Kukla's Korner

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That Damn Twitter!

For a guy who says he doesn't want to treat his players like little kids, John Tortorella seems to be doing his best impression of every overbearing, buzzkill parent that has appeared in a rock video or teen movie in the last thirty years.

Tortorella recently opined that he doesn't want his players using social media to tweet dressing room secrets out into the world. It's sure to get some attention because, of course, one of the team's best known twitter users is goaltender Roberto Luongo – and I'm pretty sure 'it's complicated' is the best way to describe Bobby Lou's relationship with his team at the moment.

I don't think Luongo could ever be accused of tweeting the Vancouver Canucks' state secrets, but he has used social media as a way to vent his frustrations in the past. It probably even did a lot to humanize Luongo, who enjoyed a reputation for moodiness and standoffishness with the mainstream media before twitter revealed that there might be a person lurking behind the mask. Twitter also got used heavily by the NHLPA during the lockout to communicate the side of #theplayers to fans, and try to win the public relations war.

Twitter can be a great way for fans to connect with players and learn a little bit about what they're like off the ice. For instance, we learned from Bobby Ryan last night that Eugene Melnyk isn't the only one in Ottawa with a stingy wallet – as apparently Erik Karlsson likes to make his houseguests bring their own food to the party:



Or even their own silverware:



#Cheap for a guy who makes $6.5 million? Maybe, but pot-luck is probably better than Ikea meatballs all the time.

Of course, there are also several incidents where players and others have found ways to get themselves in hot water via their twitter accounts – Tyler Seguin leaps to mind in this regard (though, of course, it's really the hackers that are to blame). Player agent Todd Reynolds lost clients when he publicly denounced gay marriage laws on his twitter feed as well.

It's likely this sort of thing that has lead a lot of athletes to hire ghost tweeters to manage their social media presence for them. Though this probably works better when you're less open about it than UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, the welterweight champion has at least given us a peek behind the curtain, and left us to wonder how many NHL stars might be employing the strategy.

In any event – Twitter isn't going away, but Tortorella probably isn't wrong (or alone, among coaches) in setting limits on the player's tweets. Even before Tortorella weighed in, I'm sure most players knew there could be consequences for errant tweets, anyways (can you say #bagskate?).

While the fans can enjoy it as a way to connect with players personalities, we probably shouldn't be looking for insider information unless it's coming from Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger.

Oh, and apropos of nothing, I have a brand new twitter handle @DLGHockey

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com