Another Insider Bites The Dust

Daniel Wagner at The Backhand Shelf blog had a sort of interesting (if you’re into that kind of thing) post about the twitter account and tweeter HockeyyInsidrr, and the supposed outing he/she/it has gone though recently.

And when I say ‘if you’re into that sort of thing,’ I mean blogger battles, twitter outrage, and debates about the oxford comma. We have been though this before. If you are at all familiar with the name Eklund and the site Hockeybuzz.com, you probably already know about the outing of the anonymous hockey blogger who claimed to be an insider by Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski (then writing for the no-longer-in-existence AOL Fanhouse). The names have changed, the medium is a little different, but this is still the same thing, regardless of the legitimacy of the person or people involved. It’s hockey fans and bloggers (who, make no mistake, share the same venn diagram, but are not the same thing) being pissed off at people who may be making things up.

I don’t really care that much. I don’t hinge my existence on twitter or rumors, so I don’t pay a lot of attention to these guys. They only darken my door when someone else has payed enough attention to retweet or quote them. If you don’t pay attention to them, they don’t exist. While the internet is open to the asshats we complain about, people like Eklund and HockeyyInsidrr don’t come to us, we choose to go to them. We legitimize them by patronizing them.

I’ve seen plenty of experiments where people set up fake accounts to publish fake rumors and watch from a distance who would fall for it. It’s nothing new, and has been done in other mediums to greater and more artistic effect. War of the Worlds is a simple and classic example. And if you are going to follow Orson Wells, you had better do it better than most of these jokers are doing. We know it works, and it will always work. If you don’t believe me, know that a Buffalo radio station did a recreation of War of the Worlds in 1968, and it worked.

Something Daniel wrote at the Backhand Shelf blog stood out to me:

If something does happen, you don’t need to know about it the second it occurs and you don’t need to know about the possibility of it happening beforehand. Even if the rumours that HockeyyInsiderr posted were real rumours, it wouldn’t matter. When a trade or a signing does occur, the local beat writers will likely get wind of it first or one of the professional insiders will hear about it through an agent or a GM and it will actually be confirmed. And they won’t need a hashtag to say it.

There are two subsets of hockey fans I can think of that want the up-to-the-second information and rumors:

1) Hockey fans who want to stay ahead of the Joneses. They can have many reasons, but some of those are going to be character defects like being smug and condescending to those that aren’t in the know. That doesn’t apply to everyone, it’s just part of this group.

And…

2) Hockey Bloggers.

Yeah. Who needs to know things right away? People who have to write something timely. Everyone is on deadline, and while they don’t have deadlines in the same way the MSM does, bloggers have the deadline of relevance. If you aren’t timely in your blogging, you will be left behind. So we have alerts set on our phones, we check twitter and RSS readers all day, and yes, we occasionally bathe ourselves in the dirty water of “reports” and unknown sources. That just leads, to carry the analogy too far, death by dysentery.

There was a recent post by the NPR Ombudsman about NPR covering it’s sponsors. Could NPR be fair when it handles news about the people who supply it with funds to keep going? The question is what standard should NPR be held to. But the conclusion was that eventually, you just have to have faith. You have to have a little faith that NPR will do the right thing, because you can’t be 100% certain that they will do otherwise.

And we need to trust our resources, or leave them behind. You shouldn’t spend money on things you don’t care for, you wouldn’t buy food you don’t like the taste of, so why would you read and believe someone you know isn’t trustworthy? Why would you follow someone who can’t or won’t prove they are who they say they are? What is the value in that? What is the cost?

In a few years, we will have another medium, and another bozo acting like someone they aren’t. It’s they way of the internet. And it only matters if you let it matter.

Fehr Blindsided Us All

Nobody saw this coming.

Certainly not the gloom and doom crowd, and not the nay-sayers, predicting a lockout when the NHLPA hired it’s current boss.

The moment Donald Fehr was brought into the Player’s Association, a lockout looked all but certain to most fans. But even the optimists like myself had no idea what was coming: a sweeping proposal that could change hockey’s financial system, and save many of the smaller market and struggling teams, while still giving back some concessions to the owners.

This is something that is going to take some time to digest, both for the fans and for the owners. Or at least, the owners should take some serious time to crunch these numbers. If they don’t, they will lose standing in the court of public opinion. Or to put it another way, if a player has a really bad playoff run, you might want to announce having an injury, even if you didn’t really have one. It just looks better. After the players looked and looked and questioned the ridiculous (albeit necessary) attempt to roll the clock back to the last lockout, if the owners take anything short of a half week to debate and look at this, or if they decide to dismiss it without exploring and question, they will look like knee-jerk fools who can’t see past their own egos.

We can now erase Bob Goodenow from the history books. The tactics displayed by the Executive Directors are worlds apart, and Donald Fehr seems to come out on top in the brains department. Goodenow dug his heals in to a loosing battle, thinking he could out-wait the owners, while Fehr hit them where it hurts: in reality.

Do I think the owners will accept being told by a bunch of players how to run their businesses? No, like the owner of a pizza chain doesn’t care what the dishwasher has to say about the company and how it should be run. But there are other examples of this in the world, most notably in Japan, where corporate success is a point of pride. The owners would do well to pay attention to the players here. It’s easy to forget that they see the inner-workings of the hockey business world in ways we only wish we could. They shouldn’t be discounted.

Finally, while this proposal may look attractive to the smaller market teams, how about to the potential owners of teams that could be or are being sold? Would you be less or more inclined to buy the Phoenix Coyotes if this deal (or some other modification of it) were put in place? Would you look at the financial stability of a team that was on shaky footing and see this deal as something that could help you in the long term?

We don’t have enough details about the proposal the NHLPA put forth, but we can say this for certain: there was more care put into the deal than anyone expected. Now we wait.