The Puck Doesn't Stop At West 43rd St.
Updated 10/12, 11 a.m.
No doubt, the bean counters in The New York Times' sports department were elated when the NHL season was canceled last year. Fewer road trips, expense reports and freelancers to be paid add up rather nicely during the course of an over-long season.
Now that the Zambonis are once again in action, the Times is slow to wake from its hockey slumber.
To be sure, it had long ago relegated the sport to a distant fourth in coverage, even though it's had perennial Stanley Cup contenders The New Jersey Devils in their backyard. The Rangers get regular if perfunctory coverage. Jason Diamos is the only staff writer covering one of the three local teams. But he's often well ensconsed on the back pages, if at all.
In Wednesday's paper, there was not a single story on any of the three local teams, only a few hockey items in a wire-service roundup. It's a long way from the Rangers' 1994 championship season, but has it come to this? The Devils have won three Cups, one as recently as 2003. But it might as well have been a field hockey championship, the way they're treated in the Times.
Then there are the New York Islanders. Remember them? It's been a long time since their streak of four straight Stanley Cups ended in 1983. Since then, the team has mostly been toiling in mediocre obscurity in the Nassau Coliseum.
But it's still a local team in a still-major sport. The Times begs to differ. The paper had long ago stopped sending reporters on the road or used stringers for most Islanders and Devils road games. However, there have been warm bodies in the press box at home games. Alas, that was not the case for Monday's loss to the Florida Panthers, which the Times recounted with AP copy.
The Daily News, the Post and Newsday, all of whom have Islanders beat writers, were all there. When it comes to sports, the Times is the paper of record only when it feels like it.