Friday, September 23, 2011

Shanahan, Suspensions, and Social Appeal

With the NHL taking the next new step into being a more personable brand, it also seems to shed some light into the latest idea they have in order to explain some of the suspensions they have doled out and why. This, of course, is due to Brendan Shanahan's new gimmick of taking to video in explaining and showing why the suspension of the player is given.

While he seems to take on the role of Jack Tunney in these videos, it's a smart idea for Shanahan and the NHL to do; because I don't know about you, but I hate reading. Plus, with this-- Shanahan can definitely spot out where it went wrong in the explanation and he gets to do the announcement from that fancy set in some secret mountain base the NHL produces stuff in.

It's very unlike any other sport where you can see the hit and have the disciplinarian explain it all-- like so much Clarissa Darling. Sure, you'll have debates on why the same hit carries a different penalty or how one player can get off the hook without penalty when a hit weeks earlier did get penalized-- but at least you won't have the NHL hiding from their reasoning on why someone got the penalty they did.

Even so, this seems to show that the NHL wants to be more relatable to the fans and actually takes them inside the process. This could be a good thing, this could be a bad thing. We already have too many armchair GMs and armchair Commissioners around the social media sites and blogging sites that this just adds another facet to the whole armchair expert ideal. That could make some people even more incorrigible, but it's just something that seems to go with the territory.

However, this whole thing makes me wonder if people will ever get mad at someone like Brendan Shanahan and lash out at him like they do with Gary Bettman or like they did with Colin Campbell?? Shanahan is a likeable guy from his playing days, very well respected for his decisions up to this point-- but will he get more slack cut from him for it?? Everyone is able to hate Bettman and Campbell because they're the figureheads who are supposed to be hated and they take it in stride. Yet, Shanahan could be a guy that will get the benefit of the doubt from fans and commentators because of what he has done, which will definitely take the heat off of Bettman for the decision making or maybe even creating rules to help protect players; which is a smart move to give someone likable the main stage so the heat won't be as bad.

Though, the tide could change with people. Sure, the honeymoon period should be give to Shahanan and with him going out-front with these videos will help his cause. At the same time-- there could be a breaking point for people if while he may be respect, some of his decisions will irk some fanbase, then have a snowball effect from there. It'll be interesting to see if Shanahan will get the same heat as people in his position from the past.

All in all, it's a great step for the NHL to take a different angle in order to reach out to the fans and be a little more insight to the reasons why a player was suspended; rather than typing up a press release and sending that out and thinking it's kosher. Whether it ultimately makes things more understandable for the fans remains to be seen, but at least they can say they tried and failed rather than not trying at all.

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