Voila_Capture985As we told you the other day, in an effort to cut costs CSN outlets around the country will begin using local freelancers in place of embedded beat reporters for select road games. It’s not a terrible idea, seeing as though a typical game recap can be written from a basement somewhere, saving thousands on travel (and wine) expenses. But it certainly goes against CSN’s all-access, Insider shtick. So, I thought it would be fun to Meet Your Beat the first few times CSN farms out coverage of your local teams.

Last night, freelancer, Buffalo FC co-owner and former sports talk radio host Nicholas Mendola, who uses pictures of Sabres players as cover photos on two separate Facebook accounts…


… was your Flyers reporter for CSN Philly, for their game against the Sabres.

He did a good job, though. Mendola’s prose was better than Tim Panaccio’s usually stilted list of quotes that masquerades as a useful game recap, and tapping him for the spot-start coverage was certainly cheaper than sending a reporter to Buffalo. [You can compare Mendola’s recap to Panaccio’s most recent work.]

This latest push to save money makes you wonder if CSN will decline to renew Panaccio’s contract when it expires in August (I’m told he makes six figures) and instead use Sarah Baicker as their main Flyers beat, relying more heavily on local freelancers for road games. We’ll see.

I’m no Panaccio fan, and I honestly think someone like Mendola can churn out a game recap just as well, but there is something to be said for having a longtime reporter travel with the team. Panaccio breaks more news than any other Flyers beat writer, for better or worse, and relying on total outsiders to cover the team (for a major sports outlet like CSN!) means even less news and more generic coverage.