Friday Funbag: A some thoughts on "media" vs. "content" and what it all means
Plus your questions on prospects and potential trades.
Like everyone, I’m curios and want to know the whole back story about what happened with Cutter Gauthier and his fallout, then trade from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Anaheim Ducks.
The closest we have to a reason from the player is this nugget from Gauthier when he spoke to Anaheim media on Wednesday, courtesy of this piece from Derek Lee at The Sporting Tribune.
“It wasn’t one specific reason why I asked for a trade,” said Gauthier. “It was multiple, re-occurring issues that I’d seen over the past year and a half, two years of being under the Flyers organization. It kind of hit me all at once, thinking ‘I can’t move forward with this’ and ‘I really need to step up for myself and see what’s best for my future’ and that’s what I did.”
We don’t know the reasons, but there’s something that Gauthier didn’t like about the Flyers and how things were run by Keith Jones, Daniel Briere, and Co.
It appears the only thing that the Flyers and Gauthier did see eye-to-eye on was the fact Hayes had nothing do with his decision to request a trade out of Philadelphia.
After the Flyers game on Wednesday, John Tortorella ripped into the reporter who floated the Hayes rumor initially.
Jump to about the 3-minute mark in the video below.
There are lots of pieces about Gauthier and the Flyers, the fallout with Hayes, though, has had me thinking more about where we are in the world when it comes to sports journalism.
In general, sports reporters — myself included — are at the kids table of the media world. We try to think we are important, but at the end of the day, this is entertainment, and sports coverage is an accessory to your entertainment.
For example, hopefully reading Shap Shots, or my work anywhere else, provides context or enjoyment that enhances your experience as a hockey fan. If I’ve done that, I’ve done my job.
There are only a few sports reporters that actually tackle difficult, capital J, “journalism,” and you know who they are — Katie Strang and Rick Westhead, for example.
The rest of sports reporters, most of the time, are closer to content creators than actual journalists.
Even here, where I believe in writing what I want as opposed to pleasing the SEO algorithm, it’s about content creation. Quality content, to be clear, but it’s still about content as opposed to solving the world’s problems.
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It’s lead to our ecosystem of everyone wanting to be an insider. To get the little scoop that leads to Twitter fame until someone else gets the same scoop. Those little scoops, the little insider dopamine rush, they create more content.
The sports reporter who claimed the Hayes involvement with Gauthier is loving this right now, even the deserved brow beating from Tortorella. He’s loving the attention, I’m sure his site metrics have never been better.
Because simply admitting you don’t know what happened, well, that doesn’t sell clicks or subscriptions.
Hope this all makes sense, let’s get to some of your questions.
Tiffany VilchisParks Thoughts on the new women's league? Just got a glimpse but it seems like the TV production is better and I like that it's rougher play.
I think there has been some early puzzling decisions — lack of team names is odd to me — but the product on the ice and the ease of access, games on YouTube in high-definition have been early wins for me.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the league evolves/grows with various challenges. But I also think it’ll get a natural boost in coverage coming up at the start of February with the 3-on-3 challenge at NHL All-Star weekend.
A. Chepey Who impressed you the most at the World Juniors?
I’m a big goalie guy, and I love what Trey Augustine did for Team USA.
My good friend Prashanth Iyer has a further breakdown of what Augustine did over at his substack
I was also really impressed with Zeev Buium, who I was already high on, and Konsta Helenius, who are both draft eligible this year.
It’s a 19-year-old tournament, so 18-year-olds that stand out — like Macklin Celebrini did with Canada, too — always catch my attention.
Matthew M Rice Which Red Wings prospect has the potential to be a future All-Star? Marco Kasper has been coming on as of late--are you more intrigued by Kasper or Danielson? Does Tuomisto have a chance to be a 3rd line Dman in coming year or two? Thanks
The NHL All-Star game process is so flawed that it’s hard to to predict a future All-Star from the prospect pool.
But of the Red Wings prospect pool, I think Simon Edvinsson has the best “All-Star game” ability. That’s more of a reflection of the position he plays, and I’m not sold on Marco Kasper or Nate Danielson being point-per-game guys that get the offensive numbers to be invited.
This doesn’t mean I’m not high on Kasper and Danielson. I really like how both of them have progressed, I just think realistically they are part of that long-term second-line that ideally follow up a scoring line.
Really good question on Antti Tuomisto.
Tuomisto started slow, was sent to the ECHL, but then found a better game in big minutes with Toledo and has since been much better with Grand Rapids.
Tuomisto has some tools I like, and he’s also taken some unconventional paths, like leaving Denver early and playing in Finland last season before playing in the AHL this season.
In my view Tuomisto will be good enough to play in the NHL in two seasons, it’s all a matter of whether he’ll have the right coach or executive in his corner fighting for him over another player with similar skills.
It’s also hard to see anyone cracking the Detroit defensive core out of Grand Rapids with the number of veteran contracts that Steve Yzerman has signed on the blue line.
Davis Dunkleberger Obviously the Stars didn’t plan on Otter getting hurt, but it seems Wedgewood is running out of gas. Should they have given games to Murray to help alleviate Wedgewood in that timeframe?
One hundred percent they should have.
One of the biggest fears, in my view, the Stars could realize would be having both Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood hurt at the same time.
And while it looks like Oettinger could potentially return this weekend, the Stars flew close to the sun and survived with Edgewood’s workload.
No goalie, especially a backup, should ever play 11 straight games in the regular season like Wedgewood did.
Adam W. It's getting to that time of year were Pavs signs a one year deal fir the next year. Have you heard anything about an extention?
We just talked at the top about not reporting things you don’t actually know… and right now, I don’t know anything about Joe Pavelski and a Stars extension.
I do know that both Pavelski and the Stars are happy with each other, but as of this time I haven’t heard anything about extension.
Rob Realistic defenseman trade targets for Dallas? I’m a big fan of Sean Walker and he seems like he’d be a good fit in terms of need, handedness, and cap hit.
Sean Walker could fit with Dallas, but he’s also a pending UFA and the Flyers are in the playoff hunt.
Getting Philly to move him seems unlikely because they have something to play for themselves, and essentially could be using Walker as their own rental to help with the playoff push.
I don’t think he’d be available, but Sean Durzi in Arizona seems like an ideal Dallas target for me. He’s a right-handed shot and pending RFA with arbitration rights, so I think it’s in Arizona’s best interest to hold onto him.
But if the Coyotes were so inclined to consider a trade, I think he could fit well in Dallas playing with either Miro Heiskanen or Thomas Harley on one of the top two pairs.
At the end of the of the day, however, I don’t see a big-name defender on the market that’s available and worth the splash it’ll cost to make the move in season.
Some programming notes for this weekend.
Nothing coming tonight, I typically try to spend Friday evening with the family as much as possible. But we will likely have a 20/20 out of Saturday’s game between the Stars and Blackhawks — it just depends on how some other projects shake out over the next 12 hours.
Also, if you are somewhere about to get buried by winter weather, stay safe and have a good weekend.
Thanks for reading!