19 April, 2014

TSN's Capitals Preview: Positively Lazy

TSN has been running a “30 Teams in 30 Days” season preview, profiling a different NHL team each day. TSN turned their attention to the Washington Capitals this weekend and, while posting an encouragingly positive assessment, they fall well short of the sort of analysis one would expect from this Canadian outpost of hockey expertise.
Starting with the positive: It’s always heartening to see Ted Leonsis get well-deserved praise from those outside the D.C. hockey community, and TSN’s preview certainly accomplishes that: “Ted Leonsis is the type of owner that every NHL team deserves. He is passionate about the game and completely dedicated to giving his team all the tools that they need to win.”
Overall the article is complimentary to the Capitals’ chances this year . . . though it’s not hard to predict good things for a team featuring Alex Ovechkin and a supporting cast ranging from future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov to Rookie of the Year runner-up Nicklas Backstrom. It’s also easy ‚Äî and not, mind you, necessarily inaccurate ‚Äî to be concerned about Jose Theodore’s ability to lead the team deep into the playoffs.
But the Theodore discussion is just one example of lazy reporting in this preview. A brief discussion of Theodore’s up-and-down seasons, and the Caps’ lack of “Plan B” in net this season, is all they mention. How many teams have two starting goaltenders? Obviously if Theodore has a sub-par or injury-bitten season then the team is in trouble; but that holds true for most NHL clubs’ starting netminders.
For one of Canada’s leading sources for hockey analysis, one would expect something with a little more depth. For example, Theodore doesn’t control rebounds like Huet does, and that could present problems for the Caps’ young defensive core (at least that’s one of my concerns). Lacking a Plan B in goal? Well, sure, and ice is slippery too, thanks for sharing.
Yet the analysis gets weaker. Here’s a gem:

A healthy Brian Pothier should also help. The former Senators’ defenceman missed the last 41 games of the season with post-concussion symptoms. If fully recovered, Pothier should be able to take some of the offensive strain off of Green from the back end.

An 80-goal season from Tom Poti would help as well, and that’s more likely than Pothier taking the Phone Booth ice any time soon. The return of Pothier, a hard-working guy whom the Capitals certainly missed, is a pipe dream at this point; sadly, the prognosis is not good for him to resume his NHL career any time soon, if at all. TSN would have been better served by focusing on the players who’ve actually skated with the team in camp than to make vague assumptions that Pothier is returning. We wish him well, but including Pothier in plans for this season or beyond is silly.
Perhaps the most egregious error in the preview is the following: “By February, Washington had snatched the lead in the Southeast Division and did not look back.” Um, what? Technically the last part of that sentence is true; the Capitals did not look back, since they had to look forward at Carolina and didn’t secure the division crown until the very last day of the regular season. It’s surprising to see such lazy reporting sneak past TSN’s editors, particularly now . . . how much sloppier will their articles get when there are¬† actual regular-season games to talk about?
The article smacks of a thrown-together last-minute term paper written by a hung over college student ‚Äî do some slapdash Internet research, throw together a few seemingly safe conclusions, and don’t waste time with fact-checking or actual analysis.
Hey TSN, I enjoy Oktoberfest as much as (maybe more than) the next guy; but let’s keep the steins lidded while on the job, okay?


  1. ThunderWeenie wrote:

    Hah. I’m almost sorry I sent you that link, OC!

    28 September, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Chris wrote:

    Kind of related, this is the second time Mckeon (at least that’s who I’m assuming wrote it) has gotten Kozlov confused with Fedorov. Apparently four Russians is too many to keep track of. I bet he didn’t get Detroit’s Swedes confused.

    28 September, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  3. norske wrote:

    Well, at least you didn’t review the pre-edit version, which talked about a “healthy Tom Pothier.” Who?

    28 September, 2008 at 7:47 pm | Permalink
  4. Tyler wrote:

    If you want to get technical, the Caps did take the division lead from Carolina for 1 day in February, then we lost a lot of ground, I think we got behind 6 games after that. And the rest is history.

    28 September, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  5. Fashi13 wrote:

    Also, no mention of Sarge when talking about the Defense.

    28 September, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
  6. @ Tyler: Absolutely correct. Though I think you’ll agree that “never looked back” is hardly an accurate characterization of the rest of the season, eh?
    @ Norske, damn, wish I’d seen it before that correction. :)

    28 September, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  7. @ Chris: Yep, in the next-to-last bullet they definitely confuse the Russians. Nice catch!
    “C Viktor Kozlov was a crucial late season pickup by GM George McPhee. Kozlov served as a great team leader, especially for the Russian kids, and he‚Äôll do more of the same this year.”

    28 September, 2008 at 11:59 pm | Permalink
  8. Buddha wrote:

    Way to speak up! The MN Wild one wasn’t much better. Refered to the Minneapolis StarTribune as the Minnesota StarTribune. Also refered to us as the Lake State. No one in MN has ever refered to it as the Lake State. I think that belongs to someone else.
    They also made Skoula sound like a player who actually can skate. Which we all know is flat out wrong.
    I was really disappointed with the entire series. I expected more from TSN.

    29 September, 2008 at 12:36 am | Permalink
  9. fauxrumors wrote:

    1) Typical of the media glossing over facts to fit a story line.
    2) The best way for one of these 30 teams preview nonsense would be if TSN employed a beat writer from that team to get a more acurate analysis instead of some guy in Toronto looking over stats as a guide to his story

    29 September, 2008 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  10. Tiny wrote:

    This is a bit of an overreaction to a off-season filler article done by a Canadian television network, no? I mean you guys don’t exactly receive TSN programming on your dial – other than those who get TSN game broadcasts as a part of NHL Center Ice. Why even care?
    The fact of the matter is that the staff of TSN care more about hockey, and carry more hockey, than you’ll ever receive on your American alternative, ESPN. Perhaps you should stick to their site from now on.

    29 September, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  11. Gustafsson wrote:

    “The fact of the matter is that the staff of TSN care more about hockey, and carry more hockey, than you‚Äôll ever receive on your American alternative, ESPN.”
    Tiny, shouldn’t that be all the more reason to get it right? Or do facts get in the way?

    29 September, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  12. @ Tiny: The points you make about TSN caring about & carrying hockey are exactly why we’d expect better from TSN than from ESPN and many other sources. Hockey is TSN’s #1 sport, yet their Capitals profile (and, according to readers in other markets, those of other non-Canadian teams) is not just thin but outright inaccurate. One would think that they would fact-check and do some thoughtful analysis of all the teams… what else do their hockey writers have to do anyway during this off-season time?

    29 September, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  13. Adam Dooling wrote:

    From the TSN article:
    “…and even Donald Brashear who is able to keep opponents honest despite his advancing age.”
    As opposed to most NHL players’ decreasing age?

    29 September, 2008 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  14. Tiny wrote:

    This might surprise you, but TSN is a television network. Their internet presence is essentially an afterthought. Television drives 99.99% of their revenue. I guess it speaks to the dearth of interest in hockey in the US when hockey fans there nitpick Canadian hockey coverage! Again, I suggest you stick to the superior hockey coverage available to you in America from American sites.
    How sad that ya’ll get can’t TSN there. You wouldn’t whine about their internet coverage because the your minds would be blown by all of the televised hockey.
    In summation, TSN is a television network. Get over yourselves.

    29 September, 2008 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  15. Tiny wrote:

    PS: That sentence should read as…
    You wouldn’t whine about their internet coverage because your minds would be blown by all of the televised hockey.
    Damn lack of an edit function!

    29 September, 2008 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  16. Gustafsson wrote:

    Tiny… I’m in Canada right now… TSN is showing Monday Night Football…. they should be showing preseason Hockey….
    Asking for correct facts is not nitpicking hockey coverage…. if TSN is the end all, their internet coverage should be the same as the TV coverage…
    Look… we have TSN via Center Ice… We’ve seen their hockey game broadcasts… yes we like them….
    We just want them to get the facts correct

    29 September, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  17. ThunderWeenie wrote:

    I’ll go one up on my friend Gustafsson–I LIVE in Canada full-time, and I fully support OC’s article. There’s no excuse for sloppy journalism like this, whether its on TV or online or in any other medium. I don’t understand why showing a lot of hockey somehow entitles you to a free pass when you get things as wrong as this article does.
    More to the point–Canadian hockey fans would crap all over any American network or website that did as poor a job as this on an article. You know I’m right on that.
    And I think you’re quite wrong that the website is an afterthought–if you look at how much broadband content TSN has jammed onto its site in the past couple of years, you’ll see that TSN (like most modern-day broadcasters) considers its web presence and its traditional broadcasting to be all part of the same package. So I say that if TSN puts it out there, its fair game for fan criticism.
    The Weenie has spoken!

    29 September, 2008 at 11:59 pm | Permalink
  18. ThunderWeenie wrote:

    BTW, speaking of Monday Night Football, they just made a very funny comment as the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game goes into overtime:
    “If they allowed unlimited overtime like they do in hockey, there’d be nobody left on the field. They’d all be injured!”
    Ummmmm…yeah, ESPN, please stick to football.

    30 September, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink
  19. Kurt wrote:

    And the lazy get even lazier – according to TSN’s frontpage right now, the Caps have ‘improved to 5-2′ with their win last night, despite the fact that they have yet to play a fifth, sixth, or seventh game.
    I guess now they’re in the fortune-telling business now?

    30 September, 2008 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  20. Gustafsson wrote:

    I just took a screen capture of TSN.ca as mentioned by Kurt.

    30 September, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink
  21. Gustafsson wrote:

    Someone woke up and fixed their page:

    30 September, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  22. tiny wrote:

    ThunderWeenie wrote:
    “And I think you‚Äôre quite wrong that the website is an afterthought‚Äìif you look at how much broadband content TSN has jammed onto its site in the past couple of years, you‚Äôll see that TSN (like most modern-day broadcasters) considers its web presence and its traditional broadcasting to be all part of the same package. So I say that if TSN puts it out there, its fair game for fan criticism.”
    The print content on TSN is an afterthought, just as I said. If web content is such a part of the total package, how much revenue does TSN derive from it? Answer: none. Their priorities lie elsewhere. Just because they post up broadband content to keep their regular viewers informed does not mean any of same content was intended for anyone other than their target audience – Canadian hockey fans.
    If you guys want to get your panties into a bunch because of some filler article written by a TSN junior staffer, all the power to you.
    Again, their web content is an afterthought. Gustafsson, just because you caught them editing a page is indicative of nothing other than the low priority assigned to the web content. Big deal.
    Go watch ESPN and get all of your web content from them and you’ll all be so much more informed! TSN’s coverage of hockey is unmatched, anywhere, and to cherrypick a fluff piece of theirs is proof of nothing other than envy.

    30 September, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  23. *sigh* Yes, Tiny, it’s clearly just envy, not an expectation of quality and accuracy from a recognized leader in hockey coverage. Whatever.
    Of course, if TSN’s Internet presence is as you allege truly just an afterthought — though I suspect their cadre of writers, editors, webmasters, etc. would disagree — then they’d better get smarter strategic planners. Major news sources (including Washington Post, major TV networks, Wall Street Journal, and yes, ESPN) have long ago realized that the Internet is a vital part of any forward-looking business model, both for reaching wider audiences and generating ad revenue.

    30 September, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink
  24. ThunderWeenie wrote:

    I’ll thrash this poor dying horse one last time.
    Even if TSN’s web content is an “afterthought” (and I just don’t buy that, sorry–as OC has pointed out, there simply isn’t a North American broadcaster worth its salt that thinks that way in this day and age)…well, whether it is or isn’t an afterthought is absolutely irrelevant.
    TSN, which sells itself as a leading source for hockey coverage, blew a hockey story. That is what’s relevant here. They posted a story which didn’t just get a date wrong or misspell a player’s name, but which contained questionable analysis and several major errors.
    Those of us who like TSN (myself included) had come to expect better. Quibble about other irrelevant stuff if you like–that is the point OC is making.
    There. I’m done. :-)

    30 September, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Permalink