Elliotte Friedman has the best hockey column going and it's not even close really.
So like many I look forward to seeing a 30 Thoughts link dropped into my twitter timeline. This week's appeared at 3:26pm on Tuesday, which I quickly turned to check out. A few hours later I circled back to look over it again, except by this time the column had disappeared. No explanation given.
Yesterday afternoon when Elliotte appeared on TSN 990 Montreal with Mitch Melnyk
Melnyk: He's with us every Monday and Wednesday, from Madison Square Garden Elliotte Friedman how are ya?
Friedman: Not bad, how are you doing today Mitchell?
Melnyk: I"m fine thank you very much, although I must say I'm a little frustrated because I always look forward to reading your 30 Thoughts and all the juicy information and tidbits from around the NHL and I clicked on the link on your twitter feed today and it took me to an error message on the CBC site.
Friedman: Yes it did.
Melnyk: What's going on?
Friedman: It won't be appearing this week.
Melnyk: Oh. Is there anything…is it a technical issue? Or just something happened?
Friedman: All I'll say is this. There was an issue with something I wrote, there were some objections raised to it. I was asked to either reveal sources or change it…I wasn't willing to do either and it came down. It wasn't anything rude, it was just a disagreement that's all.
Melnyk: Alright, so this must be very frustrating for you. And by the way, good for you.
Friedman: Well I'm not looking for support or anything like that. Like I said the person who raised the issues wasn't rude or overly confrontational about it. They felt the issues they raised were legitimate, and we just had…I guess the best way to put it is…we had a polite disagreement. It's like a marriage, you pick the hills to die on. And this wasn't the hill to die on.
Melnyk: Alright, well that's interesting. I hope I get to read it next week.
Friedman: There will be a different version next week, yes.
Melnyk: So all of those words, are they floating around somewhere in space?
Friedman: I guess so. I think in this day and age once something is up there people can grab screengrabs of it. I haven't looked, and I'm not going to look…but I'm sure it's out there. One thing about the internet these days, once it's out there it's out there.
So which "thought" is most likely to draw the ire of those in power and perhaps an effort to identify sources? My money is on #12…
The NHL goes to great lengths to shield officials from having to explain/defend calls in the media. At the same time they also aren't shy to muzzle coaches/GM's taking a shot at the officiating or the league at large. This is all done in the name of upholding the integrity of the system, or something along those lines.
In that respect I can't imagine the NHL would be entirely thrilled with referees (likely those working the Washington-New York series) praising an indivudal player in the press. Optically it doesn't look great. Especially when published on the site of a rights holder.
Or I could be way off here, this is just speculation after all.