Takin' a T/O with BT: Putting Ridiculous NHL Rumors on Ice

xx yySenior Writer IJuly 13, 2009

12 Jan 2002:  Center Sergei Fedorov #91 of the Detroit Red Wings whispers to right wing Kris Draper #33 during the NHL game against the Dallas Stars at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  The Red Wings defeated the Stars 5-2.\ Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NHLI\ Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon /NHLI/Getty Images

Just accept it. We're all strange.

Every single person has a voice inside them that screams for the impossible, a feeling that yearns for the unlikely, and a passion for the stretches of life.

If this wasn't true, then why would Michael Bay be allowed millions of dollars to make a movie about 100-foot transforming robots, and why would we all pay to see it? Why would the market of comic books have as much of a following as it does? Why would we sit through soap-operas when the main plot line deals with my second-cousin's twin brother sleeping with my step-mother who was in a coma for four years because she was supposed to marry my uncle, but his ex-wife came back into the picture and knocked her unconscious?

Because for every reality and for everything that keeps us grounded, we want something outrageous; something that could never happen, but keeps our minds turning just thinking about it.

Maybe this explains our addiction to rumors.

Every day when we go to our computers, it seems that there are at least 20 new "tidbits" as to what's going to happen in the world of sports: Who is signing where, which player is retiring or getting busted for trying to smuggle copious amounts of crushed Advil out of the country, and which team might be interested in trading for a disgruntled star.

It's gotten so out of hand that people have begun to make a lot of money out of this by reporting whatever they want.

The only problem is, they don't source it.

The most famous line in all of rumor-mongering is "according to my sources", which is almost always followed by "who chooses to remain unnamed at this time."

Is anonymity important?

In the world of professional sports, it certainly is. You can't go around showing your face in the media and spouting off about any player or else you'll end up with a tampering charge.

Just ask Ron Wilson.

The problem with not sourcing the rumor's home however, is that there's no proof that you have these sources. Unless you have specific "ins and outs" with a team that is at least publicly known (you've attended a few practices, talked to scouts or GMs for public interviews), then it's hard for anyone to believe that you actually have these "sources."

And that's another point at which we get into trouble.

People have become so wrapped up in their favorite teams and their idolized players, that they begin to take these rumors personally. Whether it's some schmuck producing Internet filth for reads or an accomplished journalist publishing a lead, if it's not to someone's liking, they'll slam it—which is exactly the kind of thing we've come to expect in this world of impersonal communication.

Thanks to people like Eklund who seem to be no more than you or I—simply fans—reliable people such as Darren Dreger of TSN are forced to deal with skepticism for everything they're told and allowed to pass on as a courtesy to those interested.

I make no secret about the fact I used to work for a rumors site. In fact, it's how I got my start in writing. However, without any team sources at that time, I was reserved to the fact that I was less of a reporter and rumor manager, and more of a "pass along" between places like TSN and Sportsnet, and our site.

But with everything I posted, there was a link along with it, so I lived and died by my source if they ended up being right or wrong. As it should be today, but isn't.

Now though, the source is nothing more than a phantom—someone that we think is there but aren't entirely sure—while the "reporter" is simply the man behind the curtain pulling all the strings, whether they're the right ones or not.

So it leaves us with only one thing left to do. To take the rumor for what it is and move on, because there isn't enough time in the day to spend concerned with people who can't do their job the right way.

Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with him you can do so through his profile or you can email him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. You can also check out his previous work in his archives.

Come this fall, Bryan will also be writing for Hockey54, the Face of the Game.