On Franzen, History, YouTube and Babbling

I expect this to be a pretty long and babbling post so let’s just get the sound byte that everyone really wants out of the way early: I was wrong about Douglas Murray’s hit on Johan Franzen.

More on that later, I’ve got babbling to do, starting in “back in my day” territory.

A lot has changed in technology and hockey since I started this site. Fourteen seasons ago the Hartford Whalers still existed and the term “blog” had yet to be uttered (though the original long-form “weblog” would be coined roughly three months after I published my first page of HTML). Google was just a research project, their domain wasn’t even registered until the first birthday of what was then “YzerFan19’s Detroit Red Wings Page.” Facebook and Twitter were ten years away from launching.

Every time I think about that, I feel ancient. It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that to a certain extent I miss the old days.

Despite the fact that so few sites from back then are still around – in fact this site’s own news archives “only” go back to 2001 – at the time it seems like there was more permanence to what people posted. When you wrote something it had to be true, or it was like a permanent black mark against you. There was more personal investment.

Now I feel that there’s no need to be concerned about that. It’s too easy to “fire and forget” when posting online, whether it be via a forum, blog or Twitter. There’s no sense of ownership anymore.

I’ve gotten more email and seen more comments in the DH.N forums (admittedly, the latter is always low) from fans of opposing teams in these playoffs than I have probably in the last two seasons combined. And none of them were as cool as that BewareThePenguin guy from the 2008 Cup run.

After Saturday night’s loss and Detroit’s elimination from the playoffs, I posted three things that the Red Wings did wrong that cost them the game. Immediately after that, I also criticized the lack of a penalty call for Douglas Murray’s hit on Johan Franzen. In response, one of the emails told me “Quit whining. YOU LOST TO A BETTER TEAM.”

I had three reasons that the Red Wings lost other than that call and the focus is all on perceived whining. Even Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog quoted only my comments on the lack of a penalty, not my thoughts on what Detroit did wrong.

What I find most funny is that I knew that would happen. From Saturday night’s post…

I know, tinfoil hat Red Wings fan means I’m just blaming the refs, despite the four paragraphs before the previous three.

By removing all context from my notes, the Puck Daddy guys created a convenient whining Red Wings fan to fit their needs, which drives offended Sharks fans here to pitch a fit. Those fans have no personal investment in what they write on an opposition team’s site, no need to find the context here, so they can fire and forget.

I guess we call that progress?

I’ve always said that this is a site for fans of the entire league but first and foremost it is for Red Wings fans. If you’ve got a problem with what Wings fans as a whole (or even just what many Wings fans) think, this isn’t the place for you. Emailing me won’t change that.

As I mentioned off the top, there is one thing that my failure to mention would be as irresponsible as quoting out of context.

Having had more time to see video of the play I’ve realized that Murray did not hit Franzen with his elbow. Murray’s elbow came up after Franzen was already going down. I was wrong about that when I posted on Saturday night.

That said, I refuse to call this a clean hit. At the 1:03 mark of the video linked to above you can see Murray’s shoulder making contact with the side of Franzen’s head. At 53 seconds, you can also see Murray rising up to aim at Franzen’s head before making contact.

Ignoring the controversy over head shots and whether or not a shoulder to the head is clean or not, at the very least it was a late hit as Murray begins moving towards Franzen as Franzen moves the puck on. Murray had plenty of time to back down.

If I could go back in to talking like a grandpa for a moment…

With video capture so easy these days and free hosting avaialble via YouTube (among other places, of course), controversial calls end up on the Internet almost before the game is over. If there is anything to complain about, it ends up where the whole world can see it.

At the same time, I see fans of other teams talking about how Tomas Holmstrom causes tons of goals by interfering with the goalie or how the Red Wings are cheap shot artists.

Search on YouTube for “Holmstrom interference” and there’s not a single video where the uploader thought a penalty should have been called, only goals that have been called back. Search for “Red Wings cheap shot” and the majority are things that happened to Wings players. If the Wings are such cheaters, why is there no video evidence to back it up?

I said I was going to take some time off after Saturday’s loss but obviously that didn’t happen. That might mean my season recap gets delayed so I get some time off. If it even happens, of course.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.