The Corona Virus sucks. It’s turned the maestro into the Bubble Boy from Seinfeld, caused nationwide panic, and now looks as though it’ll change media availability for the forseeable future. Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is set to become the first of numerous leagues -with the NBA, MLB, and Major League Soccer to follow- to implement a Centers for Disease Control recommendation to ban media from dressing rooms as a means of media availability, opting instead for such interactions to occur in the formal press conference area:
Starting today, @NHL will close dressing rooms to media, on recommendation of Centers for Disease Control (@CDCgov) in effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. NBA, MLB + MLS are expected to follow. Media availabilities will be conducted in formal press conference area.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 7, 2020
Depending on which side of the COVID-19 debate you fall, this might seem like a nothingburger or the signal of the end of days. From a fan’s perspective, this shouldn’t change all that much in how players are presented via the NBC Sports Philadelphia telecast. As it stands, they typically show a couple of questions asked in a given scrum, with some players’ availabilities not being shown at all. The same can be said for head coach Alain Vigneault’s press conference, which is why I livestream the presser in its entirety on Twitter.
From a media member’s perspective, the announcement is a bummer on a few levels. Entering the dressing room after a game allows us to get a vibe for the team’s takeaway on their performance, but more importantly it allows us to have off-the-record conversations with the players. Those conversations are a critical element to adding validity or dispelling rumors. In doing so, that helps any reporter build trust and rapport with players. Will it fundamentally change how I cover the team? No. It just means those lines of communication will have to be established and conducted through different mediums.
The real shame is we won’t get to see Anthony SanFilippo’s mug making international news on TSN’s Sportscentre with Jay and Dan:
If the NHL upholds this media availability ban in the locker rooms, we're going to miss out on beautiful moments like this: https://t.co/312kOetsKY
— Russ Joy (@JoyOnBroad) March 7, 2020
And me, I guess:
— #JayAndDan (@JayAndDan) February 21, 2020
For more Flyers coverage, follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy provide pregame and intermission coverage of every Flyers home game from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts Follow @SnowTheGoalie Follow @AntSanPhilly Follow @JoyOnBroad