Berger Backtracks

I don’t want to make too many sports media bashing posts here (and I could make a lot) but I figured I’d post one now and again to try and show why the mainstream hockey media is something to be read for amusement only, and not for any real informative information.

Howard Berger is the Fan590 reporter who covers the Maple Leafs on a daily basis and he also writes a hockey blog at In his current post he tries to take credit for making a lot of intelligent predictions prior to the season beginning.

I had a strong suspicion heading into the season that Darcy Tucker might enjoy a breakout year – going so far as to suggest he could hit the 35-goal mark if healthy through the bulk of the schedule. That would represent an 11-goal increase over his season-best total of 24. Many people, including my colleague and good friend at The Fan-590, Bill Hayes, said they’d have to see that happen before they’d believe it, but I’m not backing off one bit.

This is funny because in August he was complaining about how little the Leafs had done to add scoring and that they would be severly offensively challenged. Here was his comments on Tucker on August 15th.

The No. 1 troika had Sundin centering Jeff O’Neill and Darcy Tucker. No argument with the Big Swede, or a healthy O’Neill. But, Tucker has hardly ever been used as a front-line winger in the NHL, even though he was a prolific scorer in Junior for the great Kamloops teams that won the Memorial Cup in 1992, ’94 and ’95; Tucker compiling 379 points in 223 regular-season games. His grit, and willingness to compete against bigger players in the NHL has made him an effective performer in most situations, but Tucker has not scored at the pace required of a first-line winger on a contending team.

In another post (which I cannot seem to locate) he went on to say that Tucker would likley be a first line winger but Tucker had only twice scored 20+ goals. I know he made this comment because I sent him an e-mail telling him that Tucker had in fact scored 20+ goals 4 times, not twice. Furthermore I told him that given the chance I thought that Tucker could score 30 goals.

Here is the actual e-mail I wrote him on August 30th.

Actually, Tucker has broken the 20 goal mark 4 times in his career, not twice as you wrote.

1998-99 – 21 with Tampa
1999-00 – 21 combined with Tamps (14) and Toronto(7)
2001-02 – 24 with Toronto
2003-04 – 21 with Toronto (in just 64 games)

I have confidence that Tucker can at least be a 30 goal scorer because if you recall at the beginning of last year (or when they last played) he played with Sundin and Mogilny and that trio was dynamite, especially on the PP. Because of that, despite only playing 64 games he had his most productive year on the PP with 8 goals and 12 points. Playing with Sundin will be a lot better for him than playing with Reichel.

I wonder if he will give my any credit for changing his mind on Tucker when Tucker does score 30+ goals. I suspect he won’t, but then I don’t really care. What I care about is that everyone out there reading this learns to take what people in the mainstream media say with a grain of salt and not as fact. Think for yourselves and come up with your own thoughts. That is what this blog, and most other blogs, is all about. The truth is out there, find it for yourself.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. I actually heard the radio program where Berger predicted this to Bill Hayes. The trouble with Berger is that he seems to make a different prediction every week.

    It seems that bloggers for the most part pride themselves on consistency of message and opinion – if we suddenly change our tune we know that the blogosphere will call us on it.

    Most of sports media seem to forget what they wrote even a week ago.

    Bergers column on that you quote from above also praises the Leafs – conviently forgetting that he predicted they would finish with 75 points earlier this year.

  2. Yes, he did say prior to the season that he thought Tucker could get 35 goals, but that was after bashing him for not being a first line winger, and only a 2=time 20 goal scorer and of course after I corrected him and explained to him that if he was playing with Sundin and not Reichel and on the power play instead of just penalty killing he’d certainly be capable of being a 30+ goal scorer. Of course, we all know that if Tucker had 1 goal and the Leafs 1 win at this point he would be coming out saying, I told you so and refer to his August doom and gloom predictions.

  3. Ahh, those lousy media leetches!

    I took Tucker in a couple of hockey pools, because, well, I watched him play all those years in Kamloops and I know full well he’s capable of more offensive production than Toronto has even used him for.

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