Here are my responses:
1. What was your motivation for starting blogging? Has that changed at all in the time you’ve been blogging?
I started blogging after spending the summer reading and commenting on a bunch of really great blogs (IPB, Top Shelf, The Willful Caboose, etc) I also just wanted to have a place to vent my opinions on the Sabres, the NHL and life in general, without having to wade through a lot of the crap that comes with posting on a hockey message board. I don’t think my motivation has changed all that much. I’m still new to blogging, so its all still new and exciting.
2. What do you think your blog contributes to the hockey conversation?
Not much on the “serious” side of blogging, but a lot on the whimsical side. I’d rather Shots Off the Crossbar be conversational and light in tone. Hockey’s supposed to be fun, and I think a lot of times, people lose sight of that. I don’t want to become one of those people.
3. What do you want to get out of the blogs you read?
Pour one part humor plus one part information over ice. Stir. Strain and serve in your favorite cocktail glass.
Most of the blogs that I read straddle the line between humorous and informative very well. If a writer takes time to incorporate humor into their writing (something that’s not always easy to do), any informative piece becomes that much more enjoyable to read.
I also like reading game recaps / game diaries. I don’t have Center Ice, so reading recaps of games featuring teams I don’t regularly watch helps me keep in touch with what’s going on around the league. When its my team featured in one of these recaps, it makes watching the game that much more enjoyable, knowing that after I’m done watching the game, there’s going to be a great recap ready to read.
4. What determines which blogs you read and which you don’t?
If I click on a link to a blog that I’ve never read before, and the first few entries I read don’t grab my attention, then I’m unlikely to come back. I also like blogs that are well-written, with reasonably good grammar. If entries repeatedly contain things like “OMG [Player X] is TEH EVOL!!111″, I’ll stop reading.
5. How important is the issue of gaining press access to you as a blogger?
I don’t think that its something that I would like to have on a regular basis. I’d probably be too self-conscious about what I was writing and how the team would take it. I also don’t think that I would be able to separate myself from the role of “fan” into the role of “journalist blogger” (which seems to be at the heart of this whole debate). I like being able to cheer goals or swear at my TV set when a player does something ridiculous, or when a broadcaster becomes too moronic to bear.
A press pass would put some new standards on myself and what I write, standards that I might not necessarily be comfortable with. It would be the blogging equivalent of when you were a little kid and had to put on your Sunday best and go to a family dinner and behave yourself. It’s uncomfortable and restricting, and you’re always happy when you can go home and put on your play clothes.
However, I would love to have a “one-day pass” to follow the team around. See what they do from when they arrive at the arena for the morning skate till they leave the arena after the game. Even following the coaches around would be interesting (of course, that would probably be a little more limiting, since we couldn’t have any super-secret coaching information leak out). Because hockey life is so different that the 9-5 cubicle rat life that I lead, I would find something like that not only interesting to experience, but also to write about.
6. To what extent do you feel accountable for the content of your blog? How concerned do you think readers should be about the authority and accountability of your blog?
I write my blog, so ultimately, I’m responsible for the content. My real life name might not be attached to it, but what I write reflects on me. I may joke about calling certain free agents slag-faced whores, but I say that with love. I’m not out to hurt someone by what I write.
Also, a lot of the stuff I write about comes from the MSM to begin with. I just use the article / video as the jumping off point.
7. How concerned are you about the authority and accountability of the blogs you read? Do you find it difficult to judge the authority and accountability of the blogs you read?
The vast majority of the blogs that I read are meant to be taken lightly. I like to give humanity the benefit of the doubt, so in my opinion, the average person with an average IQ should be able to discern what’s fact and what’s fiction after reading a blog entry.
In terms of accountability, most of the blogs that I read are very good about linking back to sources for material. If the blogger doesn’t do it, an eagle-eyed commenter will probably do it. Or, if something doesn’t sound right, there’s always Google to check it out further.
8. What value, if any, do you think blogging brings to the NHL?
I think it brings fans closer together. When you have a blog entry that allows conversation to develop, its a lot of fun. Through these conversations, you get to interact with people that you wouldn’t have ordinarily “met.” Everyone has great stories to tell, and sharing those develops a sense of community, that we’re all riding together on the wacky ride that makes up the NHL.