Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Bending The Truth

Sometimes, I am blown away by how much buzz is generated by the "anonymous hockey blogger" known as Eklund. I mean, the guy is as accurate as your local weatherman in predicting business in the NHL, and about as vague as the horoscope in your local newspaper. I understand that people like to hear rumours about Player A going to Team B, but why do people pay to get a membership to hear his unsubstantiated crap? Well, readers, it's time to pull the hood off this "anonymous" NHL weatherman. Here is your favourite porch forecaster, otherwise known as Eklund.

In his most recent forecast of NHL movement, Eklund gives some lip service to Aaron Portzline for doing some excellent work for "scooping almost everyone this summer". Mr. Portzline is following the Ryan-Malone-to-Columbus story, and is doing a fabulous job in breaking down all the options.

The problem is that he works for The Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. It is his job to get scoops and break stories! In terms of Eklund's statement, this would be like saying "fish like water". Mr. Portzline gets paid to break stories. He uses the Dispatch's blog to expand on ideas and write his opinions about the Blue Jackets, but if he didn't scoop everyone about the Blue Jackets' player moves, he'd be a terrible reporter.

See how that works? Good reporters gets stories. Bad reporters get freelance jobs.

Eklund then shifts his focus to the Marian Hossa saga. He writes, "First and foremost there are teams also trying to acquire Hossa's rights. Mainly Montreal and possibly Boston and/or the Rangers".

Really? Are you serious, Eklund? There are 30 teams vying for Hossa's services right now, so I fail to see how this is news. In fact, I fail to see why someone would try "to acquire Hossa's rights" when he can opt for free agency on July 1, allowing him to sign with whomever he chooses. FOR NOTHING.

But let's look at this seriously for a second. Montreal is most likely out. They have a pile of free agent defencemen after the 2008-09 season that will command some raises. Most notably, Mike Komisarek will be coveted by a number of NHL teams, and he was one of the most reliable defencemen that Montreal had this past season. Mark Streit is looking for a sizable raise after his season this year as well. And let's not forget that both Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev are free agents next season too. I won't deny there's a chance for them to sign Hossa, but it seems extremely unlikely given their impending free agency situation.

Boston? Not a chance. The Bruins may want Hossa, but Hossa has already made it clear that he wants to go to a team that has a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Boston is nowhere near that level of play, making this rumour equivalent to a blizzard in hell. It's not going to happen, so why bother reporting it?

The Rangers are an interesting case, but are also highly unlikely to sign Hossa unless they plan on telling Jagr to go home. They already have three players making more than $7 million next season in Gomez, Drury, and Lundqvist. The player with the next highest salary who is under contract for next season is Christian Backman, who will make $3.4 million. If they sign Hossa to the reported $7 million-per-season that Pittsburgh offered, they will have nearly $30 million tied up in four players! We saw how Tampa Bay suffered mightily with that problem. Do you think Glen Sather is that stupid, Eklund? He's already trying to get Jagr to take a pay cut. Not to mention that Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery, and Martin Straka are unrestricted free agents. I'm sure the Rangers are interested, but they have other holes they need to fill before they need a fourth $7-million-dollar-man. You know, like finding an entire second line.

He goes on to report some other stuff that seems reasonable until he wrote, "Cammalleri has long been coveted by the Oilers and word is a Pitkanen for Cammalleri deal could be in the works".

Let me get this straight: the Oilers are interested in a guy they could sign without giving anything up next season after he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Yet, they want to trade a guy the Carolina Hurricanes are interested in? Worse yet, they want to trade Pitkanen when they could get Erik Cole or Justin Williams in return, and still sign Cammalleri in the 2009 off-season? Let's see here - Cole and Cammalleri for Pitkanen, or Cammalleri for Pitkanen and some other stuff? Which is the better deal to you if you're the Oilers? There are a lot of players that the Oilers covet. I'm almost certain we all remember both Michael Nylander and Thomas Vanek. If you believe this rumour will happen, I have swampland in Iowa to sell you.

Eklund decided today to agree with TSN's Darren Dreger who was the first to report on the Carolina-Edmonton discussion regarding Pitkanen for one of Cole or Tuomo Ruutu. Dreger made this public on Tuesday evening. Way to be on the ball, Eklund. Thanks for keeping up. Maybe try checking some reliable news sources for once instead of that puppet on your hand.

What struck me as odd in yesterday's truckload of bee-ess was this statement: "Two players in particular are already getting huge UFA interest and I am told will POSITIVELY be NHL players this season. Joel Kwiatkowski and Brian Fahey".

While I realize that both these players had excellent AHL seasons and helped Chicago win the Calder Cup, how does one "POSITIVELY" become an NHL player last season when both players have a combined total of 282 career NHL games in 20 seasons of hockey combined?

Kwiatkowski was drafted in 1996, and has played all of those 282 games from above. His longest NHL season was 2003-04 with Washington when he played 80 games, and scored six goals with six assists. He has not scored more than 12 points in any other NHL season. Let me repeat that: in 12 professional hockey seasons, he has not scored more than 12 points in an NHL season. And he's going to "POSITIVELY" be an NHL player?

Fahey was drafted in 2000, and has yet to suit up for an NHL game in eight seasons. He's played for a few AHL teams, but has never cracked an NHL lineup. Yet our good friend, Eklund, is telling us that he is going to "POSITIVELY" become an NHL player this season. The guy has zero NHL experience, but he will bump a roster player and stay there all season? What team is going to take an inexperienced defenceman and give him a one-way contract? Bonafide NHL Entry Draft studs get two-way deals. No team offers a one-way deal when you have zero experience. To me, this is nearly laughable.

Eklund even writes, "Of Fahey a source told me today, 'There simply are not many well-rounded, puck-moving defensemen around.' And a team executive out West believes that he is almost certainly headed to a Western team in desperate need of help on the blue line".

WHO THE HELL IS THIS SOURCE? This isn't news! Every single NHL team covets a "well-rounded, puck-moving defensemen", which is why teams overpay for them! Do you think that Brian Campbell is going to get a huge payday for his abilities? Hell yes! C'mon, Eklund... this is the weakest writing I have seen. I knew you were a hack, but "I have a friend who says..." stories are ridiculous. Use the source's name, or just claim that you thought this "news" up.

I guess what I'm trying to say, readers, is that you should be careful about what information you buy over the internet. For only $20-per-year, you can buy as much swampland in Florida as you like from Eklund. Just remember, though, that real reporters are normally employed by a reliable news source.

Oh, and they rarely charge you anything more than the price of the newspaper to get all of their work in print verified by legitimate editors.

Something Fun To End On: Ok, enough of this crap from one of the worst writers on the internet (that's an e5 rumour, by the way).

I always like fun hockey-related clips. They tend to make you laugh, and laughter is always good. A friend of mine, knowing my hockey passion, decided to send me a radio bit that involves a hilarious story. Honestly, if this doesn't make you laugh, you're not listening very carefully. I am still laughing today at it.

A big "thank you" to Mr. Ryan Loewen for the clip. It's truly one of the funniest hockey-related bits I have ever heard.

Ok, that's all for today. I'll have another charitable organization to outline tomorrow, so please tune in for that. It's one that I've already supported, and one I've spoken about in an earlier article.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!


admin said...

Oh man, does this mean I might be able to take my Kwiatkowski jersey out of retirement? Sweet!

Bethany said...

Oh Eklund, what a silly goober.

Anonymous said...

I normally do not read posts 1,513-word post but I’m glad I read this! As a new blogger, I will definitely take to heart “… you should be careful about what information you buy over the internet” and to analyze all the facts before your write.