100 games a season: Gare Joyce's puck blog

Just like being in the scouts' & press' lounge, without the bad coffee and day-old Timbits

Location: Toronto

I've written for ESPN The Magazine and espn.com the last five years. My work has made the "notable" list of the Best American Sports Writing seven times and won four Canadian National Magazine Awards. My most recent book is Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts. I've written three other sports books: When the Lights Went Out: How One Brawl Ended Hockey's Cold War and Changed the Game; Sidney Crosby: Taking the Game by Storm; and The Only Ticket Off the Island: Baseball in the Dominican Republic.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What Passes For A Scandal In The Invisible League

There is no Bad News if you're the NHL. It can only be Good News if you're in the US sports-news cycle at all. The NHL is now the Invisible League as far as the major US sports media goes. Submitted for your consideration, Rory Fitzpatrick, a blueline grunt of no special distinction who through no fault of his own became the favored all-star write-in candidate of NHL fans of every stripe.

The NHL All-Star voting might not be up there with Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004. To my mind, for screwball voting, it's not even up there with Marisa Tomei's Oscar for My Cousin Vinny. But there were irregularities in this year's voting. And didn't Slate.com get on the case.


Good News for the NHL. The All-Star candidacy of Rory Fitzpatrick gets another day in the news cycle--albeit with the high foreheads who read Slate.com. The league comes off looking pretty humourless in all this--the suits in Manhattan didn't take this to a focus group or else they'd have realized that playing along with the protest vote would have been a winning strategy (and garnered even more pub). But Good News. At least they're talking about a game that no one outside of hockey ever notices and no one inside the game cares about even remotely.

The Rory Fitzpatrick vote brings to mind this item.

Time Magazine's 'Person of the Century' Poll Dateline: 03/15/99

Jesus Christ holds a commanding lead over the Prophet Mohammed, Howard Stern, and Optimus Prime

Time Magazine should have thought twice before inviting the entire population of the Internet to vote in its online Person of the Century Poll.
Current stats (subject to change minutely) show Jesus Christ in the lead with 42% of the tally (almost 900,000 votes) and pro wrestler Ric Flair running a distant second with 15%. Battling Adolf Hitler for third place is the Prophet Mohammed. Also currently in the Top 20 are Howard Stern, Kurt Cobain, and Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Mormon Church.
Conspicuously further down the list are names like Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Gandhi.

Truly, to be the best you have to beat the best.

Anyway, those who love the NHL and want to see it prosper would be wise to write in Rory Fitzpatrick on their ballots--Norris, Conn Smythe, Lou Marsh, whatever. And in life, you could do worse than ask yourself: What would Rory do?