Remember 2006? Message boards and a mysterious man who assigned strange values to his “inside” information were the two main sources of hockey rumors on the internet. Such wonderful times.
Today, Mr. Eklund has probably even lost his grasp on the silly rumor monger title he snatched up in the mid-2000s. That dubious crown is probably worn by some teenagerr whoo livess aroundd Ottawaa. Or something.
Fact of the matter is that tools like message boards and Twitter have shrunk the hockey world down to a 140 character-driven society in which bloggers, main stream media and anonymous guys all clamor for a voice in an ever crowded circle of conversation. This is something I’ve often stayed far away from but I was truly sucked in at the trade deadline.
With the Sabres in a full tailspin I was lustily looking forward to the deadline to not only see what type of futures the Sabres could acquire but also to watch the moves around the league. A friend at work turned me onto a certain Sabres-related account and he spoke highly of the information that was provided by this person. I took a look and liked what I saw.
The account, in case you’re wondering is @SabresFront. The catch is that this person has a solid, highly placed link within the Sabres hockey department who feeds him info on the doings in Darcy’s office – I believe that is considered an e4 based on the original Eklund scale. When worded that way I feel silly for even following along, but I knew to take things with a grain of salt.
Then he started getting things right. And I don’t just mean hitting on a “Regehr going to the Kings” kind of thing but legitimately beating national and local media to the punch in many cases. This is no BS, he wasn’t just on, he was spot on. Up to the point of calling the picks and players involved. At that point I was confident that this was an account worth keeping an eye on.
Then came Sunday’s draft and the days leading up to it and this little darkhorse account may have taken things a little too far. He started pushing certain trades and even went so far as to peg Buffalo’s targets in the first round. These were incorrect and that served as my last straw.
I’ve taken a peek at the account here and there and he tosses some interesting tidbits out on what seems to be a daily basis, but I abandoned any faith I had simply because he broke the one rule that I think needs to be followed when you dabble in such games: stay away from the silliness and report the solid facts.
That cautionary tale isn’t meant to call out or discredit @SabresFront. In fact I highly recommend you follow along. If his source is as strong as was indicated around the deadline – and I do think he has a pretty decent source – then the information you’re seeing Tweeted isn’t the worst thing in the world.
The point is that, as a fan, you need to understand what you’re reading. And as someone who may be in the position to hold genuine insider information, you need to know how to handle it. If you get power mad from attention, things will spiral out of control. Just look at @HockeyyInsiderr, he went from a slightly laughable rumor monger to an account that people consider to be a laughingstock.
I actually reached out to another Sabres fan who happens to have some connections to the organization. His account, if you wish to follow is @JimmyFingers315. He states that the person(s) he knows keeps him updated to stuff he hears and he simply attempts to keep people updated. I fully respect that and I think it’s the right thing to do.
For example, if I had information that I deemed to be worthy of sharing I’d certainly do so. In fact I feel that I typically do (although I rarely have things to say that people care about). Keeping people informed and sharing your info is perfectly acceptable. Seeking attention and pushing yourself on fans as the only resource they need to follow isn’t just crossing the line, it’s annoying.
There is a reason that I don’t bother reading Eklund and actually forgot Hockeyy Insiderr was a thing a few weeks ago. These guys don’t register on my radar because they simply don’t contribute anything to the discourse. That’s partly why I stopped following @SabresFront; he got too far into throwing everything at the wall to see what would stick.
At the end of the day, dabbling in rumors as a fan or “insider” (or insider, if you will) is an exasperating practice akin to Wile E. Coyote running in place under an Acme rocket. Pick your spots, only come forward when you know something is a sure thing so that when you beat the mainstream guys your track record speaks for itself. I know rumors are out there and I appreciate the people who have “sources” who feed them such information. But when the rumors you’re being fed are indigestible, there’s no reason to play along.
No one is immune from taking a look at a rumor or two. We’re fans in a market dying for success with a GM who talks less than the Sphinx most days. There’s no reason not to look at rumors, just realize that what you’re reading typically won’t hold water.