Monday, July 23, 2012

(Courtesy NY Rangers)
I'll be the first to admit that I don't think very much of Larry Brooks, who covers the New York Rangers for the New York Post. Brooks, at least in my eyes doesn't care what he writes as long as he gets people to be talking about him (as I'm doing here) or either visit the New York Post's website or purchase the print copy.

Like him or not, I cannot deny that Larry Brooks does exactly what he should be doing, which is drawing attention to himself and the newspaper he writes for. That doesn't mean that I cannot dislike him for the rumormongering that he does on Sundays.

I understand for Ranger fans that gives them something to talk about during the off-season when there's almost nothing else really to do when it comes to hockey. Sure, I can understand people wanting to toss ideas around and chat about them.

There's nothing wrong with that because they're just chatting but when Larry Brooks does it. I wonder if he realizes that sometimes he has spread a rumor that hurt other people?

I wonder; would he do things differently if he knew that he made somebody else's life that much harder? There are times when I have seen cause and effect because of something Larry Brooks writes.

I've told this story before, and it's worth repeating because of the dangers that rumors can cause not just to the player but his family as well.

Few years back Larry Brooks wrote that one of the Ranger college prospects was not going to sign with the Rangers and intended to become an unrestricted free agent. That prospect and his family at the time did not know what was being written about him.

The next thing that prospect knew was that rumors were sweeping the campus that he was turning pro, those same rumors were also saying that he didn't want to play for the Rangers and that he was planning on signing elsewhere.

All of a sudden this prospect was getting all sorts of angry messages from not only Ranger fans, but fans of his college team as everybody was so sure he was turning his back on them.

I got a message from him asking me why were the Ranger fans hating him and who was Larry Brooks? When I sent to him a link to the article, his response was one of shock.

He said that at the time the Rangers had not even contacted his adviser wanting to know if he was wanting to turn pro and sign a contract. It was totally the opposite for him as he wanted to become a Ranger because it was an original six team.

The NCAA and their almost anal rules regarding contact between a prospect and his pro-team made a public response one way or the other a risky proposition. At the time, he didn't know if he was ready to turn pro but he wasn't going to risk his eligibility asking for an offer either.

Worse off was the fact that he was thinking that Ranger fans didn't want him as a player and they were in effect without realizing it, scaring him off.

It took a few messages and the help of a few friends to convince him that Ranger fans really wanted him on Broadway. The Rangers came through with an offer which he signed and everyone lived happily ever after.

In today's Internet crazy world, it's very easy to say something that winds up getting distorted if you're not careful. It's a big reason why I don't like playing with the trade rumors because it's not only the players that these rumors affect; their families get involved too.

Some players they can handle it and it doesn't really affect how they play, but there are some who rumors do have an effect on and it does affect their play.

One of my favorite people to read on the web is a guy by the name of Greg Caggiano. Greg writes a blog called "From New York to San Francisco" which covers a variety of subjects that I happen to enjoy reading about.

Greg became my hero when on July 9th, Greg decided to conduct what he called a "social experiment" on twitter. What Greg did was post a series of tweets that gave the impression that the Ranger trade for Rick Nash was a done deal.

It was a twitter's version of Orson Welles adaptation of "War of the Worlds." People were falling for it hook, line and sinker and the best part was Greg really didn't have to do a whole lot to convince people that it was a done deal.

Greg gained followers almost instantly, his tweets were being repeated all over the place and to be honest I was loving every second of it. I didn't know at the time, what Greg was doing, but I figured it out really fast and sat back and waited for the punchline.

The sad part was when Greg tried to let people off the hook so many didn't get it. Those who understood what he was doing approved it, but those who didn't were very quick to trash him.

The saying goes, "there's a sucker born every minute" but in today's instant world. One could actually make a case for it being every other second.

The point of all of this was that that's the danger of rumors in today's Internet world. It doesn't take much to cause a frenzy and when that frenzy starts; at times it will take on a life of its own and that's the scary part.

Who knows if the Rangers will trade for Rick Nash or if they will sign Shane Doan but this much is true. When it does happen, odds are that Larry Brooks won't be the person who breaks the story.

See that's real news and Larry Brooks doesn't do a good job with real news.

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