Sunday, September 16, 2007

Eklund the Hockey Blogger

Eklund toiletIn the past few years, many posts related to potential trades on hockey discussion boards have been qualified with statements along the lines of: “I know this is from Eklund but…” For some, a fatigue has set in and they might as well write: “I know I read this on a shithouse wall but…”

The hockey blogger known as Eklund has an air of farce about him these days. I sense he is approaching a kind of critical mass in terms of how much credibility he lacks and how many people consider him a fraud. His apparent willingness to lie about his credentials in the early going of his online career will turn off even more people. This article goes into some real detail in terms of just how insanely far away he is from being a journalist in any sense of the word. One only has to stop and ponder for a moment how it would be literally impossible to apply the necessary due diligence that serious reporters rely on to the sheer volume of his rumours.

He is nothing more than a clearing-house for all information related to trades in the NHL. Fair play to him for putting in the time and energy to make that a reality. However, far too often he insinuates that he is the one breaking the news. He is now simply one of the highest trafficked sites for people looking for information on the topic. That he is plugged into dozens of media outlets 24 hours a day (and has cultivated some real contacts because of his manic efforts) means that his site is the first place people may learn of a move, not necessarily the first place to report it.

There is still a large mass of people eagerly lapping up his postings as the recent announcement that the Montreal Canadiens have signed Patrice Brisebois attracted more than 700 posts to his comment pages in short order. Then again, for someone who has shown himself to be somewhat lacking in ethics when it comes to boosting his own profile, and for a person who obviously appreciates the truism that a crowded pub attracts more customers, how do we know if all those posters are legitimate?

It’s clear that he is shrewd when it comes to marketing himself, playing on people’s hopes and spinning himself as some kind of connected individual within the ranks of the NHL. His identity has been an open secret for some time and the whole "anonymous" schtick just comes across as puerile now. Perhaps that’s appropriate as his fan base appears to me to be somewhat juvenile, naive and lacking in a healthy sense of skepticism. Another element sees it as an intriguing human interest story and a glimpse into the psychology of spin, manipulation and the herd mentality of so many people (or perhaps they use that as a cover and are ashamed to admit they visit Eklund’s site...)

Dwayne Klessel (Eklund’s real name) knows the power of quantity over quality and shamelessly pads out his site with horrifically written blogs rammed full of grammar errors, spelling mistakes, malapropisms and skewed syntax. He also has some blogs penned by very good writers who are syndicated columnists in major newspapers. They too recognize the traffic that Klessel’s sensationalistic tabloid style speculation generates.

Most serious journalists will continue to ignore him while others may start to resent him and stick a few knives in, giving him more publicity along the way. Eklund, too, may sense a change in the wind and may move onto a new phase in the life of his celebrity status. Or, having found a shtick that creates more interest than anything else in his trick bag, he may stay with it to its logical conclusion, whatever that may be.

While followers of Eklund may not learn anything of significance about dealings in the world of professional hockey more than a few minutes before anyone else, at least they have learned that, in fact, a broken clock is sometimes not even right twice a day.

(originally appeared at sportsnarrative.blogspot.com)

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