Friday, 29 September 2017

Another Giant Gone

This is still an iconic photo. If you haven't heard the news today, Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski has announced that he's leaving the former Yahoo!-run blog for new adventures. It's hard for me, a lifetime loner blogger, to imagine that I'd outlive the snark- and sarcasm-based hockey outlet, but it seems that Puck Daddy will go on - cue Celine Dion music - without the guy who wore the hat for so long. So raise the glass high, Tim Peel, in honour of everything Greg did in making Puck Daddy an important piece of hockey coverage.

Look, I didn't always agree with every article he wrote, but that's why the coverage on Puck Daddy was important. It pushed the envelope and challenged traditional viewpoints and thoughts in a lot of situations. As one of the guys who was hired to write for Puck Daddy in the beginning, Greg was a voice that was unlike most when I started blogging as he brought an element of comedy to stories and often called out inaccuracies and falsehoods unlike anyone else.

After nine years, though, it seems that the changes he had witnessed had taken the fun out of the job. On his website, he wrote,
Simply put: I didn't want to spend the next three years trying to recreate something that couldn't be recreated. To try and maintain standards I set for myself, and for you, that couldn't be maintained, given the changes in staff, resources and objectives after the sale to Verizon. This is very much my own hang-up, as I anticipate NHL coverage will continue to thrive on Yahoo. But it was an insurmountable one.

I know myself and how I work, and I've already seen how I reacted to the losses of Leahy and Cooper and Neale this year. It wasn't healthy, and ultimately it was going to lead me in one of two directions: Overworking to overcompensate, which is my default setting, or into a cycle of complacency because we had built a machine that saw record traffic in 2017.

I didn't fancy either option, because I also wanted new challenges professionally, and so I decided to leave. Which it turns out was the most difficult decision I’ve made in my career. But ultimately, I believe, the right one.
I won't lie when I say that I contemplated shutting down HBIC earlier this year after I hit the ten-year mark. I felt I wasn't giving this blog everything I had when it came to content, and I didn't want people to walk away thinking that very thing. I hold myself very responsible in posting something each day, and I feel as though I've done a really good job when I push a debate or offer an argument that gets people talking. While I didn't have Greg's audience each day, the stats showing that there a vast number of hits on an article that drives a discussion makes me feel like it's all worth the effort. What Greg is saying is the decision that I weighed in terms of seeing the quality of the articles fall below a level I find acceptable. The difference, however, is that I would have ended HBIC whereas Puck Daddy will go on sans Greg.

I respect the heck out of what Greg Wyshynski did as a blogger and, eventually, as part of the NHL media. As he wrote, he "got a referee suspended for doing tequila shots with me a New York bar and helped get John Scott voted in as an All-Star Game captain," and both instances saw the NHL improve for the better. It takes a lot of moxie for one man to change how the NHL operates, and in both instances Greg Wyshynski was at the forefront when it came to these changes.

It's hard for me to process that HBIC, as an unaffiliated blog, has outlasted some of the bigger names who were blogging for so long. Granted, I don't have their audiences, but I'm happy to have anyone who stops in for a read. It's going to be tough not getting Greg's take on the hockey world via Puck Daddy any longer, but for nine years he was a voice that made sense out of a lot of NHL news for many people. And whatever new venture he's about to join may bring his voice back to the hockey world where his voice spoke for many.

If there's one video that I think of in regards to Greg's announcement today, it's the following:

Greg certainly is a legend. Thanks for everything, Greg, and all the best where ever you land!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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