Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
NY hockey scribes boycott
The Rangers, Islanders and Devils chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted by a combined 17-3 to abstain from voting for the NHL’s 2010-11 player awards.
The action came in protest of the Islanders’ decision in November to revoke the credentials of blogger Chris Botta – and the league’s failure to overturn the move.
The NHL tried to mediate, but the Islanders would not budge. The league said teams issue credentials at their sole discretion. Botta previously was a long-time Islanders executive, but his relationship with the organization had soured.
The boycott began with the Rangers chapter voting 7-3 in favor of it. The Islanders and Devils chapters then voted 5-0 each.
The Islanders said in a detailed statement on their website that the “unprecedented action’’ would not directly hurt the organization or force a change in its stance.
Rather, the team said, only the players will suffer if the absence of votes from the New York area tilts elections in favor of players from elsewhere.
They cited in particular Michael Grabner, a frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, and Frans Nielsen, a potential Selke Trophy nominee.
“It is unfair to punish the players that had no direct impact on the decision made by the Islanders organization,’’ the team said.
Asked if the league is worried the boycott will affect the integrity of the voting, a spokesman said, “No.’'