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:
I's easy to be an aggregator and complain and whine about the press, who provide the material and commit to travel, expenses, salary, etc.
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) November 2, 2017
Please support Newsday and papers who commit $$ & work 24/7 to give honest, hard-working reporting to cover teams daily. Others don't. Fact. https://t.co/K14ZDf1Swp
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) November 2, 2017
You want to follow bloggers and "experts" who aren't at practices, games, skates, on the road, feel free, it's 2017 cool. Think about it tho https://t.co/y84WRoLEhE
— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) November 2, 2017
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 started TheNYRBlog 10 yrs ago today. It's been an amazing ride. You've all had a part in the blog's success. For that, I am truly thankful
— TheNYRBlog (@kevindelury) November 2, 2017
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.
- The blogging community can be wonderfully brilliant and woefully hive-minded all at the same time. It really depends on who, exactly, we're talking about. I've definitely come across both through this past year. Zipay, in this case, probably didn't do himself any favors just blocking every Twitter account that laughed at him, or mocked him, or just plain disagreed with him, but at the same time you can see just why he did it watching the followers of some of the more popular Rangers' blogs take cues to line up at trying to get blocked. It was a game to them.I can agree with all of that. I also can't blame Zipay for losing his shit because I've read comments on his tweets before and it makes you want to pour gas on your phone and burn it. It's the same as coaches getting pissed at writers when they ask dumb questions. Now the writers have bloggers to kick at. Some deserve it though, writers and bloggers. Lol
Now, you could argue...let's take the Rangers' defense. We don't know if McDonagh is suffering from some injury he's trying to battle through that will likely mean reduced minutes, less practice time and weaker assignments than he's regularly used in for the next 3-4 weeks. That could be a reality the coaching staff is aware of, management is unwilling to make a significant roster move to fix and so the only plan is to ride it out with others less capable defenders picking up the slack that they can. For that sort of insight, bloggers have to rely on beat writers if they find that out and care to share it, or else read the tea leaves of extra maintenace days, time on ice and shift data that shows matchups outside of the ordinary. So in that sense, a conclusion a blogger comes to (say trade a top 9 winger for a middle 6 defender) could be short sighted, especially if they don't do the extra leg work required.
There are certainly garbage bloggers out there, or blogs that have good and bad writers. Readers should evaluate sources with bloggers just like they do any other form of journalism. We've seen that drastic calls to action or maligning popular players can increase page views. We don't choose to do that intentionally just to get eyeballs, but some certainly do. Others pretend that their reading of tea leaves that lets them come up with somewhat justified trade rumors are actually the result of sources, crow when a trade they predict happens and dismiss when it doesn't as "these things don't always come to pass, but they were trying". We don't do any of that either.
So I would say that what bloggers choose to write about and how they do it is important when it comes to whether they're adding value to hockey journalism.
Dave, I respect what you, Phil, and the other writers on the blog do. To take the time out to write about a team that passionately shows a lot about character. I've also come to respect what Phil does to keep this place going, and what the mods do to keep it in order. I've learned to debate in a more mature manner although I'm still gonna be an asshole at times, but everyone's peronality is what keeps it real, right?
With that said, I don't agree with your take on the bloggers vs the writers. Every point made about blogs holds true ONLY if bloggers and press have equal access. And they don't. The majority of certain articles is assumption. Teams hold back a ton of shit from the press themselves, so when they or bloggers start assuming things it creates a huge debate. The mindless fans and followers of blogs just hop along for the ride. Some of these bloggers are like Jimmy Jones. Everyone just follows what they say, and it's comical. Some of these bloggers can write that all kittens should be burned in a hell fire, and 100 idiots start agreeing. I'm not saying that's CFC, I'm just pointing it out. Reading some of the blogger articles out there and seeing a large number of people agreeing with it makes me seriously question all of their hockey knowledge. You and I had a convo via telephone about this, so you know what context I'm saying this in. Again, I respect a few guys knowledge on here, and you are one of them. Please don't put yourself, Ray, Phil, etc in the same category as other bloggers. I don't care if they've been blogging for 4 years or 10 years. They haven't earned anything. The Ranger FB page has been operating since the birth of FB. It means nothing. You guys are better than that.That first article is hilariously embarrassing.
for a second i thought the blog was sentient and got scared