(Search 'Stamkos' on Twitter. I dare you.)
That's right! The 'Stamkos to Toronto' takes are back in fashion. It's really a great thing, to be honest. If you're bored and not overly excited by the NHL on this July 9th, why not stir up a story linking one of hockey's brightest stars to the center of the hockey universe? Tweet it. Blog it. Write up an article. It's a genius ploy, one that generates oodles of clicks and retweets. And the best part? Rinse. Repeat. Do it all over again next week. All of a sudden you're the most popular kid on the playground at recess.
Here's the bottom line: The only thing that will stop this stuff from being published is Stamkos putting pen to paper on an extension with Tampa Bay. I don't know when or even if that's going to happen. Maybe the player wants to leave for Toronto. Maybe the player wants to stay in Florida. Maybe the player is secretly a Carolina Hurricanes fan and wants to go there. The honest answer is that I DON'T KNOW. But, do you know what I do know? I know that most of the people writing and tweeting about Stamkos-to-Toronto don't know what Stamkos is thinking, either.
So, doesn't it make sense to just let this whole thing play out? Stamkos might sign with the Lightning tomorrow. He might sign with the Lightning six months from now. He might sign with the Leafs or Hurricanes or Coyotes next July. I can't control what happens. You can't control what happens. But, the fact that the two sides in this negotiation haven't spoken yet doesn't mean a damn thing. I can promise you that there's nothing in the CBA that says a player and team forfeit their right to negotiate if they don't speak during the first nine days of July.
Anze Kopitar to Toronto just doesn't have the same ring to it, I suppose.
Enjoy this summer of Stammergeddon. I (don't) look forward to revisiting this topic next week.
Thanks for reading.