Friday, August 10, 2012

Chambers makes mountain out of molehill, freaks out about size of mountain

Generally, I've preferred Mike Chambers's Avalanche coverage over Adrian Dater's... he seems (in my opinion anyway) to have a bit more knowledge of how the game is played (not that this is a requirement for a sportswriter, but it helps), and resorts a bit less often to the subjective, I-statement writing than Dater does. Lately, however, they seem to be coming together near the middle, and I'm not entirely sure how much of this is Dater improving, and how much is Chambers slipping.

If Chambers has a blind spot, it's Ryan O'Reilly, of whom he gushes at nearly every opportunity. Today's comment is on a recent blog entry in which Chambers explores the fact that O'Reilly, a restricted free agent, has yet to agree to a contract with the Avalanche.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dater gets a bit schizo

The hockey offseason is notoriously slow and boring, and so it's been tough for me to get the motivation to add an entry about the Denver Post's coverage of the free agency "frenzy." Most of the Avs off-season moves have been them re-signing their own players rather than making big slashes with free agents. The Avs made one fairly big signing, adding PA Parenteau to the roster, but there was really nothing earth-shattering. So without much to report, I was concerned that the Post's coverage would just jump straight into a bunch of silly rumors... it's happened before.

Happily, the coverage of the start of free agency was decent: very little wild-rumor mongering, and an overall "report it as it happens" style, which I appreciate. The only complaint I'd log is that after Mueller was not extended a qualifying offer, Dater went off on a bit of a tangent about Tomas Fleischmann, writing not one but two blogs under the impression that the Avs "regret" not signing him last offseason. During the time Dater blogged twice about Fleischmann, he blogged zero times about the Avs' re-signing of wing Jamie McGinn. The first blog about Fleischmann at least tried to draw a connection between his situation and Peter Mueller's, but never really bothered to prove the central assumption that the Avs regretted letting Fleischmann go in the first place. The second Fleischmann blog was just Dater trying to defend the first one, and it was really unnecessary. I don't see why he thinks a guy on the Panthers' roster is more important than the guys on the Avs' roster... a little of this speculation/comparison is fine, I suppose, but two blogs on the subject is one too many.
So overall, I'd give the Post's free-agency coverage a decent grade, let's call it a B. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deadmarsh Blog - Removed?!?

Howdy! With the Stanley Cup playoffs in the history books, we enter the slowest time of the year for a hockey fan. Luckily, we have baseball to get us through these tough months... unless you are a Rockies fan, when this season will henceforth be known as The Time of Great Drinking. Sigh.

There will likely be very few articles in the Denver Post about the Avalanche in the upcoming months, which might make it easier for Grading Dater to keep up with them, but seeing as how we've already established the next few months will be some sort of vicious bender waiting for hockey to return, I wouldn't count on it. But anyway, on with the show...

When you're an assistant coach for a hockey team,
you give up your right to privacy. Read the constitution! 
Today's entry is a curiosity: a blog entry that no longer exists. The reasons WHY it no longer exists we can only speculate, but it very likely indicates that Dater has stepped over the line of journalistic integrity and ethics once again. Not long after writing a blog in which he flirted with shady journalism by essentially reporting what he was (apparently) told off-the-record about Deadmarsh and Lefebvre returning to the Avalanche coaching staff, Dater posted an article explaining that Adam Deadmarsh had, in fact, stepped down from his position "for personal reasons" and accepted another, behind-the-scenes position with the team (Dater ended up oh-for-two on his "Deadmarsh and Lefebvre set to return" prediction, as this blog indicates that Lefebvre has accepted a head coaching position for the Canadiens' AHL affiliate).

When somebody says that they are doing something for personal reasons, I think 99% of the population realizes that what they're saying is that they do not really want those reasons discussed publicly. That doesn't mean that those 99% of people aren't curious about it and won't gossip and speculate, but it's a pretty safe bet that those people aren't newspaper journalists with the power to completely ruin that person's wishes to remain private just by tapping a few buttons. Adrian Dater IS a newspaper journalist, and even on his blog he has a greater responsibility to the privacy of those he covers than you and I do when we're sitting at the bar discussing hockey rumors and stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Odds and Ends

Hello! Here are a few brief (we can only hope) grades for some recent work found on the Denver Post. Enjoy!

Deadmarsh, Lefebvre looking set to return

Few people remember what
great, great hair this guy had
In this blog, Adrian Dater uses some very odd logic to explain why he believes that Avalanche assistant coaches Adam Deadmarsh and Sylvain Lefebvre will be with the team next season. He begins by explaining that the Avalanche do not allow their assistants to speak to the press, nor do they announce any upcoming coaching changes. "For instance, if an assistant coach is not coming back, they will not release that information publicly." With him so far? He then tells us that when he asked somebody (he doesn't say whom) about Deader and Lefebvre, he was met with silence. His conclusion from that is, oddly enough, that they are coming back... despite the fact that he just wrote that when the Avs say nothing, it usually means a coach isn't coming back.

Confused? You're not the only one. When a few commenters questioned this very issue and raised a couple very good points about it, the response was the tired-out "It's a blog, he can write whatever he wants." Even Dater (or somebody using his name, anyway) himself chimed in, writing "I just love getting lectures on "accountability" from people who don't use their real name." Well, even though a blog can be used to inject some more opinion into things than would be proper in a regular article, a blog is not an excuse for amateurish journalism from a professional journalist, whether he uses his real name or not.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Year in Review: Jan Hejda

Here are some quick thoughts on Mike Chambers's recent review of Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda's 2011-2012 season.

Avs year-in-review spotlight: Jan Hejda

Chambers does a passable job recapping Hejda's season, which I would describe as solid if not spectacular. Chambers mentions that Hejda played a lot of minutes against the opponent's top line, but concludes that he will need to be more of an impact player next season to be worth his contract. Fair enough, I don't really disagree.

I find some of Chambers's conclusions confusing, however. For example, he notes that Hejda was 4th on the team in hits (he was actually 3rd, as McGinn was with SJ the majority of the season) and 2nd in blocked shots, but then writes that these "numbers are disappointing." I suppose anything less than leading the team in both would be disappointing to Chambers?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hello Again!

Hello there! It's been quite a while since I last added anything to Grading Dater (and before that, it was quite a while too), and there are a few reasons for that which I am sure you are just dying to hear. A number of fairly large life changes have been happening lately, and while these changes have been overwhelmingly positive, they've diverted my attention away from the blog. It happens, sorry! Also, even when I was full-steam on keeping up with the blog, I wasn't getting a lot of feedback, and after a while it started to seem like I was just typing to myself, which got a bit frustrating. At least Dater gets plenty of feedback, and love or hate, he knows people are reading him... so if you're out there, make some comments! Whether it's "Keep it up" or "Your blog is the stupidest thing I've ever encountered," I'd love to hear from you. And third, the Avalanche coverage lately -- as I mentioned in a number of previous entries -- has improved, thus giving me less to write about... and seeing as how the goal of this blog is to improve the media coverage of the Avalanche, this is a good thing, right?!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Year, Old Issues

Hello! I'm sure that all of you who live and die by every word of this blog are already well aware, it's been a while since we've added anything to Grading Dater. I wish we could say that this is because the Avalanche newspaper coverage has been excellent and beyond reproach, but the fact of the matter is that I've just been a bit lazy. Watching hockey has been knocked down a few rungs on life's priority ladder of late, which means that reading about hockey is a step or two beneath that, meaning that complaining about reading about hockey has been an even lower priority.

This is not to say, however, that the Denver Post's Avalanche coverage has been all bad and we've simply ignored it. For the most part, it's been tolerable, and often very good. Dater has done a fairly good job lately keeping his player biases quiet and his opinions in the background (even on the blog), and has produced some well-done pieces and game writeups. Although we still get the occasional "the season depends on these next two games" sort of melodramatics, the Dater Downer persona has faded away a bit, in favor of a somewhat more objective viewpoint. Also rarely seen of late is the self-important Dater who that he feels it's his duty to rip the Avs every once in a while, and then pats himself on the back when he refrains from ripping on the Avs. Sure, I've read an article or blog and rolled my eyes a bit, but nothing much lately to really embody the big issues with the Post's coverage and get me to the keyboard with my dander up.  

Mike Chambers continues to be a significant improvement over his colleague, both in apparent understanding and comfort with the game, as well as (his evident man-crush on Ryan Wilson notwithstanding) his overall ability to remove himself from his coverage. As Chambers has seemed lately to be taking more of an even workload with Dater (let's not say that Dater's lost the starting job, we'll call it a 1A/1B "platoon" situation), I've had less and less to write about. You may be surprised, then, to find that the thing that reactivates Grading Dater is not actually written by Dater, but by Chambers.