Over the last couple years, I've noticed that a lot of posters here at Fear the Fin, and on the Battle of California, have complained about Puck Daddy and what they perceived as an anti-San Jose tone to their posts. While I don't read Puck Daddy as much lately, I've noted some occasional sucker punches, typically digs at our lack of postseason success, or more specific jibes of the "Joe Thornton isn't a big-time player" variety.
Whatever, it's a snarky blog, and it's probably just like how every hockey fan thinks the opponent's broadcasting team are sniveling homers. As a Sharks fan it's annoying hearing the same insults over and over, but that's what fans of underachieving teams get, apparently. Wings fans aren't better people because the team they cheer for perennially contends. I like hockey and like my local team, who cares what assholes think? But I thought, "I should go compare posts about the Sharks and, say, Wings, and see if any of the bias talk holds up to scrutiny." So I did.
I looked at all the Puck Daddy posts in November tagged "San Jose Sharks" and "Detroit Red Wings" and made a judgement call about whether the team was mentioned positively, negatively, or neutrally. A single post could have more than one statement that I judged positive/negative/neutral. For example, a capsule post might mention the Sharks upcoming games (I count those neutral), Antii Niemi's poor start to the season (negative), and how the Sharks power play has been successful lately (positive). Getting a Star of the Night was an automatic positive, as was an Honorable Mention. Dishonorable Mentions were negative. Posts that painted Sharks players in a good light, like pointing out Pickles "Lousy Gardner" video, were added to the positive column.
San Jose Sharks Results
Thoughts on the Sharks Coverage at Puck Daddy
Altogether, I was a little surprised at how close the positive and negative totals were. I was curious about how this would compare to the Wings totals, though.
Detroit Red Wings Results
Thoughts on the Red Wings Coverage at Puck Daddy
Well, that's quite a bit different. There were 49 total stories tagged "Detroit Red Wings", similar enough to the 44 stories tagged "San Jose Sharks." But the posts not only talked more about the Wings (67 statements vs. the Sharks 54), but were overwhelmingly positive. Many of the positive statements were praising specific Wings players, like Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Lidstrom. Another difference was due to multiple positive mentions in Honorable Mentions or 3 Stars posts for the Wings, while Sharks games usually had only 1 positive mention.
It seems pretty clear from these numbers that the Wings are portrayed more positively on Puck Daddy than the Sharks. While Puck Daddy posts aren't overwhelmingly negative to San Jose, the Sharks don't receive as much praise as the team they beat in the playoffs last year in 5 games.
Puck Daddy writers have every right to praise or diss whatever team or player they want, and I'm not saying any of this is a conspiracy or anything like that. This is by no means a scientific survey. Off the top of my head, here's some non-tinfoil hat reasons for the discrepancy in +/-:
- The Wings have a better record than the Sharks this year, leading to more positive coverage.
- The Wings are in the eastern time zone, so the inherent bias of media coverage against west coast teams could play a role here.
- The sample size is too small to make any real conclusions.