I came late to the Surly & Scribe credibility dust-up, and, frankly, I was surprised they were reporting rumors at all. I really didn't have any memory of them doing that, although I had become dimly aware of more "my source says" language in the past few months. As you probably know, I have no sources and don't report rumors unless it's for comedic value, or, as in this case, a certain rumor crosses over into being news in and of itself. The fact of Helene Elliott, Rich Hammond, Drew Doughty, Don Meehan and Dean Lombardi all bothering to address the rumor/s gives it/them special status.
My prejudice, which affects everything I write on this topic, is that all rumors are false. Of course, sometimes they turn out to be true, but sometimes someone wins the lottery, too. Doesn't make any one rumor any more or less likely.
Surly and Scribe have been talking up their track record. I gather this has to do with some raking of their good name over the coals at the HF Boards. I haven't seen those comments, but I have seen S&S claim their unnamed sources have an 80% success rate.
I thought I would look into that. I searched their archives for the word "source." I checked those posts for relevant reports, scoops and rumors. Here's what I found:
July 16, 2010
BRAD RICHARDSON HAS SIGNED A ONE YEAR DEAL " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
Brad Richardson will not be going to arbitration. LAKingsnews.com has learned from a very close source that he has signed a one year deal with the team.
Yes, his signing was announced by Rich Hammond the next day. Score one for Surly and Scribe. 1-0.
August 9, 2010
Let me introduce you to the gypsies at "NHLSourcesSay" [...]. I refuse to post their link here because I don’t wish to destroy our readers’ brain cells. That website proclaims itself as a "hockey insider." [...] It proclaimed yesterday (Sunday) at 9:30am, "Got hands on potential Kovalchuk case leak! If true, arbitrator as decided to reinstate the contract with the Devils. You heard it here first." [...] Then, today, only hours before the decision was released, the gypsies posted, "The Kovalchuk case leak that was sent to me yesterday is in fact true! Devils/Kovy get contract reinstated." [...] This gypsy declared a fact that has clearly been proven false as unequivocally true. [...] Where do gypsies [like] this come from? Here we are, talking puck among intelligent bloggers, journalists, fans and the occasional players and we suddenly get these rodents in our backyard. Hit them with a shovel and they appear to multiply. What’s worse is that people read this garbage, sometimes unintentionally (like me) and other times to actually acquire what they consider information. It is akin to drinking rat piss to quench one’s thirst. [...] I am not going to discuss the others who engage in the same type of prattle as this site. You know who they are. The one consistent quality of a gypsy is that they all look, talk and act the same. It’s easy to pick them out of a crowd. It’s even easier to ignore them.
August 20, 2010
RUMORS CIRCULATING THAT THE DEVILS ARE LOOKING TO DEAL " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A.
Rumors are circulating from some credible sources (not Eklund) that the Devils may be shopping Elias.
True? Who knows, but Elias was not dealt. I will call that "inconclusive." Record stands at 1-0-1.
May 24, 2011
NICOLAS DESLAURIERS SIGNING IMMINENT " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
A very reliable source has advised me that the LA Kings have made a formal offer to Nicolas Deslauriers and await a response. The offer is a fair one and one the Deslauriers camp is expected to accept. We don’t anticipate any holdup but, as the cliché goes, never say never. Expect to hear something as early as tomorrow, possibly even tonight.
True? Who knows, but -- as I mentioned a few weeks ago -- everyone on earth knew for a fact that Deslauriers was going to be signed by June 1, because that's the deadline after which the Kings would forfeit his rights. In fact, I had posted this very fact the day before and said (on 5/20) that Deslauriers was certain to get a contract by 6/1. It's impossible to know whether or not a formal offer had been made by May 24, but what's the difference. I'm calling it inconclusive. 1-0-2.
May 29, 2011
A source close to us has confirmed Nicolas Deslauriers has signed a 3 year contract with the Kings. I don’t have the details yet.
Barely qualifies as a separate rumor. Since everyone knew this was happening for an absolute fact, it doesn't qualify as a scoop. 1-0-3.
June 23, 2010
SOURCE: RYAN SMYTH TRADE IS COMPLETE " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
A source close to us and who has a track record of 100% to date (let’s hope said source maintains his perfect record) has revealed the Ryan Smyth trade is a done deal. Expect it to be announced Saturday. Cannot disclose the details but it’s done.
True? Well, it was on June 23 that Lombardi told EJ Hradek that he expected to have a deal for Smyth in the next day or two. The deal was not, it turned out, done (as we all know), but the whole Brule/Fraser/Tambellini situation was such a mess that I can't penalize Surly and Scribe for that. However, since the fact of the trade's imminence was tweeted by major reporters that day (plus the fact that everyone on earth knew this trade was going to happen one way or another, and certainly before 7/1), it can't be counted as a scoop either. Call it inconclusive. 1-0-4.
June 30, 2011
RELAX ABOUT DREW DOUGHTY " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
This comes from a source I trust, one that has nailed each fact he has brought to me. I learned after the last word I received from someone other than said source that I can trust only him. Because he is right. Every damn time so far. Got that? Good.
Keep in mind that so far there's only been one situation, the Brad Richardson deal of the year before, where S&S can claim they were "right" or scooped everyone, or whatever.
Now, here is the word. Relax about Drew Doughty. There is no signature yet but there is a deal in place. It’s awaiting signature. It may not be announced immediately. There are reasons for that. Just know that, as of 10:04pm this evening, I have heard Drew Doughty will be a Los Angeles King. I don’t have the details and, even if I did, I would not post them until it was official.
True? No. No deal in place. No deal awaiting signature. 1-1-4.
July 12, 2011
Dollars matter. So does length. However, our source has told us Dean Lombardi has had Drew Doughty’s contract offer for a while now and while the latter two items may need adjusting, we understand neither are in the realm of a deal killer (read: terribly outrageous). The main sticking point may be the no-movement or no-trade clause Drew has allegedly inserted therein (you can probably guess it is a NMC). Absent this flexibility killer clause, this deal may have been done (as it becomes a more straightforward dollars and length discussion) when we told you but, alas, this is why Lombardi and Drew’s people at Newport Sports Management, Don Meehan and Mark Guy (experienced agents though different personalities) get paid the big bucks.
Since we already knew that Lombardi and Meehan had had two separate sit-downs (at the combine and around the draft) in which numbers were discussed, I don't see what "value added" there is in saying that Lombardi "has had Drew Doughty's contract offer for awhile now." Especially with the qualifier that money and term are still up in the air and maybe there's a problem with a potential no-move clause -- those being the three variables in any contract. The actual information in this post -- they talked numbers, Meehan made an offer that has not resulted in a deal (presumably Lombardi did the same; that's what negotiations are) and maybe there's an NMC issue that prevented our last scoop from being true -- doesn't amount to anything. It's mostly an apology for the sourced rumor in the previous post which turned out to be incorrect. I will call it inconclusive and I think that's being cheritable. 1-1-5.
July 12, 2011 (later that day)
At 7:54pm today (July 12), Helene Elliott posted the following in her article:
[Elliott:] Don Meehan, who teams with Mark Guy in representing Doughty, said Tuesday he hadn’t spoken to the Kings about Doughty since June 23. [...] It’s believed the Kings are offering up to nine years at more than $6.5 million per year. [...] Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said the sides haven’t agreed on term or money. "They both kind of work hand in hand," he said.
[back to S&S:] $6.5 million for 9 years doesn’t do it? Now, why would that be? Because there may be a no movement / no-trade clause that is holding this up? There is a reason I trust my source. He told me what nobody else had said and I told you 5 hours before the very efficient (and Johnny on the Ball) Helene Elliott confirmed it…
That's a leap. Elliott said that Lombardi offered $6.5MM for nine years (approx.). S&S somehow claim this as confirmation that their previous "maybe there's a no-move problem" was true. Why? You could just as easily conclude that Doughty wants more money, or a shorter term. And, hey, didn't Lombardi say they haven't agreed "on term or money"? Yes, he did.
However, they're not reporting a rumor here. They're just trying (in vain, in my opinion) to validate a previous scoop.
July 20, 2011
Drew Doughty Contract Negotiation Update " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
As of 4:58 pm today, our source told me of forward progress on the Drew Doughty contract. It may have started yesterday. While we don’t know who has the most recent offer, Dean Lombardi has finally given Mark Guy (Doughty’s agent) the LA Kings’ counter offer and a short discussion has ensued. There is talk about the length of the contract and seven years may be the target if the money and other terms fall into place. If Drew’s people decide 7 years is too long, the next round of discussions may be to shorten the deal and increase the price although we have heard Lombardi has little interest in giving Doughty "Anze money." We also heard Drew wants this contract freaking done. Look for at or about August 7 to be the "it better be by then" date.
I don't know what an "it better be by then" date is, but it sounds like he wants to predict when the deal will be done (while being vague in case it doesn't work out). It was not done by then. 1-2-5.
Now, the next thing I am about to tell you, you must promise to take with a huge grain of salt because it comes in through my source but he has only heard it through a few levels of hearsay & sometimes talk like this is "floated" around by the agents to manufacture interest during contract negotiations. Ready? Apparently, one team may have actually tendered an offer sheet for Doughty. My source (and I tend to agree) believes this is actually bogus and said team never formally made the offer sheet but considered it. Who you ask? The Columbus Blue Jackets. I am calling bull on this one but it was so interesting, I thought I would pass it along.
That's a new level of bullshit, if you ask me. Reporting rumors that you are announcing in advance you think are false, knowing that, of course, if they turn out to be true, you get to say you were right there in the loop.
Second, the Winnipeg Jets may have had discussions with the LA Kings for Doughty. Apparently, they were intent on making a splash and they wanted our golden boy. The names thrown out in the alleged offer were Doughty for Evander Kane and either (not both) Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien + a pick or Winnipeg’s left wing prospect, Jason Gregoire. Again, grain of salt. What our source is confident about is that the Jets had a lot of interest in Doughty.
Everyone has interest in Doughty. Inconclusive. 1-3-6
I hinted about "deadlines" in the earlier Doughty article (second to last paragraph). The reason I had to wait until today to post the Drew Doughty NMC news was because our source indicated today may have been "deadline" day – in other words, the LA Kings’ offer was allegedly open until today at a specific time of 2pm PST (I held the article just to see if Drew signed, as I was asked to do).
But as it turns out, the Lombardi offer had been on the table for weeks with no response from Doughty's camp.
July 28, 2011
Just heard from our source minutes ago. Are you excited? I am excited. The L.A. Kings and Drew Doughty may have an agreement in principle on a long-term deal that may no longer have a NMC provision as a stumbling block. [...] The devil is always in the details so this is not done and I expect both sides will continue to feed the media the work in progress lines, as quite bluntly they should, until the contract is signed. It could take a while still to finish it. Let’s hope that’s only days (and not weeks) away. Our source has the eyes and ears pointing in the right direction and the stealth one will try to find out the terms.
As I said when they originally posted this, "deal in principle" is meaningless. But even with the the bar set that low, we now have Helene Elliott's debunking of the "deal in principle" claim. Namely, there isn't one. No deal, not in principle or otherwise.
August 16, 2011
Unconfirmed Report Of Drew Doughty’s 7 Year Deal Or Offer " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
I am writing this on the run so time is short but I heard Matt Barry has tweeted: "7 years for Doughty is what I am hearing." [...] Normally, I don’t post anything unless it is confirmed by our source as reliable. This has not been confirmed. I am going to make an exception to that rule and tell you what we have heard but please consider [...] this information has not been confirmed to the point I can represent it is reliable [...]. The unconfirmed report we have heard is there are two deals on the table. The first is a 9 year deal that is less than $7 million. The second deal is 7 years at $7 million ish. What ish? Can’t confirm any of that right now.
S&S are about to get a lot of grief about having reported a "deal." It's pretty clear though, if you know how to read their secret code, that when they say "deal or offer" they mean offer, and we already know Lombardi has offered $7MM-"ish" and we already know that he's offered nine-"ish" years. So this is neither here nor there.
August 16, 2011
Source: Drew Doughty Offer Is 7 Years At Or About $52 million " S U R L Y & S C R I B E L.A. Kings Hockey Blog
I had to wait until the shock wore off before I posted this. We are told Doughty’s agents, Don Meehan and Mark Guy, have the LA Kings’ most recent offer. From what we are told, this may do it although, as of right now, it is not signed. It’s an offer, nothing more. There is no final "deal" yet. I told you earlier that there are 2 potential offers on the table, one for 9 years and one for 7. I have now learned that the 7 year deal may be the winner and it comes in at or about $52 million. At $52 million, that is a staggering $7.42 million per season cap hit. [...] My initial reaction was there must be some mistake and this is what Doughty’s agents offered Dean, not the other way around. Surly & I are trying to wrap our head around this.
This was the post that caused everyone and his uncle to deny that there was a deal. Note that S&S never said there was a deal. But they strongly encouraged you to infer that it was imminent with the phrase "this may do it, although, as of right now, it is not signed." As I said previously, of course the parties are discussing figures in the neighborhood of $7MM and in the neighborhood of 7 years, so no matter what, S&S can say they were "in the ballpark." But that's what makes the "scoop" meaningless. Even though Elliott and Hammond (and Meehan and Lombardi and Doughty) called the S&S story false, I'm calling it inconclusive.
to sum up
They were right about the Brad Richardson deal 13 months ago. Everything else, they've either been wrong, vague or simply reporting things we already knew. I would also point out that, with the Richardson scoop, they didn't qualify it at all. There was no "maybe" embedded in the story, just in case.
With a "record" of 1-5-8, that's ten points out of a possible 28. For a batting average of .357 (yes, I know I mixed my sports metaphors). Or, if you prefer to look only at wins and losses, it's .166. I think .357 is probably more fair, since some of those "inconclusives" had the potential to go south on them so they ought to count as a neutral at-bat.
[UPDATE: people pointed out in the comments that S&S predicted that Ryan Smyth would be traded. So update the batting average to .400.]