Wednesday’s Musings

You ever get that feeling…that it’s the first day of school and anything and everything can happen? Like waking up the day after Labor Day and realizing…it’s fall…and it’s almost like you can feel the ice, hear the sounds of skates hitting a fresh sheet of ice. You feel the excitement of the arena around you. You know it’s time for hockey.

Luckily, on Saturday, in the wee hours of the morning, the Kovalchuk saga came to an end. NHL/NHLPA Agree To Terms

If anything, it was a sure sign that summer had finally ended.

Approaching the new season, some have decided to take on new initiatives in the hockey realm by doing good deeds: Make My Day Mondays

As for me, that feel like it’s time for hockey…helps me to re-evaluate how I approach this season. At the beginning of every season, I am approached by various sites…some of them trying to steal me away from Inside Hockey. I’ve remained pretty loyal to IH, because I have a great editor and mentor, Kevin Greenstein.

I also have a great hockey writing family around me. They are pros in this media realm, and I love conversing with them about the one thing in life that we are all so passionate about…hockey.

So this year, as I mull over all of the offers, there are things I’m doing differently this year. I’ve agreed to help out Platinum Events, a marketing/events company that lists several major hockey players as their clients. What is the aim? Marketing the game of hockey and the NHL to a whole new level.

We’re trying to take this and turn it into pop culture. [Remember that post I did right after Kevin Weekes met Justin Bieber? Well, it sparked enough attention that people that have the ability to do something about moving this sport into pop culture are going to do something about it...with or without the NHL. And a few hockey players are ready to do just that. Why? Because it's time to push this game to the forefront of popular culture.]

But part of that pop culture means that these players exhibit their works in charity. Rob Schremp, Dustin Brown, Cam Jannssen, etc. have been using their recent popularity and showing that they are just as much involved in their communities. They’re using their celebrity for the betterment of their communities. It’s also inspiring others to want to get involved with their various projects.

Dustin Brown has also followed suit in the popularity of the 4:00 Trivia. He has his own 4:00 Trivia. But his trivia is 4PM on the Pacific Coast. And yes, the 4:00 Trivia means prizes.

We all have our unique sponsors that send us stuff all of the time. It’s just better to pass on all of the goodies to the fans.

I’m also going to be taking on some other unique assignments this season.

Next week, I’ll be heading to the Devils Golf Tournament. I’ll be able to catch up with the players on how they spent their summer…and for the first time…be allowed to take photos. ;)

So Devils fans/hockey fans…I’m allowing you an opportunity to send me questions you may have for the team. I’ll ask the best questions to the players that are in attendance. You can tweet your questions to me @MichelleKenneth. Deadline is next Tuesday night.

After the pre-season has ended, and I’ve assembled my “Makes the Team/Doesn’t Make the Team” list, I head out on my October European vacation. This year, I’m heading to Dublin, Ireland for a few days. Just me. I find that I enjoy my vacations more when I’m by myself.

After I’m done drinking Guinness (yes, I booked myself right next to the factory), I’m hopping on a plane for Prague to cover the Phoenix Coyotes vs. Boston Bruins opener.

I’m hoping to work on a special story with BizNasty while there…details will follow later. And yes, I’ll be picking up some special memorabilia to make available for October’s 4:00 Trivia Prize.

Who knows, there may be a BizNasty shirt involved…we’ll see. ;)

After I get back from Europe, it’s back to the Devils as usual. But I’m planning on doing something very different this season. I’m actually going to go on my first road trip with the Devils…to California.

From San Jose to Anaheim to LA…this will be my first road trip or away game with the Devils (outside of NYC area).

Before I got really sick, I did lots of New York Rangers road trips. I think the farthest I’ve gone was Prague. Still…Puerto Rico…that was the BEST Rangers trip ever.

So since my health has been doing so much better than it has been since 2008, I thought it was time to actually put in a little bit more legwork and pay homage to the Devils on the road.

Florida road trip…also in the works, because I’ve never been to the Tampa Bay Lightning or Florida Panthers arenas. I’d like to actually see what hockey culture is like there. After all, I met some great TBL fans in Montreal during the All-Star game. Sometimes the littlest fans make some of the best fans around [I remember the look on the little boy's face when he realized I had spoken to Vincent Lecavalier before. Just the look of...wow, people can talk to my hero?]

Winter Classic this year? Nope. Heritage Classic? A possibility.

I’ve only been to Canada once. Granted, I cried in the middle of the street in Montreal when I got hit with an arctic blast…I’m sure I’m asking for serious wintry punishment by going to the Heritage Classic. But hey, I may end up enjoying the Canadian version of the Winter Classic just as much as I did when they had it in Chicago.

So those are the plans for the season.

I’m still mulling over some extra writing gigs, but that remains to be seen what I’m going to do.

I have a big project ahead of me with pushing hockey into popular culture.

Now, I’m going to close with this…DAN ELLIS.

While I was over at the Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews EA NHL11 Launch at the NHL store, topic of conversation was the Ellis Twitter drama.

For those who don’t know, Ellis tweeted something about his financial troubles and basically got attacked by most of Twitterdom. The real issue here was that he didn’t explain what he was talking about properly. The people that defended him (such as myself) ended up explaining what Ellis really meant.

What everything boils down to is the classic MSG purple seats vs. blue seats fight. People with money vs. the working class. Or shall I say the working class vs. people with money, because generally, people with money (the purple seats) could care less about the fight.

What I’m talking about here is that people from the blue seats always rag on the people that sit in the purple seats. When I was a Rangers fan, I tried to meet up with ‘friends’ after the game and just hang out. I was always reminded that I had money. I wasn’t reminding myself…the fans from the blue seats pointed it out constantly.

They pointed it out to the point that they made it sound like it was shameful to have money.

Well, let’s just say…I don’t have friends in the blue seats anymore. I don’t like when people try to tell me we are different because I make more money than they do. Money should not be a factor in friendships. I just didn’t like having the fact that I had money thrown in my face all of the time. I never threw in their face that they didn’t have money. But you would think I did based on the way they treated me.

What’s happened to Ellis is the classic blue seats fight against the purple seats. It’s even worse that the recession has people very bitter about money. Even Mike Commodore mentioned something about money and he started to get the same backlash from fans without really saying anything about money.

Even lamenting that these are hard financial times for everyone still got some hate tweets his way.

Yet, when Biz Nasty tweets exactly what is in his bank account…I actually felt sorry for the guy. But hate tweets…none. But I bet what he tweeted is more money than most people have in their bank accounts right now.

Even Allan Walsh agreed with a lot of what I was tweeting this morning, especially when I referenced Preds On The Glass’ post regarding player’s salaries after all is said and done: Ellis-gate

Just because you think a player is making $1.5 million, isn’t really the truth. They lose about 2/3 of that salary. Try a take home pay of $500,000. While that is more money than a lot of people make, Dan would not be able to afford to live in my neighborhood. He can’t even buy a house with that money.

He’s also discovering that the cost of living in Tampa Bay is much higher than back in Nashville. It’s like taking another $47,000 cut from the $500,000.

While Commie may joke that he’ll send his old t-shirts to Dan Ellis to help out with his financial problems, the truth is Ellis is really bringing an issue to light that most people don’t understand…what exactly the players are really getting paid.

Keep in mind that many of these lower tiered athletes (as far as pay goes), don’t hire professional financial managers. I guarantee that most of them are probably like many others in the world…living paycheck to paycheck. They also have to maintain a certain lifestyle that goes along with being a ‘celebrity’ or a ‘pro athlete’. After all, guys like Kovalchuk are expected to buy houses next to P. Diddy in Alpine, NJ. But the younger guys, or the guys that get the minimum, they’d be lucky to afford an apartment in my neighborhood (with a roommate).

The point is that there are many lower tiered athletes that are just like everyone else…they don’t hire financial managers. They (or their spouse) manage their own money. Why? Because, they’re just like everyone else, whether you want to agree with that concept or not.

It takes a lot of financial know how to manage your money correctly. There are trials and errors of financial management, but when these guys enter into the NHL, they’re not given financial management classes to master their own paychecks.

Ellis’ tweets could have been just a topic opener on the subject of NHL players and their ‘real’ pay. It could have opened up a conversation on the financial woes of everyone during this recession. But he was met with personal insults and a war was launched against him.

As Puck Daddy was saying to me earlier today, why is it that Ellis’ defenders can explain the situation much better than he did? I don’t know…because we’re writers?

I think a lot of people owe Dan an apology. If you insulted him, you should be blocked…better yet…UNFOLLOW HIM. There is no sense in launching personal attacks on him for complaining about his financial situation just like everyone else does these days.

If you can’t construct a conversation on the subject matter without insulting him with all of these personal attacks, you really should be unfollowing him. There is no reason why anyone should be 1) mean, 2) nasty or 3) up to no good. Those are the three criteria I live by in social media. I don’t have to put up with bad people. Yes, you’re a bad person if you launched a personal attack on him for tweeting his mind. Really, don’t follow him if you’ve got nothing nice to say to him.

I draw the line with personal insults.

I mean…even Brendan Shanahan had something to say to Ellis about it. He basically told him to keep up the good fight. The Twitterverse can be mean.

But one thing is for sure, Dan has learned who stands by his side and who doesn’t. Hard lesson to learn, for sure.

NHL crackdown on this type of tweeting? I don’t think so. What he said wasn’t like Voros’ tweeting. In other words, Dan still has an account. Voros had to delete his.

Keep in mind fans, the social experiment with NHL players on Twitter…if you want to get to know these players, and how they think…then you should play nice. If you don’t like what he says, UNFOLLOW HIM. No one said you have to follow him, just because he’s an NHL player.

If you keep up all of these stupid campaigns…watch the NHL rule as a whole that NO PLAYER is allowed to have a Facebook, Myspace or Twitter account. The social experiment would have failed. Fans won’t be able to have that free access to the players at all. This is a luxury that can be taken away.

Play nice. If you don’t like someone, don’t follow them.

I will say though, it’s interesting to see that Dan made a new friend in Mike Commodore after the craziness.

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