1. I found it difficult to get motivated to get online and write a blog about hockey (and hockey reporting) when there is no hockey. Just seemed kind of pointless, and with the Broncos being very interesting/heartbreaking this year, the NHL became very easy to ignore.
2. I realize that the DP's writers probably feel exactly like I do about writing when there's nothing to write about, but unlike me they're actually required to write even if they have nothing to write about. So in sympathy with their situation, I was more than willing to cut them the same slack I cut myself.
What articles and blogs the Post's writers (even Terry Frei popped his head back into the NHL to contribute an article or two) did offer were few and far between, and consisted of two general types of article: the Dry & Boring Update Article ("After two weeks of no contact, the NHL and the union are set to meet again today. ZZZZZ") and the Gripefest Blog. Even though I have often stated my distaste for using the All Things Avs blog for such blatant opinioratory (I'm pretty sure I just made that word up), I wasn't too bothered by these because, as I said before, the poor bastards have got to write something.
Generally, Frei, Chambers, and especially Dater, seemed to side quite clearly against the league. As the lockout dragged on, Dater made some effort to be critical of the players as well, but it always seemed half-hearted. Eight or ten anti-league paragraphs followed by one or maybe two that started with "That's not to say the players aren't at fault here, too..." before kind of trailing off,. It was clear where the bulk of Dater's sympathies lay in the matter. But I don't give a shit, hockey's back!!!
E for Effort
Now, on to something new! Ryan O'Reilly is the lone unsigned Avs player, and as Mike Chambers noted months ago, this can only be because the Avs are cheapskates and won't pay him what he's worth. ROR is definitely not holding out for more money, because he works out a lot and loves hockey and sponsors a Sri Lankan family through his church and sends his mom flowers on her birthday and never flips the newspaper over to glance at the crossword answers and is just not the sort of guy who expects money in exchange for goods or services. "Money? Pah....I take my skates to this one guy every day and he sharpens them for free! And they let me run up and down the stairs at the Pepsi Center as many times as I want. Who needs money on top of that?"
"No sir! I love hockey! I just want to-"
"FIVE MILLION! DAMN YOU!"
Chambers has been silent on O'Reilly (or if he's written anything, it fell between the cracks during my "ignore the NHL" period (see above)), but Dater had a totally decent blog about the situation a couple days before the season started. In this blog, he basically is commenting on an article he wrote on the same subject, which laid out the offers the Avs have made and what O'Reilly is supposedly demanding. Both the article and the blog are solid, the article being a piece that offers a variety of stats and facts that cover both sides of the debate, and the blog being an opinion, but a well-reasoned one.
Dater basically says that he thinks the Avs' offers to O'Reilly have been more than fair, and that ROR is asking too much for the sort of player he is: a very good young two-way center, but one with only one good statistical season under his belt. Dater smartly points out that only O'Reilly's third season really stands out, and that his first two were "mediocre stats-wise", and for O'Reilly to ask for more than Duchene is making doesn't make sense when one compares Duchene's two very good seasons to O'Reilly's one OK season. Like many of Dater's blog entries, this one presents his opinion, but this one is a balanced opinion that's backed up in many spots by facts and stats.
Dater closes the blog by saying that O'Reilly has indicated that he would remain in the KHL. Dater then lists a few reasons why this would be a less-than-satisfactory option for O'Reilly, and the only one I can't really agree with is his slam on Russian doctors. He seems to be imagining some sort of back-alley knee operation in Russia, when I'm pretty sure their hospitals have lights and soap and a machine that goes "ping" and everything you'd expect in a first-world country. Come on, AD, it's not like O'Reilly is playing hockey in the depths of the Amazon or something. Other than that, though, he's right... playing in the KHL might get O'Reilly the money he's after, but little else. It turns out, though, that maybe money matters to O'Reilly after all. Who could have guessed?
One stats quibble: in the otherwise chock-full-of-good-stats article, Dater writes that O'Reilly led the Avalanche in faceoff win % at 52.8%. Paul Stastny, however, won faceoffs at a 55.4% rate last season, leading the team among players who took more than ten. A little error on Dater's part, or on the part of the lackey Dater hires to run his stats for him. END STATS QUIBBLE.