I usually like hockey trade rumors; even if they’re wrong, they’re fun fantasies of what could be without being burdened too excessively by things like ‘reality’.
As a Canucks fan, I particularly appreciate temporary escapes from reality. When rumors run amok about the likes of Olli Jokinen and Ryan Malone coming to Vancouver, I’m entertained. I separate myself from that troublesome inner-knowledge that “Canucks fans are never that lucky.” And it’s pleasant for as long as it lasts.*
But escapes from reality are one thing—manipulating hockey fans to drive website traffic and sell newspapers is another thing all together.
Or maybe it’s not even that sinister. Perhaps some reporters are just stupid.
I’m not the type to throw around snarky personal insults very often—if ever—but today I’ve reached my limit. And his name is Bruce Garrioch.
What, in the name of all that is supposed to be holy and ethical and above-the-rif-raff in journalism, is going on with the Ottawa Sun columnist lately?
His column this morning noted this blockbuster revelation:
League sources say Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero offered all-star centre Evgeni Malkin to the Kings for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and a player, possibly centre Mike Cammalleri. [...]
And he goes on to suggest that the reason Kings GM Dean Lombardi turned this offer down was related to his comments yesterday that the Kings “decided to stay the course by building with young players.”
Madness. So I’m going to reiterate my earlier rant about this idiocy (which I originally left on a KK Hockey post this morning) and that is: either Garrioch is purposefully manipulating hockey fans and the rest of the media with outrageous rumors, or he’s flirting with incompetence.
One way or another, he and his “league sources” have less credibility with me at this point than those of a fanboy on the Canucks.com message boards.
It was also Garrioch’s “league sources” he claimed tipped him in this column (the content of which has since been changed) that he wrote a couple weeks ago virtually guaranteeing that Peter DeBoer had been hired for the Senators coaching gig. This was promptly denied by Sens GM Bryan Murray and 2 days later Craig Hartsburg was hired by the Senators and DeBoer was hired by the Florida Panthers.
On the surface, the only evidence it appears Garrioch ever had was the knowledge that DeBoer had traveled to the tropics for an interview with the Sens’ owner, Eugene Melnyk.
But sure, okay. Mistakes happen. Bad information. I get it.
But now he claims that LA turned down an offer for Malkin at the price of their #2 draft pick and Cammalleri? Are you kidding me? The entire point of draft day is to find a player like Malkin—as if LA is seriously going to turn that deal down. And as for Garrioch suggesting that Dean Lombardi might have turned it down in order to build with “young players”… wtf?? Malkin is 21 years old.
But despite my rant, I do want to be generous here. So maybe Garrioch really does have these mysterious “league sources” and he’s not entirely making this up (*not an accusation I have any foundation to make, but I’m telling you… it’s crossed my mind). In which case, my guess is those sources are screwing with him for their own personal entertainment.
How else do you explain it? Other than to say that Dean Lombardi would have to have completely lost his marbles.
In the past, we would enjoy these pie-in-the-sky rumors either through the madness of hopeful fan bloggers (and there’s nothing wrong with that), or the calm analysis of journalists (such as what Lyle Richardson does so well) who might report the odd crazy rumor, but gave us their insider’s-take.
We would learn something about the possible scenarios and it was often educational about the behind-the-scenes negotiations of the NHL.
But not this year. Blurring the lines of journalism for the self-aggrandizing goal of getting “The Scoop” is seeming far too common.
To the mainstream media reading this that might stick up their noses to the thoughts of a lowly hockey blogger on the ethics of journalism, I hope you’ll bear in mind that I in no way claim to be a “journalist” and nor do I want to be. It is you guys that I (and most hockey bloggers) look to for the best analysis in the hockey world. Which is why I think of this Garrioch business deserves questioning. The Garrioch Effect is a slippery slope, methinks.
Secondly, plenty of your own brethren are thinking exactly the same thing I just wrote in this post. I’ve heard from enough of them about that column of Garrioch’s this morning to guarantee it.
*Of course, the Roberto Luongo deal was the singular exception. But there were no rumors about that before that one happened—and no one would’ve believed them if there were, I assure you! :)