Monday, October 03, 2005



Speaking of Tom Benjamin, it looks like he's an involuntary contributor to this blog - South Team:
Kevin Lowe set off gales of laughter when he applauded the all new NHL and declared that he was looking forward to the new season with confidence now that the Oilers could genuinely contend for a playoff spot.

If there's any justice...

Keep up the good work, Tom!


Boo! Hiss!

Benjamin also had this gem, same post:

"I thought the Oilers looked awful. Chris Pronger in particular looked lost out there - I didn't even realize he was playing until halfway through the first period. When Pronger has his game going he's got the puck a lot and he hardly touched it last night. The best thing you can say about his play is that he was better than Cory Cross."

I believe the word you're searching for, mike, is Ouch.

Listen, it's been well established that Tom's a paranoid old coot. He's deranged - and I wouldn't read too much into his ramblings.

Ty Conklin has never looked better and Shawn Horcoff will save us all.

it was preseason... the Oilers where just worried Beruzzi would snap again and kill one of them

Oh, sure you'll take the word of "Bertuzzi4evah122685", but not Tom Benjamin's. He does have feelings, you know. I think.

It must have been four or five months ago that I first started consciously scanning Benji's blog for evidence that he actually likes and enjoys watching the game of hockey.

I still haven't seen any. I mean, I read his site two, three times a week; paranoid people make good critics if you ignore their incessant self-contradiction.

I think that's a little harsh. He has obvious affection for assorted players and styles of play. And it's tough to project enthusiasm for watching hockey when, regardless of whether or not it pleases you, there hasn't hardly been any for 15 months.

That said, it's certainly true that Tom looks at NHL hockey different than the average fan, which I think he would admit. And at least he's upfront with the whole "Bettman is the WORST..GUY..EVER" thing.

It's funny that you bring up the idea of "liking hockey", though: that's exactly my problem with most pro hockey writers. I think (say) Damien Cox and Steve Simmons think we should stipulate, by virtue of their jobs, that they like hockey, and read their stuff from that perspective.

If you don't stipulate that, their stuff is terrible to read, because no affection for hockey comes across at all. (Ironically, TB detests most hockey writers as well, but for different reasons.)

I don't think it's harsh at all. His recent entry about Luc Bourdon tells the whole story about how determined he is to be angry--Bourdon is apparently so bad that he's a fatal diagnostic sign of the Canucks' crappiness, and apparently so good that the framers of the CBA keeping him out of the league should be hanged from the nearest lamppost. This stuff is from outer space. If Benjamin slipped on a dog turd waiting for the bus, he'd find a way to blame it on Gary Bettman, the CBA, and the management of the Canucks. And there can't be anyone who reads him who doesn't know it.

Plus, look at him getting angry on behalf of Edmonton fans at the top of the page because Cal Nichols suggested today that the Oilers might want a new building ten years from now or so. Speaking as a citizen of Edmonton (not to mention an aggressive public critic of treating stadiums and arenas like Dixie cups), I find Nichols' restrained comments neither surprising nor offensive. But if you own Tom Benjamin's hammer, Cal Nichols' head always looks like a nail.

I agree with Cosh. Benjamin is tiresome. Most of the time it is just boring, but his latest salvo has pissed me right off. As such, I have taken to writing him a letter.

And when I said I agreed with Cosh, I did not mean to suggest that Cosh finds him tiresome. I meant that I agreed that the guy doesn't seem to enjoy hockey very much. I can only speak for myself when I say he is tiresome.

I'd say I'm growing tired of Tom's act... I want to see if his focus changes when the actual season starts. Lots of people haven't let the CBA go, but I have a sinking feeling he'll be the very last.

I would also be wary of citing the Edmonton Journal as an objective source regarding anything Oilers-related, as you did in your "open letter". The paper owns part of the team, so a big spread about the wonderfulness of Cal Nichols is frankly a little dodgy/distasteful.

That comment is more fair, I'd say. I think he has an interesting perspective, so I hope to read lots about what he sees as the new season gets going. (His piece defending Rob Niedermayer, for example, didn't convince me that he wasn't the most infuriating player in Flames history, but it did make me think.)

But at the same time, I don't have any problem with him rounding up various and dubious comments from owners - I'm glad someone's doing it. The new CBA was not sold to fans as a "necessary first step" (but merely a step). It was sold as a solution ("30 healthy franchises").

And pointing out the ways which the CBA affects the NHL (i.e. the non-capitalist critique), whether bitter or not, is valuable, to me at least. And I like to think I HAVE let the labour dispute go.

I didn't identify the Edmonton Journal as an objective source. I know they are part owners of the team. But I find it hard to believe that people weren't positively affected when they read the article. As such, they, and many other Edmontonians, hold Nichols in high esteem. That was my point.

I agree with Colby on Tom B. There is nothing that happens in hockey that is not either Bettman's, the CBA's or the Owners' fault. No change is for the better, only the worse. No owner cares about the game or the fans or the players, only themselves.

He's got a great sense for the game but he's completely lost his perspective on any of the good things that are still associated with it.

It's really sad, actually, because there was a great hockey mind in there, just not a particularly good economic or logical one.


The reason Tom Benjamin is a good hockey weblogger is because he brings things up that even most Edmonton Oilers fans don't know even though they should, such as the Edmonton Journal having a stake in EIG.

I do think the EIG is always on some level bullshitting the public, which is exactly what I expect them to do. But Colby and Andy are right to pick on Benjamin's Oilers/Bettman bias, especially when the actual article itself doesn't say anything other than "we're thinking of a new arena."

That said, I'm still wary of their intentions and will only be less so for each successive year in which they've stopped whining about their finances.

mike, I liked your own piece on this quite a bit - strikes just the right balance, if you ask me, which you didn't.

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