With the explosion of social media and online quasi-reporting, inventing chasing down NHL rumours has evolved into a full time job. Even more difficult is the fansâ€™ arduous task of tracking these updates. The vast majority of our message boardianisms are no longer devoted to even discussing the game on the ice itself but, rather, to the potential movement of contracts behind the scenes.
We curse them for their inaccuracy, mock them for their inventiveness, and lament their lack of effort to incorporate any grammar whatsoever into 140 characters or less. Despite this, the rumour business is booming. We all get terribly excited for any new nugget of information, however blatantly false, that these sources provide.
Thanks to the exhaustive efforts of The Toronto Truculent and Maple Leafs Hot Stove involving audio surveillance, social media transcription, and witness testimony, we can now present to readers a full outline of how exactly a rumour functions.
Start to finish â€“ from genesis to paralysis. Where do rumours start, what keeps them going, and how does this process happen behind the curtain?
Read the events, listen to the conversations, and see how social media conveys it to you.
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
JEFF CARTER finishes his morning workout. Goes to the training room fridge. There are no protein bars.
JEFF CARTER: Damnit.
Crappy Diner, Near the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Nowhere else is open this early, or this close to the arena. Jeff enters and orders eggs benedict. It arrives. His hollandaise sauce is runny.
JEFF CARTER: God, this place sucks.
In a nearby booth, a shy FLYERS FAN overhears him.
Flyers Fan’s Parents’ Basement, Philadelphia suburb
FLYERS FAN types madly at his computer. As user PhillyCheeseSkate, posts “OMG!!!! Just saw Jeff Carter at a diner!!! He said he hates Philly! Says it sucks! Hates playing here! Demands a trade!” on philadelphiaflyers.com.
Klessel Residence, Philadelphia
Eklund’s in the tub, eating Cheerios, watching Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 2 on his iPad. Checks philadelphiaflyers.com and sees PhillyCheeseSkate’s post.
@eklund: Hearing rumblings Jeff Carter has requested a trade, hopefully to….
He throws a tennis ball straight up in the air. His PET FERRET, waiting for it to come down, looks – west.
@eklund: …San Jose (e2)
Message Boards Everywhere, The Internet
HOCKEY FANS: That makes little to no sense.
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING MLB NEWS*** Pujols out 4-6 w/broken arm, props 2 WHO? for breaking the story three weeks ago: twitter.com/!/status/2011/Bobisawesome
Ken Rosenthal’s House
ROSENTHAL reads Bob’s tweet.
KEN ROSENTHAL: Oh, f*ck him.
@Ken_Rosenthal: @incarceratedbob That is not even remotely possible. He broke his arm Monday night.
@incarceratedbob: @Ken_Rosenthal ***BREAKING MLB NEWS*** Bowties 4 grown men are dumb!!! Now MMM takin’ all my credit #Shame
@eklund: @incarceratedbob your tweets read like a 4 yr olds (e5).
@hockeybreak: @eklund That’s no worse than your stupid little e-somethings after everything.
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING QUESTION*** @eklund Who the shit is this?? @hockeybreak
@hockeybreak: @eklund @incarceratedbob I just say what you two say, but using proper grammar and capitalizations.
@DarrenDreger: @eklund @hockeybreak @incarceratedbob You’re all idiots.
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING NHL NEWS*** @DarrenDreger be hatin’!!! WE R UNDERGROUND! Whats so good about TSN?
@DarrenDreger:@incarceratedbob How about, “being right, literally, 100% of the time.”
Dave Nonis’ Office, MLSE
Phone rings. Nonis answers.
DAVE NONIS: Yeah?
DARREN DREGER: Are you trading for Jeff Carter?
DAVE NONIS: What?
DARREN DREGER: Damnit, Dave! You heard me.
DAVE NONIS: No. Why? Where’s this coming from?
DARREN DREGER: You’re supposed to tell me these things weeks in advance so I can prep the stories and line up Tweets for producer review. C’mon! It’s impossible to do this stuff on the fly.
DAVE NONIS: Darren -
DARREN DREGER (voice escalating): I can’t take this! ‘phaneuf to leafs‘ gained me 30,000 followers! Do you know what kind of profile even one thousand Twitter followers gives you? When Rogers takes over, I’ll need every ounce of help I can get! TSN is a dinosaur! I need to outsmart the dinosaur. I’m Robert Muldoon, man!
DAVE NONIS: The raptors ate Robert Muldoon.
On the other end of the phone: laboured breathing. Gentle sobs.
DAVE NONIS: It’s Eklund again. Isn’t it?
DARREN DREGER: I hate him, Dave! Hate him!
Dreger hangs up. NONIS BOLTS FROM HIS CHAIR, clumsily, knocking over a bookshelf and spilling his lunch. Runs – full tilt – for the office door.
Brian Burke’s Office, MLSE
Nonis bursts into the room, collapsing to the gritty shag carpet. Completely winded. Can’t speak. BRIAN BURKE stops sipping his herbal tea.
BRIAN BURKE: Eklund again?
DAVE NONIS (breathless): Centre…number one…trade…Jeff Carter…
Eklund’s Friend’s House
Eklund’s friend is playing NHL ’11. Offers Nazem Kadri and two first round picks to the Dallas Stars for
Brad Richards. The computer accepts. Picks up his phone, dials.
Eklund’s friend: Guess which star Texan centre is finally about to become a member of the blue and white…
@eklund:a VERY strong source tells me Brad Richards will waive his NTC for Toronto (e3) – 10 seconds ago
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING NHL NEWS*** Niewendyk will convince Richards 2 waive for Leafs / Burke wants medical / Niewendyk wants 4 high picks….. – 5 seconds ago
@eklund: [DIRECT MESSAGE] @incarceratedbob I COMPLETELY made that up.
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING NHL NEWS*** ….maybe…. – 1 second ago
@eklund: @brad_richards Is it true?? Toronto is the winner??
Off the Coast of Florida
Brad Richards, out waterskiing, notices his BlackBerry notification light blinking.
Coast Guard Ship, Nearby
The Coast Guard captain follows a crewmember down to the railing, running.
CREW MEMBER (Pointing): I told you! That guy on the water skis is screaming for help!
CAPTAIN (leaning over): You sure? It sounds like he’s…laughing.
Message Boards, The Internet
HOCKEY FANS: We’ve been discussing him to death in thousands of threads for, literally, a year. Richards is the most high profile free agent in hockey. It makes total SENSE he would only want to come to Toronto, right?
@bobby_ryan: Not necessarily.
Paul Holmgren’s Office, Philaedelphia
Phone rings. Holmgren answers it.
PAUL HOLMGREN: Hey hey.
BRIAN BURKE: You trading Carter?
PAUL HOLMGREN: No. Why the hell would I do that?
BRIAN BURKE: Cap problems? Team chemistry?
PAUL HOLMGREN: There are 15 other players I would trade to solve those problems before even thinking about moving Jeff Carter.
BRIAN BURKE: I think you’re bluffing.
PAUL HOLMGREN: If I were bluffing, I’d offer you Mike Richards. You can have Kris Versteeg.
BRIAN BURKE: Very funny.
BURKE slams the phone down. Holmgren turns back to ILYA BRYZGALOV.
PAUL HOLMGREN: $48 million over 7.
ILYA BRYZGALOV: No.
PAUL HOLMGREN: $49 million.
ILYA BRYZGALOV: No.
PAUL HOLMGREN: I can’t go any hi-
ILYA BRYZGALOV: You really don’t have any leverage here.
Paul Stastny’s Cottage
PAUL STASTNY and a bunch of his high school friends are sitting in his boat on the lake.
STASTNY’S FRIEND #1: Do it.
PAUL STASTNY: I don’t know.
STASTNY’S FRIEND #2: C’mon!
PAUL STASTNY: Don’t players just use this thing to get laid?
@leafslady2000: @Bozie42 I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN!! Going to realsports for my bday!!! RT????;);) [Retweeted by Bozie42)
STASTNY’S FRIEND #1: They’re losers on the internet. You’re a millionaire on a boat. It will be hilarious!
Paul Stastny reaches for his smartphone.
@paul_stastny: I hear T dot is lovely in October. #Possibly
All commentors: Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
The Toronto Truculent: We really need to start driving users.
Air Canada Center Press Room
Press conference. Burke walks in, unfolds paper, drinks Dasani.
@eklund: BIG deal on the horizon for the Leafs re: CARTER (e5)
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING NHL NEWS*** HUGE deal about 2 go down for Burke – hearing STASTNY for PICKS AND PROSPECT #Ballsy
@hockeybreak: A deal very large in quantity or scope may be about to occur for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Likely Richards involved.
BRIAN BURKE: I want to thank you all for coming down here on such short notice, like I always do. Even though reporting everything we do or say is your job and, really, exactly what you’re supposed to do.
HOWARD BERGER: Are you firing Wilson?
BRIAN BURKE: How the hell did you get in here?
Security escorts Berger out.
BRIAN BURKE: Everything you’ve heard on the internet is absolutely true. The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded seven first round picks to various teams. In return, we’ll receive Jeff Carter, Paul Stastny, and the rights to Brad Richards.
BRIAN BURKE: As always, I would like to start by thanking the picks we’ve dealt for their eventual star-making performances on other teams.
Still total silence.
THE ROOM: Really? Really?
BRIAN BURKE: Of course not. That trade would be ridiculous. Questions?
PAUL HENDRICK: You called a press conference just to make fun of rampant internet rumour speculation?
BRIAN BURKE: Yes – and for video replay. We have a lot of new ad space to fill on mapleleafs.com. This press conference will be divided into 14 parts with a forced commercial before each. (Long Beat) Which I can conveniently view on my new BlackBerryÂ® Boldâ„¢.
@eklund: Leafs big deal was scuttled i stand by my sources. it was EXTREMELY close (e4.999999999)
@incarceratedbob: ***BREAKING NHL NEWS*** @eklund ***BREAKING TWITTERER INSULT **** Nice try, Dwayne.
@eklund: @incarceratedbob Not cool, man. NOT cool.
@jeff_carter: Went back to the arena and they had protein bars. #Awesome