Sharks Gameday: Oh How Formulaic These Games Against The Flames Can Be



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This is where the lede goes in a news story. It tells you the most important information from the story like who is involved and what they've done or are going to do. For example, the lede for today would center around the fact that San Jose Sharks will be playing a game of ice hockey against a mediocre Calgary Flames team tonight at 7:30 PM, and will be looking to rebound from a 5-3 loss to Phoenix on Saturday.

That's kind of a long lede, which isn't ideal. However, a short sentence here can ease the transition.

The second part of a news story is the nutgraf, although the nutgraf can also be the lede. I know, it can get a little confusing. This is the part of the story that tells you why this is important and expands upon what this story is about. The nutgraf for this story would be the fact that this game is important because it is one of only two home games remaining before the Sharks hit the road for a long nine game road trip west of the Mississippi. Earning points against a less than imposing opponent is a great thing to take advantage of before these long road trips, especially when your team has games in hand.

Now you have a couple of options. The first is to provide a quote from a source. This introduces an expert's opinion into your story and gives your readers a sense of learning about specific details they can't get anywhere else.

Since I consider myself an expert I will quote myself. Please note this will get you canned quicker than the last yield of tomatoes before winter if you're working anywhere else other than Fear The Fin.

"These next two weeks are going to tell us, and most importantly Doug Wilson, a lot about this team. It really sets the stage for what we can expect at the trade deadline," I said in a sit-down interview with myself. "Games against teams like the Flames are one of those matchups that you expect to win because it sets the tone for the upcoming road trip. A poor effort tonight is far from the end of the world, but with points at a premium, these are the kinds of games where your Coach and General Manager are expecting you to get into the win column."

The next part of the formula is to continue to structure your information in the pyramid style. This means the most important information comes at the beginning of the article (who is playing, why it is important) and each subsequent paragraph contains anecdotes and other bits of information that aren't essential but still provide value.

An example of this would be the fact that boy wonder Logan Couture is hotter than Hansel right now, with a six game point streak where he has amassed 4 goals and 5 assists. This would generally be tied in with the return of Ryane Clowe, who hasn't skipped a beat since returning from injury-- Clowe has posted three assists and one goal in two games since returning last Thursday against Dallas.

Another quote here is essential. Since getting multiple sources builds trust, let's head over to FTF Staff for a comment.

"San Jose looked phenomenal against the Blue Jackets and Stars, but left a little to be desired in the scoring chances category against the Coyotes," FTF Staff told a member of FTF Staff. "Having said that, I really like what the team has gotten out of the top six since the All-Star Break. They've managed to break out of the funk that permeated their game in mid-January and set the wheels in motion for an exciting stretch run."

The writer would then state how important it will be for them to continue to lead the charge for the Sharks. If they can keep it up, San Jose will be in good hands tonight as the Flames are one of the worst offensive teams in the entire NHL.

This pyramid style, coupled with a transition about the Flames offensive woes, would then lead us to the opposing team's players. Mentioning how Michael Cammalleri hasn't produced as much as the team would hope offensively since being acquired by the Flames on January 12th is essential, and listing off his stat line (2 G, 0 A, 8 GP) would help give the reader some context.

Jarome Iginla would also be mentioned here, and the writer would note how the Sharks have been able to do a very good job of containing him by matching up Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Dan Boyle against that line in both their games this season. A brief note about the last change at home is a requirement here as well.

The writer would then wrap up the story, build up the anticipation for the final line, and lead into it with a thought that isn't quite finished.

End it with some gusto.

This line is one you need to deliver with conviction.

Prediction: Sharks win 2-0. The Flames play a boring, formulaic game, with their lede composed of chipping the puck deep, nutgraf composed of getting in hard on the forecheck, and pyramid style information composed of puck battles all the way along the boards. Toss in some quotes about hard work and a physical game and you've got yourself the whole story.