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Silver Nuggets: Kessel, Simmons, and Media Influence

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The media have the power to influence a lot of people -- which can often be a bad thing. Also, a look at your recent Sens links.

Erik Karlsson whispers two words: "Hot dog." A grin slowly spreads across Phil Kessel's face...
Erik Karlsson whispers two words: "Hot dog." A grin slowly spreads across Phil Kessel's face...
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

If you don't know who Steve Simmons is, consider yourself lucky. Do yourself a favour, and don't Google him or read anything he's written. He's a "journalist" for the Toronto Sun, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. Think of him as Don Brennan, only with more personal vendettas (vendettae?) and less concern for the truth.

Simmons wrote an article that went huge last week after the Phil Kessel trade. The article was way off-base and full of fat-shaming, and boiled down to one point: Kessel ate a hot dog EVERY DAY when he was in Toronto. That was it. Somehow that was supposed to justify all the anger Simmons hurled Kessel's way throughout his tenure in Toronto. It's rather offensive that Simmons somehow can hold down a job off this garbage. Not to mention the fact that the Kessel hot dog story has been thoroughly debunked. Last time I checked, outright lies aren't a part of journalism. People rightfully tore Simmons to shreds over this column, including ESPN's Keith Olbermann. Yes, an American sportscaster devoted several minutes of airtime to a Toronto reporter because of the awfulness of his article.

How did Simmons respond? Arrogance. "Talked to my mom and my wife this week: They seem to be in the minority. They don’t think I’m the worst person in the sports world ... Amazing how many fans were offended by my column on the Kessel trade and how many hockey people — coaches, GMs, scouts, media — thought it was dead on," wrote Simmons in a July 5th article I refuse to link. Pretty much: I'm in mainstream media. I reach way more people than anyone critiquing me. In the end, most of them will agree with me if I say I spoke to NHL personnel. Never mind that I lied about the hot dog story and never acknowledged it - I can lie about people agreeing with my columns and get away with it too.

And that's the problem. Most of Simmons' readership will accept that statement because, well, he's holding down a media job. His position gives him a lot of leeway, because he is a major source for sports in a city of several million. I'm not trying to say that we're the best here at Silver Seven. But I think if criticized, none of our writers will resort to saying, "Well I talked to an unnamed source who works in the NHL and they think I'm right so HA!" (Also, if I said that, none of you should ever believe me. I've never talked to any current or former member of the Sens organization. I once shook Daniel Alfredsson's hand on the way into the All-Star Draft and it was probably the highlight of my year.)

The other problem though is that we all can fall prey to this trap of believing the media. Just on Friday, Metro News published a story saying that the Senators were going to have a press conference on Monday, and it could be about an outdoor game in 2017 in Ottawa. At Silver Seven, we were all over it. I was very excited for the Monday press conference that turned out to be about the Sens giving some money to the city to help with Ottawa 2017 celebrations. I was let down by the news, but I had it pointed out to me that maybe I shouldn't have been.

After all, this was the extent of the release by the Sens:

No live stream. No announcement on the Sens' website. No article in the Citizen or even the Sun. So maybe I fell prey to believing a story because I saw it in a newspaper. We do not publish baseless rumours here at Silver Seven, but sometimes in trying to stay on top of breaking news, you end up overhyping something.

I don't think that's nearly as bad as believing something Steve Simmons wrote. Far from it. I think it's just a reminder of the old adage to not believe everything you read.

Sens Links

  • Your Sens Development Camp awards, including Max McCormick as the hardest worker [Senators Video]
  • Both Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson have filed for arbitration [Hoffman, Chiasson, SensChirp]
  • In light of those two, a look at Sens players who have filed for arbitration since 2006 [Silver Seven]
  • Trevor Shackles looks at the idea of moving Mike Hoffman as part of a package for a bigger piece [SenShot]
  • Trevor also looks at the Sens' farm system, and how it appears to be getting a boost compared to last year [SenShot]
  • Jack Leiper takes his hand at projecting the Binghamton roster [SenShot]
  • Nichols responds to the people on Twitter who thought he was overvaluing Erik Condra [6th Sens]
  • The Senators announced on Monday that they would be contributing $500k to the Ottawa 2017 project, as well as helping to set up 20 new community rinks around the city [Silver Seven, Senators Video]
  • Wayne Scanlan writing about Ottawa's goal of hosting a Heritage Classic, the Grey Cup, and the Junos in 2017 [Ottawa Citizen]
  • The Sens revealed their 25th anniversary logo, and oh boy do people hate it [Ottawa Citizen]
  • worsteverything with a hilarious take-down of the 25th anniversary logo [WTYKY]
  • Sens Summer Fan Fest is taking place on August 16th -- you should be there! [Silver Seven, Official Website]

Other Links

  • The Women's World Cup final shattered viewing records for soccer in the States, posting a total viewership of 25.4 million, with a peak viewership of 30.9 million [Deadline]
  • Including Ottawa's contributions, 23 players have filed for salary arbitration, headlined by Derek Stepan and Braden Holtby [NHL]
  • The NHL handed out official application materials for expansion teams on Monday. So far, groups in Las Vegas and Québec City have already confirmed their intentions to submit a bid [TSN]