With the 2010-11 season completely in the rear-view now and the glimmer - as faint as it is - of the 2011-12 season nearing, looking back at last season still is a good topic to be had.
But instead of asking about the sport, I thought it was worth asking about another aspect that many of us love about following hockey online: The writing. Last season had a plethora of stories and narratives about the Lightning, about the NHL, about specific players and specific anecdotes. They were all worth reading about in one way or another. The writers of those stories all contributed to the narrative of 2010-11 in one way or another, be it through satire, scathing, or investigative journalism that put the NHL and mainstream media on notice.
The question of the week, posed to the Raw Charge Staff: What was your favorite story / article written last season by a hockey blogger? It may have caused an emotional response, it may have just made you laugh until you cried, or maybe it stated in eloquence what you had been thinking or feeling for a very long time.
Nolan Whyte - Staff writer / Frozen Sheets of Hockey
I wouldn't say there was necessarily a single blog post out there that stood out. What was significant to me this year was that, unlike previous years, I was actually reading hockey blogs.
In the '90s I followed the Lightning through newspaper box scores, which is a pretty abstract way to be a fan. When I got online I followed the game on nhl.com. Llater on I noticed that there were never any stories about anything dirty or controversial on the site, which is because it's not a sports-news site; it's a league promotional tool. I switched to TSN.ca. Later I found Damien Cristodero and the St. Pete Times' webpage, where lo and behold I was suddenly getting a steady stream of Lightning news, which, as a distance fan, was a huge eye-opener.
But this past year was really the year that I discovered the broader blogosphere. Last summer I was introduced to Puck Daddy, which is a daily battery of links to blogs across the league. Getting on Twitter has made a big difference too, because of the constant stream of links to posts. It's funny, because I now realize that I started blogging a year before I started reading other blogs. I guess that explains a few things about my blog (and why I barely got a page view during my first year).
If I had to name drop some blogs that were memorable for me this year, I would mention Justin Bourne, Down Goes Brown, Don't Trade Vinny, and Greg Wyshynski.
Tina Robinson - Staff Writer
The one article that comes to mind quickly is the post that CAustin wrote on...Raw Charge a few weeks ago. It wasn't actually during the season, but "An Open Letter to My Non-Hockey Friends" just hit the spot for me. It hit on something that I have also struggled with for years: how to explain to my non-hockey friends when they ask why I love the sport so much. It got a number of recommends on the site with good reason. One of my favorites in quite a while.
Clark Brooks -- Staff Writer
I found my favorite hockey blog post from this past year on Jim Dwyer's "Hockey (and Donuts)" blog, although he was reporting on something he found on Puck Daddy. It was about the Belfast Giants of the Elite Hockey League in the U.K. and their video holiday card to fans. It features Giants players lip-synching Mariah Carey's cover of "All I Want For Christmas (Is YOU)" as they dance and cavort their way around Odyssey Arena. Between the timing of it (Christmas) and how much fun the players are obviously having as they do it, it's the kind of goofy thing that happens just often enough in sports to keep you from getting jaded.
Dani Toth - Staff Writer / Lightning Hockey Blog
The blog post that blew me away this year was this effort by The Royal Half on the Los Angeles Kings fabled Burger King jersey.
Words are failing me trying to describe the effort that went into the research of this 3rd jersey from 15 years ago. The Royal Half went above and beyond with his investigation and the story just really blows you away. It's worth a read if you haven't read it already.
Cassie McClellan - Staff writer
I love Down Goes Brown because he takes serious stories and puts a humorous, yet insightful, spin on them. This piece on concussions is a classic example. He outlines the thinking that likely goes on in that situation, but makes it funny. So you're both entertained and informed at the same time. He's really an underrated writer.
And as an added bonus...:
Don We Now Our Gay Apparel
You might want to cover one eye before going to this site so you'll at least have some vision left. For those who haven't experienced the staple that is Hockey Night in Canada, this is part of what you're missing. Don Cherry's wardrobe is always a topic of discussion. While his opinions may be inflammatory at times, his suits are almost always are. I would guess that his tailor is probably color blind - or if he wasn't initially, he probably is now.
What about you, the reader? Were there certain blog posts from last season -- I don't mean specifically the past 3 months, I mean from october 2010-June 2011 -- that stood out? Posts on Raw Charge? From other Tampa Bay Lightning blogs? From the greater Blogosphere? Feel free to share your favorite stories in the comments.