Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Turn And Face The Strange CH...CH...Changes (A Canadiens Blogsite Metamorphosis)

Dear readers and supporters of this site,

It is with much excitement, anxious nervousness, and a regret or two, that I am announcing that Eyes On The Prize, as it has been known in this space for over two years, will be going dormant in about three weeks time.

This is not bad news!

I have been asked, recruited as such, by James Mirtle of Sports Blog Nation, to act as the Montreal Canadiens blogger at their rapidly growing site. James, and SB Nation, are building something big online, and the hockey community at the site is just getting ready to launch.

I will be one of 30 team bloggers, proudly representling your 100 year old Habs!

Sports Blog Nation looks to be an incredible opportunity, and I am thrilled to have been asked to be a part of it.

I'm beside myself actually, and the fidgety dude next to me either has a woody or needs to take a bad piss!

Kidding aside, this is the kind of serious thing that turns a hobby into a longer term deal. I like it a lot.

Having put in two years of my time's work and effort into EOTP, the decision was anything but simple at first. As friends have been made throught this space, and reader relationships have blossomed into efforts such as the Habs Inside Out fan summit that I helped with, I wanted certain assurances from James and SB Nation that what I do here is what I will continue to do for them.

After much back and forth with Mr. Mirtle, I'm happy to inform you all that this site name, its archives, all links and overall feel will all be migrated and reproduced at Sports Blog Nation. That was especially important to me, as I believed that would have been loyal readers of this site's biggest concerns as well.

What will differ is that the content will be hosted on their template and the look will be adorned with advertisements that generate revenue.

This will be, after all, a paying gig!

The new site will also be hosted at a new address, and once the move is made, a page notifying all readers of the new digs will be posted for easy transition.

Between now and the date of the move, this site will remain active with content on the Canadiens.

I feel quite fortunate to get in on the ground floor on the SB Nation endeavor, and there are a great many people that deserve my thanks and respect.

Matt Gauthier of Habs World and the Habs Inside Out crew have been essential to the popularity and growth of this site. Mike Boone and Dave Stubbs have been especially kind to me, giving certain pieces of mine headline status. Without the privelege of their sites to link my pieces, I doubt that I could have reached the audience I have in such a short life span. I wouldn't even consider moving on without continuing to bring my content to their homes, and that is a promise I intent to honour.

The Canadiens bloggosphere is an incredibly tight and supporting one. In addition to HIO and Habs World, Four Habs Fans, Lions In Winter, and Dennis Kane have always been part of the army for me. Not only have they always supported this blog with comments, links and friendship, they have supplied me with hours of interesting reading and thought provoking insight on the Canadiens. It has been fun to exist as part of their creative diversity. Once I'm settled in the new digs, my support of their work will continue on.

There are two other allies of this site that have always felt like compadres to me. From the early going, Joe Pelletier of Hockey's Greatest Legends has been not only a fan, but a friend and a resource as well. This site was a tiny speck on the net when Joe came along and helped disect and sort what was good about it. I was going in too many directions at once back then, and Joe's encouraging words were defining moments.

T.C. Denault, who writes for both Habs World and The Hockey News, could very well be my missing twin in both conscience and steps. We cheer alike, think in tandem at times, and write of similar notions with equal goals in mind. He's also been an invaluable compass for me in what I do, often challenging me to think more than he knows. I often have to read what T.C.'s latest musings are, as to not duplicated it myself. This gig I am set to embark on could just as easily and justifiably been his.

To all the readers over two years who have dropped by with comments, encouraging words and kindness, I thank you. There are many of you, and a listing of names inevitably leaves others out, so suffice to say that if you have dropped a line here and have been answered, it is because your words gave me a lift and a needed boost. It's never been something I took lightly.

One final appreciative nod.

It has happened on occasion that other sports hub sites have asked me to join their ranks. I've had both the generic and personal requests. It is quite possible even, that an e-mail from SBN was junked without realizing what I was doing. However, receiving a personal e-mail out of the blue from James Mirtle is akin for me to being pricked with a needle while dozing off.

From his first words, James seemed very intent, and referred that I came highly recommended by peers. Of course, that made me inquisitive!

A little later in our conversation, James revealed that it was in fact Pension Plan Puppets, a damn good Maple Leafs blog that holds no prisoners, who were campaigning for me. As James puts it, "It was PPP... he's been pushing me to get you onboard forever."

I guess there's hope for Middle East peace yet!

Seriously, PPP is a great blog for Leafs fans with no delusions. The site has often sent me good amounts of traffic and I never quite understood why. I hadn't spoken with PPP in a good while, but we never tried tearing each other's heads off when we did. We might just be the last two Leafs and Habs fans who respect each other - at least until this Saturday!

Joking aside, this man did me a good turn. I have a long memory for such things.

Finally, to explain why I am posting this weeks before the move, let me just say that I am somewhat of a transparent person, and it would be uncool for me to pretend or otherwise just one day shut down and reappear elsewhere. Honestly - you can tell - I'm excited about this. I couln't wait to share the news!

I've always wanted my site to have a personal touch. After having had the opportunity and privelege to shake hands with those who read and enjoy this site (Hello my HIO Summiteer friends!), the personal touch becomes imperative for me.

This note is just my way of stating that it will continue. After all, you readers out there, are my true employer.

Going off to new places is often a scary adventure. There's a ride waiting, and I'm a hitch hiker.

Readers - thanks for the lift!

When virtual rigormortis sets in, this post will permanently reappear to redirect readers to the new link.



Anvilcloud said...

Good for you: well deserved.

24 Cups said...

Robert - Who better to lead true Hab fans through the electronic metamorphasis of our never ending communications journey on the world wide web. All the best to a man who is truly deserving. "Time may change me, but I can't trace time". Always remember your Canadien roots and the love of the game and you'll do just fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert!

Congrats man! You deserve this and you will do great. I'll be subscribing to your new blog of course and will continue to follow your unique and informative thoughts on our fabled Habs!

Maurice R

Geoffrey said...

Hey Robert,

Fantastic news for you and congrats. I have been reading here for a long time and have commented a few times. You could tell that you have a talent for this and it was only a matter of time before you got your due. All the hard work paid off. Congrats!!!

Anonymous said...

Good Luck! I look forward to continuing to read your great work!
Klondike Habs Fan

Doug said...

congratulations, robert. I couldn't be more happy for you. Good luck. . . and huge praise coming from James Mirtle, who I think had (and therefore likely will have) the best general hockey blog out there.

Doug (from Habsinsideout)

doug said...

oh, and make sure that mirtles gets you an editor. it's metamorphosis. . . and no more sloppiness now that you're big time! ;) doug

Anonymous said...

excellent, congratulations Robert

Earl Knipfel(ebk)

Habsfan10 said...

Congrats, Robert. Couldn't have happened to a better Habs blog. Keep your less reputable Habs bloggers in mind when you go to the big leagues!

Anonymous said...

Great news Robert!

It's good to see that you have been rewarded for doing something that for so long has been just a labour of love for you.

I have no doubt you will be very successful, and I look forward to reading more.

The Teacher

cautiousoptimist said...

Congratulations Robert!!

Robert L said...

Thanks my friends, your words and encouragement mean a great deal to me. I hope to remain myself, and retain much of what this site has been in a differenr enviroment. It'll be fun - I'm charged up!

Anonymous said...


As a faithful reader, (I stumbled upon your blog about a year and a half ago through HW). I wish you continued success as you inform us Canadien fans with the thoughtful insight that we enjoy.



Anonymous said...


~ moeman

HabsGB said...

I've been soaking up your coverage of nos habitants for two seasons now, though I wish I had come across you before. I am English to all intents and purposes, but my father lived in Montreal until the mid fifties (I like to think my blood runs red, white and blue!), so whereas most people live and breathe for the likes of Big George's other club, I sometimes think I may possibly be unique over here for my utter devotion to the Canadiens!

Considering the time difference and limited media availabilty on offer to us over here it isn't as easy as rolling down St. Laurent to 'Champs'. Anyone as mad as me has to make do with sitting awake till three in the morning clinging to the edge of the sofa strangely transfixed to the tinny commentaries spun from CJAD... Having to go to bed immediately afterwards it really is make or break whether or not I wake up with a kick in my step !

As someone who can only watch ten or so games a season, my opinion on who's had a good game, who's slacked off or who's developing into a solid member of the team outside of the stats, is largely down to your articles. For this I am truly grateful, and you can also take credit in helping me to confound most Canadians I meet with my hockey/Habs chat !!

I find the NHL.com coverage very generic. I like to compare what the other teams are saying about us, and their view of the game before and after the match, but it's all the same on the NHL site, and they all share the same format too, which might make sense behind the scenes I suppose, but it lacks personality and real fan passion, unless of course you're a Ducks fan !!

I think this new site sounds great, and I am sure Mr Mirtle didn't need his Timmins equivalant to know he landed the top of the draft !!

Cheers Robert, I'll miss Habsworld in name, but I am looking forward to catching you up chez Mirtle !

RetroMIkey said...

I also want to congratulate you as well. I have always enjoyed your hard work and dedication to sharing your wonderful stories of the most famous sports team on this planet.
I started last year on your blog and I look forward to it everyday what wonderful stories you have to share Robert whether it be the story of our beloved Habs or stories of your daughter's hockey team to stories of yourself when you were in a movie for example (what was that skit you were in that you shared with us on youtube?).
I really hope to meet you one day Robert and share a drink or two as well, we are almost the same in age as well my friend and I would love to share my Habs stories with you will find amusing as well.
But if you are ever in Hamilton, you are welcome to stay anytime at my place and I hope you do come and I will treat you to a Hamilton Bulldogs game as well Robert!
Respect my friend!

Wamsley said...

Congrats, you worked your ass off for the opportunity, it is well deserved.


Topham said...

Congratulations Robert.

I echo the sentiments of all the other commenters. I hope that SB Nation can find blogs as good as yours to cover the other NHL teams.

Consequently, does this mean you'll be more focused on the present than the past? I hope we won't be missing out on your historical perspective.

Look forward to following you at the new address.


Robert L said...

Topham, thanks for your kind words, and for bringing up that very pertinent question.

I discussed that matter quite a bit with James Mirtle, and he has repeatedly assured me that I can post the content I desire.

I may delve a little more into current things and recent games played, as it generates the most interest, but the historical outlook is part and parcel of what comes with it. I can't help that it is what I do and how I think.

It's a great season for both to go hand in hand.

Dennis Kane said...

Robert, good for you! Good luck.
And thanks a lot for turning people on to my site. Thanks for a very unselfish act.
Dennis Kane

CheGordito said...

Robert -

Congratulations. The paying gig is very well deserved, and I'm glad an archive of this site will be maintained.

I look forward to keenly following your thoughts on the new blog. You're my favourite blogger and I hope you'll get a specific RSS feed so I can track when you're writing.

If you have any influence, will you ask them to enable anonymous comments on the new blog? I understand that the site might receive junk comments, but for me it's too much of a hassle - another sign-in, another password, giving yet more people access to my personal information - and I think the bloggers at the site will miss out on spontaneous thoughts that may be contributed by someone drawn to the site for the first time.

All the best.