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.

Scroll Down For:

    Video: The Ducks and Kings brawl — again

    Leave a comment

    Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.

    You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.

    This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)

    Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.

     

    Kings activate Jonathan Quick from IR and he is starting against the Ducks

    LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08:  Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings tends net during a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on October 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Getty
    1 Comment

    For the first time since the season opener the Los Angeles Kings are going to have starting goaltender Jonathan Quick in their lineup on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.

    Quick, who has played just 20 minutes of hockey this season, has been out of the lineup since Oct. 12 due to a groin injury. The team activated him from injured reserve on Saturday before the game.

    In his absence the Kings had to rely on Peter Budaj to carry the load, and he did a pretty admirable job with a .917 save percentage (the best performance of his career) in 53 appearances. Keep in mind that Quick’s save percentage the past four seasons has been .914.

    While Quick’s absence seemed like it could have been a big deal at the start of the year, the biggest factor in the Kings’ disappointing season has been on the offensive side, especially in recent weeks as the team’s goal scoring woes have seemingly hit rock bottom. In their past nine games the Kings have managed just 15 goals, and that includes one game where they scored six. Simple math says they scored only nine goals in the other eight games. Not great. They were also shutout three times during that stretch.

    Even if Quick is the Kings’ best goalie, and even if he returns to the lineup and plays extremely well down the stretch, it is not going to make much of a difference if the offense continues to score at that sort of abysmal level.

    The Kings enter Saturday’s game five points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

    Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field

    Leave a comment

    When the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers take their long-time rivalry outside on Saturday night it will be Matt Murray and Michael Neuvirth getting the starts in goal for the teams.

    For the Penguins, Murray getting the start is no shock at this point since he has clearly taken over the No. 1 job, starting 14 of the past 17 games the Penguins have played and currently owning some of the best numbers of any goalie in the league this season. His .925 save percentage that is currently fifth best in the NHL while his .935 save percentage during even-strength situations is tied for second best.

    He has allowed just 10 goals in his past six starts.

    The Penguins’ goaltending situation is still going to be one worth watching over the next couple of days leading up to the NHL trade deadline. With Murray as the guy in net trade speculation surrounding Marc-Andre Fleury has picked up, and even though general manager Jim Rutherford said earlier this week that he would prefer to keep Fleury, he mentioned on Friday that a decision resulting his short-term future will be made in the 24-48 hours leading up to the deadline.

    Meanwhile, on the Philadelphia side, it will be Neuvirth getting another start as he tries to shake off the rust he has shown since returning to the lineup from an injury that sidelined him for a large portion of the season. Since returning he has just an .894 save percentage in eight starts, continuing what has been an overall disappointing season for him in net.

    He faced the Penguins earlier this season in a 5-4 loss, giving up two goals on 12 shots in relief of starter Steve Mason.

    Elsewhere on Saturday…

    — It will be Jonathan Bernier vs. Jonathan Quick on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles when the Ducks and Kings face off.

    — Phillip Grubauer gets the call for the Washington Capitals when they visit the Nashville Predators and try to prevent Filip Forsberg from recording yet another hat trick. No word yet on who is starting for the Predators.

    — Joonas Korpisalo will be giving Sergei Bobrovsky the night off for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders.

    — The Rangers will go with Antti Raanta for their rivalry showdown with the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider goes for the Devils.

    — Huge game in Toronto when it comes to the Atlantic Division standings with the Maple Leafs facing off against a Canadiens team they trail by only four points. It will be a Carey Price vs. Frederik Anderson goalie matchup.

    Ryan Miller, suddenly the subject of trade speculation, will start for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday when they face the San Jose Sharks. Look for Martin Jones to go for the Sharks.

    Robin Lehner and Calvin Pickard go for the Sabres and Avalanche respectively on Saturday night in Denver.

    Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension upheld by Gary Bettman

    8 Comments

    The NHL announced on Saturday afternoon that commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension the league issued to Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette for an abuse of official incident that happened earlier this month.

    Bettman met with Vermette on Thursday and heard his appeal, and has ruled that the 10-game ban will remain in place.

    Vermette was ejected from the Ducks’ Feb. 14 game against the Minnesota Wild after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the leg following a face off. The NHL ruled that it was a Category II abuse of official foul, which carries an automatic 10-game suspension. He has already served four of those games. He will lose $97,222.22 in salary as a result of the entire suspension.

    Vermette’s suspension is the third abuse of official suspension we have seen in the NHL over the past two years following the 20-game ban Dennis Wideman received last year (later reduced to 10 games) and the three-game suspension given to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo this season.

    After signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Ducks in free agency, Vermette has eight goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season.