Every time a potential trade is mentioned and picked up by the mainstream media, Rich Hammond goes through a minor conniption, scrunches up that skinny face of his and holds his nose until he runs out of breath. Only when talk gets to the point where he is the only person in the hockey world NOT talking about a rumor, will he open up and post about it.

Obviously the most recent example is the current curiosity surrounding Rick Nash. When NHL.com is writing about it, Hammond can’t really justify keeping quiet, so he made one post yesterday, masking it by using Williams’ trade deadline experience as subterfuge to mention Nash. Then he made a more formal post about Nash today, really just to endorse Aaron Portzline’s article in which he mentions the Kings (along with the Rangers, Sharks, Bruins, Leafs and Canucks) being on Nash’s short list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Still, he clearly does so begrudingly, as if one of the league’s biggest names being openly and actively shopped around the league is not newsworthy. Well, he’d probably say it’s newsworthy but the rumors are not. I would contend that if something that might happen isn’t worth talking about in ways in which it could happen, then no one would care if actually did happen. Read that again if it didn’t make sense the first time.

Look, he’s allowed not to like the trade deadline. There’s a lot not to like, and hey, I’m just glad SOMETHING about hockey inspires a modicum of passion within him, but what I don’t understand is why his readers are OK with the air of condescension with which he treats them. I have to wonder if Rich is aware that trade rumors are one of the prime reasons people bother spending their days perusing sports websites. It’s gossip. Without gossip most people in high school wouldn’t speak to one another. People at work wouldn’t have anything to talk about. The entire foundation of blogging would fall off dramatically.

He says that the passing of the trade deadline is to him “a second Christmas”. The circus of the deadline is overblown, I’ll give him that, but its a bonafide day of newsworthy events. Fault the GMs for the hooplah of the deadline because they all wait until the last fucking minute to make a damn decision about what to do with their teams. Don’t fault the fans for finding it fascinating.

His opening remarks on the subject from yesterday were at best, snide and indicative of a lack of respect for the people who are the reason he has a job.

With 12 days to go before the trade deadline, the Kings will continue to be attached to every player who is believed to be on the market and who has ever scored an NHL goal. That’s what happens when you’re last in the league in scoring. Rick Nash? Yes, the Kings and 28 other teams would love to have Rick Nash, but it’s not like buying something at a supermarket. Rick Nash isn’t available for purchase on aisle 4, next to Frosted Flakes, simply because a team wants him. Trade talks are long and complicated and, almost certainly, will go down to the last minute.

OK the first line is pretty funny. The second line? No, that’s what happens when you can’t ever seem to get to where you want to be and CLAIM YOU WILL BE as an organization. The Kings’ have been linked to every damn trade under the sun for a lot longer than they’ve been last in league scoring. The third and fourth lines, now we get to the revealing part. For someone who doesn’t want to post about trade rumors, you think he would come up with something more insightful to say than a line I can best categorized as “No shit.” Beyond ‘no shit’, this line only serves to insult the intelligence of his readers and in general those who like to speculate. This is the equivalent of saying “you know running the country isn’t like controlling the TV, pressing buttons when you want things to happen, so all you people thinking about discussing who should be President just hold your horses.”

In skimming through the comments, it doesn’t even seem people notice that he is openly insulting them. Maybe he’s right and they are stupid children who need to be told in a parental tone things like “you’re not the most important person in the world.” I have long since accepting he won’t bite the Kings’ hand that feeds, that isn’t the issue. The issue is that the Kings’ may be the hand, but the fans are the food and he’s turning his nose up at the chef. I find his general attitude abhorrent both in that he disrespects not just the fans but the very essence of something that is tangible and ultimately important to all of sports. Best as I can tell, his disdain for trade rumors amounts to them falling outside his box of not having to think about anything he writes or worse yet, requires imagination. Soon he’ll be telling us he doesn’t even like hockey.

Go Cubs!