A hockey blogger Q and A with Lyle Richardson of Spectors Hockey

One of the routine areas that draws fans to the web to find out what they can are rumors. Some are made up, some are hearsay, some are those casually expressed “I’m hearing…” remarks that you see on Twitter from major members of hockey coverage.

The man at the blogging level who made a name for himself and found a firm niche in covering reports on potential player movement in the NHL is Lyle Richardson of Spectors Hockey, who you likely have also seen on such sources as Fox Sports and Bleacher Report among others.

Richadson is another one of the forefathers of the hockey blogosphere, starting around 2003. Want proof? I reposted this article for him during the NHL lockout of 2005, having originally run in November 2003.

While there are a lot of questions still to be had about player movement and eery franchise in the league, the questions are a mix about the man,  blogging, and guys named “Joe” and “Jaromir”.

What drew you to hockey blogging?
During the 1990s, I spent several years on AOL message boards talking hockey with fellow fans. By 1998 I was looking for a bigger platform to share my views. Someone suggested I start up my own site and the rest is history.
Is there a memory that stands out from your career in writing told you that you’d accomplished something big or rise to a higher level?
My work covering the NHL’s season-killing lockout of 2004-05 on my site and for Foxsports.com. As miserable as that period was as a fan of the league, I proved that I was more than just a hockey rumor guy.
Name one of your favorite articles that you’ve composed. What’s the aspect / detail that makes you proudest of it?
I’m proudest of several pieces I wrote for Foxsports.com and my own site following the end of that lockout in 2005. I wrote that the salary cap wouldn’t make the game more affordable, wasn’t the savior of Canadian teams, wouldn’t bring player salaries under control, wouldn’t make general managers and team owners more responsible or prevent them from exploiting loopholes.
I took a lot of flak for those views but it didn’t take long for me to be proven right. I’m not gloating about it. Rather than those two sides finding a workable solution beneficial for everyone, they simply laid the foundation for future labor disputes.
The hockey blogosphere is a much larger world than a lot of fans realize. Name another blog that impresses you and a specific blog author.
There’s been so many over the years that it’s difficult to name them all. I was a fan of Greg Wyshynski long before he became Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy and he continues to do fine work. I regularly follow Dobber Hockey for their fantasy hockey insight. James Mirtle did a great job covering topics that got overlooked by the mainstream media (such as analytics) before he went on to establish his own journalism career. I love Joe Pelletier’s Greatest Hockey Legends. I also regularly check out Hockey In Society and William Douglas’ The Color of Hockey. And of course, I often followed your work and that of Cassie McClellan during your years at Raw Charge.
Any tips that you’d give to up-and-coming bloggers or writers? Something that they should keep in mind with sports coverage or habits?
Write every day, be patient and don’t get discouraged. It took me eight years before I was able to turn what began as a hobby into a career. Most importantly, love what you do. If it starts to become a chore, your work will suffer. By that point, you should probably consider doing something else.
What is your take on Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and what do you expect to play out in the coming months in Denver?
Sakic’s looking very much like he’s in over his head as a general manager. He was a great player, but he’s made moves that did lilttle to help the Avs. I believe this season is crucial for his ongoing employment. If the Avs flounder again, he’ll be fired.
Do you, as a fan, take issue with the NHL not allowing player participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics?
As a fan, I’d like to see the world’s best players there. I could respect the league’s decision not to attend if it weren’t for their hypocritical assertion that they still want to go to the Beijing Games in four years time. All the reasons they give for not going to the Pyeongchang Games (the midseason schedule break, lack of revenue, the risk of injury to star players) rings hollow.
The NHL will expand once again by a single team to even the franchise total to 32. Name a market where the league should take interest with expansion BESIDES Quebec City, Quebec or Seattle, Washington.
Kansas City. There were recent reports indicating interest from Lamar Hunt Jr, owner of the ECHL Kansas City Mavericks, in bringing an NHL franchise there one day. They have a suitable arena. If Hunt can find some partners willing to split the $500 million expansion fee, I think he’d make a serious pitch.
Also, if the city of Hartford ever builds a new and bigger arena, I think the league should seriously consider returning to that market.
Jaromir Jagr remains an unrestricted free agent right now, you’re on record already talking about the situation [John note — I’ll edit I.n a link in this question] If he is unsigned by an NHL club for this season, do you think he’ll still be marked as an availability to clubs for 2018-19 at 46 years old?
No. If he isn’t signed this season, that’s the last we’ll see of Jagr in the NHL.
At the before-it-begins point where we stand now, who do you believe will be a top contender in the season ahead?
I think we’ll see the Edmonton Oilers surge as a powerhouse this season. McDavid and Draisaitl give them a lethal offensive punch, Oscar Klefbom is an underrated top-pairing d-man and Cam Talbot impressed me in goal last season. I also think Ryan Strome will regain his scoring touch in Edmonton. If Jesse Puljujaarvi cracks the roster full time this season, the Oilers could be a significant scoring machine.
Thanks to Lyle for taking the time to chime in here. Make sure you’re following him on Twitter.