Well hello there, everybody! As we approach the 2016 NHL Draft and its concomitant drama/information dump, I wanted to give newer fanatics a quick briefing. Maybe you’ve just become so in love with the Red Wings that you want to follow each pick, prospect report, and trade rumor as they happen, or maybe you have moved on from Facebook to Twitter and are overwhelmed by your new application that is effectively a thousand cocaine riddled chimpanzees hammering away at a thousand smart phones trying to scoop the next big news story. Over the next two weeks, we have the draft, the first buyout period, UFA contact period, free agency and any number of other NHL news stories ready to fly out of Pandora’s box, all ready to fuel the insanity that is the NHL. Regardless, welcome to yet another level of fretting, panicking, and the type of genuine excitement that can only be found in the NHL offseason!
RULE # 1 – DON’T TRUST ANYONE.
Honestly, I can’t stress this one enough. Double and triple check everything you see and hear. Tweets, comments, radio and TV personalities. They are all vipers, lying in wait to spring into action and ruin your day with the painful toxins of false hope.
Be particularly wary of Twitter. More often than not, it’s where the false alarms will originate and gain steam. Your friends will instinctively retweet anything they see as news, usually before fact-checking it themselves, ensuring a rapid Tower of Terror rise and subsequent fall of emotions for you in the short period of time between reading the tweet and realizing that TSNB00bMckenzie isn’t actually a NHL media personality.
RULE #2 – Verified Twitter Accounts and What to Watch Out For
As mentioned above, Twitter is the ideal place for trolls to create an account that looks just like our favorite sources’. Maybe they change a lowercase "L" for a capital "I" or switch an "O" for a zero. There are a couple of quick, easy ways to avoid these pitfalls.
First, take a deep breath and look for the blue check mark! You are going to be driven with the intense fury of a thousand screaming, fire breathing wombats (Thanks, @helmerroids!) to hit retweet or quote with your own snarky hot-take the moment you see a trade come across your screen, but don’t. Make sure the account that has grabbed your hockey soul by the spine has that innocent little blue check mark on its page. It will save you the effort and shame of retweeting that report of Sidney Crosby being traded to the Japanese Hockey league with your Sake Hawkey Bucci-esque joke.
For Example, here's an example of ESPN's Pierre LeBrun being mimicked and the offending account posting a fake trade report. This is one of the more confusing ones, as the Ditto didn't need to misspell anything in LeBrun's name, he merely removed a portion of the name, leaving what appears to be a legitimate account, save for one very important detail... The blue check beside his name.
(Found at Hockee Night)
THIS is what a real tweet will look like. Save yourself the embarassment and look for that check!
Additionally, remember that you probably already follow all the important hockey accounts! So when you see Darren Dreger’s pouty face show up under the "Retweeted by" tags, let it fuel your suspicions. That unbalance in the force is your friend being silly. Save yourself and mock them instead.
RULE #3 – Who to Follow:
In case you are new to the terrible, horrible, awful, wonderful world of Twitter, you may not have the lineup nailed down yet. Fear not, I am here to help. While there are certainly lots of voices out there, reasonably reliable ones even, consider this your crib sheet to give yourself a head start.
Nick Kypreos - @RealKyper
Nothing special to start out, by Kypreos is a trustworthy voice, and as a Sportsnet mouthpiece will occasionally be one of the very first to have fresh information.
Elliotte Friedman- @FriedgeHNIC
Friedman is the perpetual nice guy. Decent chance he’ll be the one to break news.
Darren Dreger - @DarrenDreger
Maybe not the friendliest of the bunch. Prone to a strange mix of ranting and preaching, but a strong source of information and breaking news nonetheless.
Pierre LeBrun/Craig Custance - @Real_ESPNLeBrun /
Yes, there’s a bunch of ESPN writers, but these two are the only ones that probably have a shot at breaking any hot news. Follow at your own risk, however, as they tweet a lot of links to an ESPN paywalls. Because when you think "quality hockey content I’m willing to pay for," your first instinct is "ESPN-Lebron."
Corey Pronman -
He works for ESPN now, but don’t let that fool you. Pronman is an absolute goldmine of prospects knowledge. The next several weeks, let alone the draft, are bound to bring up a litany of questions for you, and CP is the one to check in with. He’s not as accessible as he used to be, due to his follower count skyrocketing, and he’s occasionally a bit snarky, but there’s still a decent chance he’ll answer questions that you send his way.
Sean McIndoe -
He won’t be the one to break any news, but you can pretty much guarantee that his reactions to everything hockey related over the next few weeks will be some of the funniest you’ll find.
Bob McKenzie -
I’m going to wrap it up* with one of the big guns. Bob McKenzie seems to always have his pulse on everything NHL. Breaks news, gets lots of scoops, he’s invaluable to your follow list.
*Okay, so I’m not technically done with who you should follow, but fair warning, the next part won’t be impartial.
The Diggers: Pro-tip, you don’t need to follow all of our glorious Detroit Red Wings-centric members of the press. Better writers than I have written more eloquently than I ever could that they are almost often echo chambers of one another. Krupa (@greggkrupa) is my personal favorite. While he is occasionally too old-school for my tastes, Gregg isn’t afraid to talk to anyone and everyone about our favorite boys in Red. Most importantly? He won’t block you for daring to ask questions that don’t imply the Wings have anything other than sunshine and rainbows pouring out of their breezers. I also like Chuck Pleiness (@wingsfrontman).
@HeleneStJames is effectively a mouth-piece for the Wings organization, but she’s probably not as likely to throw a temper tantrum as Khan(!) or Roose and banish you from seeing her super exclusive hard hitting content. (If you want to waste your time following those last two, that’s on you. I won’t have it on my conscience that I sent you their way)
Anyways, as always there will sure to be even better hints, tips and tricks available to you from your fellow WiiMers (we are part of the RedWingsIlluminati, after all). So if anyone has anything they feel is valuable for our new
victims friends, let us hear it in the comments! Other than that, kick back, drink a cold one or 12, and settle in for a wild ride.