What’s Wrong with NHL Fanhouse?
January 8, 2009 2 Comments
About 12 months or so ago, Fanhouse’s NHL section was a must read. It was a who’s who of all the most spirited, interesting, rabble-rousing (to use a Jay Mariotti word, sadly) opinion-meisters the hockey blogosphere had to offer. Eric McErlain, Jes Golbez, Greg Wyshynski, James Mirtle, Tom Luongo, Kevin Schultz. That’s a first line of hockey blogging we’d throw up against the 70’s Canadiens teams. If they were, you know… hockey bloggers.
Nowadays, and it pains us to say this, but NHL Fanhouse is simply not half as good as it was a year ago. Not just because Wyshynski, Mirtle and Golbez are gone. But because Fanhouse has gone away from what makes hockey blogging so much fun: the ability to just spout off your opinion to whoever is willing to listen. Like we are at this very moment.
Look at the last 20 posts over at Fanhouse. Better than 50% of them are just re-reported news items that you probably knew already. Places where there used to be “roundtable” discussions of key issues going on in the NHL, or weekly features on players and prospect (which they still do, to be fair) and just quirky stories that aren’t to be found anywhere else, there’s just… the news, and a tiny opinion underneath it.
This is absolutely no disrespect to the people who write at Fanhouse. They do some great things. Captain Eric McErlain’s Winter Classic coverage was above and beyond anyone else in the blogosphere. Yes, it was reporting, the very word I’m targeting my complaints on, but it was inside access you weren’t getting from any other blogs (or MSMers, for that matter). Bruce Ciskie’s opinion pieces and Earl Sleek’s cartoons are always great reads. But, unfortunately, Fanhouse doesn’t seem to believe in hitting this route all the time. Unless it’s inside access, then chances are we already know about it.
We have nothing but respect for anyone writing for Fanhouse. Eric, Ciskie, Sleek, Adam Gretz, Matt Saler, Ted Starkey, et al are all fantastic writers. But in our opinion, the profile of AOL and Fanhouse gives these guys a chance to make their voices heard by providing hockey fans with something new and original. With only a few exceptions, the current gang is just kind of reporting the same ol’ same ol’, wasting that great platform.