August is just the worst for NHL fans. It’s at the end of the off-season, so the vast majority of free agent signings and trades have already gone down, but it’s still too early to start thinking about the upcoming season. It’s hockey purgatory, just waiting around until Godot shows up to drop the puck. It’s even worse for hockey writers, who still have to come up with things to write about even though there’s nothing happening. Most end up ranting about things that no one cares about or leap at the slightest bit of NHL news.
The real trouble is that since there’s so little news to talk about, everyone ends up talking about the same news, even if it’s barely news to begin with. Most of the stories that got covered might have merited one article or blog post, but with nothing else to write about, everything gets extra attention.
Thankfully, we’re finally reaching the end of August. Once September rolls around, NHL prospect camps will start up with some teams playing in prospect tournaments to help evaluate their players. That means there will be NHL hockey games, more or less, as early as September 5th. Imagine, actual hockey! Sort of!
In celebration of the end of August, the unhockiest of months, let’s revisit the major stories that hockey writers covered over the last month and figure out which ones are news, sort-of news, not-really news, and definitely not news.
- Joe Pavelski, Scott Gomez, and Zach Bogosian signed new contracts, oh wait, that was at the end of July…
- Jay Bouwmeester signed a new contract on August 1st, so he counts!
- Gabriel Landeskog signed a new contract and some people think it’s for too much money and term.
- Adam Henrique signed a new contract and some people think it’s for too much money and term, but it actually seems pretty reasonable.
- Douglas Murray signed a new contract that, despite being a massive paycut, was still probably too much.
- Mikhail Grabovski signed a new contract with the Washington Capitals, who got a screaming deal on a pretty dang good hockey player, dammit.
- The ongoing Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga is probably over.
- Also, someone bought the New Jersey Devils for a whole bunch of money.
- Claude Giroux injured his finger playing golf and had to have surgery. Legitimate news, if still kind of ridiculous.
- Sheldon Souray tore a ligament in his wrist and will be out up to 6 months. Actual news and big trouble for the Anaheim Ducks.
- Andrew Shaw auctioned off his Stanley Cup Final face stitches for charity, netting $6500, which is pretty cool and totally gross at the same time. That’s good enough to be news.
- Olympic hockey players have been asked several times about their stance on Russia’s draconian anti-gay propaganda laws, with most of the players preferring to focus on hockey rather than taking a stance on a social justice issue. Unsurprisingly, the players have had a wide array of responses, from supporting the law (several Russians), opposing the law (a bunch of other nationalities), to no comment whatsoever. It is extremely important to make a big deal out of every single response because it’s August. This just barely qualifies as news because of the topic itself, though I can’t bring myself to care about what every single hockey player thinks about it.
And that’s about it for real, actual hockey news. There are about seventy-two trillion hockey blogs and a bushel of mainstream media hockey sites out there and this just isn’t enough to keep them supplied with things to cover, so gazillions of pixels were sacrificed in order to tell the following stories:
- Team Canada couldn’t get on the ice during their Olympic camp, so they played ball hockey and walked through drills instead. Everyone flipped out over this as if Mike Babcock was some sort of mad genius, instead of doing what hundreds of youth hockey coaches do in arena parking lots with their teams because ice time is so bloody expensive.
- Roberto Luongo broke his silence in an interview with James Duthie and basically repeated all the things we already knew, except now we were hearing them directly from Luongo, so it was a BIG DEAL.
- A couple of the jerseys for the Olympic teams have been revealed and Team USA’s are hilarious.
- The San Jose Sharks for some reason made a massive announcement about their new practice jerseys. Oh wait, those are their actual new jerseys? Oh dear…
- Evgeni Malkin’s dad said some things that implied the Dallas Stars tampered with Malkin’s contract negotiations with the Penguins. Everyone else denied it and it’s probably not true. CONTROVERSY!!!
- Daniel Alfredsson held a press conference that made Eugene Melnyk look bad, which is so difficult to do. Turned out the Senators may have circumvented the cap by signing Alfredsson to a contract with a $1 million final year with the understanding that he would retire before it came into effect. The NHL did nothing about this because it’s August and no one in the NHL front offices wants to work in August. Too bad, because you were so close to being news…
- A blogger reporting on Eugene Melnyk’s financial woes was apparently hacked. Maybe. Melnyk maybe, probably not, but then again who knows, might actually have been involved. Possibly. I’m torn on whether this is sort of news or not.
- A bunch of Canucks bloggers (including myself) did a “We Are the World” style video to woo Roberto Luongo back to Vancouver. It was featured on both TSN Sportscentre and Sportsnet Connected, because it’s August. Seriously, guys, this was so dumb.
- Whitey Bulger apparently has a Stanley Cup ring and it’s totally not Chris Nilan’s.
- Zdeno Chara attended his good friend Marian Hossa’s Stanley Cup party in Slovakia and no one seemed to think it was all that controversial, even though people wrote about it as if everyone thought it was controversial.
- Roberto Luongo’s tires got stolen. Seriously.
- One of the minority owners of the Florida Panthers was apparently investing in online porn and sued when he got no return on his investment. Whoops.
- Don’t forget the breathless updates on the lack of Teemu Selanne news! Better interview his son to get the lack of an inside scoop!
- It’s that time of year when doctors do their annual hyperbolize about hockey violence thing.
- Nazem Kadri said a couple innocuous things that became completely overblown because August. Also, Toronto.
Definitely Not News
- People actually spent time breaking down Team Canada’s ball hockey lines. I don’t have a joke here, because that’s just too silly to joke about.
- It’s the 25th anniversary of the Wayne Gretzky trade, better devote a week of TV specials to it!
- Speaking of, Paulina Gretzky got engaged, which is, of course, major hockey news.
- Sidney Crosby bypassed the line at the DMV, better devote a week of newspaper coverage to it!
- The Philadelphia Flyers set a world record for the most people watching paint dry. Thing is, there’s no official world record for that and Guinness didn’t send any representatives to make it official, so this was even less newsworthy than it initially seemed. In an August full of non-news, this was the non-newsiest thing that happened.
Please, for the love of god, we need some hockey. At this point I don’t know how I survived the lockout.