The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 02/25/11 at 06:51 PM ET
(A year ago, I wrote a piece on false rumor reporting in the blog/twitter era. Since then, some phonies have been weeded out of the interwebs and some haven’t. Below is a modified and modernized version of the article for 2011.)
It may not be Monday yet, but our wild ride aboard the information overload speed train has already begun. 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 over a decade ago can be found, then someone might want to try and round them up.
Credible and respected hockey insiders, who we feverishly turn to for an endless supply of minute by minute trade deadline blog and twitter updates, are back at it again.
Unfortunately, thanks to the lack of barriers to entry into cyber reporting, so are the phony rumor mongering wannabees.
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 their favorite beat writers and disseminate them as scoops from “inside sources” to thousands of information-starved hockey fans.
Some of them have their own odd habits and tendencies. One uber-popular rumor site that shall remain nameless has always had an odd propensity for linking the Buffalo Sabres to guys that previously played there. Over the past three 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…
Incredibly, a select few of these rumor bloggers and tweeters still have quite a following. On the surface, the success of some of them seems so mystifying. Why would anyone trust the validity of hockey rumors from non-reporters who have been shooting 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, Pagnotta and Wyshynski has been the inspiration for some folks 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.
Most hockey fans can see a fraud. But for those of you still having trouble, here are some simple acid tests to guide you in your eternal quest for true knowledge:
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.
Enjoy the upcoming circus, hockey fans. To the credible writers that keep us informed, keep up the good work. And to the rest of you, reporting with no inside sources other than your wild imaginations, thanks for the laughs!
For Sabres info and updates from reliable sources, follow me on Twitter.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]