William Houston's skirmish with bloggers continues

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I usually have mixed feelings when bloggers and/or newspaper people get into slap fights. On some level, it’s uncomfortable because usually both sides bring something to the table; while a blogger might have a better sense of number crunching and snarky analysis, a columnist often brings years of experience to his or her writing. That being said, there’s certainly a rubbernecking vibe too; despite the lyrical gore in front of your eyes, it’s hard to look away from the credibility-damaging carnage.

This case started when William Houston, a former Globe & Mail columnist, wrote a column disparaging current Globe & Mail reporter (and blogger pioneer) James Mirtle. Here’s an excerpt from the shocking slam-piece.

The biggest joke in 2009-10, unfortunately, was the spectacle of James Mirtle attempting to function as a Globe and Mail hockey writer. A statistics wonk with limited journalistic skills, poor James struggled, to say the least.

While Mirtle took the high road and chose not to respond, plenty of other bloggers and writers did. Houston responded with a post that was ultimately deleted later on, but like many other mistakes made on the Internet, someone kept a copy of their own. But the Internet tussle took another step toward the absurd when Houston exchanged some rather embarrassing e-mails with Julian from the popular Toronto Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets. Here’s the worst of the lot, with one expletive deleted.

From: William Houston
To: PPP

Oh, I’ve been taking shots at friends of yours. Oh noooo. I feel so badly. Truth is, you’re a pathetic piece of [expletive deleted] who can’t function as a real journalist so you operate that awful blog. Struck a nerve, didn’t I Julian? Because you’re a pathetic hack who can’t write and will never amount anything. By the time I was in my 30s I’d written two best selling books. You? You’re a nothing. Nobody knows who you are or cares. Good luck pal. You’ll need it.

Ultimately, the situation was flat-out uncomfortable and unfortunate. The typical bloggers versus journalists jokes were trotted out (comments about technological confusion lobbed at newspaper veterans, quips about mother’s basements thrown at bloggers). Houston might or might not come out looking the worst, but aside from some cheap Web site hits, does anyone come out better? As time goes on, newspaper people and “basement dwellers” will learn to co-exist. Sure, there are moments that are darkly entertaining, but I dream of a day in which we can all just get along.

Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals

Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

(Check out video of the hit above.)

The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

Yikes:

Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

(If you’re into that kind of thing.)

Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: