Let's face it, folks, the traditional mainstream media no longer fits all of the needs of the core hockey-watching audience. Whether it be papers cutting down on staff covering the NHL (such as the LA papers), or writers that churn out the same incredibly-biased anti-NHLPA columns, or rumor mongers trying to sell newspapers by creating plausible trade scenarios, consumers' needs just aren't being met by these 'normal' channels.
Now, most of you hockey nuts already visit hockey blogs for a lot of your hockey news and analysis, so this isn't exactly 'news'. The mainstream media, however, has been slow to embrace the format, and sees bloggers as either a threat, a minor nuisance, and/or a bunch of amateur fans who like to create their own rumors (talk about pot/kettle, huh?). The 'Professional' Writers Association, for sure, doesn't want bloggers to gain a greater foothold in the minds of hockey fans. The more that fans go to blogs for their hockey fix, the less relevant the 'professionals' become.
Last night, Hockey Night in Canada had a great feature on the rise of the hockey bloggers in the sphere of our great sport. Check out the cameo by FanHouse's own John "J.P." Press. It's too bad he's a lawyer, tho :)-
The feature brings up quite a few good points.1. The NHL will never get a strong foothold in the realm of TV that the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR enjoy. Therefore, the NHL needs to embrace the core fanbase by giving them content in non-traditional channels. NHL fans are tech-savvy, and don't need TV to get their fix.
2. Bloggers can be more critical of their own team than the typical writer. While the professional media types and teams might not like this, the fans would rather get the true view of things than some sugar-coated whitewash answer that is approved by an editor.
3. Even mainstream media types can benefit from bloggers. By scouring the blogs and other fan-based sources, the traditional media can find out stories they are missing, the lay of the land, and the general feelings that fans have about issues.