you didn't see the game, it was actually called fairly even. The Jackets had two power plays, and the Avs had one. That's not saying it was called well, but it was called the same for both teams, and in hockey that's about as much as you can ask for. The Stastny call he mentions was not a great call considering the things that were not called, but neither was it as innocent as Dater makes it out to be. As in ANY hockey game, there were missed calls, but the officiating didn't figure into this game at all.

Dater seems to not have noticed that Forsberg pretty much grabbed Pahlsson by the back of the neck and pulled him to the ice; the way he remembers it, Forsberg was "wrestled to the ground behind the play." In fact, if this game had been called the way Dater apparently wants to see it called, Forsberg would have probably taken at least as many penalties as he drew... he played the same sort of game he always did, which frankly I was happy to see. Forsberg gives as good as he gets, and that apparently hasn't changed, floppy ankles and all.

Am I saying that criticisms of the officiating are improper in a newspaper setting? Not at all... but there is a professional way to go about it, and there's a rabid homer fanboy way to go about it. That Dater chose the latter is the issue here.

There was zero professionalism in this entry... it starts with a Dater standard: "I usually don't (blank), but..." and then he goes on to do exactly what he says he never does. If also featured Dater's typically snotty tone, a real journalism no-no. It included personal insults -- including, incredibly, a charge of xenophobia -- directed at Walkom (apparently Dater does not realize that there were two refs on the ice allowing Forsberg to get mugged, as Walkom gets 100% of his wrath here). He threw in an unnecessary sideswipe at Pahlsson, sarcastically gave the officiating the first star of the game, and he topped it off by donning his tinfoil helmet to assert that the NHL has put crooked officials in place, apparently in an effort to ensure that the league will thrive by allowing skilled, star players to be easily neutralized?

I mean, seriously... how cranky is Dater on this one? So the refs missed a couple calls. Did it really warrant 250 bile-filled words for a game between two second-division teams? But he really went for broke here, and I'm not sure why, because as I said earlier, the officiating had no bearing on this game. The difference here, I think, is that Saint Peter was on the ice, and therefore any and every missed call involving Forsberg is a Crime Against Hockey! Dater ultimately comes across here as the unabashed Forsberg fanboy he really is.

The rest of the entry reverts to the tone it started with: no-insight, cliche comments like "I question [Stastny's] fire to win," and "Where is the emotion out there?" Basically, this blog entry is an insight into nothing more than all the things Dater was cranky about before going to bed last night. I suppose there is a place for that in the blogosphere, but I fail to see how it fits in with professional newspaper coverage of the Colorado Avalanche.

Grade:This useless yet oddly entertaining blog entry includes a classic Dater rant, reminiscent of the anti-ESPN rant from a few years back. Too bad that he didn't put nearly as much thought into this as he did then... the ESPN rant was silly, but at least there was an actual argument in there somewhere if you took the time to peel away the junior-high taunts and name-calling. This is just frustration... if the team is frustrated, report it. I don't really care, however, if Dater is frustrated.

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