When there's a controversial event in the midst of a hockey game, it's common for teams, fans and media to back in to their home quarters and analyze the event through a parochial lens. If Claude Giroux scores a highlight reel goal by turning two opponents inside out with slick moves on his way to the net, we will no doubt applaud his efforts. Those who follow the other team, however, will castigate the two defenseman for being embarrassed on the play.
Different groups look at the same event and see different things based on their loyalties. It happens every second of every day with literally every event that's ever happened in human history. It's called inherent bias, and there's nothing really wrong with it at all.
But completely distorting the truth and changing a person's statements to justify your inherent bias? Well, there's certainly something wrong with that, and it's exactly what the New York Rangers public relations staff and the New York media did throughout the evening last night in Philadelphia.
In the second period of Thursday's game, Dan Carcillo and Marian Gaborik got in a fight. The Rangers official Twitter feed said that Carcillo 'jumped' Gaborik, despite irrefutable visual evidence to the contrary. In fact, the image shows that Gaborik was the one who initially antagonized Carcillo, and the video shows him dropping the gloves first as well. All neutral media outlets also say that's the case.
Replays showed Gaborik to be the aggressor in the scuffle, but Carcillo had no problem engaging.
... and the Associated Press...
Carcillo floored Gaborik with a hard uppercut early in the second period after Gaborik, a two-time All-Star, surprisingly dropped his gloves first.
So there you have it. That's an official team staff member committing a bold-face lie, distributed immediately to thousands of people. Surely it was believed by the majority of those people as well, especially those receiving updates while not watching the game. But in most cases, a television couldn't even save you from the lies.
Most people watching this game were subject to the New York broadcast on MSG Network, thanks to its distribution on NHL Center Ice and NHL Gamecenter Live. The remarks by MSG's on-air talent, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, were just as misleading. While Carcillo was busy knocking Gaborik to the ice, the duo was just absolutely floored that he would -- you know -- stand up for himself when an opponent drops the gloves.
Let's go to the transcript.
MICHELETTI: Now we've got a fight down the other end. Carcillo...
BOTH (in unison): And Gaborik!
ROSEN: What is that all about?!
MICHELETTI: Well, things are going to get nasty now.
ROSEN: Wow, that is...
MICHELETTI: Things are going to get nasty now. Things are going to get nasty now. I mean, we see Gaborik always fight back. He doesn't take a lot of (??) from anybody. But for Carcillo to go after Gaborik. I mean, Gaborik doesn't fight anybody. And Gaborik's right in the middle, and there's some pushing and shoving, and then Carcillo goes right after Gaborik. He goes right after him. Gaborik pushes back and then Carcillo, there's some pushing and shoving and Carcillo just drops his gloves...
ROSEN: Aw, that's just...
MICHELETTI: I mean, come on. I mean, come on.
Again, it bears repeating. Neutral sources -- all of them! -- say that Gaborik dropped his gloves first. There's visual evidence of it as well, yet the NY media is caught in a lie yet again. This time, however; instead of distributing the lie to thousands of Twitter followers, potentially millions of television viewers were deceived.
What's this all lead to? A national audience that's skewed toward a false perspective that vilifies Dan Carcillo and the Philadelphia Flyers, leading to comments like this from sites like Kukla's Korner...
I guess Carcillo doesn’t care who he fights.
It's a simple comment, but one that certainly contributes to the negative reputation Carcillo has around the hockey world. But, it gets a lot worse than just that. After the game, members of the New York media continued to spread lies while distorting Carcillo's comments about the fight.
Let's take a peek at transcription of the post-game interviews in chronological order.
First, we have Carcillo meeting with the media in the Flyers locker room.
CARCILLO: It was a good game, a hard-hitting game. I didn't really expect to fight who I fought, but it kinda worked out.
JOHN BORUK: Were you surprised that he actually dropped the gloves or the fact that none of his teammates came to his defense?
CARCILLO: Yeah, I mean. I don't really know who's on that line that would be able to help him. Yeah, it was weird, I wasn't expecting him to drop his gloves, and when he did, um, I was pretty much licking my chops. *smile*
That's Carcillo, saying that he was licking his chops when Marian Gaborik dropped the gloves, and his excitement could be for any number of reasons. He could be excited to remove the other teams' star player from the game for five crucial minutes. He could be excited to get the fans into what had been an otherwise tame game. Or, he could be excited to pound Gaborik into the ground.
The reality is probably a mix of them all, but every one of these possible scenarios start with Marian Gaborik engaging Dan Carcillo before dropping his gloves first and challenging him to a fight. Not once does Carcillo say that his fight with Gaborik was pre-meditated in any way, and in fact, he says the exact opposite of that.
So why did two members of the New York media frame it that way when informing John Tortorella of Carcillo's comments?
REPORTER A: John, how much did it bother you, Carcillo going after Marian Gaborik?
TORTORELLA: There's no honor. Listen, I don't play the game, I don't wear the uniform, I don't want to say too much about it. But there's no honor in it. It's embarassing.
REPORTER B: Carcillo said he was licking his chops to get after Gaborik.
TORTORELLA: Wonderful. He's a brave guy, ah? He's a brave guy.
TORTORELLA: You know, I hear this comment that he's looking to get after Gaborik, that's just, that's just wonderful.
Carcillo "going after" Gaborik. Carcillo licking his chops to "get after" Gaborik, implying that Carcillo was itching to fight Gaborik from the get-go. Those are both ways of framing questions to the Ranger coach in an irresponsible fashion. These people are journalists and their job is to get the story right. They aren't in the business of provoking the coach into making statements based on false knowledge, but that's exactly what they did tonight.
Peter Laviolette responded to what Tortorella said there, and he even corrected a reporter who framed a question by saying Carcillo "went after" Gaborik.
SAM CARCHIDI: Peter, Torts was just complaining about Carcillo going after Gaborik --
LAVIOLETTE: *interrupting* That's not the way I saw it.
CARCHIDI: How'd you see it?
LAVIOLETTE: I saw a scrum in front of our net, we're outnumbered. Danny came in and and picked someone off the pile. And Gaborik dropped his gloves first. So Danny can either get punched or he can drop his gloves as well, and I think the refs saw it that way as well because they both got five minutes for fighting.
Danny Carcillo doesn't make a habit of going after the other teams top players and skilled players. He does a lot of dirty work that other guys don't wanna do, and usually it's with guys like an Avery or a Voros, who are pretty tough on the other end. I didn't see it the way he did.
Laviolette's statement is in line with the facts. These are impossible for any rational human being to refute.
Yet inevitably, writers on the Rangers beat have all published stories that say Carcillo "went after" Gaborik, turning the Flyer into the bad guy while Gaborik is the victim. It truly is laughable.
The premise, that Carcillo dropped his gloves while Gaborik did no wrong, is just a flat out lie. To Brooks' credit, he did make the focus of his article the 'lack of honor' the Rangers on-ice bystanders exhibited in not going after Carcillo for fighting Gaborik, and that's hard to disgagree with. That likely had something to do with a few personal issues he needs to work out with Tortorella.
The others weren't even close to honest, unfortunately.
Dan Carcillo claimed to be waiting for his chance to get at Marian Gaborik.
Informed that Carcillo had said in the Flyers' dressing room that he had been "licking his chops" to get a piece of Gaborik...
An entire fan base will believe this drivel, furthering the stereotype that the Flyers are a bunch of talentless goons and that their home town team can do no wrong. We often wonder why fans around the sport think Philadelphia is a classless bastion of hockey hell, but if you were reading this stuff, wouldn't you as well?
All because of a few pathetic words penned by a deceitful press.