One of my prized possessions in life is my Twitter account. One of my tweets once got 25,000 favorites (humble brag), so I guess I’m kind of a big deal. Thankfully, I haven’t let the fame get to my head, and I never turn away an autograph for an adoring fan.
For the past few days of the free agency, I’ve been glued to my Twitter account, constantly refreshing it for the latest NHL news. I refuse to believe anything until it’s been posted by a blue-check-mark account. I haven’t been afforded the luxury of receiving this honor, however, my account is still filled with copious and credible retweets of fantastic articles from Devils Army Blog.
The New Jersey Devils have been relatively quiet this free agency, aside from the one-year signing of Wayne Simmonds. Because of that, and the news that the Vegas Golden Knights might be trying to move restricted free agent and leading KHL scorer Nikita Gusev. The speculation among excited Devils’ fans began. Maybe Gusev could be a cornerstone in a trade for former Devil David Clarkson’s cap hit? It wasn’t until I turned to Twitter to see just how anxious Devils’ fans were to grab Gusev.
Look at any of the tweets the Devils have posted in the last 24 hours and there’s an endless string of comments of “trade for Gusev,” “get Gusev,” or “why haven’t you traded for Gusev yet?” Even when the tweet has nothing to do with trades or acquisitions, there are endless Gusev related responses. I’ve been a Devils’ fan long enough to expect a few of these comments, but by now they’ve compiled into the hundreds, possibly thousands. The Devils could tweet that they were giving out free money at Prudential Center, and that announcement would be ignored for continued wishes of Gusev trade news.
Look, Devils’ fans, I get that Twitter is a powerful force of good. After all, it was Twitter that convinced Wendy’s to bring back spicy chicken nuggets, so its influence cannot be ignored. On the other hand, if you think general manager Ray Shero is sitting there, deciding major trades on how many likes your “Gusev” comment got, you’re mistaken.
If hockey Twitter worked that way, I would have tweeted at the New York Rangers’ account every day heading up to July 1st with “don’t sign Artemi Panarin!” If important hockey decisions were made on the opinions of the digital world, Peter Chiarelli would have been chased out of Edmonton before Adam Larsson put on an Oilers jersey for the first time. Unfortunately, influencing the NHL isn’t that easy.
I love and admire the passion of Devils’ fans. That’s what makes our fanbase so great. But have trust in what Shero is doing. If Gusev is the right fit for New Jersey, Shero will find a way to make it happen. If he’s not, no amount of angry tweets is going to change that.