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Rumours in the Air - Teams Scramble to Squash Rumor Mongers

I have gone on record before here as standing up for the website. Matt Karash, the Hurricanes correspondent at the site has a keen hockey mind, is as straight as an arrow, and has never, ever thrown out misleading information or rumors. Several of the other writers on the site are excellent, proven journalists and are definitely worth a regular visit. But the owner of the site, (heir Eklund), has gone totally off of his rocker the past few days.

First of all, he reported a rumor saying that Eric Staal might be traded to Edmonton. What exactly was this rumor based upon? Perhaps the Oilers stickboy told the Zamboni driver that he'd love to have Eric Staal on the team? Let's put this one to bed real quickly. When asked a question regarding Staal at a recent season ticketholder luncheon, Carolina General Manager, Jim Rutherford was quoted as saying that he wouldn't trade Staal even if he was in a "drunken stupor".

That ridiculous rumor wasn't enough though, the "King of Entertainment" had to go one further the very next day. In a rumor that supposedly had some "serious legs", Alexander Ovechkin was going to be traded to Nashville. Apparently, half of the Predators team was coming back to DC in return. This rumor made no sense in many different ways, but I won't bother to get into them all.

The important thing is that Capitals owner, Ted Leonsis himself felt the need to respond to this nonsense. Here is an excerpt from a recent posting on his "Owner's Corner" report...

No mention of our team can pass, it seems, without noting Alex Ovechkin’s contract status, and I can tell from postings in the blogosphere and message boards that this has a lot of fans worried. I respect Alex and George McPhee’s commitment to keep the negotiations out of the media and frankly have wondered who is making up some of the things I have read. As I have stated on numerous occasions, we couldn’t be more impressed with Alex as a player and a person and we expect him to be in D.C. for a long, long time.

I don’t have much to add, but want to say this: We love Alex Ovechkin. I think he truly enjoys Washington and being a Washington Capital. He and George will keep working on a deal that will make both sides happy, and they have plenty of time to get that done. If Alex does become a restricted free agent, we have a collective bargaining agreement that protects teams from losing a player they drafted until age 27.

Translation.... AO isn't going anywhere and even if some nutcase like Kevin Lowe puts in an absurd offer sheet, the Caps will match it to protect themselves as written in the CBA. I realize that it might seem like I am wrong here on the blog more often than I am right, but I really think I am right about this one.

Apparently, Eklund isn't the only source of some ugly rumors. Several Caniacs got upset when they heard Bill Clement on XM radio say that Justin Williams might not be able to recover from his knee injury, and his career could be over. Now even if that was true, who in the hell is Clement to release news like that?

A concerned fan sent an email to the Hurricanes front office asking about this. Hurricanes messageboards were buzzing. Carolina Director of Media Relations, Mike Sundheim addressed the subject in his most recent blog posting yesterday. Here is an excerpt...

Speaking of XM and Espo’s show, I heard from a fan that a guest on the show yesterday commented that the injury to Justin Williams was possibly career-ending. I am not sure where that guest heard that, but I wanted to make it clear that he was not correct. Justin is already in the rehab process and is working hard to get back on the ice in time to hopefully wear a Canes sweater during Stanley Cup Playoff games this spring.

Most of the bloggers that I know are responsible enough not to be posting stuff like this. But as long as "The Entertainer" and others keep doing it, the credibility of all bloggers will suffer. Approved press passes will be fewer and far between. In the meantime, team representatives will have to stay on their toes and calm their respective fanbases when the rumors get close to causing panic in the streets.

Night Ranger