The Internet is a terrifying place. Twitter, even more so. Which is exactly why your love/hate relationship with the free-to-sign-up-for, free-to-use service is totally understandable.
(Don’t worry, I’m right there with you. Complaining about Twitter is what I do. [Cooper Harris voice] It’s my passion.)
On NHL Trade Deadline Day, that relationship shifts into overdrive. You spend much of your time at work huddled over your smartphone or circumventing your company’s firewall so you can scroll through your timeline in search of breaking trade news from myriad outlets.
Invariably, you’ll come across the following accounts, which may or may not make you consider quitting Twitter forever. Or, at least until 3:01 p.m. ET on Mar. 5.
As with all free services, you have to take the good with the bad. Even if the bad—in the form of many of these accounts—is enough to drive you crazy when all you wanted to do was see if your team was entering rebuild mode or gearing up for a playoff push…
1. The “Anonymous ‘Insider’” Guy
He’s always there, quick with an unsubstantiated rumor—or rumour, for our Canadian friends—about any number of teams or players that may or may not be true. Because what’s more fun than proposing outlandish trades that you claim came from #Sources?
But hey, it’s only a rumor and he’s only “protecting his sources” by not attributing his “insider knowledge” to anything verifiable, right? Which is a very convenient thing to say when he’s wrong.
Maybe these insider accounts do have a source or two. But without attribution—or, you know, putting an actual name to their accounts—we’re skirting the subject of journalism and moving into crystal-ball-reading territory, if not outright falsification when it comes to what they say.
Then again, this guy isn’t so bad if you understand him for what he is. And besides, you can always greet the arrival of his likely silhouetted, question-marked avatar on your feed as the first sign of the approaching trade deadline.
2. The “Fake Pierre LeBrun” / “Fake Bob McKenzie” Guy
A subset of the “Anonymous ‘Insider’” class, Fake Pierre LeBrun and Fake Bob McKenzie have slightly different objectives: a) get retweets; and b) fool the Twitterverse into believing that ridiculous trades have actually been confirmed.
You know, like the Pittsburgh Penguins sending Sidney Crosby to the New York Islanders for Eric Boulton, straight up. Or the Vancouver Canucks trading Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias.
I, uh…well…I mean, you get my point.
The worst part about these accounts is that they go through the trouble of copying LeBrun’s and McKenzie’s avatars and bios, and purchase enough fake followers to make their accounts seem believable. Mostly, they just drive the general public insane.
My advice for not falling for the prank: it takes three seconds to check whether an account is verified. So.
3. The “Manually Retweet Every Confirmed Trade” Guy
Stop. Please stop. We’re begging you.
We all follow Lebrun, McKenzie, TSN, NHL Network, the NHL, the 30 NHL teams, and all of the other verified outlets that break these trades. We know these trades happened. Please don’t make us wade through your manual retweets stacked on top of the initial tweets for lines and lines and lines.
Twitter is an echo chamber on slow news days; please don’t make these trades reverberate throughout the Twitterverse indefinitely. I can only read “Fasth to Edmonton” 11 times in a row before my eyes start to lose focus.
4. The “I Should Be A GM” Guy
This guy is the Twitter equivalent of the dude who sits in the front row at a game and stands with his arms up, screaming, “WHERE’S THE CALL?” when a player on his team trips over his own skates.
There are 30 general managers in the NHL, of which you and I are not one. And despite the reflexive tendency to think we can do a GM’s job better than he can, the likelihood is that we’re on Twitter and not in an NHL front office for a reason.
5. The “Constant Trade Proposal” Guy
Yes, this is a self-explanatory category. This is the guy who tweets out a trade proposal every few minutes, each one slightly more involved than the last. And many times, he’ll get hypothetical counter offers from other accounts because Twitter.
As with most trade proposals on Twitter, the ones from this guy are best taken with a grain of hey what do you mean a first-rounder and a top-flight prospect aren’t a worthwhile price for a UFA rental and oh no I’m finding out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
As usual, I am the worst.
6. The “Bash A Player All Season Then Complain About The Return When He’s Traded” Guy
Exhibit A: #IslesTwitter doing its best about-face when it was announced that Isles defenseman Andrew MacDonald was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for two draft picks and a prospect on Tuesday.
The tweets calling for MacDonald’s head we’ve seen all season long were instantly replaced with “GARTH Y U NO GET FIRST ROUNDER.” Which was expected, but still.
7. The “Wake Me Up When It’s Over” Guy
This guy has it all figured out. He doesn’t concern himself with the fake trade rumors, the actual trade rumors, or the trade rumors that started out fake but suddenly turned real at the last minute. Maybe we should all be taking notes from this guy.
Often seen tweeting infrequently to the tune of, “Can we not do the whole ‘trade speculation’ thing this year, guys?” this guy voices his opinion and fades into the background while the rest of us go nuts over the latest tweet from Darren Dreger.
The more I think about it, the more I want to ask this guy if he also knows the true meaning of life. Because I’m starting to think he does. And if he doesn’t, he definitely knows a guy who knows a guy who does.
8. The “Irrationally Angry At The Player Who Snubbed His Team” Guy
This guy can come in the form of a Twitter user who’s decided his team’s impending UFA-to-be is deserving of scorn because he wants to test the free-agent market. It’s even more prevalent when a particular trade target makes public his intentions not to play for a certain team.
Fans are, by nature, irrational. We get intensely emotional over a group of strangers who play a game and wear color-coordinated clothing. But, Irrationally Angry At The Player Who Snubbed His Team guy takes it to another level.
“You don’t want to sign a long-term deal? Fine, you suck. You won’t accept a trade to my team? OK, I’m burning all of the trading cards I have with your picture on them, even your rookie card. You’d rather play for one of five Cup-contending teams instead of the team in my city? That’s cool, now I’m googling your address and the phrase ‘letter bomb,’ and laughing maniacally.”
Chill pill, man. Chill pill.
9. The “When’s The NHL Trade Deadline?” Guy
Do you even Google, bro?
10. Pierre Lebrun / Bob McKenzie / Beat Writer or Media Member With A Proven Track Record Of Breaking Team News
These guys are the best. All sarcasm aside, take your breaking NHL Trade Deadline Day news from these guys and these guys only. This isn’t to say there aren’t other outlets that break trades, but the above accounts are your safest bet for accurate trade reports.
Even when it comes to speculation on their parts, the reporting is grounded in fact from verifiable sources, which makes it reliable. And reliability is key for keeping your sanity.
Because when you can’t avoid the other nine types of people you meet on Twitter during Deadline Day, it’s good to know that there’s a modicum of sanity out there in the Twittersphere.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be refreshing Twitter and overreacting to everything I read over the next 18 hours while blatantly disregarding everything I wrote above.
Follow me on Twitter.com (@MichaelWillhoft) so we can propose hypothetical trades, pretend to be disinterested in the trade deadline, and/or get irrationally angry at players who won’t play for our teams.