Sunday, February 10, 2013

Avs Mailbag

Hello! Today we take a look at an Avs Mailbag from last week.

Too early to press panic button?

In this installment of the Mailbag, Adrian Dater tackles five questions from readers. The first question asks whether, in light of the poor power play, PK, and road performances by the Avs so far, an early first-round draft pick is all that Avs fans have to look forward to this season. Dater answers by saying that the presumed #1 pick is Seth Jones (son of one-time Denver Nugget Popeye Jones... cool little trivia tidbit there) it's probably too early to start thinking about draft picks, but that "in a short season, the panic button will get pushed a lot earlier than usual."

I suppose this is a good enough answer, but it's worth nothing that at the time AD wrote this, the Avs were 2-4. Three games earlier, they had been 2-1, and two games later they would be 4-4. I would have liked to have seen an answer that a bit more emphatically points out the mercurial nature of the start of any season, particularly one that started as unusually as this NHL season has, before even humoring the "panic button" sort of reader.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

All Things Avs positively positive after win at Calgary

Hi! Today, let's take a look at the All Things Avs blog posted to the Denver Post online after the Avalanche's 6-3 victory in Calgary.

Paul Stastny's two goals helped Colorado beat Calgary

Don't spend them all in one place, Avs!
In this blog entry, Adrian Dater shares his thoughts after the Avalanche's victory against the Flames. Dater starts out with a  predictably sarcastic "time for a parade!" paragraph, but then settles into a breakdown of certain players who Dater feels are worthy of praise. The problem is, though, that Dater is so unfamiliar with praise (he admits as much), that it doesn't always come across as what he claims it to be.

Let's start with his words for Chuck Kobasew:

Chuck Kobasew – I’ve taken a couple of shots at him before, probably cheap shots. I regret it. I consider myself tough – but fair – as a reporter. I don’t want to ever take cheap shots at guys, at least not the kind that have no humor in them and and are just dumb.

Dater does go on to write that Kobasew played "a terrific game" with particular praise for his work on Colorado's third goal... but does that first paragraph sound to anybody else kinda like he just called Kobasew both humorless and stupid?

Friday, February 1, 2013

A couple-three blog grades

Howdy! Time to catch up on two or three All Things Avs blog entries, all written by Adrian Dater. Ready, set, grade!

No Avs practice Tuesday; no updates from Landeskog, O’Reilly fronts

In this blog entry, Adrian Dater explains that under the new CBA,  teams must take a minimum of four days off every month, which explains why the Avs did not practice despite their ultra-poopy PK performance of late. Good info, I had no idea about that.

Also included in this blog are a weather update from Canada (it's cold), a bit of an info-free update on Landeskog, and a closing paragraph about Ryan O'Reilly in which Dater now seems to have moved from "The Avs offers are fair" to "The Avs are subbornly refusing to give in." Dater also uses his new catch phrase — "good times" — twice in this blog entry. It isn't old yet, but it will be soon.

Michael Sgarbossa recalled by Avs; Brad Malone bound for Lake Erie

In this blog entry from later in the same day, Dater lets his reader know that Brad Malone has been sent to the AHL to make room for Micheal Sgarbossa. Dater offers some good, albeit brief, facts about Sgarbossa, guesses at where Sacco will use him, and writes that a guy like him could help address the Avs' scoring woes (scoring being something which is not really Malone's forte). This is an example of the perfect recipe for the blog: 3 cups facts with a dash of speculation.

Ryan O’Reilly update: Not much goin’ on

In this blog entry, Dater lets his reader know that those backwoods Russian doctors did not permanently cost Ryan O'Reilly's the use of his foot, it's just a "minor sprain." Whew! I was worried he wouldn't be able to get back and forth to the fridge for beers over the next couple weeks.

Dater goes on to restate his feelings about O'Reilly's contract holdout. AD does not think things are going well, and blames the Avalanche, writing:

The Avs have just let this kind of thing go on for way too long with players. They cut off their nose to spite their face time and again with players who want what – fair or not – is their perceived value. Then they leave and thrive elsewhere. Maybe it’s time for Avs management to take a good hard look in the mirror and say “Maybe it’s us, not them” as to why players seem to do great things away from this team, after, you know, other teams show they care about them at the bargaining table.

I didn't have any other photos to add to today's blog,
so I figured a shout-out to sweet old trucks was in order.
It's now clear that the hint from the earlier blog about Dater's change of heart with O'Reilly's situation was correct; this is pretty much a complete about-face from the attitude Dater had just a couple weeks ago, when he called the Avalanche's offers to O'Reilly "more than fair."

Dater does acknowledge he said that, but writes that "circumstances with the roster have changed." I guess Dater means that if the Avs have a healthy bunch of forwards, O'Reilly is worth $3.5 million per year, but when guys get hurt, he's now worth more? I'm not sure I agree with that logic. If my wife's car breaks down, my truck doesn't suddenly become more valuable. More useful, definitely... but if I'm selling it I'm not going to be able to say "Yeah, I'm asking about a grand more than it's worth, but that's because it's our only car right now." When a team starts paying players based on how much they need them rather than how much they're worth, that team gets into trouble.

While I do see Dater's point to a degree, I feel he's trying to straddle the fence here... on one side he's saying the team is being smart with their money and not overpaying for a guy who's demanding far too much compensation than his body of work would call for, and from the other side of his mouth he's saying the team is being cheap, stubborn, and stupid and chasing away their fans. Perhaps the truth, as it often is, is a mixture of black and white, but here it just sounds like Dater is waffling. If Dater wishes to make his point about the Avalanche front office's attitude towards players in certain situations, he'd be wise to pick as his example a player the Avs are truly trying to underpay, rather than one he's already stated the team has dealt with fairly.

One other note about this blog: Dater writes that under the new CBA, a restricted free agent in O'Reilly's situation can become a free agent if he sits out an entire season of hockey. He has offered no source for this claim, and from what I can tell from reading through the changes to the CBA, he is completely wrong here. If this were the case, why wouldn't EVERY player hold out after his entry-level contract was up, go play in Russia or Sweden for a year, and thereby become a UFA six years early? I think this is a case of Dater severely misunderstanding something he overheard, not bothering to check it, and then throwing his readers into a state of confusion by publishing it as fact. I could be wrong, but the only place I can find this supposed CBA change is in Dater's own writing, so I'm not betting on it. The grade here would be a C if not for this misleading factual error. 

EDIT: Today, Dater published this blog entry, explaining that what he wrote about O'Reilly's RFA status changing after a one-year holdout could be (and as he later adds, is definitely) wrong. He writes that it was told to him "by people I trust," but calls this a "misunderstanding" of the new CBA.

A few readers have blasted AD in the comments section, but perhaps surprisingly, Grading Dater is not going to join in that fun. Although Dater does deflect the blame somewhat by pointing a finger at his unnamed source, the fact that he has created an entire blog entry just to admit that he was wrong and that he was sorry, is pretty cool. Certainly, as a reporter, there should have been some part of his mind that said, "Wait a minute, that doesn't make any freakin' sense at all, I should spend another five minutes googling shit to see if this is accurate before I commit it to print." If he'd done even a little bit of research before he wrote and published it, he'd have avoided this entire thing... but even so, here he comes clean and admits publicly that he was in error, and that's about all you can ask for once the mistake has been made.