Blog: Lighthouse Hockey
Writers: Dominik (Blog Bossy); WebBard, Keith Quinn, and mikb (Enforcers and Snipers); and IslesOfficial, Michael Schuerlein, and David Hanssen (Emeriti)
Team: New York Islanders
Strength: Well-organized, wide variety of topics discussed.
Weakness: I could not really pinpoint a weakness. This blog is one of the most well-rounded I have read lately.
Warning: Not really a warning, but be sure to check their Community Standards.
Hidden Gem: Awful Hockey Card Art
On Wednesday, April 27, central Alabama (where I live) was devastated by a series of straight-line winds and tornados. I am fortunate to have experienced very little of the damage, but others are not so lucky. Please contact your local Red Cross to find out how you can help.
Now, onto the Islanders…
Visiting Lighthouse Hockey for the first time? Dominik and company provide a great introduction box: A Lighthouse Welcome. Here visitors will find links to posts that give you guidelines that “are intended to help you understand the policies, procedures, and processes generally used at Lighthouse Hockey.” They also do a quick tutorial on Fan Posts vs. Fan Shots and provide some Community Standards.
I found a number of interesting posts throughout the site. Some of my favorites included the critiques of classic hockey cards at “Awful Hockey Card Art” and the topics on the history page – from analyzing former Game 7s to where are they now updates on former players. The prospect section, Islanders in Diapers, is well-researched. The writers at Lighthouse Hockey keep things going with a wide variety of posts.
The Islanders game threads have a lot of participation, and I expect the Eastern Conference playoff threads will, too. However, there was not much going on for the first game of the Western Conference Semifinals (Vancouver-Nashville). I would think that this comes more from being an Eastern Conference team blog as people are usually more familiar with their own conference teams.
The new post about statistical analysis – “An Introduction to Hockey Analytics” – was a great primer to how some of the advanced statistics are used. Here’s an excerpt from the first hockey analytics post: “Essentially, people study this field to learn what really contributes to a hockey team winning, what makes a good offensive player, what makes a good defensive player, etc…We’re not looking for what a person thinks is a good trait for a hockey player to have – rather, we’re looking for what can be PROVEN to be positive traits.” (I may have made an A in that stats class if I had started reviewing these blogs way back when…)
The game previews often include a set of links to news on the day’s matchup. The recaps contain stats, narrative and the winner of the FIG/LIG picks. In the preview, Dominik provides fan shots for commenters to pick the First Islanders Goal and the Last Islanders Goal – participants provide last name, assist(s), and time of goal. This is something I have seen teams do on Facebook and Twitter, but it is the first time I have encountered it on one of these fan blogs.
Final Thought: Overall, Lighthouse Hockey is a well-written, interesting, and fun to browse through. They have a lot of variety so there seems to be, as they say, “something for everybody.”
So, that’s the Lighthouse Hockey blog in my words. I also wanted to let the writers give you a few thoughts in theirs.
Four Questions for Lighthouse Hockey:
Rebecca: How long have you been writing for LHH?
Dominik: I started it for the 2008-09 NHL season, as a continuation of a blog I’d done the year before on a now-defunct network. I’m actually pretty disappointed the archives for that year are mostly lost even to the Internet wayback machine.
Rebecca: Why did you decide to start LHH? / How did you start writing for LHH?
Dominik: The short answer is I’m an Islanders fan who lives about 1,000 miles away from the Islanders (in St. Louis), so I always wanted an online spot where I could comfortably discuss the Isles with other fans. I wasn’t so much motivated to start a blog as I was to just have an Islanders site I enjoyed visiting every day. Plus, with a daily record of my thoughts on the team, it’s a lot easier to go back and see how wrong I was about things, and how my opinions have changed (I think I flopped on Jeff Tambellini and Blake Comeau about 250 times, give or take). That’s much more reliable than my malleable, self-flattering human memory. And humbling.
The long answer involves our network host, SB Nation. I’d seen their early baseball blogs in 2005-06 and really enjoyed the interactive setup: a main post (or two), with several opportunities for readers to contribute and a great interactive commenting platform. “I wish they had hockey blogs,” I remember telling myself. When SB Nation started to add hockey to their network, I couldn’t wait for them to add an Islanders blog. But the more I thought about how existing online forums sometimes descend into cliques and flame wars, the more I realized if I wanted it to be a site that I enjoyed visiting…maybe I should create it myself. So I spent the 2007-08 season “practicing” on a weaker network, to see if I had the discipline and time to make it work on SB Nation. Once that went well, I made the jump. It’s been a steady build ever since.
Rebecca: What do you think LHH offers readers that differs from other blogs?
Dominik: My first instinct is to say, “nothing, really.” I mean, we all have opinions, we all come at this game from a different mixture of angles. We all think we could be GMs. I’d like to think I add decent hockey insight – it’s really the only sport I think about or play – and I think I do well setting a welcoming tone with the right balance of fandom, analysis and humor. Plus, we have new content every day, and encourage reader contributions. And while I have the manager role, I try not to beat people over the head in my writing with a “voice of god” tone, which I neither deserve nor have earned.
But the real strength is probably our community. Our readers and commenters come from all over the country, from young and old, optimistic and cynical. Some were Islanders fans since 1972, and some don’t even remember before Yashin. It’s a vast, “sleeping giant” fanbase. But for the most part everyone gets along, trades opinions respectfully, and follows my golden rule for the site: We’re here to have fun. Debate passionately, but remember it’s still just a sport. I tend to enjoy laughter more than I do being pissed off.
Rebecca: Once the off-season starts, why should readers continue visiting LHH?
Dominik: Well, Lighthouse Hockey is a place for the die-hard fan who doesn’t stop thinking about the Islanders year-round, but it’s also a place for casual fans who check out during baseball season but can stop back in at any time to see what they’ve missed. We spend the sadly long Islanders offseason doing player report cards, history posts, draft and free agent coverage, and general daily humor and tomfoolery. Now that we have a large audience of commenters, they really do a great job of producing new stuff all the time, so there’s always something new to think about, or laugh at, or both.