Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 5 Dave Molinari Moments of 2010

By Eloquence

The GTOG team has been working hard during the holiday season to bring you some end-of-year lists of the most memorable moments from 2010.

Today, we're excited to share the top 5 Dave Molinari comments. We felt we had to do this and make it an annual tradition. This is a Pittsburgh Post Gazette hockey writer who, in 2009, grouped ancient Chinese dynasties together with the dynasties of the Canadians and Islanders to make his point about the patterns of history. Right. We don't know how to respond to that either.

What we do know is that this sort of high-energy, witty, and coherent journalism should not go uncelebrated.

In the Hall of Fame for a Reason
We hope you're sitting down (and have literally nothing else to do) during this ride with NHL Hall of Fame Penguins' beat writer, Mr. David Molinari. Here we go, after the jump...

5) Less is not more

We'll ease into the top 5 and start with classic Molinari: a really long awkward sentence that eventually makes a really simple point (some of the time). Here, Dave is answering a reader's question about the chances of Crosby scoring 50 in 50:
"So there, a pretty imposing list of reasons why Crosby won’t join Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky (three times), Brett Hull (twice), Mike Bossy and Maurice Richard as the only players in NHL history to score 50 goals in his team’s first 50 games, which is the official standard for 50-in-50.  Now, here’s a pretty good reason why maybe, just maybe, he’ll find a way to make it happen: You’d have an awfully hard time finding anyone who ever got wealthy betting against Sidney Crosby to accomplish anything."
Now I get it. Well put.

4) Dave, where are you taking us?
Sometimes Molinari strikes with a quick, pithy comment. Other times you think he's writing an essay for high school and has to reach a minimum number of words before turning it in to his teacher. This is the long-winded beat writer as his best. He starts an article with a comparison and then spends eight paragraphs debunking his own comparison as a bad one before getting to his point:
"Mario Lemieux kick-started his Hall of Fame career by scoring on his first NHL shot. On his first NHL shift.
Well, Dustin Jeffrey didn't duplicate that feat in the Penguins' 5-2 victory Saturday night at Buffalo, N.Y.
In some ways, he didn't really come close.
For starters, it was Jeffrey's 16th game in the NHL, although it was his first in 2010-11.
And he didn't get a goal until his second shift.
What's more, unlike Lemieux -- who beat Boston goalie Pete Peeters cleanly on a breakaway in 1984 -- Jeffrey didn't actually direct the puck past Ryan Miller of the Sabres with his stick. He confirmed after the game that Ben Lovejoy's pass struck his skate, not his stick.
So OK, Jeffrey's goal at 6:43 of the first period at HSBC Arena won't claim a prominent place in franchise lore, or become the stuff of hockey legend.
It was an awfully nice way to get his latest trip to the NHL started, though."
Ok, good, case closed: Jeffrey will not be the next Mario Lemieux.

3) Dave Molinari is not a doctor

Another Molinari trademark is the unnecessary clarification. He does this all the time. Here's one of his most "witty" of 2010, when a reader asked him in April if the Pens will make it past the first round:
(Of course, it's possible that all the elements of their game will come together once the playoffs begin. It's also possible that everyone reading this will win a lottery today. Neither seems like a particularly good bet at this point.)
If anyone is getting physically ill from watching the Penguins, the logical move -- being offered without benefit of a medical degree -- would be to stop watching. Some stresses in life can't be avoided; those caused by something that is supposed to provide a diversion from one's daily trials and tribulations don't make that list.
2) Refrigerator boxes under the bridge

This is where things start to get really fun. This entry comes from an interview Hall-of-Fame Dave did with Adam Perry of Beautiful Buzz, which writes about "music and more." Do yourself a favor and read until the final line. And then do yourself a favor and don't waste any time trying to understand where Molinari comes up with this stuff.

Adam Perry: Don Drysdale told George Plimpton in 1977 that he knew it was time to retire when a hard-hit Roberto Clemente line drive literally “took the skin off the top of his ear on its way to center field.” What exactly is retirement for a sportswriter and is it possible to, as the sports cliche goes, go out on top?
Dave Molinari: Seems to me that retirement for a sportswriter is the same as it is for people in most lines of work. We have much more in common, at least in terms of income, with the people who read our work than with the people about whom we write. I can only speak for myself, but I’m far more concerned about being able to work long enough to put my three children through college than I am about “going out on top,” whatever that means. My hunch is that most people in my line of work don’t even think about retiring until they have the financial security to do so. I can’t imagine that anyone thinks about quitting just because they’ve won some individual honor that might mark a high point in their career.
I can speak to that from personal experience. In 2009, I received the Elmer Ferguson Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame which, aside from a Pulitzer, is about the greatest individual honor to which I could aspire. It never once occurred to me that, having been awarded the Ferguson, I should walk away from the business. Wouldn’t have been particularly prudent, unless I could have persuaded my kids to give up eating and sold them on the merits of living in a refrigerator box under a bridge.

[Ed note: we didn't confirm the authenticity of this interview. But we have a hard time believing anyone else could come up with something like this.]

1) Needles in your eye and dancing with stars

And The #1 Molinari comment of 2010 comes from one of his Q&A installments and needs no set-up:

Q: Given that "Dancing With the Stars" has a penchant to have an active and/or retired sports stars in the cast each season, and given that Mario Lemieux had the knack of dancing around NHL defenders during his career, what do you think are the chances that Mario would like to do the show?
Sam, Bergenfield, N.J.
MOLINARI: About as good as the chances that he'll ask someone to jam knitting needles into his eyeballs within the next 15 seconds. ... No, come to think of it, if Lemieux were given the choice, he'd probably opt for the knitting needles.
We gave this entry the nod for the top spot because it's literally uncomfortable to read, amazing that an individual could come up with it, and that a newspaper could publish it.

And that's our top 5 Molinari Moments of 2010. This collection of journalistic gems has no equal. In the interview with Mr. Perry, when asked about his audience, Dave Molinari said:

I don’t claim to know what the audience expects from me; I simply try to provide information that I believe readers will find to be worthwhile, and to do it in an entertaining way. That’s the approach I’ve taken since my first day on the beat.
Indeed. We can't wait for 2011, Dave.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. After Dejan switched to the Pirates, I was pretty bummed about having to get my Pens news from the Big M. If it weren't for Shelly Anderson and Seth, I wouldn't visit PG at all.