I don’t go seeking out Bleacher Report articles. They tend to come to me, in my daily St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers e-mail alerts from Google News. For those who don’t know, Google News’ e-mail alerts (very handy, BTW), come split into three categories: news, blogs, and web. My little site gets picked up, rightfully so, in the “blog” portion of those alerts. Why? Because it’s a blog. I offer opinion, conjecture, views on rumors – though very rarely do I report rumors – and things that aren’t news. Bloguin gets picked up by USA Today and whatnot on occasion as an editorial service, and those who click on the links know that we’re a network of bloggers. When I write for SBNation Atlanta, that gets picked up as a news service. I recognize that, and when I write my articles I lay off of the conjecture and I report what is actually going on, not what cool player my team needs to pick up.
Bleacher Report, however, tends to have writers who skew towards the conjecture. Not to mention, they tend to have writers who skew towards poorly written/not cited conjecture. According to Deadspin.com, Bleacher Report has actually recognized that a good bit of their published articles fall under the “awful crap” category, and are attempting to make it a happier place for those writers who actually do want to reach an audience and write well. Bully for them. However, I’m not sure if this re-hire and re-evaluation of writers is being done in alphabetical order by league popularity, because a Toronto Maple Leafs writer apparently has been allowed to squeak through.
In Brad LeClair’s article “Toronto Maple Leaf Rumors: Could David Backes Be the Next Maple Leaf?” there isn’t a single external hyperlink to any source. None. He obviously read things, because he describes this Roger Hensley Q&A roundtable from the Post-Dispatch pretty well.In it, Hensley mentions that Backes is in his final year of his contract, is looking for a pay raise, and that negotiations have been shelved for right now. He takes the fact that negotiations are on hold and runs with it in some odd “ZOMG BACKES TO LEAFS HE FITS IN!” jag. Honestly, it’s common for free agents’ contract talks to be put on hold during the season so that distraction doesn’t get in the way of the player’s play. Also, the player has motivation to play for his contract all year.
The concept of David Backes doing to the Maple Leafs is contingent on a few things: if the Blues aren’t playing well enough for the playoffs come the trade deadline; if Backes is tanking; and if the Maple Leafs have an asset that the Blues want in exchange for this season’s unofficial face of the franchise. Yes, Backes is truculence personified, and yes he’d be a huge addition to the Maple Leafs. I’m sure Brian Burke would like him on the roster. But just because Backes fits the mold of the ideal Leafs forward does not make him the next Leafs forward. And the suggestion that the Blues would want to downgrade to Tyler Bozak is absurd. Throwing in a prospect doesn’t make sense either, because St. Louis has stockpiled them for years and the Rivermen don’t need an extra player right now.
Of course, this got picked up as news, and at first glance people might think that this is a trade in the works. Next time putting the word “rumor” or even “crap I’m guessing at” in the title would be a plus, as would linking to articles you round-about cite. You know, the things that you hint at being your “sources.”
In the comments, Mr. LeClair tries to explain that he heard this rumor in the Globe and Mail, and tries to back it up with “facts.” Here’s a common technique you might’ve learnend in high school – cite the facts. Try it; you’ll like it, and it’ll make you look legitimate.