NHL making waves and winning fans over through social media

GYI0060850489-dustinbrown-harryhow-getty.jpgThe relationship between players and fans has always been one of a curious nature. Back in the day, the only way fans could interact with players was either from their seat at a game and yelling to/at them or waiting for them after the game to grab an autograph. The times, they are a-changing. With fans and players all being connected online thanks to social media like Twitter and Facebook, players are able to better reach out to the fans. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times discusses how social media is changing the landscape in the NHL.

Including Kings captain Dustin Brown, who began tweeting in August, and Ducks winger Bobby Ryan, who hit the Twitterverse in July, more than 40 players are Twitter users. That estimate came from Michael DiLorenzo, the NHL’s director of social media marketing and strategy. He added that fewer than 40 players also use Facebook or have fan pages on Facebook.

Most players’ Twitter messages are funny: Ryan gets impatient in California traffic and Brown, watching Saturday morning TV with his kids, wondered what happened to all the good cartoons. Both needle teammates and talk about workouts and dinner plans, not revelations but information that gives them distinct personalities and builds rapport with fans.

Along with trivial uses come some noble uses. Brown’s tweets about building a playground in Carson triggered offers of help from fans. Player agent Allan Walsh, a pioneer in getting players involved with Twitter and Facebook, spread word that former Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak would sign autographs for charity at a Montreal shopping center this weekend. Brown’s agent, Scott Norton, started a program in which his clients will perform a good deed every Monday and tweet about it in hopes of inspiring similar acts. That can’t be bad.

Obviously if you’re here reading this on our site, you’re dialed into the Internet pretty well and you’re only a few clicks away from being able to get dialed into the players and their agents and virtually everyone else involved in the NHL in some way on Twitter or Facebook. Agents like Scott Norton and Allan Walsh provide great client-centric news and information and the players themselves have turned into a real joy to follow and engage with themselves (consider my guilty pleasure to be Paul Bissonette of the Phoenix Coyotes).

Considering one of the complaints some fans have against NHL players is that they’re “bland” personalities, reaching out through social media is helping to dispel that notion. Granted not everyone will be as colorful as Bissonette or even Bobby Ryan or Danny Richmond but it’s something else to have that sort of inside access to people in the league and that’s a good thing.

(Photo: Harry How – Getty Images)

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    Kings’ AHL affiliate gives Emery PTO

    Ray Emery
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    Ray Emery has agreed to join the Ontario Reign on a professional tryout, according to a team release.

    The Reign are the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Emery attended Tampa Bay’s training camp on a PTO, but he was released after the team claimed Kevin Poulin on waivers from the Islanders.

    The 33-year-old had a 10-11-7 record with a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 31 games with the Flyers last season.

    Even with starter Jonathan Quick struggling, it’s hard to envision this move leading to a return to the NHL for Emery.

    The Kings have Quick and Jhonas Enroth with the big club, while veteran Peter Budaj was signed to a two-way contract on Friday.

    Goalie nods: Reimer makes first start of the season

    James Reimer
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    James Reimer will get his first start of the 2015-16 season on Saturday night against Ottawa.

    Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made it clear from the beginning that Jonathan Bernier was going to start on Wednesday against Montreal and Friday in Detroit, while Reimer would get in against the Sens.

    “I’ve known this for a long time that (Bernier is) starting and he’s starting on Wednesday and he’s starting on Friday. Reims is starting on Saturday,” Babcock said before the season began.

    Things haven’t gone according to plan for Toronto through two games.

    Not only have they lost both contests, but Bernier was pulled in yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Wings, and the team has scored only one goal this season.

    Reimer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in just under 40 minutes of action against Detroit, will go up against Craig Anderson.


    Cam Talbot will try to get his first win as an Oiler as they travel to Nashville to take on the Predators. Pekka Rinne will start for the Predators.

    Carey Price and Tuukka Rask will face-off when the Canadiens and Bruins renew hostilities at the TD Garden in Boston.

    Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes when the Red Wings take on the ‘Canes in Carolina. Cam Ward gets the nod for the Hurricanes.

    Keith Kinkaid for the Devils. Braden Holtby makes his first start of the year in the Capitals’ season opener.

    Steve Mason for the Flyers. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers in their opener.

    -Columbus hasn’t confirmed who their starter will be in the back half of their home-and-home with the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist will start for New York.

    Jake Allen makes his first start of the regular season for St. Louis. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.

    -The Islanders have yet to confirm their starter for tonight’s game in Chicago. Scott Darling for the ‘Hawks after Corey Crawford helped spoil the party in Brooklyn yesterday.

    Antti Niemi gets the call for Dallas after he blanked the Penguins in his first start. Semyon Varlamov for Colorado.

    Jonas Hiller for Calgary. Ryan Miller for the Canucks.

    -The Penguins haven’t confirmed who their starter will be in Arizona tonight. Mike Smith will likely play in back-to-back games after beating the Kings on Friday.

    -The Ducks have yet to confirm their starter. Martin Jones will start for San Jose.