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Nick's Net

And now a message from the riverbank

An update for those of you that are still here.

In Feb. 2014, I started a hockey blog (this is it).

In June 2014, I actually started doing things with it (I posted my mock draft for the first round).

By the time my sophomore year of college rolled around, two more friends joined the circus.

If you’ve been a fan since then, you probably know how exciting this time of year tends to be.

I’ve been behind all year, though. I don’t know if it’s just regular burnout or what, but I haven’t been able to turnover as much content as I had hoped to create for you to enjoy, squabble at or completely ignore.

Usually, I’m able to stay on top of standings and roster forecasts throughout the season in addition to team-by-team season previews before the first puck is even dropped. That didn’t exactly happen this season.

Sure, I wrote 32 team previews, but I wasn’t able to stay on top of plugging in numbers into a spreadsheet, then making a graphic to provide a visual aid in addition to some written analysis on a lot of things during the 2021-22 season.

If you’ve liked that stuff in the past, I’m sorry for letting you down at all.

If you’ve instead liked the other things I’ve done outside my own blog this season, then that’s neat too, I guess.

I’ve been making more podcast appearances and fully fledging out a regular return to my own show where sometimes we go more in depth and other times we get sidetracked by good tangents.

When you interview someone, you’re supposed to think of about three key questions you want to get at and ideally you only ask one of them before letting things go where they will among follow-ups and asides. The best podcast episodes work similarly in that they’re the ones where you don’t adhere entirely to a script or an outline.

I’m also quite grateful to have co-hosts again. Nobody wants to hear me talk to myself for any amount of time.

Trust me.

If you’ve followed me at any point within the last four years, you know that I’ve been unemployed. If you didn’t know that— surprise(!)— you know now.

It’s frustrating when it happens to anyone— and it will happen to everyone at some point— some bout of uncertainty between jobs.

It’s even more frustrating when it becomes long-term. All the advice— helpful or not— and the million miles of silence that follows.

You become invisible. It doesn’t matter how much you shout into the void.

Messages go unreturned. Friends stop reaching out.

So, while a return to 82 games this season has been welcome, it’s also amplified the silence in all directions.

At times throughout the season, I’ve asked myself “why am I doing this?”

Not in the “I think I might want to change careers” sense, but rather the “how much longer will I go on spending money on my own blog?” sense.

In 2014, Down the Frozen River was about crafting a voice and getting into a routine— becoming acclimated to the Internet gazing over my shoulder at my thought processes and then some.

Here, have another cookie while you’re at it (I swear I’m not tracking you and I have no interest in your shopping preferences, YouTube consumption and more).

Eight years later, it’s still my sandbox, but it’s (hopefully) more refined. Bits of sea glass could be found in there if you go looking.

But I don’t know how much longer I have it in me.

Something’s got to change, because— clearly— I’m still unemployed, right?

Now I’m not talking about the copious notes I jot down from game-to-game. That’ll always continue.

The shot charts you don’t see behind the scenes and more will stay hidden for my own enjoyment and/or professional use.

I’ve always planned to leave the website up for a year after I’m done with it, though the degree to which it will be publicly available depends on employment.

No, this isn’t a new job announcement.

I wish it were, because then it’d be easier to explain.

A year ago, I tried writing for another outlet that informed me I’d be compensated for my work.

I was never paid.

Don’t take any position for the sake of “exposure”. If something is free, you’re the product.

It’s not worth arguing about right now.

I’d rather write for myself in my sandbox than write for someone else that’s just trying to make a quick buck.

I’d also rather forge something entirely brand new or creative if the interests align with the explicit consent of what the end goal might look like (everyone gets paid, nobody gets paid, something gets made, etc.).

I’ve always liked the quirkiness of sports and sports fandom and that’s why I gravitate to things like Secret Base, The ScorchStack and in the old days, Grantland and Days Of Y’Orr.

I might not understand all of the inside jokes, but I know there’s one to be had or whatever.

Anyway, I think I’m done with writing recaps.

For now, at least.

I’ll still tweet and I’ll be taking notes on every game. I just won’t rush to write however many words on every little detail from it.

Maybe I’ll start a newsletter or something next season that’s a bit more of a weekly roundup and commentary than rehashing what happened from night-to-night.

But game-to-game Bruins musings? That’s coming to an end.

I’m happy to hop on a daily podcast or a Boston centric show more frequently as I’ve already been making plenty of guest appearances on Brews & Bruins in addition to appearances on Locked on Flames within the last couple of seasons on top of my own show.

I took two nights off this season, but I still watched all 82 regular season games and the seven postseason games after that.

Yeah, so maybe it is burnout?

When a former Florida Panthers coach was allowed to be behind the bench for one more game prior to resigning I chose not to write a recap and instead focus on the absurdity of the moment.

Absurdity isn’t even the right word.

It should’ve never been allowed to happen.

The only other game I didn’t write about this season was when I finally made my return to TD Garden for the first time since Feb. 25, 2020. Back then, the now still ongoing global pandemic had yet to be declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Colorado Avalanche were finally in town after the game was postponed from December to February due to a COVID-19 outbreak across the league that kicked off an expanded Christmas break as a result.

That might have been the last time I saw Patrice Bergeron play in person.

(As it is, the game before that was the last time I saw David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask play in a Bruins uniform, let alone in their NHL careers.)

Thankfully he scored a goal that afternoon– just as he did in the first game I ever went to when I was nine-years-old– Game 2 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Montréal Canadiens.

I’m 27 now. Not to make anyone feel old or anything.

I hope I’ll get a next time, though I wouldn’t be opposed to working alongside Bergeron instead if that’s a consolation prize of some sort.

If you’ve made it this far, first of all congratulations and thank you. I had thought about making this a Twitter thread.

You’re welcome for the fact that I didn’t go through with that.

I’ve been writing recaps of Bruins games on my own blog because it gave me something to do other than write cover letters all day and night for the last four years.

I’ve been blogging about the sport for twice as long as that in general.

I’ve also been podcasting for the last seven years for better or worse.

Not to get too sentimental here, but I don’t have a lot of friends. No, I don’t have a lot of enemies either. I just sort of exist— if that.

Is it a product of my introversion? Did I ever learn how to make friends in the first place? Am I just not “cool” enough? Is this a reason why I haven’t been hired anywhere yet?

Is there a friend requirement that you’re not telling me about in order to advance in this simulation?

I was told in middle school that I “didn’t belong here in hockey” because of course a lot of people are told that. We’re really still doing this gatekeeping thing, huh?

A fun thing has happened over the years as a result of this blog and hockey Twitter.

Suddenly I have friends.

I’ve even hung out with them in person— complete strangers that I’ve only known by their “@” handle prior to shaking hands or beating them in bocce.

Now even The ScorchStack follows me— I guess this means I’m invited to Calgary sometime (and I will hold that to them, thank you very much).

That’s helped put the specter of being unemployed at ease.

Somewhat.

Not a whole lot, admittedly, since I wake up every day thinking about it and going to bed still thinking about it. Head empty, just existential crisis vibes.

I stopped counting the number of applications I’ve submitted after I crossed the 300-threshold. It gets pretty depressing beyond that, to be frank.

Even more so when you consider that in the last four years, I’ve had three interviews.

Yep. Three.

Robby Gordon had three wins in 396 NASCAR Cup Series starts from 1991-2012, so I’m about as successful as he was in a stock car, but an interview doesn’t exactly equate with a win, now, doesn’t it?

To “win” in being unemployed is to— you know— get hired somewhere.

None of my interviews since my last job have led to any second interviews, by the way.

I even flew down on a last-minute trip— booking a one-way ticket on a Wednesday before flying and crashing on my friend’s couch Friday night for an interview the next morning a couple of years ago around the halfway point of my long-term unemployment status.

I did everything that you’re told to do afterwards including sending a “thank you” note.

Despite this, I never heard back. Then the pandemic began.

All the jobs I was used to seeing from March through August disappeared and few came back online when the bubbles started across men’s professional sports leagues in North America.

This month alone marks one year since my last phone interview.

My undergrad academic advisor described me as a “model student for anyone looking to attain a communication degree with a focus on making it in the sports industry”.

I’m not so sure when it is you get to say that you’ve made it.

For me it’ll be when I raise the Stanley Cup over my head.

The next logical step is applying to grad school— something my academic advisor asked me if I had any interest in the last time we met back in 2016, though we both agreed that it’d be best to have a genuine intrigue and a want to do more beyond simply just being hired somewhere and growing in a professional setting.

In other words, I didn’t want to write more research papers.

It’s not that I can’t. I just wanted to work— you know, at a job. The very thing that eludes me since my last internship ended, which— in the process— capped off three years of live sports production in TV and radio.

Now, the next step is adding grad school applications to the numerous job applications I fill out regularly.

If I don’t get in, I’ll only be further invisible.

And “fitting in” is something I’ve never felt. Reject conformity.

Different is the only normal.

Not every path is straight.

Thank you if you’ve been following along since 2014, this season or even as recent as the moment you clicked on this because someone you know retweeted it for some reason.

Thank you especially to Cam Davis and Sean Reilly for joining the podcast as co-hosts this season and beyond.

Thanks, as well, to Jess Belmosto, Jessica Lindsey, Chris Gere, Cam Hasbrouck, Drew Johnson, Cat Silverman, Brock McGillis, Pete Blackburn, Ty Anderson, Connor Keith, Colby Kephart and others that I’m sure I’m completely unintentionally forgetting right now for being my go-to’s regarding hockey, career and/or life advice.

If you need me, I’ll be trying to talk positively about myself in about 500-1,000 words so that I can get into a graduate program somewhere by the fall.

Oh, and still applying to “real” jobs in the meantime as well.

Just in case the content slows down around here as the weather warms up.

By Nick Lanciani

Three years in live sports production (TV/radio), a degree in communication, a minor in sport management and yet I paint things in my spare time to distract myself from my unemployment. Anyway, I write stuff on Down the Frozen River, make/appear on podcasts, used to write stuff for Couch Guy Sports and still apply to jobs for a living.