Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Why are you reading this?

No, seriously, why are you reading this blog? Or any blog for that matter? You can get all the Blackhawks news as it happens from the team site, or any one of a dozen credentialed reporters all over the web, Twitter and Facebook. Why read the ramblings of me, or Jeff, or any of the 100 or so Blackhawks bloggers out there?

This might seem like a strange question for a blogger to ask. But it’s an important question, with an important answer.

You read us because we can, and do, say anything. Not everyone does. Here’s why.

Say you’re a reporter for the Chicago Insert-Upstanding-Media-Outlet-Here. Your company establishes a relationship with the Blackhawks organization, and in amongst the advertising and promotional arrangements and skybox rentals is a guarantee of press credentials for your sports reporter. So that reporter can get into the locker room after games, gets his calls returned by the Hockey Operations office, and gets first crack at interviews with players, coaches and staff.

They arrange that access so that their media outlet can compete with all the other media outlets that have reporters covering the Blackhawks. No access, no coverage, fewer viewers/readers/listeners, lower ad revenue. Access they need, so access they get. But this access comes at a price in addition to money.

Honesty. Credentialed reporters have to watch what they say, or the arrangements between the team and their media outlet may collapse overnight. The press credentials, the advertising deal, the skybox rental, all of it could come crashing down with one minor slip-up.

Not to mention the reporter is out of a job, and will likely not be able to work in the business again. The term is “black-balled.” And all of a sudden, you go from locker room to, “Would you like fries with that?” I have a degree in Communications, trust me: they teach you that phrase on the first day. Once you’ve got a screw-up that huge on your resume, you might as well get fitted for the paper hat and polyester pants.

I spent 7 years working in radio, many of them at a sports/talk outlet. No, you’ve never heard of me; and no, you’ve really never heard of where I worked. But we had major-market teams that we covered, and the arrangements are very clear, if not explicit. Access to the team is granted if, and ONLY if, you say nice things. The credentialed sports reporters become essentially an extension of the team’s PR department. Only the good news gets out. None of the bad news, and never ever an opinion that the team would not approve of.

That’s where bloggers come in.

We have nothing to lose. We aren’t credentialed, we don’t have any access, and there is no big corporation with millions of dollars in trade deals in the background. We have complete freedom to express our opinions, extrapolate the truth from the clues that the team makes public, and try to sift through the PR garbage that the team spits out to get to the facts of the matter.

Bloggers tell the stories that you need to hear, and fire off opinions that make waves in otherwise peaceful waters. We calls ‘em like we sees ‘em. We have no conflict of interest, we have no reason to lie or pull punches or spout the party line. We lay it all out there, often times putting our necks in the guillotine in the process. You read us because we can, and do, say anything.

It’s very likely that this season is going to eclipse last year’s performance, and indeed has the potential to put the ‘Hawks back in contention for Lord Stanley’s Cup again. Where are you going to read about what’s happening with the team, get unfiltered post-game summaries and find out what the major media outlets aren’t telling you?

Right here. Come back often. Bring friends.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook with the links below. You’re going to start seeing and hearing much more from us shortly. Training camp starts in just over two weeks. Stay tuned…

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