Breaking down the NHL's leaked rough draft for standardizing blogger credentials

(Again, allow me to throw out that “this might only be interesting to a select few” disclaimer I made in the earlier post on this subject. You have been warned.)

As hockey writers, we rarely see the kind of maverick journalistic moments that, say, a foreign correspondent or political reporter might experience. So any time there is a “leaked document,” it’s more than a little bit scintillating.

Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski tracked down such a document, which acts as a “rough draft” of what could be a standard operating procedure for how the NHL handles credentialing bloggers. You can see the full e-mail there, with spy-tastic names marked off.

First, here are the guidelines for what makes a blogger credential-worthy. (Keep in mind, though, that it’s still a rough draft.)

1. Part of a national news gathering agency.
2. Reaches a broad audience.
3. Produces original content.
4. Has an established record of developing original content.
5. Employs full-time journalists.

The e-mail notes that individual team Web sites won’t need to comply to those standards. While the message mentions that press boxes “remain the domain of individual clubs,” they’re still advised to follow these guidelines if it would be the team’s “best interest” to credential someone who doesn’t hit one of the five rules above. Take a look at the three additional standards. I’m going to paraphrase them into simpler language, though.

1. Bloggers will need to earn written consent before they can enter a visiting team’s locker room.
2. Teams must make “every best effort” to create a separate area for bloggers who fail to meet the criteria, whether it be ” a separate area outside of the pressbox or in a common, designated location within the press seating area.”
3. Those who fail to meet the criteria will be given distinct press passes that are easy to differentiate from normal passes.

Wyshysnki compares Rule No. 3 to wearing a Scarlet Letter and while blogging isn’t quite the “sin” as adultery (I hope), it’s a sadly apt comparison. All three rules seem like they could be a pretty serious impediment for bloggers who “fail to match the criteria” in the first five rules. Rule No. 1 makes me wonder how often – if ever – a blogger will gain access to visiting locker rooms and No. 2 creates a vision of bloggers being herded off into some sub-press dungeon.*

* Cue the “it can’t be much worse than their mothers’ basements” jokes …

Now, again, it’s important to note that this e-mail is a rough draft and is far from official. Perhaps the NHL will study the responses to such a document and tweak it to make it a bit more … accommodating. After all, let’s not forget that blogs are another way for the league to promote its game and, frankly, they happen to be one of the cheapest to boot.

We’ll pass along more notes on this subject as it goes along. Apologies if this is all going over your heads.

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    Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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    As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

    Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

    Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

    Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

    Things could get ugly in Game 3:

    One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

    Also, lateness of the check:

    The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

    Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

    Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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    The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

    Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

    That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

    Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

    Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

    Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

    Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

    PHT will make note if there are any swerves.

    2016 Calder Trophy finalists: Gostisbehere, McDavid and Panarin

    Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid lines up for a faceoff against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    Ever since the NHL kept obstruction in check and thus placed a greater emphasis on speed and skill, we’ve seen some fascinating Calder Trophy debates. This 2015-16 season may present the toughest call in recent memory.

    The league named the three finalists on Monday, and even that couldn’t have been easy. They are Edmonton Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid, breakout Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin.

    (The NHL made it official here.)

    All three make for fantastic debates.

    Do you go with McDavid, easily the youngest of the bunch, who produced gaudy per-game numbers but missed almost half of the season?

    Perhaps you lean toward Gostisbehere, who also scored at an impressive clip per-game for a defenseman while playing a huge role in the Flyers’ surprising run to a playoff spot?

    Or, do you go with Panarin, the guy who easily leads rookies in total points (77, 21 more than Jack Eichel‘s second-place finish) and was so effective that his bonuses will really put the Blackhawks in a bad way? Or do you penalize Panarin for being a little older and for the undeniable benefits he received from riding shotgun with Patrick Kane?

    Then again, plenty will merely spend their time griping about “snubs,” as the likes of Jack Eichel and John Gibson were not in the final three despite outstanding work.

    Yep, this should be fun … just be nice during your debates.

    WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 3

    Washington Capitals left wing Andre Burakovsky (65) fires a shot past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) during the second period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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    There’s only one game on the docket tonight, but it’s a marquee matchup.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals split their games in DC and now switch to Pittsburgh for Game 3. We’ve seen great work from the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom and maybe especially Braden Holtby so far … not to mention a considerable cast of supporting characters.

    Which team will take a 2-1 lead in this captivating series?

    We’ll find out on NBCSN. You can stream the game live via the link below as well:

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE