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Messing up coverage, the grand tradition of pending NHL free agency

Yes, he's the man of the moment. No, he's not only being courted by Atlantic Division teams in the Great Lakes / northeast. Not that coverage would have you know that... - Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

There's something awfully familiar being invoked from my memory by the coverage of the 2016 free agent market. Something from past days is playing out in the media and it shows a limitation in scope and geographic territory of the National Hockey League by way of the driving factions of the media.

It's awfully familiar, it's also familiarly awful in that the scope is stunted and a sign of failure. It puts ratings and reads first but it doesn't make facts and news a priority. Content consumption by way of markets is the priority€”.

I'm going to invoke the name Steven Stamkos here and then make something clear: Free agency loss happens. If Stamkos signs elsewhere, that's the business being what it is -€” a business. I could write up another piece applauding Stammer and asking for him not to go, but that's not what I'm going after with this piece.

You don't have to like the end result, but can we start by accepting the possibility that it could happen? That Steven Stamkos may sign with another team and end his tenure as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning? You don't have to like it; you don't have to approve of the idea, that's not what I'm going for with the story. Just accept the fact it could happen.

Now there's the market: 29 other NHL teams will have the ability to sign Steven Stamkos come July 1. Actually that's a smaller number by way of the salary cap, but that doesn't mean teams can't make way-too-low contract offers. The competitive market for Stamkos' services, the legit players in courting him, is smaller. This is where a problem rises in how free agency is covered. This is where the failings go. Reports in ambiguity from Twitter would name so-many teams ... Actually not name them but push a large number that shows a true market is out there that stretches wide and far.

You wouldn't know that from certain media out there. Certain articles, certain personalities, certain headlines stick to in-division teams in the Atlantic: The Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins are all courting Stamkos and...

...and this is a 30 team league, and some stations/press companies aren't going to draw in the same coverage by saying teams other than these three.

It's played out like this before. I can't name specific years but I can say without doubt that in-division has dominated free agency talk certain times -€” mostly because it's an easier task than actually thinking there is a wider league than what matters in perception: The idea that Toronto is at odds with Montreal and Buffalo, the idea Boston is trying to get around the Canadian franchises and steal their coveted free agent. Oh, and the storied franchise of Detroit being up front about the storied man of the moment is just continuing a trend that's going to dominate the headlines because it's the Red Wings! The Winged Wheel has faced its challenges but it shall overcome because of how storied the club is!!

I do not doubt the clubs being part of the free agent market and vying for Stamkos. Not at all -€” to covet a key player nearing unrestricted free agency is competitively wise. What I am doubting is thinking that the story stops with the Atlantic Division. What I want to put down is the limited presented market of free agency by certain media.

Toronto might be the center of the hockey universe and where a lot of the centerpieces of the ice hockey media world have offices... but its poor sports journalism to lock in on a story from a marketing angle while evading scope and honesty. This league is more than just Ontario and northeastern America based media markets. It sure would be more respectable if the likes of TSN, Sportsnet, The Hockey News and other major participants in NHL coverage would act like it.

This post was written by a member of the Raw Charge community and does not necessarily represent or express the views or opinions of Raw Charge staff.