Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Blogger Training Camp 2010 - Day 3

Day 3 of Blogger Camp 2010, and the cousins have mastered – well, “mastered” might be too fine a term – slogged through their physicals and social networking drills. Now, we get to the guts of the playbook. Today we start running the blogger’s equivalent of “plays” from the playbook. And in taking the first step of a long journey, we start with…

Cliché Composition

The legendary baseball player Crash Davis once said to phenom Nuke LaLoosh of clichés, “You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends.” It’s no less true for the blogger. Sprinkling one’s blog entries with such time-honored gems as “they have to play them one game at a time,” or “nothing less than 100 percent effort is acceptable” gives the blogger credibility. And if you can add a few hockey-specific phrases such as “bench-clearing brawl,” or “when you put the puck on net, good things happen,” you gain the gravitas you need to be a truly top-shelf (get it?) blogger. Yes indeed, clichés are the blogger’s friend, as Cheerless shows us…

“I’d rather be friends with those hot hockey babes I was googlin’ at yesterday, cuz…”

Good luck with that. Fearless, give me an example of a hockey cliché…

“He put the biscuit in the basket.”

Excellent example. Cheerless, do you have one?

“Where are the biscuits?”

No biscuits, give me a cliché?


No muffins, either. No toast, no donuts, no Danish. Just clichés. Do you have one?

“OK, OK… ‘Mike Milbury is a goober.’”



Hockey is nothing if not international. It's one of the things that makes the sport great.  And that includes many players whose multi-syllabic names are starved for vowels and difficult to spell. You have to be quick on your feet, so to speak, to anticipate problems in getting names straight. You have that thing the Finns have with doubling up on letters – Ilkka Heikkenen, Teemu Laakso, Antti Miettinen, Ilkka Pikkareinen. You have to be careful not to stutter and hit that ‘k’ key three times. With the Czechs, it’s keeping your Radek’s straight…

“Cuz, can you say ‘keeping your Radek straight’ in a family blog?”

Not to mention the Michaleks. You have to keep your Milan apart from your Zbynek.

“The Zbynek bone’s connected to the… shoulder bone…”

And there is that whole Brendan-Brenden-Brandon thing in Canada (eight players with that first name dressed last year). Just one more reason bloggers need their own training camp. You don’t want to mix your Filatov’s with your Frolov’s in mid-season.

OK, now… can you put these together and give us an example of names and clichés in a sentence or two? Fearless?

“They realized that they just had to play their game, and to do that this had to put their game faces on so that they could step up to make plays. They needed to have Ruutu and Koivu, Lehtinen and Lehtonen, Michalek and Plekanec, Enstrom and Lidstrom, Boychuk and Boynton put their game faces on and give 110 percent if they were going to drink from Lord Stanley’s chalice.”

That was…uh… really good, Fearless. In the sense that a dozen Twinkies are good, if you get what I mean. Now, Cheerless…

“The Teemu’s were evenly matched in a hard hitting game where every check was finished with a bone-rattling Radek Bonk.”

Needs work, cousin.

“Needs more Bradley?”

At least.


We're not quite to the state of the art that baseball has achieved in parsing, dissecting, and massaging statistics, but hockey is getting there.  Corsi, GVT, zone starts, breaking down production into per-60 minute units.  Hockey statistics is an evolving art, and sites like the data-rich give the stats hound a buffet of data points to load into their own models of team and player success.  For the blogger, statistics and the sites that develop them are absolutely essential to provide the meat behind their analysis.  On the other hand, some bloggers struggle with the concepts...

Cheerless, can you define "Corsi" for us?

"Oh, I got this one cuz... he's the guy on ESPN who does those college football shows on Saturday after he lost all those games coaching at Indiana."

Cheerless, that's Corso, not Corsi... Lee Corso.  Feerless, you want to take a shot at this?

"The Corsi Number is the shot differential while a player was on the ice. This includes not just goals and shots on goal, but also shots that miss the net, and in some formulations, blocked shots. In other words, it's the differential in the total number of shots directed at the net."

"HEY!  He's cheating!!  He's got the page up on his computer and he's reading right off it!!!

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying."

"Cliches have already been covered, cuz."

OK, let's try something else... GVT.  Cheerless?

"That's one of them home-shopping networks, ain't it?"

"Thats 'Q-V-C,' you idiot."

Either of you guys want to take a crack at "zone starts?"...

...either of you guys want to take a crack at "2-plus-2?"


In football, training camp is for committing the playbook to memory, to learning the nuances of the 3-4 defense, zone blocking, cover-two coverages, and the like. It’s no different with blogging. Every year presents its new challenges to keep the blog fresh. It might mean adding features such as video, images, or audio. It might mean writing in short, punchy bullet point format. It might mean introducing characters to the narrative…

“Did he just call us ‘characters,’ cuz?”

“Yeah, it did seem kind of cold…”

No offense, guys, just trying to make a point. You have to know your blogging playbook. Just like some football teams use the west-coast offense or go for the I-back pound-it-down-the-field style, bloggers have their own schemes. Some are stats-heavy, some focus on the human side of hockey, others tell a story or have an historical focus.

“It’s a regular blogging bouillabaisse out there, isn’t it, cousin?”

Right you are, Fearless. And training camp is an opportunity for bloggers to find their voice. Fearless, if you had to describe your style in five words, what would it be?

“Erudite, educational, energizing, exciting, effervescent.”

Hmm… interesting. And how about you, Cheerless? Do you have a style you can describe in five words?

“I am the anti-Fearless.”

I think you guys are ready for the season…

…well, as ready as you’re going to get, anyway.

"Can we have those biscuits, now?"