Panthers beat writer takes down blog critical of team president

Miami Herald writer George Richards posted a piece last night on his paper's hockey blog, On Frozen Pond, that was critical of Florida Panthers team president Michael Yormark. Richards took issue with Yormark allegedly skipping the press conference that introduced new coach Peter DeBoer, but choosing to attend a "goofball promotion" with Olli Jokinen in which a room in a season ticket holder's house was painted in Panthers colors:

Team executive Michael Yormark also took time out from his busy schedule to not only show up for this unveiling, but to give Olli a big bear hug as well. Mr. Yormark, it should be noted, was nowhere to be seen at the Panthers' coaching unveiling at The Bank on Monday.

Have heard plenty of excuses why he wasn't there, none of which make any sense (let's make this clear: I haven't spoken to Michael Yormark about why he wasn't there. Could have been on vacation. Could have been at Palm-Aire taking advantage of the $30 all-you-can-golf promotion. Could have been at McDonald's buying a 39 cent hamburger. Don't know.)

One staff member said he was busy doing "business stuff. The press conference was about hockey related matters. Michael didn't need to be there.''

Like that has ever stopped him before?

The team's new coach was being introduced, yet the team's president was a no-show.

Some goofball promotion from a mid-level sponsor where one of probably six spare bedrooms was painted in Panthers colors is "unveiled?" Team president, um, present. And in a hugging mode.

No wonder there are reports that said captain is ready to head out of town. This hockey place is whack.

The post was picked up by Puck Update this morning, but the link quickly went dead: The blog entry was removed from On Frozen Pond. An e-mail to Richards seeking comment went unanswered, but he later explained his editorial decision on his blog.

From a post today titled "Parkland Pride," Richards writes:

Now, I posted something here last night that I took down after looking it over again. It dealt with the absence of team president Michael Yormark at Monday's press conference introducing coach Pete DeBoer. I felt it was a cheap shot thrown at Michael's way, especially since I had not spoken to him first about the subject. Not going to delve into what I posted last night, but here goes a new version.

Michael told me today that he had a previous engagement on Monday that he couldn't get out of. The press conference was originally scheduled for 11 a.m., but Pete's plane was delayed out of Toronto pushing things back two hours. Michael said he did get there for the tail-end of the presser, although I never saw him.

Completely, utterly understandable. As Jeffrey Lebowski once said, "New stuff has come to light," only he didn't say "stuff." Clarifications are made, mistakes are corrected and history is revised. Happens to every journalist.

And sometimes, it happens to bloggers. Which is why you're reading about it here.

We don't traffic too often in the MSM/blogosphere relationship here on Puck Daddy, because we like to keep the focus on the important stuff, like Sean Avery at Bonnaroo and our 1,400th post about "The Love Guru" (two more to go!). But this isn't the first time a print journalist has needed to delete a post on his paper's hockey blog: Recall Adrian Dater of the Denver Post's awesome Jerry Maguire moment against ESPN.

The point here isn't to embarrass either Richards or Dater; truth be told, both of them are on my short list of beat guys who write for their audiences, rather than for their sources. It's an important distinction.

The point here is to remind ourselves that blogs, not necessarily bloggers, are the chaotic and unpredictable evolution in journalism.

The growing pains between print journalists and unaffiliated bloggers -- for those who don't know, I worked as an editor for a newspaper in suburban D.C. for nine years before signing on with Y! Sports -- continue to be very real and very frustrating; especially when some blogs don't receive credit when they break news first.

But the fact remains that we're all sailing through uncharted waters together in this new media; mistakes in reporting and in judgment will be made, no matter the byline nor the name on top of the site.

Hell, just today I found out the difference between "grizzly" and "grisly." One of them is a bear. I think.

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