The most recent difficulties the Toronto Maple Leafs have in goal have generated phenomena we call “clickbait.” That is the online equivalent of writing for the National Enquirer or some other such rag. As in “Oh My, I didn’t know Clint Eastwood had a sex-changer operation.” Or, how weird about the Housewives of Salt Lake City all giving birth to Martians?”
Back to the Maple Leafs Goalies
Back to the Maple Leafs’ goalies. This noise about the Maple Leafs looking for another goalie from outside the organization has generated yet another round of clickbait – or at least it seems so to me. The NHL rules state that no club can have more than 50 players under NHL contracts. And, when the Maple Leafs signed Keith Petruzzelli, that gave them 50 NHL contracts.
In fact, the Maple Leafs were fortuitous to have that 50th contract space. It would not have been so if the team had not put Nicolas Aube-Kubel on waivers AND the Washington Capitals had not picked him up. The Maple Leafs had, at that point, a chance to go get another goalie with NHL experience. They did not. You think they didn’t talk about it?
But, with the Maple Leafs season so young, and the expectation that either Matt Murray or Ilya Samsonov would return soon, why make a trade on a lineup that had just beaten the Boston Bruins?
Suspecting that one of its top two goalies would soon return, there was no reason to panic so early in the regular season. This was especially true after Erik Kallgren’s strong play against the Carolina Hurricanes last Sunday.
The Concept of Clickbait
I cover the Toronto Maple Leafs like a lot of other hockey writers. To be transparent, on big sites, most hockey writers are paid by the pageview. Again to be transparent, that money is generated by ad revenue – those things that get in your way as you are reading the content on the site you’ve chosen to read.
You will also see that this new site Old Prof Hockey– and we’ve been producing content for about a month now – also carries advertisements. Also to be transparent, as the title of this site says, I’m a retired professor at the University of Alberta, where I was employed as an academic for 41 years.
I write these posts because I love hockey and think it’s a special game, and I enjoy writing and have done so since I was a youngster. I’m now 75 years of age, and I’m trying to build a nest egg so my two youngest daughters can pay for their university tuition and costs.
There you have it. So, right here I want to say thanks for reading my posts and (by clicking on an ad or two) helping my girls go to university.
One Thing I Don’t Like About Some Hockey Writers
As a hockey writer, it bothers me when writers create clickbait news just for the sake of getting page views. Most writers who do so already know there’s nothing accurate about what they’re writing. I read a post not long ago when a writer (who also covers the Maple Leafs) wrote about a potential trade for team captain John Tavares.
That writer had to know there were two huge problems. One is that Tavares has a no-move clause. The second is that “Johnny Toronto” would not (from what I understand) ever be willing to leave his hometown. The Maple Leafs were his dream team as a kid and he’s living his dream.
The writer knew that fact but dealt with it by commenting (something like, although I don’t recall the exact wording) “Although Tavares has a no-move clause and isn’t likely to want to leave Toronto, what if he did?”
Then the clickbait writer proceeded to admit: “The no-move-clause and $11 million cap-hit will be a huge hurdle in trading Tavares.” Duh. That’s called clickbait, and to me it’s problematic.
By the way, right now there are two of us who contribute to this hockey blog – myself and long-time Maple Leafs’ fan Stan Smith. Stan loves numbers and analytics, sits and rewatches Maple Leafs’ games to see how plays went, and likes to write reviews of games and players. I’m lucky to have him be part of our fledgling operation.
As a writer, I like to keep up with the news and love players’ stories – like the recent Auston Matthews in Switzerland. I also have what I call an “appreciative lens.” I love to look at the positive and not the negative.
My dad used to say “Wherever you go, there you are.” It was about who his kids should hang out with, and he had a simple philosophy. If you hung around nice or happy people, your life would tend toward niceness and happiness.
All that said is a note that we will NOT be dealing with clickbait in our writing. Sure, it’s good to have an attractive title and an inviting “trailer,” but false advertising (making stuff up completely) isn’t honest as writers. Nor, do we believe, it’s good for real Maple Leafs’ fans.
The Following is Completely False, I Just Made It Up as an Example
The Maple Leafs are potential trade partners with the Baltimore Ravens. A rumour has it that the Maple Leafs and the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens might be (in an alternate universe) discussing a trade. We’re not sure what the Maple Leafs could be sending the Ravens, but Toronto’s target is Daniel Faalele.
Rumour has it that the Maple Leafs are interested in turning Faalele into a goalie. He has no hockey experience at all and never learned to skate in Australia. However, the team believes he has the chance of becoming a good goalie for one reason. He fills up most of the space in front of the net where NHL shooters might try to put the puck.
Faalele is an Australian professional American football offensive tackle for the Ravens of the National Football League who played college football with the University of Minnesota. He’s a 22-year-old native of Melbourne, Australia, who’s 6-foot-9 and weighs 380 pounds.
Give Him His Due, Faalele Fills Up the Net
According to rumours, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe might have said that, once Faalele learns to skate, he’d be an attractive option for the team. When he stands in front of the net with his pads on, there’s no five-hole. (Nor does there seem to be a one, two, three, or four-hole either.)
Stay tuned for more information. In a take-off of Neo’s answer to Tank’s question in The Matrix (1999) “What do you need?” Neo responds: “Guns, lots of guns.” The Ravens are rumored to be seeking “Future considerations, lots of future considerations.”