Unverified Voracity Braces

Submitted by Brian on April 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Hockey summer. The hockey season is over, and that means one thing: months and months of waiting for the other shoe to drop and for someone to sign an NHL contract. There's always at least one, so let's run down the possibilities:

  • Aaron Palushaj. Palushaj was heavily rumored to be out the door last year and is even more heavily rumored to be out the door this year. The Wolverine's Michael Spath is basically saying "he gone," as is (ugh) Hockey Buzz.
  • Chris Summers. A first round pick entering his senior year is always a flight risk, but Spath says a projected second depature "isn't Summers." Also, when Jerry of the Joe Cribbs Car Wash was a Saline Reporter… uh… reporter he interviewed Summers and got the distinct impression he was in for the long haul. About that second projected departure…
  • Scooter Vaughn. By the end of the year Vaughn was Michigan's eighth defenseman and was being tried out as a fourth-line forward. On the blue line the only graduation loss is Mitera. With Summers returning, no other defensemen seeming like huge flight risks (Kampfer, I guess, but there haven't been any rumblings to that effect), and freshman Lee Moffie arriving in the fall, Michigan will again have eight defensemen and Vaughn is staring at an uphill battle for playing time. Unsurprisingly, he might look elsewhere.
  • Caporusso, Hagelin, and Rust. There hasn't been any buzz on these guys either way because none are expected to leave. Caporusso and his shiny point totals are the biggest threat, but he was a late third round pick and Ottawa is not a team with a rep for signing kids just for the hell of it. That said, this is Michigan hockey so someone will kill us with an unexpected departure.

If the only departures are Vaughn, who is probably going to spend most of next year in a suit, and Palushaj, who everyone had already written off, that would be a win.

Spot on. Joe Posnanski's blog post on what ails sportswriting is a version of my usual complaint, except much less snotty about the whole thing:

There is still great, great sportswriting being done in newspapers, I believe this with all my heart. But that professional thing — maybe in places, there is a lack of joy. Maybe in places, there is an honorable distance. Maybe in places, the professional skepticism that we have built up through the years turns our coverage of games into hard-nosed city hall reporting. And last I checked, nobody wears jerseys that say “City Hall” on them.

That's at least part of it, with a large section of the other part being blithering stupidity. (Of which the internet has none.) Elsewhere in the post, Posnanski—who is an Actual Journalist for the KC Star and SI, if you don't know who he is—relates a formative anecdote in which he won a team-sponsored raffle and had to give it all (cooler! golf trip!) back when his hard-nosed city hall editor took the stogie out of his mouth and muttered something dark and deflating. It's an excellent example of the culture that was installed way back when, and how it turns young bucks into bitter donut-inhaling old men.

Not that Posnanski is one; he's my favorite Actual Journalist because he's the kind of person who maintains a personal blog and gets it in a way people who think typing a gamer your browser window is being "internet savvy" don't.

For a section dubbed the "toy department," there isn't a whole lot of fun on the sports pages. The erratic attempts at it only serve to confirm that the worst thing in the world is someone with an inflated impression of how hilarious they are; they're more sad than anything else. The exceptions (Wojo at the News, for one) only serve to reinforce the dull stentorian grumbling of the rest of it.

Thank you. Y'all can stick little needles in your Jim Carty voodoo dolls as you read this, but the man has done us (or at least me) a service:

Kirk Bohls is a very good columnist for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in Texas. We've been fortunate to meet and interact a little at the Rose Bowl. He's used Kentucky's recent firing of Billy Gillispie to compile a list of the 10 toughest jobs in college sports.

Here's the excerpt for No. 8:

8. MICHIGAN FOOTBALL: Wolverines chased off proven winner Lloyd Carr for Rich Rodriguez, but the 108,500 fans who crowd the Big House won’t tolerate losses to Toledo — much less Ohio State — for long.

We'll deal with why the contention Carr was changed off in a minute, but even more amusingly, Bohls lists the Texas football job behind Michigan at No. 10.  The only problem with that suggestion, of course is ... well ... actual historical record. Michigan has had four coaches since 1968. None of them were fired. The only one who resigned under pressure did so for reasons that had nothing to do with football.
There is nothing—nothing—more annoying than people who have no idea where Michigan even is spouting off about how insane Michigan fans are because they "chased off" Lloyd Carr. You would not believe how many times I've forced myself to close a browser window before a spittle-flecked 1000 word post magically appeared in my editor. And Carty's takedown of the idea is authoritative. Ten cocktails to you.
Etc.: Rocky Top Talk unleashes a mondo post on the inside zone; highly recommended for extreme dorks. The full story on the moustache man banner. Michigan's spring media guide. People are signing up for the alumni game.


Willie Heston

April 2nd, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

He retired.

He did not resign.

Why in the hell cannot people get this through their heads?

Dear God, can someone please set the record straight on this once and for all?


April 2nd, 2009 at 7:02 PM ^

It's simple, sadly. The expectations of winning championships have gotten so rabid at many top programs (particularly in the SEC and some Big 12 schools) that perfectly good and winning coaches are run off as a matter of routine. "Voluntary" stepping down is often forced, and genuine retirement is rare. So when people see that Carr retired, particularly after a major-letdown year, they simply assume Michigan treated him the same as their school would.


April 2nd, 2009 at 1:38 PM ^

It's difficult to think of a job in which you can get away with having so little knowledge of the subject of your profession as you can when you are a sportswriter. A great many have all the credibility of the "journalists" who wrote dime-store books about Jesse James and Billy the Kid.

The only editing, idea-wise, that seems to happen with sports writers is that they do not write things that slur minority groups (which is good, of course) or things that are utterly unbelievable ("Michael Jordan learned his basketball skills from aliens.") Otherwise one's ideas and logic are free to float into the nether reaches and you end up with assertions of how an "arrogant" Rich Rodriguez has replaced a "nearly fired" Lloyd Carr and won't be able to win b/c his spread offense can't work in the "smash mouth" Big Ten (with it's 8 or so teams that already run a version of the spread).

His Dudeness

April 2nd, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

I have a tiny understanding as to why sports writers hate sports. I love baseball and last year I went on a road trip along the east coast to catch 7 MLB games in different stadiums in 7 days. I realize we were driving and most writers fly or stick to one team (thus don't have to travel as much). By the end of the trip I was literally irritated with having to go to the games. That was after just seven days! If your job was to cover a team such as Oklahoma State (random team which I assume you have no vested interest in as of now) you would almost assuredly begin to think of it as a job rather than a passion. The job of sports writing isn't as glamorous as fans like to think it is. Sure they get to sit down with Magglio Ordonez and Justin verlander, but they also have all the shit that goes along with it. I can see why it would take its toll on the writers and it would effect their writing and attitude.


April 2nd, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

I could certainly understand cynicism. If someone were writing columns like "Charlie Weis is no genius" or "Kobe Bryant is no role model" I could understand. What frustrates me is the inability to get facts straight or have more than a passing understanding of the nuances of the sport(s) you cover. I think half the readers (or at least posters) on this blog know more about football than your average major market football beat writer.


April 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 PM ^

There's a big difference between a hobby and a job. Sometimes, they come together. Not often. I remember, while ushering in Hill auditorium, talking to a concert violinist with the orchestra in Boston. It was just a job. I think that's why we love athletes who love the game, more than those for whom it is just a job they do well.


April 2nd, 2009 at 2:16 PM ^

What does it mean to "type a gamer your browser window"? I scanned the Carty blog post for the reference but couldn't find it.


April 2nd, 2009 at 2:33 PM ^

If Palushaj leaves this summer it would be one of the dumbest moves I have ever seen. He is not an NHL player right now. He is small, unphysical, and is still very raw in many of his attributes. He is highly skilled and is a great passer, but he is in no way ready to play in the NHL and probably not even the AHL. This isn't even my Michigan bias coming out hoping he stays, its me telling it like it is. He is absolutely not ready for the next level at this point in his hockey career.

I'd say the same for Summers, but he is much faster and is a great skater so he probably could make it, but he needs to become more physical and "tougher" as well.

If they all come back i'd say it puts them on the top of the rankings to start next year with BU.


April 2nd, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

Other than on the scoreboard, there are very few facts, only opinions. Information gets "spun" by radio/tv talkshow hosts until its 180 degrees out of whack.

Some people do not want to believe that Lloyd Carr retired, they want to believe that he was forced out, because it brings the University of Michigan down to their level. Often, these are the same people who go on and on about Ed Martin.

OT: what's it like after death? Did you have internet there before we (the living) did?

Willie Heston

April 2nd, 2009 at 3:16 PM ^

After I posted that I thougth the continued use of the term resign is really a case of "willful ignorance" than anything else.

Inflammatory words get hits. Resign caused more of a visceral reaction than retire.

Still, Phil f-ing Fulmer *resigned*; Lloyd Carr *retired*. It is irritating that Lloyd is put in that same category.

Most of had a deep suspicion Lloyd would call it quits after the end of '07 anyway once Hart and Henne graduated. Hell, the AD and Mary Sue Coleman probably even knew. Michigan is not Tennessee--Lloyd could have stayed as long as he wanted to.

That being said, anyone in the Detroit MSM who uses the term resign when referring to Lloyd's departure should be drawn and quartered--no exceptions.


April 2nd, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

of the general decline of "professional" journalism in this country. The same inability or unwillingness to acknowledge easily verifiable fact that Willie Heston accurately observes takes place every day in coverage of politics and current events.


April 2nd, 2009 at 10:17 PM ^

***Sports writers can get free tickets to events. WRONG. Unethical, lowlife ones maybe. Professional ones simply can't.

***Sports writers love the travel and jet-setting. WRONG.
Single, young childless ones, maybe. Those who are married with kids don't like it so much. Divorce rate is very high among traveling sports reporters.

***Sports writers are buddy-buddy with the athletes and coaches they cover. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

***Sports writers want the team they cover to win. WRONG. Most reporters I know could care less and are more prone to prefer the opposite of that team's trend (watching a losing team win for once or watching Michigan lose 3 football games in a row).

***Sports writers love free food. Well, OK, it's true, since most sports writers are manpigs. But the pizza and hotdogs seriously gets stale fast.

Sgt. Wolverine

April 3rd, 2009 at 11:01 AM ^

In the comments on Posnanski's post, somebody linked to a Jim Caple article on the decline of newspapers. In it, he included quotes from one of the authors of a prominent Seattle Mariners blog; one of those quotes is worth repeating.

"It's sad that the Internet is kind of tearing down these media institutions and then standing around the rubble pointing and saying 'LOL' while waiting for someone to figure out how to meet the needs those institutions served."