Get off me, jerk. Alright, that's it. You just made the blog. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
In recent years, the Ducks have marketed the players through blog posts. Joffrey Lupul had the In The Loops blog for Anaheim's website, George Parros turns in his take at the LA Times, and even Ryan Whitney and Ryan Carter have blogged for the OC Register regarding the Olympics and the World Championships respectively.
Last week, Bobby Ryan turned in his first blog post for USA Today, but last week also saw the latest blog post by Teemu Selanne for MTV3 Finland (and you can find a great translation by SBN user sleza over at Battle of California). Now, obviously, we can only guess at how much of these posts are written by the players themselves-- the Ducks Media and Communications staff don't get paid to let players communicate unfiltered on a regular basis --but Arthur, just looking at the posts for what they are, which one do you like better? Bobby's or Teemu's?
Well, I think they both did a good job of telling the hockey story while still giving a human interest angle on the player, but I'm going to have to go with Teemu's. Now, I know this isn't the first post in Teemu's blog, and Bobby (or whoever is writing Bobby's blog) is writing for a different audience in USA Today, but Teemu (or his ghostwriter) was just the better storyteller.
He opens with a note on the importance of numbers, then he traces that thought from how untouchable those numbers seemed to him as a kid, to the numbers that mattered at the beginning of his career, to the numbers that matter to him now (his golf score), to the numbers that define the hardships of playing an NHL season, and finally, to the number '40' that makes him a 'grandpa' in today's league. It was just a really well-written and well-organized piece, and it would have been compelling even if it were about cricket.
Now, I know that Bobby Ryan doesn't have a career to reflect upon or maybe even an obviously compelling personal story of recent Ducks events to recap (as he, too, mentions Selanne's goal to pass Bobby Hull), but his segue into his Halloween story starts with "On a side note." I mean, I found every topic that Bobby mentioned in his post at least mildly interesting, but the information doesn't flow and it isn't tied together at all. In fact, it uses phrases that encourage someone to stop reading. And I could see myself not finishing Bobby's future blog entries. By contrast, I can't wait for sleza to translate another Selanne piece.
I was excited when I heard Bobby was writing a blog, because I knew I'd be able to focus on what he said instead of how much he sounds like a lisping teenager waiting for his voice to change. Unfortunately, Bobby (or his ghostwriter) didn't really offer anything interesting to read. Arthur, you're right in identifying the lack of a coherent narrative as a detraction from the piece, but I think the lack of insight is the real sin. Assuming Bobby wrote this himself, I realize that a professional hockey player probably doesn't have the training or writing skills to put together an interesting blog post. Hell, I have a lot of education, and I can't do it. But Bobby's post reads like an article in Bop about the New Kids On The Block.
When Selanne talks about the three stages of a player's career, or trying to comprehend his statistical success, I feel like I've learned something about the player and what he experiences playing a game I love to watch. As you said, I don't expect Bobby to have the same quantity of compelling stories or insights. However, this is a kid who came within a few days of a contract hold out and is experiencing the weight of the expectations of a serious contract. The details of his experience alone are worth the read.
He's a young man getting paid to play a game. I don't need to know that Bobby Ryan was disappointed about trick-or-treaters, but I want to know how he feels lacing them up with one of the greatest European forwards ever and what he learns from that experience. I want to know what he thinks about experimenting at center and if it affected his ability to go back to the wing, or even if he'd like to give it another shot. There are ways to do that without rubbing your coach the wrong way or resorting to hockey cliché.
I don't expect Bobby to be a great story teller, but I know that a young kid playing a dynamic role in one of the most exciting games on the planet is a great story. Bobby (or his writer) needs to focus on revealing a little about how much he loves this game and what it's like being a player. I'll read through that every time.