Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ten Stories from 2008 -- Number 9

Number 9. "The Art of the Blog"

Things are happening off the ice, too. Over the past couple of seasons there has been quite a growth in independent online blogs and an evolution in the relationship among clubs (many that have their own blogging footprint), traditional media (also with their own blogs in many outlets), and the body of independent blogs covering the sport.

The Capitals have as sophisticated a group of independent bloggers as you’ll find in the sport. If you look at rankings, chances are that Caps bloggers are going to be well represented. Look at the blog roll over at AOL Fanhouse, and you’ll find three Caps-centric blogs listed. Over at Ballhype, you’ll find that four of the top-50 NHL blogs belong to those that follow the Caps (no team has more) and the Caps' blogs among the most popular. Find a site that ranks NHL blogs, and chances are, you’re going to find the Capitals are well represented.

And, even with as firmly established a hockey blogging community as the Capitals enjoy, the number is increasing. You can start with the “Hockey Trinity” of Off Wing Opinion, Japers’ Rink, and On Frozen Blog, but there are a number of other talented contributors, too numerous to mention in their entirety. But, if you’re not reading “A View from the Cheap Seats,” you’re missing some unique perspectives on the Caps and hockey in general. If you don’t read “Alex Ovetjkin,” you’re missing out on information on the Caps’ star forward that you probably won’t find in other places. And then there are two more recent additions that already are must reads – “The Red Skate,” coming to you from The Big Apple, of all places, and “Tuvanhillbilly,” which provides something of a Russian emphasis to Capitals coverage – entirely appropriate given the number of Russian players skating for the Caps. A lot of folks with interesting things to say have joined the community in the past 12 months, and if space and time prevent all of them from being mentioned here, a lot of them are over there in the right margin. You should take a moment to read them.

Then there is the presence of the owner himself blogging on the Caps (in addition to a lot of other topics). Try and find another NHL owner who blogs on his own, we’ll wait…

…finished? Didn't find many, did you? And that doesn’t even address the manner in which Ted Leonsis has led the way in providing access for bloggers to the places only traditional press have been credentialed to go. If you click on the links of some of those blogs over there in the right margin, you’ll find a fair number of entries that include interviews with players and staff, videos, and other stories that challenge the notion that only the traditional media can be a credible source of hockey news and information. That also has served to push those traditional media outlets to accelerate their own efforts at real-time posting and providing information (roster updates, injuries, lineups, breaking stories) that doesn't lend itself to "deadline-focused" reporting.

And that has led to something of a next step in the evolution of the blog. There seems to be something of a consolidation of sorts that has begun with blogs as some are gathered up into larger blogging networks. On Frozen Blog is a member of the Most Valuable Network of sports blogs. Japers’ Rink is a member of the SB Nation network of blogs. Are we witnessing the birth of the "Alternative Stream Media" that works parallel to the "Mainstream Media?" What this means for the future of blogs – either independent ones or those as members of networks – will be interesting to watch unfold.

But the increasing number of blogs enlarging the footprint of Capitals coverage, coupled with the networking of the heavy players in the Capitals blogging community, anchored by the presence of the biggest player of all in the local community – Ted Leonsis – has made “the art of the blog” one of the big stories in Capitals hockey in 2008.


Murshawursha said...

Give yourself some credit too, Peerless... For sheer statistical analysis and knee-slapping comedy, well, there aren't alot of places that do it better.

wittcap79 said...

For the love of God change that pic. Ka-reeeee-peeeee!

Gustafsson said...

I agree with Murshawursha. You are a must read as well.

tuvanhillbilly said...

Peerless, thanks so much for the recognition-- it means a lot coming from such a high-caliber site as yours! I agree with the other posters, and you are on my daily read list.

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