Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Backhanded Compliments All Around!

Lest MSM pundits be accused of writing something overly postive about the Washington Capitals (and not just the team's superstar), they are always careful to make sure any praise is prefaced by a dig at the franchise. Witness two examples, the first from USA Today's Ted Montgomery:
I would never be foolish enough to suggest that the Washington Capitals are a legitimate playoff contender, but at least the Washington faithful are getting a little glimpse of a much brighter future for their team. After playing nearly a third of the schedule, they had a winning record and were above .500 both home and on the road. Sometimes you've got to measure progress in tiny increments; the Caps are definitely a team on the rise.
Hmm. In my book, a team that is "above .500 both home and on the road" is a legitimate playoff contender, but what do I know - I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me.

Anyway, here's a second example, from The Worldwide Leader:
We might be giving the Caps too much credit here, but they're regarded as one of the hardest-working teams in the league. The Caps snapped their skid with three straight wins, their first such stretch of the season.
It's ok, ESPN - go out on that limb. After all, your power rankings are, at least in part, supposed to reflect teams' current level of play, and saying that the Caps are playing middle-of-the-pack hockey after running off three straight wins against three good-to-very-good teams certainly isn't giving them too much credit.


Anonymous said...

1) After the last few years of being at or near the bottom, it will take some folks a little while getting used to the Caps being a respectable team
2) Especially when expectations this year were so low going into this season. They win their next 2 over Ottawa and the West's best team, Anaheim, a few more may change their perspective and realize that things are a changing in D.C.

Frank said...

These sports MSM outlets have short memories. And ESPN can stick it where the sun don't shine (that's right, I'm talking to you, T. Frei).

82-83, when Poile became GM? They made the playoffs the next 14 seasons in a row, did they not?

Where were the MSM goats in 1998? Were they around when Oates and Bondra were tearing it up? The Caps were in the playoffs as recently as 2003.

Frankly, I'm shocked but delighted the Caps are playing so well. But I also expected it. If Kolzig has faith then so can I!

Anonymous said...

ESPN won't even run NHL ads. Like Versus programming would be competition for Monday Night Countdown with Michael Irvin. They no longer put any time or sweat into their hockey coverage. Barry Melrose must have the easiest seven figure job on the planet.

Scott said...

I'm with you on most of it, but i still don't put the caps higher than middle of the road in the power rankings. Those 6 losses in a row really killed us

JP said...

I'm not saying the Caps should be higher - I'm saying ESPN should call the Caps mediocre with conviction, dammit!

Anonymous said...

"Call us mediocre with conviction, dammit!"

Forget this "See it, Feel it" crap - there's the new tagline for the Caps' marketing campaign!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget TSN- they don't even seem to know that the Caps exist. Gotta love it.

The Peerless said...

Sports "journalism" suffers the same maladies as news "journalism" these days -- a combination of budget cuts and laziness. In this case, to the extent hockey is covered at all, it is reflected in a focus on a small number of the usual suspects of teams -- the Canadian teams, Philly, the New York teams, Detroit, a couple others perhaps. Teams that are playing in the dreaded "better than expected" category -- like the Caps -- are give short shrift, dismissed as an oddity, something that will descend to their rightful place among the dregs of the sport in short order, fit for no special attention or further coverage.

It's just too easy for those guys.