Blog: In Lou We Trust
Writers: John Fischer (Manager); TibbsBeastoftheEast, Tom Stivall, Matthew Ventolo, and Kevin Sellathamby (Authors)
Team: New Jersey Devils
Strength: Thorough writing and recaps.
Weakness: Somewhat stats heavy, but only a weakness for those who do not get into stats.
Warning: A brief summary of In Lou We Trust’s Gameday Thread warning will suffice: don’t talk about other games; keep it clean; even if you are being negative, be decent.
Hidden Gem: Song(s) of the Day
This is the first review for an Eastern Conference team. For no particular reason, I am starting the East with the New Jersey Devils blog, In Lou We Trust.
First, the writing is very professional – and probably much more thorough than you would get from reporters writing about the same thing. (Although not specific to this site, this seems to be a common opinion so far from fans to their respective city’s media.) The posts are well-thought out and organized in a way that keeps both the casual and the daily reader informed on the comings and goings of the Devils.
The Gameday Threads and Game Previews have a standard organization to them. As for the previews, the usual date/time/place information is there, but ILWT incorporates a couple things in addition to the standard preview fare: short paragraphs recapping the last Devils’ game, their opponent’s last game, and the last time the two teams met. In addition, preview writer John Fischer throws in what he thinks the team’s goal should be, links to the opponent’s SB Nation blog, and provides the usual analysis of both sides of the match. The threads are popular, with a decent number of posts – even after the Devils’ playoff hopes were finished. There is much more traffic, of course, during the games between the Devils and “Our Hated Rivals.” (The New York Rangers, for those unaware.)
Some things stood out at In Lou We Trust. Being a historian, the Devils’ History section caught my eye. Although not filled with too many posts (I believe I counted seven), and none more recent than August, they were interesting. The Fischer and former ILWT and current SB Nation New York Media Columnist Steve Lepore complied some creative reflections on the Devils. These included the “All Decade Teams” and the “Top Ten Moments of the Decade” as well as links to last August’s Puck Daddy series, “Mount Puckmore.”
Last July, Fischer began a project to review every goal allowed by Martin Brodeur to determine “soft” goals, where Brodeur is weak, if they were long shots, etc. For those who love stats, and Fischer makes no bones about the fact that he does, it will be an interesting and exciting read. For those who do not, like myself (thanks to a grad school stats class), it is, surprisingly, still interesting and exciting to read. To be honest, I had dreaded going through some of the posts because they seemed so stats heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised at the readability of the statistical interpretations made. He is working on Johan Hedberg’s goals allowed this summer.
Final Thought: ILWT is straight up Devils hockey talk with a little bit of snark thrown in on the commentary. They take the Devils seriously, very seriously (which I did not come away with as a bad thing).
So, that’s the In Lou We Trust blog in my words. I also wanted to let the writers give you a few thoughts in theirs.
Four Questions for In Lou We Trust:
Rebecca: How long have you been writing for ILWT?
John Fischer: I started In Lou We Trust on October 27, 2006. My very first post was a short explanation for the site’s name and went right into the team’s issue of the day: who should play at center on the top line if Scott Gomez would be out against Columbus (he was hurt in a recent game). Since then, I’ve tried to keep In Lou We Trust updated with reactions to news, game previews, game recaps, player analysis, and so forth that is relevant to the Devils on a daily basis. After being recruited by James Mirtle, In Lou We Trust moved to the SBNation platform, officially going live on November 15, 2008. I still put the same effort (actually more, given the usage of stats I gravitate more) into the blog to make sure there is always something interesting about the Devils for me to write and for others to read about.
Rebecca: Why did you decide to start ILWT? / How did you start writing for ILWT?
John: I’ve read blogs on various subjects for several years, since 2001 or so. I was always impressed at the notion that anyone who had a passion about a subject – politics, music, art, games, etc. – could simply go out and do it. And if they had something interesting to say, people would eventually find it. There wasn’t that much out there for Devils fans. I relegated most of my hockey discussion to message boards, since that’s where the Devils fans tended to congregate (and still do to a degree). I don’t have anything against message boards; but there’s various cliques and other memes that can get in the way of intelligent discussion. The format doesn’t lend itself well to a long form opinion unless you wanted. There weren’t many Devils blogs out there in 2006, and it was unclear whether anyone would be interesting. But reading other blogs for years made such an impression on me that I couldn’t shake the idea out of my head. After putting it off for a while in my head with various doubts, I finally broke down and started one. I am passionate about Devils hockey and I felt I could try to say something interesting about them – an opinion on the latest game, a roster change I wanted to see, and so forth. It took me about two hours to come up with a name, I registered it on Blogspot, and then I never looked back.
Rebecca: What do you think ILWT offers readers that differs from other blogs?
John: Analysis. In Lou We Trust does discuss the games, react to important news, and offers opinions on other issues. The biggest difference ILWT does compared to many other hockey blogs is the in-depth analysis for various players and the team itself. We use advanced statistics when possible and sensible. We incorporate video and pictures if the situation calls for it. On off-days or throughout the offseason, the majority of the blog centers around what the player/team has done, explains what is and is not good about it, and then concludes what should be done. This approach is even included for game previews and recaps, we attempt to go beyond what the standard narrative is or what simple stats state. This makes ILWT more “wordy” than a lot of other blogs, but it’s far more fruitful for the Devils fan or the hockey fan who doesn’t mind reading about the Devils.
Rebecca: Once the off-season starts, why should readers continue visiting ILWT?
John: Again, the answer is analysis. We’ll be taking a look at what pending free agents the Devils should retain and why. We’ll look at other free agents by position based on need. We’ll review every single goal against by Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg to establish how many of them were soft in a casual qualitative analysis. We’ll explain what kind of head coach the Devils will get. We’ll put draft profiles together for potential prospects for the Devils to draft this season, and not just in the first round. All this and probably much more. Like most offseasons, there’s plenty of change to comment on and even more time to review and reflect on this past season while looking forward to the next one.