Bill Guerin: Do not need. Do not want.
Bob McKenzie has the right idea. A few days after the opening of the free agent market, he took himself off on vacation and, other than a couple of Kovalchuk comments, has mostly Tweeted about his hammock and golf game.
Other NHL media folk would be wise to follow suit. Or at the very least, as my mother used to say, think before they speak (or type, or Tweet).
Unfortunately, too many hockey media, with too much time on their hands, too eager to listen to any whispered rumors (whispered by whom? Agents, perhaps? Perish the thought!), are too ready to pass along any ridiculous crap they hear and call it “news.”
Case in point: The Boston Bruins are interested in Bill Guerin.
The story “broke” from St. Louis (St. Louis?) on July 27, in the midst of Blake Wheeler’s salary arbitration hearings. The New England Sports Network’s web site picked it up:
The Bruins could be welcoming back a familiar face to the Hub as the team is speaking with Bill Guerin about a potential return to Boston, according to Radio host and St. Louis Blues writer Andy Strickland.
“The Bruins are talking to veteran Billy Guerin,” Strickland Tweeted Tuesday. “They need to make a roster move before they can sign him…”
OK, obviously nobody stopped to ask one simple question. No, not WTF? (though I’ll admit that’s the first thing that crossed my mind.) The question would be “Why?”
The Bruins already have their Designated Old Guy. They’re in cap hell, and are going to have to move a player or two even without signing any free agents. Though they haven’t hung out signs saying “We’re going with a youth movment,” it’s fairly obvious to anyone paying attention that they’re aiming to get younger and more dynamic, with Tyler Seguin only the tip of their young prospect iceberg; they’ve got some real talent knocking on the door.
In a nutshell, signing Bill Guerin would make no sense whatsoever.
Meanwhile, that bastion of sports journalism The Bleacher Report picked up the story, with an added twist:
Reports from NESN have stated that the Boston Bruins have significant interest in veteran winger Bill Guerin.
Oooh, so now it’s “significant” interest!
The story grew, making it onto both of Boston’s sports radio stations, as well as ESPN’s web site. For 24 hours, Bruins fans hotly debated the pros and cons of the Return of Bill Guerin.
Until Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com came along:
…A Bruins source told CSNNE.com Wednesday [July 28] there was no interest on their part in the 39-year-old free agent winger.
A Bruins source. Imagine that. A member of the media picked up the phone and, y’know, actually asked someone in the Bruins F.O. about it. Responsible journalism – who would have thunk it?
We've got our Designated Old Guy (Mark Recchi), thanks.
(And when you’re praising Joe Haggerty as a bastion of responsible journalism, you’re in trouble. But that’s a commentary for another day.)
However, like Monty Python’s iconic Black Knight, it’s not dead yet! Seriously. From yet another Bleacher Report blog (written on July 31):
I am hearing that Bill Guerin is generating interest from the Bruins, Penguins and Islanders.
And lest you think it’s just fannish blogs, think again…
Former Penguins forward Bill Guerin was linked to the Boston Bruins but given their limited cap space in the wake of their acceptance of Blake Wheeler’s arbitration award, they can’t afford him.
No, he wasn’t! It was a rumor, probably started by his agent, aiming to drum up interest… oh, never mind. Just go on vacation. Please.
Photos: Bill Guerin from The Associated Press. Mark Recchi from Getty Images.