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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    Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again

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    If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”

    There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.

    Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.

    One team climbing, the other stumbling

    With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.

    During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.

    Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.

    Canadiens are facing some turbulence (and mostly passing the test)

    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 6: Patrik Berglund #21 of the St. Louis Blues checks Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens at the Scottrade Center on December 6, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
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    The Montreal Canadiens aren’t in crisis mode, but as far as this so-far outstanding 2016-17 season goes, they are finally facing some adversity.

    Alex Galchenyuk, one of their most promising young players, is out indefinitely. There are murmurs that captain Max Pacioretty isn’t getting along with head coach Michel Therrien.* Tuesday presented a body blow or two to boot.

    For one thing, the Canadiens gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Jaden Schwartz grabbed an assist and scored the game’s last two goals, including the OT-winner:

    Losing to a contender like the Blues, especially while still grabbing a “charity point,” isn’t that big of a deal. A possible David Desharnais injury makes things a little dicey, however:

    Really, though, it’s not all that bad for Montreal. They managed a 2-2-1 mark during a five-game road trip heavy on quality opponents.

    Also: six of their next seven games come at home, where they’re 12-1-1. So things will look brighter soon enough.

    Still, with some injuries and a big road trip to end 2016 and start 2017, there may be some moments where Montreal looks vulnerable.

    Ultimately, fighting through stretches like these could very well benefit the Habs later on.

    * – Ah, the old standby: “Player X isn’t seeing eye-to-eye with Therrien.”

    From the Blues’ side:

    Ristolainen, Kane, O’Reilly push Sabres past McDavid and the Oilers

    EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Rasmus Ristolainen #55, Matt Moulson #26, Sam Reinhart #23, Kyle Okposo #21 and Ryan OÕReilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.

    In particular, high-scoring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, power forward Evander Kane and two-way center Ryan O'Reilly made the difference in Buffalo’s 4-3 overtime win.

    Ristolainen’s first goal of 2016-17 was a big one, as it clinched the contest in OT:

    Evander Kane scored two goals of his own, including one in the dying seconds of regulation to allow Buffalo to get a standings point (and then a second) in the first place.

    Kane finished with two goals, O’Reilly generated two assists and Ristolainen managed a one-goal, two-assist performance.

    It would be wrong to say that the marquee names didn’t show up at all. McDavid generated two assists and Eichel also nabbed a helper.

    You’d be correct in saying that other young players stole the show, though, and the Sabres were the biggest beneficiaries.

    Video: Brent Seabrook shaken up after awkward fall

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    It wasn’t nearly as scary as the falls suffered by Travis Zajac or Philip Larsen, but the Chicago Blackhawks are still holding their breath when it comes to defenseman Brent Seabrook.

    As you can see from the video above, Seabrook was tripped up by Jordan Martinook of the Arizona Coyotes during a simple puck battle. Seabrook was shaken up after falling awkwardly on that play.

    At the moment, it’s unclear if this will be an ongoing issue or if the Blackhawks avoided a costly injury.

    Martinook was not penalized.

    CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers notes that Seabrook wasn’t out to begin the third period. So far, not so good.

    The Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0, so the silver lining for Chicago is that they won.