April 23, 2009
For the second postseason in a row, writer/director/puckhead Kevin Smith agreed to be part of NHL.com's roster of celebrity bloggers for the Stanley Cup playoffs, following his beloved New Jersey Devils.
He had quite a first act to follow: In 2008, Smith asked women dating "misogynistic" New York Rangers fans to withhold sex until the following season. So to kick off his blogs this season, the man who gave the world the delightfully vulgar "Clerks" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" informed readers that he would be swapping out "potentially offensive terminology" with the "kindler, gentler, more family-friendly and NHL-approved term 'Gretzky' (or a derivative/conjugation of Mr. Gretzky's names) instead."
As in: "Devils in 5. [Wayne] you if you don't believe me."
It was witty, edgy ... everything the NHL could expect from a Kevin Smith blog. And yet it was Smith's first and final blog on NHL.com this postseason. Yesterday, Smith announced his hockey blogs would be moving to his online diary site My Boring-Ass Life:
With zero acrimony whatsoever, and nothing but love for the NHL, I'm here to announce the Devils Playoffs blog will move back here, to SilentBobSpeaks.com. Even though I was able to find a way around swearing in the blog, the NHL site is - understandably - a lot less liberal than my website. So rather than submit multiple drafts of a blog in order to make it more general audience friendly, we've decided that maybe it'd be best to move the blog back here, where I can let my hair down more.
No cause for alarm or outrage. S'not a big deal. No reason to be pissed at the NHL or me. This just makes more sense - as sports generally play to family audiences, and I generally play to reprobates and Persons of Interest.
You don't have to be a Jersey cynic to read between those lines. A source with the NHL confirmed to us yesterday that the parting of the ways concerned Smith's boundary-testing content in his first post. "We acknowledge that we need to be a family-friendly source of information, and there was an agreement [about] that on both sides," the NHL official told us.
It's disappointing to see the NHL play it so safe with what was rather benign content from one of the few household names in its "celebrity" blogging community. (No disrespect intended to the great Jay Baruchel and Jason Reitman.) The League's gotten a bit more accepting of unconventional voices on its official Web site this postseason; it's a shame to see one of them silenced because of an overly puritanical approach to editorial.
Of course, the upside is that we'll now be able to read Silent Bob's thoughts on Rangers fans without filters, constraints or concerns for good taste. Which could rank up there with the "Good Will Hunting 2" parody in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" for comedic genius.