Thanks to just one ceremonial puck drop with Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the National Hockey League has turned into a political football -- and a lot of the folks are working very hard trying to influence what and how you think about it.
In the last 24 hours, I've seen a pair of interesting instances of how the events of Saturday night are being reported that are worth noting. Details follow after the jump.
By now, most of you have probably seen this clip of Palin coming to center ice on Saturday night:
Now, watch this version of the same event, but listen for the subtle audio difference the folks at NHL.com came up with:
Did you happen to catch that? It should be pretty easy to tell that there isn't any crowd noise in the NHL.com clip. It's an easy trick, all they had to do was take the audio feed from the arena that includes the music and the PA announcer and lay it under the video. Voila, pesky crowd noise eliminated!
As you can imagine, plenty of people were all over the puck drop, including Lynn Zinser of the New York Times and their Slap Shot blog. Immediately after the ceremony, Zinser posted the following:
The biggest problem: when Palin came out to onto the Wachovia Center ice Saturday night - greeted by resounding (almost deafening) boos from the Flyers crowd - the the two hockey players who had no choice but to appear with her in that photo op were turned into props in a political campaign. If Rangers center Scott Gomez or Flyers center Mike Richards wanted to make some sort of political statement, that would be fine, but in this case, they were thrust into a situation not of their choosing. Snider put them there with his ill-advised mixing of politics and sports.
The level of discomfort has been palpable for the Rangers' two Alaska natives, Gomez and Brandon Dubinsky, as they have been asked questions about Palin and the election in recent weeks. Dubinsky, a 22-year-old who has shied away from nothing since he broke in with the Rangers last year, looks petrified when the topic gets brought up. I think both would rather play goalie in a shootout than weigh in on the presidential election.
Her post was more or less picked up immediately by both Editor and Publisher and The Huffington Post, who passed along the details. But if you pop over to that post now at Slap Shot now, this is what you'll find:
When Sarah Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Flyers' opener on Saturday night at the Wachovia Center, she was greeted by resounding (almost deafening) boos. Ed Snider, owner of the Flyers, had her introduced to the crowd more as a hockey mom than as the Republican candidate for vice president. She was flanked by Scott Gomez, the Rangers center, and Mike Richards, the Flyers center.
While Philadelphia fans are known for not being shy about voicing disapproval, the question has been raised - including by me in an earlier version of this post - whether the appearance was appropriate at a sports event like this.
Share your thoughts below.
The dramatic switcheroo caught the attention of Terry Trippany over at Newsbusters, who has his own deconstruction of Zinser's post, including a detailed look back at statements by Gomez concerning his feelings about Palin -- ones that would suggest he might not have been uncomfortable with last night's ceremony at all. For another view on the ceremony through a political lens, check out Gateway Pundit.
In the end, I'm just happy that we're less than a month away from the election. It just can't come soon enough.