Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Worldwide Leader In Idiocy

[Ed. note: put the kids to bed before reading this post, as some of the language may not be suitable for younger readers.]

One of the great thing about being an unaffiliated blogger is that I can write things that the mainstream media or team-employed writers can't. For instance, you'll never see "Alexander Ovechkin has been scoring more than the sheep on 'Hurricanes fans drink free night' in Raleigh" appear on Tarik's blog. You'll never read "Steve Eminger couldn't punch his way out of a piss-soaked paper bag" on Vogel's blog. And there aren't too many places you'll read "Scott Burnside can go f..k himself."

But I can write it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I just did (well, almost anyway).

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Burnside's work, he was "a freelance writer based in Atlanta and is a frequent contributor to" (that starts him out with two strikes against him, doesn't it?) who now "is the NHL writer for" In his latest excremental article, he tackles franchise relocation in the NHL in light of today's news that the Penguins may not be long for Pittsburgh. In the interest of time, I'll skip straight to the "good" part which begins:
No one asked us, but if we were going to move an NHL team, there are a few we'd pick to relocate ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
We? What, do you have a turd in your pocket, Scott? Be a man and assert that what follows are your own ideas. Either that or share the byline. Anyway, you can probably see where this is going. Sure enough, the first team that should pick up and move before the Pens are "forced" to?
Washington Capitals: Let's review. Fans in the nation's capital wouldn't come out when the Capitals boasted Jaromir Jagr, the game's most exciting player. Now, they won't come out when the Caps boast one of the hardest-working teams in the NHL and one of the game's most exciting figures in Alexander Ovechkin. Maybe that's a sign. We're just guessing, but we bet fans in Houston or Kansas City, or even Waterloo, Ontario, would appreciate Glen Hanlon's squad a whole lot more.
Where to begin... How about with the fact that when Jagr was in D.C. he was not the game's most exciting player, but rather a lazy, selfish, pouting baby? Or, more importantly, the fact that fans did come out to see Jagr anyway to the tune of 17,341 (92.9% capacity) average per night in Jagr's first relatively-unproductive season? And while attendance is poor right now, it's still better than four other teams in the League and only four spots behind his beloved Thrashers.

Speaking of the Thrashers, earlier in the article Burnside chides the Devils for drawing "an announced crowd of less than 11,000 with the high-flying Atlanta Thrashers in town." If he were to check some facts, though, he wouldn't have been surprised as the Thrashers are the second-worst drawing road team in the League. How about them apples, Scottie?

But let's look at this at a more basic level:
  • Reason #1 that the Caps should not be relocated before the Penguins: they have an owner.
  • Reason #2 that the Caps should not be relocated before the Penguins: they have an arena.
I could go on (for example, I'm sure fans in Houston or K.C. would love the Caps - I know I do - but as D.C. has the fourth-highest per capita personal income of any metropolitan area in the country, as opposed to Houston (31), Kansas City (60) and Pittsburgh (54), I'm not so sure any of those cities could support a team better than D.C. potentially can - and I believe will). The point is... well... I'm not sure what the point is other than providing a cathartic rant about a biased columnist's neglect of facts and common sense. But then again, being able to write something like that is one of the great things about being an unaffiliated blogger, isn't it?

[Thanks to the folks in this thread for some of the numbers and ideas.]


gustafsson said...

* stands and claps *


JP said...

More fun with Burnside (check out the Kings preview towards the end of the page).

Biff said...

As soon as I saw the headline I knew a Burnside rant was on it's way. Kudos to you.

hoss said...

regarding the Thrashers as a road draw...I think you can make the stats say whatever you want...but it is telling that the bottom 3 are SE teams, Carolina, as defending Stanley Cup champs are 25th, and the storied Canadiens are 27th. And how do you explain Phoenix as the 6th best road draw, but running only 78% capacity at home? I know you were only dinging the Thrashers as a sidebar because you could, but make it legitimate...with Kovalchuk, Hossa and Lehtonen, the reality is that this team should draw well wherever there are knowledgeable hockey fans

JP said...

Hoss - you're missing my point. It was a dig at an Atlanta-based writer who cherry-picked his stats and made arguments that blatantly neglected other facts.

Want some more numbers? Per Peerless, "over the last six years (including this one), the Caps have averaged 22nd in attendance. The Atlanta Thrashers, 24th." When the Thrash had Heater and Kovalchuk - two of the most exciting young players in the League - they finished 28th in attendance. Why doesn't Burnside add them to his list of teams that should move?

Back to your argument, of course Atlanta should draw well on the road "wherever there are knowledgeable hockey fans." So should the Caps. And I've got no explanation for Phoenix's road-drawing power (it can't be all Gretz). But to single out the Caps as opposed to the Thrashers or the 'Canes or whomever else deserved comment.

hoss said...

Agreed & agreed...there seems to be a trend in sports these days to determine whether a fan base "deserves" a major sports team. At some point in my lifetime, major sports franchises and their players ceased earning the right to expect loyalty from their fans and became "entertainment". I grew up in LA and watched the NFL Rams move from LA to Anaheim and then out of the state as well as a brief visit from the Raiders. Add to that the player movement as they chase bigger and better money or the Owners pop parts in & out... When all was said and done, my loyalty was shot...couldn't care less whether the LA area had a pro football team and my loyalty to the Thrashers is on much the same level. As a relative newcomer to hockey (my first exposure was the Mighty Ducks expansion into SoCal), the NHL can't tap into a deep-rooted childhood memory so my "support" of the hometown Thrashers competes with movies, recreation, etc. for my disposable income. And I want some bang for my buck...
When all is said and done, it's a business and location, location, location is a business decision. The Packers have demonstrated that it is possible to be successful in a less than favorable locale, but you don't run the business the same there as you do in Atlanta or elsewhere. Whether the Penguins (or any other team, for that matter) stay or go will depend on how ownership manages its business.
Guys like Burnside do piss me off when they start spewing their bs line about how the fans of such and such team are so much better (or worse) than others. Try having a real job, paying for tickets and parking with your own money, fighting through real traffic on the way in and out so you can get in bed around midnight and up again at 5 am before you tell me how I should support the sports teams or how they should up and leave me for a better class of fans...(yeah, I like the "...")

Fauxrumors said...

1) People still read/care what folks associated wih ESPN have to say about anything, let alone hockey? LOL
2) Clearly the guy had a bias going in to his little piece of drivel, and then attempted to cherry pick some stats to confirm his opinion.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

I agree with your comments completely. I have a few choice words of my own over at if you want to check them out. Suck Burnside must die.

CD said...

Won't you all feel silly if he actually does have a turd in his pocket?

JP said...

ETD weighs in as well.

PB said...

JP -

Nicely done!

Hoss -

The reason why the draw is bad at home with the Coyotes is because the team is not winning and the fans haven't truly learned the sport. I thought having the Great One behind the bench would help, but out here we have many transplants (yes, I am one of them) that have not warmed to the pro team that resides here.

I come from a school of thought to pull for the team in your backyard, whereever that might be. As much as I am not an Anaheim fan, if I lived there, I would be.

Hockey is a tough draw when across the street we have the Arizona Cardinals that have sold out their stadium. Many people chose one franchise over another when deciding season ticket packages.

Hockey coverage is buried on the last page of our local paper, and the Cardinals had more press when they were 2-8 than the Coyotes (who still are not at .500 yet).

The Packers are owned by the community of Green Bay. Selling out the stadium is not only a loyal thing to do, but good financial sense. During the dark years before Favre, the stadium still sold out.

I wish more team could cultivate that type of loyalty with their fans. Unfortunately, winning is a prerequisite and knowing how to market your team is as well.

Shayne said...

I hate people that say the devils have a terrible fan base.

As for Brodeur vs AO and the mirror visor, all you caps fans can kiss my butt. Until AO reaches the same status as Marty, i.e. the best player ever at his position, then maybe you can bitch and moan, but until that time, I would suggest keeping quiet.

JP said...

AO hasn't complained a bit - it was Marty's tantrum that led to the rule change that singled out one player. Caps fans are just having fun with that.

And I'll let that "best player ever at his position" comment slide for now.

spanch said...

Good job Jasper. The Caps fan base per cap is actually second in the league to San Jose (2 of the top four don't have NHL teams).

Personnaly, I think Burnside is just trying to anger people so that they click on his page. Any press is good press.