Monday, May 08, 2006

The best of the scribes

Here's a question for a Monday afternoon leading to a busy night of NHL action: What hockey writer — reporter or columnist — do you think produced the best work this season? Who was at the top of their game and who do you try to read on a daily, or near daily, basis?

An awful lot of time is spent on blogs complaining about the worst of the worst in sportswriting — I'm curious to hear who the on-line hockey minds like best.

18 Comments:

At 10:04 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Ben said...

I'll take Scott Burnside on ESPN.com over anyone else these days. He talks more about what's going on behind the scenes and off of the ice than anyone else does and he does it well, without coming across as a snobbish insider.

 
At 10:34 AM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Jamie Fitzpatrick said...

I try not to rely too much on one voice. But Eric Duhatschek at the Globe and Mail is the best. Doesn't play favorites or grind axes. He's never provocative for its own sake and almost always provides a reasonable argument to back up his opinions.

 
At 10:43 AM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Agreed with Jamie Fitzpatrick - the Hat is the best. Never ever see garbage from him that you see, for example, from Strachan. The Ducks could win 6 straight Cups and he still wouldn't give Burke any due.

 
At 11:50 AM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

I'll third The Hat Check

It's certainly not Tim Montgomery.

Before he went to the G&M and got way in over his head about topics he clearly knows little about (politics), Gary Mason was a pretty good editor for the Vancouver Sun.

 
At 12:34 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hat is the man, he routinely posts more and better stuff than other sports columnists: you have his blog, his columns, his web only columns and the weekly notebook...

After that, I gotta say Cox is sometimes entertaining as he screams abuse, but that kind of commentary is kind of boring after a while, which is why the Hat wins out overall.

 
At 1:32 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Cox can be really good and he certainly has a different perspective at times but sometimes it seems to me he's just trying to stir things up for no better reason then, well, to stir things up

 
At 2:38 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Dennis Prouse said...

I'll put in a controversial vote for Pierre Maguire. I know his personality grates on people, but if you get past that he is one of the hardest working, best informed guys on TV. He is one of the rare guys who can offer both insight on both the off-ice, player personnel stuff, and the technical aspect of the game on the ice.

Bob Mackenzie also gets a thumbs up from me simply because you know his "insider" stuff is legit, and he is willing to say, "I don't know" when he honestly doesn't know.

 
At 2:51 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Alanah said...

I still miss Gary Mason. He used to write some truly great, substantive hockey articles in (I think) the Vancouver Sun.

Then he deserted us for your Globe & Mail. Traitor!;-)

 
At 2:58 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger sacamano said...

I don't get to read him all that often--and he doesn't focus exclusively on sports--but I've always liked Roy MacGregor's work.

 
At 4:40 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Paul said...

North of the border is Duhatschek.
Fair and balanced, seems to know what story to cover and sometimes more importantly, what story not to cover.
In the states, Scott Burnside has reached the top of my list. Great topics and his research effort on many of them pays off in the long run.

 
At 5:08 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

Ross McKeon of the SF Chronicle, Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Chris Foster/Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times are the writers that have impressed me the most in the U.S. this season.

It would be hard to pick a few from Canada. Too many.

 
At 5:23 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

I think Duhatschek and Buccigross are the top guys. They both seem to take a lot of pride in, for lack of a better term, being right. Duhatschek just won't spout off conventional wisdom or easy narratives unless the numbers (i.e. reality) bear it out. His opinions, when offered, are marked clearly as being based on his own observations; he also seems to be one of the only sportswriters in the world who truly understands that games really are a "weighted coin-flip", to use Tyler's phrase.

And at the risk of contradicting the above, I also think Al Strachan is much better than the credit he gets. His primary virtue is that he's willing to state opinions that (A) are contrary to the consensus, and (B) he knows will be unpopular.

 
At 6:55 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allan Maki of the Globe & Mail produces the most consistently readable stuff. It's funny, insightful and always worth reading.

 
At 9:02 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Baroque said...

Another vote for Helene Elliott. Informative and well written, without the overwrought, purple prose and cliches that infest so much sports writing (in every sport, unfortunately). And I normally don't visit ESPN.com, but Scott Burnside is really good.

 
At 10:16 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I'll second what matt said about Strachan. I hate seeing him on TV, hate reading his column and find him to be loathsome-his shots at lawyers irritate me to no end.

With that said, I think he's an honest guy. Something about the lockout didn't smell right to him and he asked questions about it. Unfortunately for him, it's tough for a guy like him to take on a smooth talking lawyer (damn them!) like Bettman and he got made to look bad-he doesn't really play the loaded question game that well.

Duhatschek is excellent as well.

 
At 2:22 AM, May 09, 2006, Blogger Joe Pelletier said...

I definitely have to concur that hockey lost two top level journalists when Gary Mason and Roy MacGregor moved away from exclusive coverage of the game.

The aforementioned Eric Duhatshek, Bob McKenzie, and Scott Burnside are at the top of my list too. I don't think anyone has mentioned Mark Brender and Ray Ferraro is as good an analyst as they come.

I know Rich Chere is highly regarded too, tough I personally don't get a chance to read much of his work.

Joe Pelletier
------------------
http://www.1972summitseries.com
http://www3.telus.net/worldcuphockey
http://www.legendsofhockey.blogspot.com

 
At 1:04 PM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe we left off Cam Cole, a consistently good writer who covers all sports, but has a great voice on Hockey for the Post and now the Vancouver Sun...

 
At 5:16 PM, May 09, 2006, Blogger ninja said...

I'll throw in a vote for Matt Romig of Yahoo!Sports. He is consistently on top of what is happening on the ice across the league.

 

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