There isn't a member of the media that doesn't get frustrated chasing down trade rumors.
That is, unless it's your business to create and/or advance those rumors. That's where the Internet comes in. We've all heard it before. The Internet is where rumors go to be spread. The NHL is no exception.
The only difference I see lately is that it used to heat up near the trade deadline in March. Rumors, that is, not actual trades. Now it's a 24-hour, 365-day job for those who love to have the inside scoop. Whether it's by way of e-mail or during live chats, I'm getting more trade rumor questions than hockey questions.
I don't have a problem with that except it's way too early for all these crazy ideas. How many big trades go down in October and November? Unless a contending team has a major injury and needs to replace someone immediately, they just don't happen.
In fact, everyone thought the Devils were going to replace Martin Brodeur last season with Nikolai Khabibulin or another goalie, and they did nothing. So even major injuries don't always spur movement.
Do a Google search of NHL in-season trades. There were plenty of them in October and November last season, but only one, that I could tell, involved a major player, unless you consider Josh Gratton a household name. On Nov. 15, 2008, Daryl Sydor was traded for Philippe Boucher, so you do get one here and there, but compare that to the amount of rumors and the percentage is like .00001.
So what am I getting at? Well, someone, somewhere said the Hawks might be interested in Montreal goaltender Carey Price, or the Maple Leafs might want to give the Hawks Tomas Kaberle for a bag of pucks.
All of these were denied by various parties involved. That doesn't mean some talks didn't occur or that these parties involved were even telling the truth. But what's the difference unless a trade actually goes down?
It's like a dog chasing its own tail. As for Kaberle, while some outlets, even today, are detailing a possible trade between the Hawks/Maple Leafs, Leafs GM Brian Burke definitively denied it. Usually people don't go on the record to deny something that's about to happen. It makes them look pretty foolish. And Kaberle has been involved in more trade rumors over the years than Gretzky has assists.
The last rumor I actually wasted my time following up on in September was Alexander Frolov to the Hawks for Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker. The response I got from people actually in the know was even stronger than just a plain no.
Why would the Hawks make a trade now anyway? Unless they had some goaltender thing brewing, what would they do and why? They haven't even seen their team at full strength yet.
You don't start making changes 13 games into the season. Or, at least, very rarely. Could they use some massive-sized defenseman? Sure, and so could about 26 other teams. Kaberle is off to a great start offensively, so are about five Hawks defensemen.
Many people believe the Hawks have to make a trade this season in order to stay under the salary cap. General manager Stan Bowman has repeatedly said they are OK for this season. I'm not sure how much more you need to know than that. Of course, the inference from his statement- as we all know - is that they have issues for next year. Fine, deal with that later.
There is always a chance he is able to deal with next year's cap issues now, while keeping a championship-caliber team together for this season. I'm not betting the farm that will happen. And the only way he clears cap space is to trade a major player for a minor player or trade for a major player whose contract is up after this season.
Kaberle is signed through next season at $4.25 million. How does that help the Hawks sign Keith, Toews and Kane?
Someone explain that to me.
When and if the Hawks are all healthy they will have an extra forward or two. Someone may have to go then. But not necessarily. Bowman said so the other day.
"It's a coach's dream to have too many good players," he said.
Let them fight it out. Competition brings out the best in players. Nothing, besides money, gets a player going more than playing time. If their playing time is threatened, watch out, you're going to see their best.
I freely contend that, moments after you read this blog, the Hawks could make the biggest trade in team history, and I might be the one looking foolish. Odds are that's not going to happen, though. Because history and common sense say so.
I guess the message is, enjoy the games, not the rumors, because 99 percent of them are pointless.