Bens and Benjability
I almost blogged about Tom Benjamin's latest post that ran under the, as usual, clever headline “Sens and Sensibility,” but I really didn’t feel like ragging on TB about it at the time. Better late than never, I guess.
Benjamin is a great hockey blogger, and he has been dominating the competition lately, but I certainly wouldn’t be wondering whether his recent post belongs in a class with Tom’s greatest ever. This is early December, a whole new month with different games being played and new rules.
Historical comparisons don’t work any more. They don’t work any more, not for Tom’s individual posts and not for monthly catalogues of his work. Too much changes to compare things that are different. We can only compare things that are the same. Differences make that hard.
Players are wearing different socks now and tighter fighting jerseys, something that ultimately makes it impossible to compare how Tom is writing about them now and in the past. Is he more critical and/or grumpy than he used to be, or about the same? It’s impossible to say, really. There are so many factors that change from year-to-year; if only every single detail remained the same in eternity, then could we truly compare the quality of his work with that which he’s done in the past.
If his work so far is any indication — and I think it is — Tom is one of the best hockey bloggers writing about this year’s GBHL. Whether he can stay great next season depends on the quality of medication he continues to take.
It isn’t fair to Benjamin to describe his accomplishments this season as tainted, but the Bryan Trottiers, Steve Yzermans and James Mirtles of the world will be putting an asterisk beside everything he does. If he was cantankerous during previous years, and downright inconsolable this year, how are we to judge one body of work against another?
And fans of Benjamin will surely point to Gary Bettman and the mainstream media as the root of all evil.