The Washington Capitals may be the most talked and written about hockey team on the planet. Everywhere they go, fans flock to try to catch a glimpse of the team's scruffy superstar. (Did I say "fans"? I meant members of the media, though the line between the two often blurs.)
Countless billions of pixels - from the team's award-winning public relations staff and its owner, its never-quite-saturated blogosphere, and, of course, the mainstream media - have been spilled promoting, covering and analyzing this club, fueled by the hope and/or assumption that the team's on-ice success isn't too far behind the multimedia deluge.
It seems unfair, then, that we should have to talk about "loss" along the way. But it's all part of "the business" - whether it's phasing out a franchise icon, saying goodbye to a hockey legend, trading a captain... or changing the way you read about all of it. Which brings us to the news of the day.
A good man, it seems, is likely losing his job. Many good men (and women), in fact. And while that's certainly sad news for the individuals involved and their families, on a purely selfish level it's awful news for D.C. sports fans generally, and Caps fans specifically, because Corey Masisak will no longer be on the Caps beat.
It's hard to overstate how big a hole this leaves in Caps coverage. Corey doesn't just report the news, he analyzes it (deftly, I might add), and packages it with an awareness of his audience and the ever-changing world of new media that, frankly, is painfully lacking in his profession. He asks the right questions, sees the right things and keeps the right distances, no doubt all traits learned under the tutelage of his late Hall of Fame mentor. As I noted following a game back in February, 2008:
The point is not to bash anyone - everyone's on deadlines, editors hack articles to pieces, etc. - but to commend a subtle, but not unnoticed, extra effort on Corey's part to bring more than just a straight play-by-play recap to a deserving fan base. Dave Fay, no doubt, would be proud.
Efforts like that are the norm for Corey, and they carry on Fay's fine tradition of challenging readers and trying to keep "the other guys" honest and on their toes when it's all too easy to pander to the conventional wisdom of the vocal and ill-informed.
This isn't an obituary (I'm careful not to use the past tense), and I'm sure Corey will resurface before we know it - a CSN Washington, for example, would be wise to snatch him up. But given the impact he's made in his time "with us" it certainly feels like a few parting words are needed, so here they are. You'll be missed, Corey... but hopefully not for long. As Bruce Boudreau said at the end of his presser last night following a stomach-turning loss, "Corey, if this is your last game, I’d like to thank you for all you’ve done covering our team for the last couple of years." Thanks indeed.