Two noteworthy points from Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun, published on Sunday... I'm going to provide each by themselves for the sake of not lumping two very different points together (in the Sun context, these two news pieces were next to each other in the article):
Lets begin with a draft rumor:
Word around is that the New York Islanders will utilize their first pick in the NHL draft on Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman. What we don't know is, are the Islanders letting people know this to throw off others or are they legitimately going defenceman first? ...
It's speculation and it's a rumor. "Word around is..." doesn't tell you around where, from who, and just how they've learned the Isles plans for the #1 pick in the draft. Even as a quick hit news-bit, it's rumor-mongering at best.
But still, it leaves me curious if the improbable scenario could actually play out?
Dominik at Lighthouse Hockey has an interesting quote up (a highlight from a New York Newsday chat) that further makes one wonder just what to expect come Draft Day:
"I'm told fan polls and surveys and such won't affect the decision. But honestly, I think the environment surrounding the pick will be super-heated by June 26th. Who knows whether Charles Wang will suggest that Tavares could be awfully good for the box office? ... If they go a different direction, it will be out of a very strong conviction because they'll need a lot of backbone to back it up and explain it to the fan base."
Isles owner Charles Wang has shown loyalty to Isles executives in the past, those who shuffled top-draft-pick deck chairs... This could be another case of it, if Isles GM Garth Snow is sold on the Swedish blue-liner above the scoring-machien that is John Tavares.
Going back to the Toronto Sun, here's the second point of note from the article:
Tampa Bay co-owner Oren Koules insists that he and fellow owner Len Barrie get along and talk to each other, contrary to what many people in the hockey community insist. Koules is frustrated that the Tampa Bay Lightning has become the butt of many NHL jokes and he's trying to let people know that all -- finances, front office, future -- apparently is well.
Well, first of all, it's understandable for Koules to be frustrated with how the Lightning (and OK Hockey) are being perceived in both hockey circles and the media. What I find odd is that an observation such as this played out in Canadian media and not through the Tampa Bay media. Of course, locals have grown skeptical and worried about the direction of the franchise... At the same time, it's usually the Canadian media that savages OK Hockey's financial situation, or the Koules/Barrie "Feud" BS for that matter.
Specifically of the Barrie/Koules hearsay, I'm wondering just how Steve Simmons defines the "Hockey Community" (which, he claims, many around it are sure there is trouble between the two owners)? In the same light that he declared "Word around" regarding the Isles?
In the end, the issue being highlighted is just a case of message control and how well OK Hockey spins it. There's no way to truly fight off the notion the Lightning are the butt of jokes (two horrid seasons, back-to-back, and the off-season in between relying on highly public acquisitions that didn't work out) but the hearsay of ownership strife along with different PR blunders can be reigned in with a staff savvy in protecting the brand that they are a part of.
Sure, we want things to be transparent with the franchise, but at the same time, an even-handed approach needs to be used in public. Otherwise a frank discussion about the Lightning turns into stories of financial disarray and wild speculation.