August 27, 2008
Follow the bouncing B.S. ...
A hockey rumor "blogger," whose hit-to-miss ratio rivals that of a visually impaired Imperial stormtrooper, reported that the New York Rangers are going to trade center Scott Gomez in order to open up cap space to sign free agent Mats Sundin. The Vancouver Canucks were named as the likely destination.
This naturally sent places like the HF Boards into a speculative tizzy, because really why else would they exist? (Well, besides potentially being the original source for the Gomez-to-Vancouver rumor, that is.)
Around the same time, Greg Caggiano, a writer for the open-source sports blogging community The Bleacher Report, penned a post with this breathless headline: "Scott Gomez Deal Imminent: Los Angeles, Vancouver, Minnesota Destinations."
This created a cottage industry of Gomez speculation on that blogging network, from debating Sundin's contributions to the Rangers with Gomez's to potential deals involving Gomez around the NHL. (Our favorite: Scott Gomez and Michal Roszival to Minnesota for Marian Gaborik and Kurtis Foster. Because, you know, Gomez really, really, really loved playing in the Devils' defensive system. Uh-huh.) The Bleacher Report coverage soon spread to sites like The Dark Ranger for further rumor dispersal.
Blogger Farhan Devji had been following this fun, and decided to reach out to Caggiano because something about the "imminent" trade of Gomez to Vancouver struck him as curious: The notion that "the Rangers would get one of the Sedin twins" in the deal. Considering how, you know, they're sort of inseparable.
And here's what Caggiano, who also hosts a Rangers radio show, had to say in his defense:
"I have an inside source with the organization that says the Rangers are actively shopping Scott Gomez and the Canucks long with the Kings and Wild are the three most probable destinations. I was informed that the Rangers would receive (sic) one Sedin in exchange for Gomez and two Sedins if the Rangers included Petr Prucha in the deal. But now, the deal looks to be flat out; Scott Gomez for Ryan Kesler. I'm surprised by this as everyone else and a rumor is a rumor but I'm telling you it's valid. It may not come to fruition, but something is in the works.
How all of this specificity occurred when most of the NHL's executives are fishing near their mountain cabins ... well, who knows? Maybe Sather and Gillis bumped into each other on the beach or something and started talking about Ryan Kelser.
Gradually, the New York media has begun its debunking. It started with the New York Times, and today continued with Larry Brooks of the New York Post writing: "Contrary to falsehoods circulating on the Internet, the Rangers have never considered trading Scott Gomez to clear cap space for Sundin. Nor will they."
Case closed? Someone forgot to tell Ottawa Sun writer Bruce "Malkin to the Kings" Garrioch, who writes today that "there's a strong belief that either Scott Gomez or Chris Drury could be dealt to the Canucks to make room for Sundin's salary."
He follows that by saying, "Right now, there's a lot of balls in the air." You ain't kiddin'.
Gomez just completed the first year of a seven-year contract, with a cap hit of $7.357 million per season. Last year was a struggle for Gomez and Drury, who both couldn't find any chemistry with Jaromir Jagr. That the Rangers went out and acquired Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev would seem to indicate they hope one (or both) becomes the sniper Gomez needs to activate his game. He's entering his prime, and he still put up 70 points in a crappy season. If you can find a better open-ice skater at center in the Eastern Conference, let us know. He's a special talent, and not exactly a salary dump after one underwhelming campaign.
Oh and, like Drury, Gomez also has a No-Trade Clause, limited as it is: According to NHLSCAP, after every season Gomez provides the Rangers a list of three teams to which he will not accept a trade.
We imagine this list is not available in the New York Public Library, but the fact that Gomez has some control over his future destinations is public knowledge -- though curiously absent from the recent "rumors" about his "imminent" trade.
Adding to absurdity: The formerly anonymous blogger that started spinning this tale recently acquired NHLSCAP's services for his own Web site. Perhaps he should read it occasionally. You know, just for clarification.