Lately there have been a lot of rumors flying around. Mats Sundin is going here... Alex Ovechkin is going there... It's tough to make sense out of it all. What's real? What's fake? Hell, I have no clue. I wake up every morning and wonder why Skip Bayless still has a job. It's all beyond me.
But there are some things I do know. And for those things, however few and far between they may be, we have Handy Guides for Beginners. The latest installment will show you how to formulate, create and sell your very own NHL trade rumor! Who knows, maybe you'll be the next big internet sensation.
First things first. You need a player to create a rumor about. It sounds simple, but you have to be careful. Some players have been locked up with long term deals that no team would want to take on (see: Rick DiPietro, Daniel Briere, etc.). These players should be avoided at all costs. It's just way too easy for know it all liberals to shoot your rumors down. You have to find guys who may not be happy in their current environment (Jagr?), have an expiring contract (Sundin), or are simply a superstar (Ovechkin, Thornton, etc.). No rumor about a star player is too unbelievable. Unless, you know, they're locked into a 15-year contract.
Now that we've got a player, (feel free to choose your favorite from the aforementioned criteria) we need to find a destination for them. This step is simple, but it can have it's caveats. This is the part that really has to make sense. I'll tell you flat out -- you can't sell a rumor if it's ridiculous. Well, some people can, but I digress. To make sure your destination works, ask yourself a few questions: Is this team in/outside of the playoff picture? Are they looking for a rental? Do they really have use for this person? (Unless it's a star player, in which case, of course they do!) Do they already have a star at this position? (The Red Wings don't need a goaltender, you see.)
Now that you've got a destination, you need to figure out who/what is going to be sent back to the original team in return. This could be any number of things. It could be money, draft picks or players. Usually, it's the latter two. At this point, just pick your favorite. Heck, if this rumor is about your favorite (or least favorite team) choose whatever you want. Creating a rumor about Hasek going to Pittsburgh? What the hell, send Crosby back in return. It's your rumor! And besides, you can't be wrong, you're only listening to what your sources tell you!
That brings me to the next step. You need to sell your rumor. For the sake of time, let's pretend your already have a medium to disseminate your rumor from. Print, internet, radio... Doesn't matter. It's all the same in the end. What you need to do now to make this thing serious, is that you need to be a salesman (or woman) about it. You have to know what you're talking about (or at least sound like it) and convince your viewers that this is, in fact, inside information. Tell them how hard you're working to find out the truth about the rumor. Tell your viewers that you have similar reports from multiple sources. And, most importantly, you have to leave them wanting more. Leave saying, "check back later for more updates" or better yet, use a classic "hook" like the pros -- hint that there is more to the deal than is being revealed. "[Player]'s name has been kicked around as part of the package, but I can't confirm anything yet."
Sources are the best invention ever. It's simple and yet so amazing! You can't be held accountable for what you say ("My source gave me bad info!"). It builds trust with your viewers since you're obviously well respected and connected ("I've heard this rumor from many of my sources"). Best of all, it's what all the pros do. Peter Gammons uses sources from time to time. Bob McKenzie has his own. Everyone has sources! Why not you?Sit back, and enjoy the ride. Congratulations! You're now well on your way to becoming a serious hockey reporter! That plush gig at a top media outlet can't be far away...