Some Parting Shots...

Jan 21, 2023 - 12:51 AM
Mark Messier Canucks
Yeah, it’s this bad.

Timing, they say, is everything.

I suppose we’ll never know about the timing behind all this, other than a bunch of obscenely wealthy people decided that we were hampering their efforts to become even wealthier, so we had to go.

In case you’re somewhat confused, the parent corporation for SBN, Vox laid off 7% of its paid staff today, and has cut financial support for 28 of the 34 hockey blogs under the SBN banner. It’s frustrating, infuriating, and heartbreaking, but not surprising. From a knowledge of what this corporation’s been up to over the past few years, to how they work in general, this is the least surprising thing you’ll see all year.

We’re going to allow our writers to have the floor here for a bit, and then discuss what happens next.

Kent- I had to go through this once before, and it’s just as awful now as it was then. Back in the 90’s, the cable company that purchased the community station in Kamloops decided that the video show I had hosted, produced and busted my ass doing for 5 years was “in poor taste, and not up to community standards”, so they pulled the plug. I never got a chance to say goodbye, so I suppose this time around I am grateful for that.

As for my journey here, as is my way, I did things backwards. I was a podcaster who got asked to write. Back in 2009, I was doing a short Canucks podcast called We Are All Canuckleheads. Just short little bits about the team and game reviews, etc. I was posting them in the fan posts section, when Yankee and Zandberg contacted me and asked if I was interested in joining the writing staff.

I jumped at the chance, as I was already a big fan of the site. Little did I know how things would go from there. If you’d told me then that I would be standing in the media scrums during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, I would have said “HOLY SHIT! You mean they actually beat the fucking Blackhawks?!?!” And then probably something about how crazy it was that I was standing next to some of my sportswriting heroes, as well as Pierre McGuire and Mark Spector.

Over the years, NM has evolved, and I have been fortunate enough to see so many NM alumni go on to do incredible things elsewhere. Some might be a little miffed at how often other places poached us for writing talent, but I truly feel it’s because we were that good, that they raided our cupboards. A lot of that was due to the mindset here of always letting the writers write without a lot of restrictions. That approach may not always have been the best idea for some (Love you, Westy & Jimmi), but giving them the room to write from the heart, and not fit into a box allowed others to see what they were capable of. I will forever be proud of the NM alumni, and the amazing stuff they contribute to the Smylosphere.

So, I suppose I should say some thank yous, right? Obviously, Yankee and Zandberg, for believing in me, and giving me an opportunity that became so much more than I could have ever imagined. All of the crew over the years, some who have stuck through all this, and those who drifted away but are always family in my eyes. To the other SBN blogs, some of whom we had good relationships with, others we didn’t. Still family, and my heart goes out to all of you. The Stanchion, Harman Dayal, Cam Charron, Noah Strang, Nick Bondi, and Kyle Bhawan, and many more. Y’all rock, man.

To the other Smylosphere media crews, it was an honour to be mentioned in the same breath with you all. Vancouver has one of the most passionate, competitive, and talent-rich markets in all of sports, and we’re blessed to have so many creative people feeding our passion for this team. From the gang at Canucks Army, to Pass It To Bulis, and guys like Jeff Paterson and Rink Wide, there are so many excellent voices covering this team. You really don’t know how good you all have it.

And I want to shout out to Greg Wyshynski, Mr. Puck Daddy himself, who was a regular lurker and invited myself and a couple others to take guest spots over at Yahoo back in the day. His support meant a lot, carried a lot of weight, and was always appreciated. I also wanna thank Harrison Mooney, who invited me to be part of a magazine gig that was my first paid writing gig. Sure, the company went bankrupt, and the $100 I was supposed to get was whittled down to less than $2, but something I wrote was sold in grocery stores and 7-11’s and you can’t take that away from me.

I owe a huge debt to Jason Botchford, like so many of us do. Botch was so supportive and encouraging, always ready to lend an ear, chat about stuff, and really helped me keep my shit together during the finals, when it was pretty overwhelming. We miss you, man. Thank you, for everything.

To the current crew... Westy, Jimmi and Markus, you guys really don’t get enough credit. You endured the SBN bullshit and ours for a long time. That’s worthy of a toast, for sure. I love what you guys brought to this project, and I’d do it all over again, with you guys there.

And Beggsy. We haven’t known each other for long, but when things got chaotic, as I took the helm, you helped keep things sane, and I couldn’t have asked for a better right hand man. I hate that we won’t get to see how things would grow with you at the helm, and they suck for taking that from you. Thank you for everything, buddy.

To my wonderful wife, who was always ready to listen, suggest edits and above all, gave me the unwavering encouragement that I could actually do this, thank you. You’re amazing, Laurie, and I couldn’t have done this without you.

Finally, our community. Sure, we’re not as robust as we were back in the day, but still very vital and loyal, and I love you all for it. The thing that made SBN blogs different was they gave you a voice, and so many of you used it. I’m sorry these soulless bastards have taken this away, you all deserve so much better than this.

Beggsy - Not sure how to follow that up as eloquently as Kent (bet you never thought we’d use that word to describe you buddy), but here are a few words about a difficult situation.

I always had respect for the unabashed and fearless takes on Nucks Misconduct, long before I joined the team. I was stoked about joining and my excitement only increased once Kent and I took over as co-managing editors.

Today’s news absolutely sucked, but the writing has been on the wall for some time. Despite efforts to try and grow, bring on new writers and produce different content, our budgets were continually slashed, and I know that was an issue across the SB Nation NHL network.

Nonetheless, I’ve really enjoyed my 5.5 years writing for the site. Not to kiss ass (I don’t think their egos need it) but it’s been a pleasure getting to know and writing alongside the NM OGs like Kent, Westy and Jimmi. I do hope we find a way to keep your voices alive for Canucks Nation.

Who knows, maybe we’ll even get to write about a winning team one day...

There are a number of other writers who I’m glad I connected with, both past and present on the site. Markus, you’re another guy who’s cemented yourself as part of the fabric of this website.

I also have good memories of getting the Nucks Misconduct Podcast Network going with Kyle Bhawan and Nick Bondi, before the Vox overlords and their penny-pinching overrode the joy of completing that work as well.

I want to thank you all for reading. Not sure what the future holds, but I don’t think the misfits of this website will be silenced easily.


I guess I now have more time to watch the games.

I live in a faraway land and finally figured out how to get Canuck games on the net in 2009. By the end of the 09-10 season I had found NucksMisconduct through Yahoo sports. Yankee, Zandberg, Kent and Missy ran a smooth ship that had a great combination of talented writers who could take an insult with a sense of humor. And compared to some of the other SBN sites, the leaders were willing to slum with the commentors and it seemed like they actually had relationship with those who came to read.

I went through the archives to see when I actually started writing on a fulltime basis (2015) and saw the names of the dozens of writers who grace NM with their words. With the volume and quantity of work that was created on NM, it’s not hard to see why I have over 16000 comments.

I want to thank Yankee and Sean for encouraging me to create fanposts instead of hi-jacking the comment threads with long winded opinions. Creating the narrative is far easier than changing it.

Thank you to Kent, you old codger. When Yankee and Sean left, you gave me the freedom to write what I wanted, when I wanted and I don’t think any other site would give me that kind of trust. Your writing was hard to match, but it was fun trying to keep up.

Trev, thanks for letting me be me. I know my writing is not the level of the people that came through, but you understood that there had to be variety….you, Kent…and then myself and Jimmi.

Jimmi, my partner in repartee, your talent was fun to read…and watch. I now know what I look like as a pirate.

I whole-heartedly want to thank all the other writers who made NM a fun place to be. I always thought we had fooled a lot of people on the net who went to other sites to read about the Canucks, because those sites claimed to be serious about the Canucks and we didn’t stick to narrative. We had a lot of writers who wrote what they honestly thought, instead of trying to keep up with those sites. If you look through the writing over the years, you would see some great analysis and some realistic views of this team that has struggled since the Cup run.

Thank you to all of the readers who lurked and the people who commented. I kept coming back for you.

I think I might miss this place if they can’t find a way to make it work.

jimmi.cynic - First, I’m in shock from the announcement. That Desert Pocket Tocchet will be the next Nucking coach on Monday. Unbelievable!!! We should start a Nucking sports blog and complain about it!

Second, I’m shocked, not shocked that Vox would cut hockey first. The internet sports blog biz is a tough place for billionaires to milk the cheap or free labour cash cow for years and years.

Anyhow... I’ve been hanging around NM since 2013. It was the only Nucking place to place my disgruntled 2011 hangover and learn to enjoy endure fan disappointment game after game - season after season.

As a lifer Nucks fan, it was the NM community that made watching and sniping about games bearable. And sometimes even fun.

In 2016, that more hopeful era, I wrote some sadly prophetic prose in a fan post about the Nucks:

(Can you believe way back then, Nucks were setting streak records for losing games 5-2?! So many more losing waiting records to be set!)

After that post, YankeeCanuck approached me to join the NM cynical bastards writing for nothing but spleen-venting. I’m still grateful for his encouragement and updates on spleen transplant tech of the 23rd century - the century that witnessed the Nucks 1st Cup win.

From that humble start my NM career blossomed into an ignoble end. I’m so grateful. No really.

I enjoyed the verbal typo sparring with Zan. And through Westy have gained an appreciation for tropical hockey, rum-writing and speaking from the heart of grumpy Nucking fandom.

Kent and Beggsy have been great to work with/for - Kent’s occasional death-metal threat excepted - you guys have been nothing but supportive of my straight and narrow take on the boring, dull game of Nucks hockey.

To all the people who have commented and poured out their game thread frustrations faster than their drinks - I thank you. We’ve managed to build a wonderful community of virtual friends - even tho we only came here to wine about the Nucks.

I’m not ready to stop being a part of this great NM community. So... somehow, somewhere we must keep our fellowship of (dis)gruntledness alive. Either here or on another platform more suitable to our delicate Nucking sensibilities. Want to?

So what happens now?

Well, there’s no game thread for tonight. I think you can understand and appreciate our hearts simply aren’t in it. As far as what this will look like, it is a very fluid situation, I guess you could say. The Vox funding for their NHL sites ends at the end of February, and the sites will remain up. Content will probably continue in some form til that point, but afterwards? I don’t know at this point, so I suppose we’ll just have to ask you to wait and see.

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