Your Draft Rumors And Speculation Have One Day Left

There’s plenty of people of all types – insiders, basement dwellers, the average Joe – who will tell you exactly what will and will not happen at the draft.  They will tell you what teams are thinking, and who is going to go where.  And as soon as they are wrong, you won’t hear from them until the next prediction is ready.  I’ve been asked who certain teams will take, and to tell you the truth, I have no idea. 

With the Avalanche, they have stated they with take Nathan MacKinnon first overall, and the best I can do is analyze that.  The next question is will they or won’t they, and I can only look towards the trust in their statement. I can’t predict the future.  

In the end, it doesn’t matter.  Tomorrow, we will find out what has happened, and all the wasted time and ink guessing what will happen will become even more useless than it already was.  We will find know what direction the teams have gone, and we can analyze, praise, grouse, or whatever we feel like. 

Predictions of this sort are fools gold.  If someone tells you they know what a team is going to do, they are full of it.  I quoted Elliotte Friedman earlier this week.  It’s worth doing again. From his excellent 30 Thoughts column:

9. Back when I first started as a radio reporter covering the Toronto Raptors, then-GM Isiah Thomas warned me, “Never believe anything anyone tells you about the draft. At draft time, everyone lies.” One year later, Thomas gave me the scoop he was going to take Marcus Camby. I didn’t believe him. He did take Camby and laughed, “This time, I was telling the truth.” I couldn’t help but remember that conversation upon hearing the Colorado Avalanche’s newfound openness. Joe Sakic picking up the phone to tell a reporter his team’s plans “certainly goes against ‘The [Pierre] Lacroix Principle,'” an opposing executive said.

If a smart and experienced guy like Friedman doesn’t know, chances are very few people know. 

And it really doesn’t matter in the end.  Right, wrong, win or lose, we are waiting for the future.  Let the waiting be fun. 

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.