Trending Topics is a new column that looks at the week in hockey according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear Internet instead?
If you thought people got testy over the whole Dan Ellis(notes) situation (you heard about that, right?), it's not hard to imagine the tweets that would be directed at a GM of an underperforming team around mid-February.
Luckily, we're just months away from finding out what that's like.
After months of hockey media members, players and team personnel, we finally have our first front-office bigwig hopping on the Twitter bandwagon. And it just so happens to be the head of one of the best teams in the league, in a city where interest and expectations are probably at all-time highs.
Which makes me wonder: Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis, what're you thinking?
Gillis told the Globe and Mail he wanted to get an account (as yet unopened) to communicate directly with the fans and avoid the media's filter, which he says has been frustrating since he took over as Vancouver's GM.
"Social media is not something that is going to go away, and I think it's a way to get a little bit of a different perspective out there," he said. "We'll test it out and see if it works."
I have a hint, Mike. It will not work. It will, in fact, be terrible.
As far as hockey is concerned, Twitter works best when it's used to break news, which Gillis is certainly in a position to do. If he tweets something along the lines of, "We stripped Roberto Luongo(notes) of the captaincy and gave it to Ryan Kesler(notes) instead," or "Kevin Bieksa's knee exploded in practice today and killed both the Sedins," then that'll be very interesting indeed.
But it won't be that. It will be, "What a win last night!" and "Gonna be tough to play without Kevin Bieksa(notes), whose lower body injury exploded in practice today and upper body injured both the Sedins," and other assorted company-man tweets that will be in no way interesting.
If the media policy of any official NHL thing has taught us nothing, it's that cloying is king. Gillis says he wants to interact with fans, but he won't exactly be fielding the tough questions. If any answer he provides gets more in-depth and controversial than describing the best qualities of everyone on the Canucks, I'll be shocked.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Gillis is shockingly candid, in a Brian Burke sort of way, about all sorts of things. Maybe he says exactly why he stripped Luongo of the captaincy when it eventually happens or just what made him demote one player to the AHL. But it's unlikely for all the obvious reasons.
It's admirable that Gillis wants to do this, of course. But he'll realize his mistake if the Canucks drop four in a row or a guy like Dan Hamhuis(notes), who the team signed to a gigantic contract, isn't immediately excellent.
And imagine the trade suggestions he's going to get inundated with! A real life HFBoards trade proposal will show up in his "@replies" every 30 seconds. Plus the media LOVES guys that actively say they'll do something to not deal with the press, and it's not like the Vancouver media is known for being critical, right?
Mike Gillis will the first and probably final NHL GM to tweet. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Speaking of people who shouldn't have Twitter...
How am I just finding out this week that Gary freaking Bettman has a Twitter account?
Oh, it's because he's only tweeted three times. All within three and a half hours of each other. Back in April. Of 2009. Apparently he met some fans at a tweetup! That must have been fun.
The best part, though? "Location: 30 NHL Markets and Beyond."
Where "Beyond" definitely doesn't mean Hamilton, Ontario, but could mean Mexico City if all goes according to plan.
That Ellis was chased off Twitter because this site had the unmitigated audacity to call him out of touch and a bit insensitive for complaining about the amount of money he lost, and that it became a major story, is all a bit unfortunate. Ellis was an interesting follow and seemed like a decent guy. But oh well, it's all Wyshynski's fault. In fact, there was a trending topic to that effect yesterday - started by @SpeakoftheDevs - that went on for literally about 10 hours.
Among the best:
@Dwatson783: The whole throwing rats on the ice thing
@OneSmugPug: Leia kissing Luke
@OnFrozenBlog: Bedazzeled Pink NHL sweaters
And your winner...
And here's how you know Ellis wasn't sympathetic in all this
Even NHL players were chirping him about the situation.
Said Joffrey Lupul: "Show of tweets, who would like to start a fund for broke back-up goalies? Have some compassion!! LOL #danellisproblems"
And Mike Commodore: "@33dellis I got some extra clothes for ya bud, heard u need some help. I'll ship them to ya, I'm here for u. Players helping players. Hahaha"
Of course the Ellis situation caused much consternation, andit even made the poorly-paid millionaire backup goaltender chirp the esteemed Mr.Wyshynski. That makes two Puck Daddy staffers Ellis has attacked unprovoked (I was the other one).
Next stop: Ellis/Leahy shoving match, then maybe running over Bourne's cat.
(That's all the Ellis writing I'm doing for a while, I swear.)
Pearls of Biz-dom
BizNasty on knowing your limits: "Holy [expletive] I got rated a 76 in NHL 11. Someone at EA games is getting canned. Let's get real. I'm a 60 on a good night."
If you've gotsomething for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.
- Mike Gillis