Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Islanders bar blogger

Here is the story that appeared in Thursday's newspaper regarding the Islanders' decision to bar Chris Botta of the popular NYI Point Blank blog from its practices and games.

Alas, space restrictions caused some of the context to land on the cutting room floor, and there still are holes in this story, including a comment from the NHL, which I am awaiting.

Calling Botta merely a "blogger" is misleading itself, because given his connections to the organization after working there for 20 years through 2008 and given the breadth of his media outlets he is a far cry from one of the citizen bloggers who cover the team.

Botta is the senior NHL writer for AOL Fanhouse, last season covering national events such as the Winter Classic, Western Conference finals and Stanley Cup finals.

Starting this year Point Blank also is part of SNY's lineup of blogs covering local teams.

Furthermore, both the Rangers and Devils have issued him season credentials.

I'm no expert on the Islanders beat and don't profess to follow Botta's coverage on a day-to-day basis, but from my limited vantagepoint it has seemed tough but fair.

The Islanders' decision also is strange given the limited coverage the team gets these days. Botta's blog probably is second only to Newsday as a source of independent information about the Isles for fans.

I will keep you updated on this matter as details become available, including whether or not the NHL can or will do anything about it, which it probably can't, given that during the regular season it is up to teams to decide what journalists to credential.

The Islanders say Fanhouse and SNY are welcome to cover the team, just not with Botta. An SNY video crew working with Botta was turned away from Islanders practice Tuesday.

Tags: Islanders

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