Editor’s note: We don’t always get everything right here at RMNB, and we don’t always have the perspective to deal with the criticism we get. For that reason, we’ve asked Eric Fingerhut to act as an independent critic of our work and to keep us honest and accountable. Here comes the RMNB Ombudsman.
Hi, I’m Eric Fingerhut and you may know me from my incessant (some would even say tiresome) criticism of the Washington Post Sports section. I am the new ombudsman at Russian Machine Never Breaks, which means I’ll be providing a monthly critique of the site — as well as hopefully providing a voice for some of the complaints of readers. What are my qualifications for this new post? Well, I’ve been a fan of the Caps since the days of Guy Charron and Bernie Wolfe, I like to write criticism and, most importantly, Peter and Ian asked me if I’d be interested in the position and I said yes.
So let’s start with how RMNB handled the most controversial move of the Caps’ offseason, the signing of Brooks Orpik to what this website called an “insane” five-year, $27.5 million deal. I think the site’s initial response to the contract was similar to the first reactions of many Caps fans — even the biggest supporters of Brooks Orpik would have to acknowledge that signing a 34-year-old defensive defenseman to a five –year deal for more than $5 million each year in a salary-capped sport is a questionable move. And RMNB backed up their strong opinion with solid analysis — Peter had a great post on the day of the signing contrasting what Ted Leonsis and Brian MacLellan had said just a few weeks earlier about things such as the importance of puck possession and the danger in signing aging veterans to long-term contracts, and then noted how the Brooks Orpik signing seemed to undermines everything they had so recently professed to believe. A later post speculating on how the defense might line up – and how someone is going to make lots of money to play third-pair minutes – was also quite interesting.