A Year and a Day

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Dave Rogers

Editor-in-Chief at Cleared for Contact
Writer, photographer and a lifelong New York Rangers hockey fan.
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A year ago yesterday Phil Kocher published the first article on a new blog created by a few members of his Blueshirt’s Brotherhood forum. We’ll get back to that post in a moment because it deserves some ridicule, but first some backstory. I had been on Phil for a while to get a blog going. The forum was a great place to discuss the New York Rangers, but a handful of us would write up long-form initial posts in threads that didn’t really fit in with the more organic discussion-based nature of a forum. Typical forum posts were driven by a more singular idea, often pulled out from articles from those on the Rangers’ beat, opinion pieces from established media outlets or from bloggers.

Phil was not having it. He did a lot of work managing the forum along with his team of moderators and the prospect of creating a new venture was daunting. Creating synergy with the blog was going to be an issue as was the time commitment needed to get something new off the ground. Eventually, I informed him I was moving forward and I would let the chips fall where they might. He, along with a couple others such as John Gaffney and Ray Sarlo, jumped on board and Cleared for Contact was born.

I had planned on a post like this, but that fell by the wayside as the Rangers got off to a season-jeopardizing start. The importance of a little celebration for us making it a year and 190 or so articles took a back seat. That was until late last night when Steve Zipay of Newsday went off on this little rant:

As an upstart, it’s fine for an established veteran of the Rangers’ beat to call into question the value we provide. We haven’t come close yet to proving ourselves. Others have, however.

I congratulated him directly, but what an accomplishment for Kevin Delury’s The New York Rangers Blog to make it to the decade mark. He started that blog back when the waters were empty and helped make it possible for all the other great Rangers blogs that came after. Blogs like Blueshirt Banter, Full Tilt, Blueline Station and Blue Seat Blog just to name a few.

Regardless of what Steve Zipay seems to think, blogs serve a vital area in covering sports news. Without being beholden to advertisers or the subjects they cover, blog writers are free to delve into the nuances they find in whichever topic areas they choose to cover. With only self-imposed deadlines, they can write until the story is done. Every New York Rangers’ blog writer I’ve come in contact with is passionate about what they write and work hard to support their opinions with facts. And yes, Steve, sometimes those facts come from the work of writers on the beat. However, if bloggers were simply “aggregators” we would find no audience. Bloggers add value through their experience, observations and the connections they draw. They don’t simply restate other people’s work. They explore it in depth, they challenge conventional wisdom and they often do this without the access afforded to those writers who are tied to corporate media.

That’s enough, though. We’re proud here at Cleared for Contact for getting through our first year. We hope to make a tweet like Kevin’s in 2026. For now, thank you to our two faithful readers, following us with soup cans connected by a piece of string (nearly double what it was on day one!), thank you to all the Blueshirts Brotherhood forum members for their support, thank you to the blogger community who’ve welcomed us with open arms and thank you to all of those on the beat who were the first to help fuel our passion for this beautiful, brutal game and made us want to share our thoughts on it.

P.S. Phil Kocher’s take on Brandon Pirri was so laughably inaccurate, that I couldn’t even get him to defend it on the record.

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