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Why the Hate for Stan Fischler?

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03-06-2013, 08:15 AM
  #1
SealsFan
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Why the Hate for Stan Fischler?

I notice when his name is mentioned here there's usually a negative comment or two. I recall he wasn't that popular when I was reading his articles in the Hockey News and magazines back in the 70's. He didn't always follow the popular opinion; I recall once he was advocating a return to 4-on-4 hockey with a rover. He always had good anecdotes about the game from the 50's and 60's and it didn't seem like he was arrogant or a know-it-all. What am I missing?

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03-06-2013, 08:34 AM
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A lot of people's opinions of him really dropped over his fanatical, almost brain damaged support of the owners during their lockouts. Also he's not much of a hockey analyst...more of a historian. There are few around that can actually recall the pre Gordie Howe NHL.

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03-06-2013, 08:36 AM
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He's great at compiling information from hockey history, and should be appreciated for that. His opinions that are derived from that information often seem crazy, but you can always ignore them.

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03-06-2013, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post
A lot of people's opinions of him really dropped over his fanatical, almost brain damaged support of the owners during their lockouts.
Thanks for that info. I tend not to read about the behind-the-scenes machinations of owners, agents, etc.

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03-06-2013, 09:56 AM
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On TV at least, I always thought that Fischler possessed an overtly pro NY bias and was often contrary to popular opinion simply for the sake of generating publicity for going against the grain.

In other words, he was bad talk radio before bad talk radio existed.

If a contrary opinion doesn't exist, lets pretend to invent one just to draw the haters.

Generating heat that way works well in the WWE, but for a professional sports writer, it seems kinda sad.

It's especially sad because Fischler's hockey history books are usually a good legitimate read.

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03-06-2013, 09:57 AM
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Killion
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I dont know "why the hate on for Stan Fischler"? Havent really encountered it, read it here or elsewhere. As mentioned above his interests trend more towards the historical though contemporaneously has a critical eye focused on the league, how the games played on the ice & in the board rooms. Co-authored or written over 80 books; The Hockey Encyclopedia etc etc along with historical books about NYC itself. Ive always enjoyed his take on things, unique & knowledgeable perspective. Once advocated going full on 4 on 4, recreating the position of Rover, all over the map really. Eccentric. He bills himself as the "Hockey Maven" though I think of him more as a "Maven of the Arcane". Perhaps its that assumption of superiority, a sort of arrogance that engenders dislike? He's a native New Yorker, Brooklyn I believe. That alone might have something to do with whatever enmity does exist out there. People sick & tired of New Yorkers telling everyone elsewhere whats what huh? Too damn big for their britches according to some. Often times being "contrary" for the sake of being so, bit of a showboat.

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03-06-2013, 10:12 AM
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His opinions are waaay out there and generally indefensible.

In his "Top 100 Players Of All-Time" list, he had Bobby Orr in 12th, behind Frank Boucher who was in 5th on the strength of his many Lady Byngs.

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03-06-2013, 10:38 AM
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Stan Fischler

Always enjoyed Stan Fischler's enthusiasm and appreciation for hockey. An interesting non Toronto - Montreal centric view of the last 70 years of the NHL.Still too much sizzle, not enough steak.

His shortcomings are the result of a lack of a ground roots foundation - started following the NHL in NYC as a kid during WWII, became a writer, media personality, a role he has filled for well over 50 years. The other old time Canadian contemporaries have a foundation from the ground roots so their perspectives are deeper and more nuanced - better appreciation of the player/team relationship, the hockey process as opposed to the NHL.

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03-06-2013, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Perhaps its that assumption of superiority, a sort of arrogance that engenders dislike? He's a native New Yorker, Brooklyn I believe. That alone might have something to do with whatever enmity does exist out there. People sick & tired of New Yorkers telling everyone elsewhere whats what huh? Too damn big for their britches according to some. Often times being "contrary" for the sake of being so, bit of a showboat.
Gotcha. I'm a Long Islander and I even can't take the New York superiority/arrogance attitude. I really haven't followed what Fischler has said/written since the 70's (I'm a Luddite - no TV!) so apparently there has been a lot of "contrary for contrary's sake" going on.

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03-06-2013, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
In his "Top 100 Players Of All-Time" list, he had Bobby Orr in 12th, behind Frank Boucher who was in 5th on the strength of his many Lady Byngs.
... you mean Stanleys list from 1988?

1) Howe
2) Gretzky
3) Shore
4) Kelly
5) Boucher
6) Richard
7) Morenz
8) Beliveau
9) Harvey
10) Hall
11) Apps
12) Potvin
13) Orr
14) Hull
15) Trottier
16) Cook
17) Bentley
18) Vezina
19) Clancy
20) Lemieux
etc
etcetera

.... yep. Pretty messed up alrighty. Guaranteed to engender some anger, debate. But thats what he does. I dont know if he genuinely believes it himself, Im assuming so as he wrote it, justifying every single pick, and Lemieux of course still had history to create so I can understand why he'd be down the list but all the way to 20th?! And Orr at 13? WTF is that?!

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03-06-2013, 11:14 AM
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Brian McFarlane is the most popular historian I think? McFarlane's very informative but he's very very boring tbh in terms of his writing style. I'm reading a few of his books (History of the NHL, Stanley Cup Fever, and Best of It Happened On Hockey). They usually just state facts tbh.

Though I haven't read any of the interesting ones from Fischler yet, I just have a Hot Goalies book he wrote about 90s goalies and a history of the Flyers.

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03-06-2013, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SealsFan View Post
Gotcha. I'm a Long Islander and I even can't take the New York superiority/arrogance attitude. I really haven't followed what Fischler has said/written since the 70's (I'm a Luddite - no TV!) so apparently there has been a lot of "contrary for contrary's sake" going on.
... Yepp. Pretty sure Stan could get into an argument all alone in an empty house... with himself. Might even come to blows.

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03-06-2013, 11:30 AM
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.... yep. Pretty messed up alrighty. Guaranteed to engender some anger, debate. But thats what he does.
If that's the case, that's probably why nobody respects him. We rely on historians for accuracy and wisdom, not controversy.

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03-06-2013, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
If that's the case, that's probably why nobody respects him. We rely on historians for accuracy and wisdom, not controversy.
He's a New York journalist. He comes from a media culture that's more about sales than accuracy. And controversy drives sales.

I have a soft spot for Fischler because his books were a huge part of my learning process as a young fan, and I don't think he's that dangerously off-base in 99% of the things he writes. He's the crazy uncle of the hockey family.

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03-06-2013, 05:35 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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My favorite Fischler moment was when he wrote in THN that Mike Milbury was a better player than Ray Bourque.

Stan was once on WFAN in New York on their popular drive time show. They rarely had hockey guests because most fans wanted to talk about the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, or Knicks. Fischler was so arrogant and obnoxious that he was never asked back. The hosts would always refer to future bad interviews as "almost Stan Fischler-like". Serena Williams was the only other guest to even approach Stan's level.

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03-06-2013, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
My favorite Fischler moment was when he wrote in THN that Mike Milbury was a better player than Ray Bourque... Stan was once on WFAN in New York on their popular drive time show. They rarely had hockey guests because most fans wanted to talk about the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, or Knicks. Fischler was so arrogant and obnoxious that he was never asked back. The hosts would always refer to future bad interviews as "almost Stan Fischler-like". Serena Williams was the only other guest to even approach Stan's level.
Do you think it was deliberate? Being in the overcrowded New York metropolitan market like that maybe he always felt he had to be loud, abrasive at times, in peoples faces, suggesting nonsense like the aforementioned "Milburys' better than Bourque" in order to garner attention to the sport & to himself?.... maybe he really didnt know what he was talking about, totally subjective, picking a Milbury over Bourque because he didnt like the fact that Ray had a full & luxurious head of hair & he, Stan, did not. Whatever.... perhaps a fondness for pure grain alcohol with a dash of branch? Morning or evening drive, pretty much juiced from 6-9am, liquid lunch, good to go for the 4-6pm time slot as well. What say ye' Dennis?

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03-06-2013, 06:37 PM
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I read his stuff a lot when I was a kid. I think I still have a copy of his Slashing book, and always read his column in THN. He was undeniably an entertaining writer, but maybe not a great source of hockey knowledge.

A lot of what he said just seemed to be ridiculously over-the-top. He couldn't just say that Mike Milbury was an extremely underrated player, and explain why. Instead he'd claim he was the best defenceman in hockey, which I'm sure he didn't actually believe himself.

He loved American players, and tended to overrate them. He was very negative towards whatever player was making the most money.

As mentioned earlier, he went off the deep end during the 2004 lockout.

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03-06-2013, 06:58 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Fischler seemed to take Edmonton's dethroning of the Islanders personally. I'm not sure if he still does, but his stuff from the 80's is constantly trying to diminish Gretzky's accomplishments and just run down the Oilers in general. Just an overall lack of professionalism in some of his "opinions". At some point, even an opinion becomes too outlandish to be considered valid and it is clear the author is just trying to be a contrarian to stir people up.

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03-06-2013, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
If that's the case, that's probably why nobody respects him. We rely on historians for accuracy and wisdom, not controversy.
I disagree. Historians can hold whatever bizarre opinions that they want, as long as there's one foot on the truth at all times. And if said opinion can be defended and seen by a reasonable person with an opposing viewpoint, everything's good.

I think in Fischler's case, he liked making empirical statements about things that you simply can't make empirical statements about. I can't knock him for that; I do the same thing on here constantly. But the complete inability to defend those? That's another story entirely.

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03-06-2013, 08:13 PM
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I spoke with a former NHLer who currently works as a broadcaster who didn't have a very high opinion of Stan Fischler. I think the issue with him (and someone like Larry Brooks or Al Strachan) is that they come off as condescending know-it-alls who think they know more than the people directly involved in the game.

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03-06-2013, 08:20 PM
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After the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and it was mentioned that Doug Brown was not going to be on the team I remember Fischler in an old Hockey News article saying: "Now the chances of the Red Wings repeating are as likely as Tie Domi winning the Lady Byng." I read that three times to make sure I understood it. What in the world did Doug Brown have to do with that Cup win? It was a strange comment. Brown stayed with the Wings however and won again in 1998, but wasn't a big part of it.

It was comments like that which turned me off from Fischler. It bothers me when a person is making a living covering the game I love and they use their platform for nothing but nonsensical quotes to garner attention rather than thought provoking analysis.

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03-06-2013, 09:17 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Do you think it was deliberate? Being in the overcrowded New York metropolitan market like that maybe he always felt he had to be loud, abrasive at times, in peoples faces, suggesting nonsense like the aforementioned "Milburys' better than Bourque" in order to garner attention to the sport & to himself?.... maybe he really didnt know what he was talking about, totally subjective, picking a Milbury over Bourque because he didnt like the fact that Ray had a full & luxurious head of hair & he, Stan, did not. Whatever.... perhaps a fondness for pure grain alcohol with a dash of branch? Morning or evening drive, pretty much juiced from 6-9am, liquid lunch, good to go for the 4-6pm time slot as well. What say ye' Dennis?
Absofreakinlutely.

Fondness for seeing his name in print, and later his face on the little screen, now on the bigger screen.

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03-06-2013, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
After the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and it was mentioned that Doug Brown was not going to be on the team I remember Fischler in an old Hockey News article saying: "Now the chances of the Red Wings repeating are as likely as Tie Domi winning the Lady Byng." I read that three times to make sure I understood it. What in the world did Doug Brown have to do with that Cup win? It was a strange comment. Brown stayed with the Wings however and won again in 1998, but wasn't a big part of it.

It was comments like that which turned me off from Fischler. It bothers me when a person is making a living covering the game I love and they use their platform for nothing but nonsensical quotes to garner attention rather than thought provoking analysis.
Like the legendary "Patrick Roy might be worth his salary if it were paid out in Confederate dollars"?

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03-06-2013, 09:32 PM
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I disagree. Historians can hold whatever bizarre opinions that they want, as long as there's one foot on the truth at all times. And if said opinion can be defended and seen by a reasonable person with an opposing viewpoint, everything's good.
Seems like Fischler held bizarre opinions, knowing they were bizarre, only because they were bizarre. He smeared his attention-whoring all up the underpants of hockey history. And now that his name is canon, we have to pretend he's worth listening to. Bad!

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03-06-2013, 09:40 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Jagorim Jarg View Post
Seems like Fischler held bizarre opinions, knowing they were bizarre, only because they were bizarre. He smeared his attention-whoring all up the underpants of hockey history. And now that his name is canon, we have to pretend he's worth listening to. Bad!
... post of the year right there so far!

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