The NHLPA meetings
Given I've wrapped up the series on the NHLPA meetings, here are a few final thoughts...
It was a last minute thing being sent out last Friday, something I didn't have a lot of time to prepare for, and I didn't go in with a lot of expectations other than to listen and learn. And while Tom Benjamin's certainly correct in saying we haven't learned very much new (a frustration felt by the players in attendance, as well), I think there was a lot of value in what came out of the exercise.
When I first started piecing through what seemed like an avalanche of transcripts from the day (I record and write out almost everything in a situation like that), I'd put a little pressure on myself to come up with some sort of an overarching conclusion or analysis. Ultimately, that's not what I ended up doing — although the bit about the black sheep was in the neighbourhood.
Mostly what I'd aimed for what to put as much of the relevant information out there as I could, and while that left us with an awful lot to digest, this medium allows people to take as much or as little of the material with them as they like. (It was interesting, really, to see that the piece on Shawn Horcoff ended up being the most well-read bit, the result of links from rabid Oilers fans on Hockey's Future and elsewhere.)
Anyway, it's a terrific thing that I can report on a story, assemble the extra information for an online audience within a day or so, and then have that data spread, parsed and picked over by well-informed people such as Tom, George Malik, Dan Tolensky, Paul Kukla and others. I'm incredibly impressed by the interest level in and knowledge of material that is, at times, cumbersome stuff.
Tom has said in the past that hockey fans were not well-served by the media during the 2004-05 lockout, and that's honestly something I take to heart. We've got new tools, and a new way of doing things — it's time to get as much of the story out there as possible.
I think we'll get there, and the blogosphere's a big part of that. And, for myself, as more opportunities like this come available, the results will only get better and better.