On Monitoring the Red Wings’ Website Roster


I’ve mentioned in the past via social media that I’ve written automated processes that monitor the roster on the Red Wings’ (and Griffins’) website for changes, notifying me when one is found.  They’ve been running for over five years.  Most of the time they don’t find anything interesting; sometimes they do.

Last month, for example, it notified me that Matt Luff had been activated from injured reserve and reassigned to the Griffins just a few minutes before the Red Wings announced it formally.  Last year, Magnus Hellberg appearing on the team’s roster page briefly was indication that he’d been signed by Detroit hours before it was formally announced.

The team websites are not run by hockey ops people in their respective organizations.  In fact, at least some facets of NHL team sites seem to be run centrally out of the NHL offices.  As such, changes to the roster aren’t always timely – made well after a formal announcement – and aren’t always notable.  Sometimes it works in the other direction, though, as seen by the Luff and Hellberg examples.  Sometimes the roster gets updated before an announcement is made, if one is made at all.

Yesterday I got a notification that Jakub Vrana had been removed from the Red Wings’ roster.  Not much of a surprise, given that he has been playing with the Griffins and only got called up because Lucas Raymond’s injury cleared a roster spot.  In fact, Raymond’s pending return explained it perfectly.  So I posted it to social media, as per usual.  There was a little bit of “Does this mean Raymond is back?” chatter but it was mostly quiet.  Then another account, which I won’t name, picked it up and things got a little louder.  Then the CapFriendly transaction bot confirmed that Vrana had been sent down.  Nothing was ever announced by the team.

Today Vrana was added back to the team roster.  He never was added to the Griffins’ roster in the interim.  So I noted it.  Within minutes, someone who I usually respect but won’t name this time, said we should stop “psychoanalyzing” changes to the website roster and wait for team comment.  That doing so hasn’t led to anything productive and just causes confusion.

I get that I’m old.  I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a long time and I don’t necessarily do it well or very much anymore.  And maybe I never have done it well.  But the whole point of blogging, to me, has been about getting new viewpoints out there.  That’s what we always said in the bad old days, when the mainstream media was complaining about bloggers in their mom’s basement (before the newspaper bubble burst and they all became bloggers).  Over the years, how much shit has been thrown at the beat reporters covering the team for just repeating what the GM, or head coach, or PR people announced, without questioning it?

In the big scheme of things, Vrana being sent down for a day is relatively meaningless.  Maybe the Wings thought Raymond would be able to go today so they sent Vrana down but Raymond isn’t ready so they called him back up.  It happens.  Maybe they did a paper move to save some salary cap space in advance of the trade deadline.  That’d make sense, too.

The idea of ignoring it, though, just because the team didn’t say anything, really bothers me.  If we’re going to do that, we should disband every blog, every news outlet, and just leave it to the team to tell us what they decide we need to know.

Detroit head coach Derek Lalonde is speaking to the media shortly.  Maybe he’ll explain what’s happening then.  I’ll be on the road this evening so I doubt I’ll be around to see it.  I’m heading out pretty much immediately after publishing this.  Maybe that’s a bad idea but I can’t think of anything he’d say that makes me feel any better about the idea that we should just wait to hear from the team.

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