Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hockey Rumors?
It's August, and news the hockey world is about as hard to come by as an occupied seat at a Pittsburgh Pirates' autograph session.
Signings, re-signings, trades, contract negotiations, and coaching staff hiring/firing has all but ended for every team. Still, Bleacher Report's hockey section is beginning to look more and more like Hockeybuzz.com with each passing hour.
I'm not sure if I stand alone on this, or if I am preaching to the choir, but I just can't take it anymore.
All summer long we've been bombarded with "Mats Sundin Eats Three Whoppers While Considering Retirement" and "Here's a List of 79 Random Everyday Tasks, but Mats Sundin is Somehow Not a Normal Person and Has Never Done Any of These Things Because He is a Professional Hockey Player...Until Now...Maybe."
It's not just Sundin, either. How about the latest rumors on Marian Gaborik, Scott Gomez, Anze Kopitar, Brian Gionta, or Michael Nylander? Or back in the beginning of summer when "Jagr wasn't going anywhere."
You don't have to buy into everything you read, especially from a site full of two-bit jokes like Hockeybuzz, and you certainly don't have to reproduce every rumor you hear into an article that makes it sound like you just got off the phone with Sundin himself.
The notion of the "inside source" is the ultimate "I just made this up while taking a huge dump in the bathroom and I need to sound legit so people think I'm cool" remark. You don't have an inside source. You are an amateur writer for Bleacher Report. Your great uncle's third cousin who works in the Maple Leafs' ticket office doesn't count as an inside source.
You've got this Eklund joke pumping out mediocre articles on a daily basis, offering so many various possibilities that somewhere along the line one of them has to be right, thus creating a false sense of "Eklund is a friggin' hockey psychic" amongst his readers.
The guy is known as the "Anonymous Hockey Blogger," a dead giveaway that he knows he is a joke and doesn't want to be harassed by the normal fans who rely on credible sources such as newspapers, league websites, team websites, or an official announcement for their news.
But, "ooh, ooh, Eklund is on a real website though, so what he says must be true." Yeah, and Mike Emrick is also on a "real" television network, but does that make him a good announcer?
It's not just hockey either, we all remember the Brett Favre Rumor Saga that bombarded our televisions and computers with ridiculous rumors about what Brett Favre would do before next season.
These guys say stuff like "the word on the inside, through talking, texting, and e-mailing...". Alright, so you're telling me that Joe Blow Blogger has the ability to tap into Brett Favre's e-mail account, or intercept (no pun intended, I like Favre) his text messages out of cyberspace? Gimme a break.
I understand that during the dog days of summer, it can be hard to come up with a topic to write about, so we turn to making stuff up. I'm not saying that rumors are wrong 100 percent of the time, I'm just saying that they aren't right 100 percent of the time—therefore they are a waste of time.
People get so fired up about this trade, that signing, or this retirement and so many different opinions, predictions, and reasonings are thrown out, that when the action is finally taken, most people just don't give a damn anymore.
I can honestly say that I do not care whether Mats Sundin ends up sitting on his couch at the start of next season in New York, Vancouver, Montreal, or serving beer at a truck stop in Toronto.
It's sad to say because I do not dislike Sundin, in fact, I have always had the utmost respect for him and regarded him as one of the best centers of his era. However, by no fault of his own, he has become a scab, an annoyance, and we all have the media, both "professional" and amateur, to thank for it.
I'm a huge proponent of making predictions, or asking "what do you think" about any topic to spark a debate. But, when I see anyone besides a team official or the player involved in a specific deal claiming to know what is happening between the player and the team, it just irks me.
Give me a direct quote, let me hear some audio, show me a recorded interview, give me something more substantial than "the word on the inside."
The "word on the inside" most closely refers to the words floating around on the inside of these rumor-mongers' craniums, attempting to mesh together into something that sounds like it is fact, but in reality, it couldn't hit fact in the ass with a bass fiddle.
Thankfully, this summer of rumors is slowly starting to come to an end. Maybe next week we'll all find out what Mats Sundin would like his wife to make him for breakfast on September 5, 2015. Or perhaps what color ski cap Scott Gomez is planning on wearing when he returns to Alaska next summer.
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