It’s almost March 3rd, and a perfect storm could be brewing. An inundation of data in a high tech world may force Internet Armageddon upon us. If the brainiacs who helped us avoid the Y2K disaster a decade ago can be found, then someone might want to try and round them up.
The dizziness that we NHL diehards experience in the coming days won’t be the result of an unusually high number of hockey transactions, but from the methods that updates will be produced and consumed. It’s going to be a wild ride on the information overload speed train for three main reasons:
- It’ll be trade deadline week, and hockey fans just love their trade rumors;
- Many credible and trusted hockey media insiders are now using Twitter;
- Many phony rumor spreading reporter wannabees are now using Twitter.
Welcome to hockey journalism in the post-web 2.0 world, where any half-literate dreamer, armed with only a keyboard and a seventh grade knowledge of spelling and sentence structure, can piggyback public updates from Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger and broadcast them as scoops from "inside sources" to thousands of information-starved hockey fans.
One can only imagine what rumor reporting will be like leading up to the first NHL trade deadline of the Twitter Age after all of the unprofessional, uncorroborated, and even comedic material that we’ve witnessed these past few years throughout much of the blogosphere.
Some rumor bloggers have their own odd habits and tendencies. One site well known for false rumors has developed an odd propensity for linking the Buffalo Sabres to guys that previously played there. In the past two years, the site in question has had Daniel Briere, Michael Peca, Jay McKee, Martin Biron, Miroslav Satan and Rhett Warrener all returning to Buffalo.
No mention of Mike Grier though…
A select few of these rumor bloggers and tweeters have actually established quite a following. On the surface, the success of some of them seems so mystifying. Why would anyone want to look for rumors and inside information from non-reporters who have done nothing but shot blanks time and time again?
Their popularity has spawned into a professional wrestling mentality. You know that the source of what you’re watching is phony and idiotic but you can’t help but look at it. In some cases you have to see what levity these jokers can come up with next because you’re curious as to what levels they can embarrass themselves.
The fine quality work of guys named Kukla, Mirtle, Richardson, and Wyshynski has been the inspiration for many dreamers to launch websites and twitter accounts, and to instantly refer to themselves as insiders, despite having as many connections as the guy in the top row of the nosebleed seats.
While there are certainly some good rumor bloggers out there who write well and always cite reliable sources, there are others who just make you roll your eyes. With some simple acid tests it’s easy to tell who the phonies are:
The Vanity Test: If they get offended by being referred to as a blogger rather than a columnist then you may have a live one. This despite the fact that reading some of their articles reminds you of when your 12-year-old son comes home and asks you to review his English homework. Well, at least your kid is diligent enough to find a proofreader.
The Pseudo-Insider Test: If they claim to know someone - a front office employee, a guy who dated the GM’s daughter, or the second cousin of an agent - then that should tell you something. Hockey rumor blogging has become the only hobby where having an imaginary friend makes you intriguing instead of weird.
The Rationalization Test: If they face ridicule after a player goes to a team that wasn’t on their list of 17 possible destinations, and their defense is that they’re simply reporting chatter based on what their "sources" are telling them, then it’s conceivable that you could find a dartboard with 30 NHL team logos on it in their basement.
During Ilya Kovalchuk sweeps week, respected hockey writer Pierre LeBrun said that an NHL executive told him he wouldn’t be surprised if the Blackhawks went after the star forward. The vultures got their claws on this one in no time. It went viral and was twisted into a fallacy that Kovalchuk was Chicago bound and Cam Barker was headed to Atlanta. What LeBrun reported was certainly credible; what the rumormongers made out of it was totally fabricated.
And now, with the implementation of Twitter by insiders and pretenders alike, we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of "My sources are telling me…" in the next few days.
Enjoy the upcoming circus known as the trade deadline, hockey fans. To the credible writers that keep us informed, keep up the good work. And to all of you fake rumor blogging and tweeting non-reporters out there – thanks in advance for the laughs!