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Elliotte Friedman Is The Most Canadian Scoopster

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 28: Elliotte Friedman interview Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators on Hockey Fights Cancer night prior to a game against the Calgary Flames at Canadian Tire Centre on October 28, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

If you didn't know anything about Elliotte Friedman—hockey insider; legend; mensch—and you saw this piece of info in a vacuum, what would you think?

I know what I would think. I would think, Here's a self-proclaimed scoopster who doesn't have any juice. Twitter, especially, is full of these guys: Reporters who don't have enough or adequately placed sources, and use educated guesswork along with some delicately deployed hedging to present as news something that upon close examination says very little at all. What does that quote convey, really? Is there an offer? Do they want him? It says that Patrick Kane is considering the Red Wings. OK. I assume Patrick Kane was considering many teams.

What are some teams? The Sabres are also a team.

There are a few factors in play here. One is that, perhaps unfairly to Friedman, many of his musings are aggregated from his podcast, i.e. not meant to stand alone. When speaking aloud and extemporaneously, humans hedge and hem and haw. They speak around things. It's impossible to fill a twice-weekly, hourlong podcast with nothing but scoops, so Friedman talks about things he's heard—not because he's lying about being sourced up but because he has in fact heard those things, even if he's not entirely willing to lend credence to them just yet.

This leads to a noticeable pattern in the way his work filters down in the hockey media ecosphere. All his 32 Thoughts items sound something like, Don’t quote me on this, not saying it’s going to happen, I’m not 100 percent sure, if you listen to any more of this sentence you should probably just kill yourself, but I do wonder if there’s going to be a conversation about Kane to the Wings, or maybe people thinking it’s looking that way, and then it gets aggregated on Twitter as “Friedman: Kane to the Wings, looking that way.”

The thing about Elliotte Friedman, though, is that he's got the goods. Consider this, yet another aggregation from Monday:

On first glance, this says nothing. Then, one hour later, Minnesota fired head coach Dean Evason. The scoop was there. You just had to translate it from Elliottese. Follow him long enough and you learn to see the scoop within the report, much like how parents can understand their small child's speech when no one else can. Joseph Woll had better watch his back.

Some people prefer a confident, Woj-type scoopster who tells you the way of the world with authority. He's got the goods, and it's a power play for him to let you know he's got them. I prefer Friedman's style: An extremely Canadian, polite and almost apologetic form of scoopage, that's also like a little puzzle for me to solve. It's a very human and identifiable tic: He wants to be right, but even more than that he doesn't want to be wrong.

So when Friedman, the day after his Kane "scoop," tweets something as bold (for him) as "All eyes on Detroit and the possibility of Patrick Kane’s arrival," you can book it as a done deal.

And what do you know, literal seconds later?

Classic Elliotte.

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