THE GUESSING GAME: YOU DON’T SAY?

As an NHL beat writer, I used to love and hate the weeks leading up to the annual June Entry Draft and free agency.

I loved it because, with a bit of sniffing around, this is when a reporter with solid contacts among general managers, scouts and agents could get an inside line on legit trade talks and draft day dealings instead of just throwing stuff up against the wall and hoping some of it would stick.

I hated it because there were so many bogus rumors and dud leads you’d have to follow to make sure you weren’t missing something that you’d spend half your time chasing what amounted to zippo. Then again. Shrug something off as sheer fantasy and baseless speculation – even if it was that nine times out of 10 – and have it play out that way after the guy at the other newspaper had it and you didn’t, and there’d be hell to pay.

As the photograph above shows, we are there now. What, pray tell, were Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish and Toronto boss Dave Nonis chatting about today in the photo Tweeted by Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet? A whole bunch of something or a whole lot of nothing? We don’t know.

GET IT OUT THERE

A thumb-tap here and a send button there after snapping a photo on your cell phone and you can create an instant buzz, just as Kypreos has by wondering out loud if MacTavish and Nonis might be talking about swapping Edmonton’s seventh overall pick for a defenseman off the Toronto roster.

Possible? Sure. Likely? I don’t know. And I dare say neither does Kypreos, who is one of the more connected guys on the national scene. The question is, does it really matter to fans?

It’s certainly fodder for what used to be called water cooler talk in the days before Twitter and social media, when fans had to wait until the morning newspaper to get their fill of innuendo and guesswork from the beat guys. Now, it’s, what, 30 seconds from photo-op until hitting send? Fans get their hockey version of gossip, and occasionally the inside track, right now.

Now, if a reporter takes the time to follow up by chatting with MacTavish or Nonis or by making a phone call or two to check out what he’s seen or what he’s heard, chances are he’s going to see the same photo or the same rumor all over the internet by the time he’s done due diligence. First is best, after all, so the norm now is to get it out there and ask questions later.

WHAT DID THEY SAY?

Might Kypreos be onto something? Sure.

MacTavish: "Dave, if I was to move that seventh pick, what would it be worth to you? I’m looking for a D-man."

Nonis: Depends who you want. I’m not moving Jake Gardiner just to get to seventh, though. No chance. No way.

MacTavish: What about Mike Komisarek? You gonna buy him out? I’m looking to move Shawn Horcoff or maybe buy him out. Maybe we could talk about . . ."

Nonis: Where you staying in Jersey. Let’s have dinner. We’ll talk."

Then again, Kypreos might have that whole bunch of nothing.

MacTavish: Your hair looks so good, Dave. What product you using?

Nonis: You damn sure know good salad when you see it, Mac. You wanna know the secret? Mayonnaise. Half a jar once a week.

MacTavish: No shit, eh. Mayo. Burkie put you on to that? Thanks, man."

So it goes, just like it always has and always will. It just gets out there far faster than it used to. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing from a purely journalistic point of view, as dusty and outdated as that consideration is becoming, but fans don’t seem to mind a bit. Same buzz as always. You just get the dope right away now.

"The seventh for Gardiner, eh . . ?"

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • toprightcorner

    7th for Gardiner would hate that deal we already have Schultz. We don’t need 2 D-men that can’t play. defence. If you want defence pick Darnell Nurse.

  • vetinari

    If Gardner is not the likely trade target, then maybe one of Toronto’s RFA defencemen like Gunnarson or Franson.

    I could easily see MacT dangling someone like Gagner (Toronto could use a centre) for one of the blue liners and swap problems.

  • toprightcorner

    Edmonton probably would take Monahan at 7. Anyone else left at 7 Oilers would trade down depending on the deal.

    Monahan 5-7

    Lindholm 5-8

    Nurse 5- 8

    Nichushki 3-7

  • T__Bone88

    I think in this case Kypreos was throwing something up and hoping it sticks. I bet that the conversation that took place consisted of how its going for Eakins moving here, finding assistant coaches etc.

  • T__Bone88

    Hey Robin goor read…love the mayo part…lol.

    In your opinion do ya like the trade idea between Oiler and Leafs for of the #7 pick for one of Colborne, McKegg, Biggs, or even Morgan Reilly…rather than Gardiner?

    I think Gardiner is way too thin at 174 lbs (I read) but I like Colboirne a lot…What say you?

    • If the Oilers are going to move the seventh pick or a player this off-season, it has to be for proven top-4 help on the blue line.

      As far as speculation goes, you can use the name of any D-man on any other team who fits that description.

  • TwoSkidoos

    Kypreos works for SNET. It’s sort of his job to create buzz, hype, hoopla, what have you.

    Regardless of whether they were talking Gardiner or gardening, it’s always fun to speculate and be the armchair GM.

    Hurry up Chicago and win the freggin cup so we can get on with dumping our dead weight!!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    How bloody arrogant is that, to feel the worst is over and give that 7th away for another 4 thru 8 guy on your blueline.

    The Oilers could be blowing an opportunity here, an opportunity to get that long term 2nd line center, or even a potential top pairing blood and guts d’man. Letting that selection go for anything other than a top 6 forward, or a top pairing blueliner (if they added to it) can only confirm incompetence. Watch Lowe settle for yet another bottom 6 forward or another 4 thru 8 blueliner for that 7th selection. A guy, if they waited till the middle of July, they couldve picked up at Walmart.

    • MKE

      How do you know they trade for anything less then that? I guess you aren’t that high on Gardner.

      The Red Wings never had a big tough defence group. They always had great puck movers who played smart.

  • MKE

    Oilers doubtful to deal away a 7th rounder in such deep a draft and possibly (good chance ) lose out on a future star player . It would have to be a bonafide star and a lot more than what’s been talked about here . Would you bypass Lindholm , Monohan , Nurse or Ristolainen for anything less than a star player or more ? I doubt it . Get off the second stringer people !

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I could see the Oilers letting Buffalo take Risto at seventh and giving us their 8th and 16 and Myers , with maybe Horcoff or Hemsky to finish deal off . Buffalo site says they would like Risto to go with fellow Finn Armia . They have soured on Myers and look poised to possibly move Vanek and Miller as well . Maybe one of the other latter players might be your preference ? At 8th we can take Nurse, Lindholm or Monohan if you want . 16th we can dangle or keep , depending on who wants to deal or what’s on board at that stage .I feel it’s a win win situation for both clubs .Perhaps a little tweaking could go a long way to a very good deal for both clubs .

        • MKE

          Even if Hemsky and Horcoff were involved in that deal I dont think you would get 8, 16 and Myers.

          Especially considering that Buffalo wants to get younger, and getting Hemsky and/or Horcoff doesn’t help that.

  • Gregor and I talked about this on the air today: I wouldn’t be surprised if MacT and Nonis have or will discuss the possibility of trading bad contracts — Horcoff and Komisarek.

    Horcoff is an overpay as a third-line centre and Komisarek is the same as a third-pairing defenseman. Might at least consider that if I was GM before I bought Horcoff out.

    That’s assuming, of course, Komisarek hasn’t fallen completely off the edge of the hockey world. I haven’t watched him play in a couple of years.

    • Greg Stink | ESPN

      Yeah… but then again, Komisarek may or may not have punched a woman in the face at a Hollywood Night Club. Not saying it’s true, because what do I know, but you’ve got to wonder why he’s getting himself in this situation in the first place… I don’t see Horcoff bringing that kind of crap to a locker room full of young players.

      Don’t think I would be a fan of this move, regardless. There are better, non-woman punching options to explore.

    • Young Oil

      Can’t the Oilers do better with Horcoff by retaining up to half his salary? The same goes for Hemsky. It seems to me that they could be attractive players for other teams if the salaries and caps are reasonable.

      I don’t see the point of trading one bad contract for another especially for a third pairing defenseman who isn’t any better than what they already have.

    • OilLeak

      Komisarek has fallen of the edge of the hockey world. Horcoff, while overpaid, is still a good player, komisarek is not.

      This would be the Cam Barker experiment 2.0

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I’d add hemsky and liles names in there as well. I think Liles is the better option for us personally. Worse contract though.

  • Young Oil

    Why nor Komiserak for Horcoff? This wouldn’t be the Oilers first reclamation project. A change might do both players some good. Oilers need some D.

    If Linholm is available at 7, run, don’t walk to the draft table.

  • vetinari

    MacT and Nonis just look like two dudes, hanging out, talking shop, and likely exchanging recipes for grilled Szechuan Steak or something like that…

    OR…

    They’ve just negotiated the framework of an epic 11 player swap, to be completed after the Cup is awarded…

    OR…

    They are each doing their jobs and kicking tires to find out the market on first round picks, defencemen and centres.