I can't tell you how many times I've seen it in the media. An athlete does a bad job and doesn't wish to speak to the press, so a reporter tells everybody how the athlete is lacking in class because the reporter got stiffed and lost a story. It is the worst of both worlds because the athlete and reporter come away looking like jerks.
So whenever I see a blog of the variety Mike Chambers wrote when Semyon Varlamov blew him off after getting throttled by the Phoenix Coyotes yesterday, I can only laugh and shake my head. It was the kind of dirty laundry which serves absolutely no purpose outside of portraying Varlamov in a wholly negative light while Chambers does his best to make it look like he did his job in a situation where neither person really did much of anything. They both look like idiots for absolutely no good reason.
The way I see it an interview would have ended two ways.
1. The boring non-story, aka "The Sakic":
Chambers: "What happened out there?"
Varlamov: "Well, ya know we didn't do some of the things you would like to see for us to win and things and stuff...and stuff and things...and...hey is that coffee?"
End Result: Snore.
2. The dickhead, aka "The Avery":
Chambers: "Please explain your performance in this pitiful bloodbath which was all your fault..."
Varlamov: "Kiss my ass!"
End Result: Firestorm!
Instead with Varlamov blowing off the interview we got the best possible reaction from a player/team standpoint. He walked away from a grenade that might screw up his team, and we got the non-story, non-interview which got overblown in the media so a beat reporter could write about something and get paid. Perfection! This is all any reasonable fan wants because it shows that Varlamov cares enough about his game and his team to keep his trap shut and not lose his mind to a reporter. Well played Semyon.
Look, I'm not a professional athlete, although I play one in my own head, but I can sympathize with Varlamov. He just got worked by the Phoenix Coyotes. That is akin to getting beaten up by a class of 6th graders grasping giant inflatable hammers. The Avalanche didn't lose Game 7 to the 'Yotes, but it wasn't pretty either. So what? It is a non-story that cropped up after game 47 of an 82 game season. I'm not going to stop reading The Denver Post if a story about Semyon Varlamov crapping the tub against the Coyotes fails to make it into print during this time of year. Who cares?!
But of course the plot thickened. The way Chambers tells it Varlamov refused an interview, waved him off, and walked away. Which was rude. Fine. Going with the next best thing, Chambers interviewed J.S. Giguere, which is where, stunningly, his blog gets even worse. As if to punish the rest of us for even reading, Chambers states that the interview with Giguere will be in the Denver Post on Monday, and implies that Giguere may have said something important. You can smell the buzz in the air, can't you? I bet you 10/1 that Jiggy didn't say anything more than "he's young and will get over it." But as of this writing we have to wait to get to the bottom of the non-story, non-issue, created after a non-eventful midseason blowout at the hands of a non-team. Fantastic! I'd like an hour of my life back in advance, thanks.
What's worse, I get the idea Chambers did it on purpose because a searing hot non-story during the dog days of hockey is better than the hum-drum reality of crappy hockey in mid-January. I'm probably wrong, but why is Chambers making such a big deal out of not getting a story out of a sulking goaltender?
Writing about hockey can be boring, lame, and difficult. There are long periods when two things happen: jack and squat. Why do you think I crap out these Dog and Ponies at such an erratic rate?! Most games can be summarized in a Facebook status or Tweet. Perhaps Chambers drummed up a story to get readers. It wouldn't be the first time someone in the media did that and it won't be the last.
I'm sure Mike Chambers was stuck between a rock and a hard place when Varlamov refused an interview, and I can sympathize with him, but in creating drama where there was none he went from acting as a journalist and morphed into, well, me. Next time do us a favor Mike and leave the histrionics to those of us who take the time to write about this kind of stupid nonsense for free.