It was a day and a trade, unlike any other. Multiple outlets reported the Pittsburgh Penguins trade of Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers for LD Mike Matheson. That was the easy part. It all began with a Tweet from NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, and ended, maybe ended, later yesterday when the deal seemed to get bogged down by complicated issues.
While neither team has officially put an end to the media frenzy which ensued, multiple sources told PHN late Wednesday evening they believed the deal to be off.
Rumors were flying, even inside the Penguins organization and among the players, on Wednesday afternoon. It is a fair statement; the Penguins locker room would be incredibly disappointed to lose Patric Hornqvist, perhaps even more so than they were to lose Carl Hagelin in November 2018. To dissect everything, or report everything we were told isn’t possible. The point is, there was a lot of chatter on the inside, and some of it was conflicting.
First, a note: Because of the confusing situation on Wednesday, Pittsburgh Hockey Now will be changing its strategy on reporting trades and trade talks, especially when there is confusion. After internal conversations, we have decided there isn’t a benefit to being first with a report on only part of the process. Like you, I love the game and find the inner workings fascinating, and I know you want to know everything. However, we’re going to “cool it” until actions happen, then we will report everything we know. The “real-time” reporting is just too dangerous. That’s journalism in the Twitter era, but the risks outweigh the rewards, at least to us.
We excel in hockey analysis, insights, and, yes, inside information, but the “in the moment” reporting has sometimes put us at odds with our subject and sometimes our sources. Most of our readers understand “in the moment” reporting may need to be clarified or expounded. However, as our footprint grows well beyond loyal readers to casual fans across the country, we’re going to adopt a more conservative stance. You’ll still get the story, but after the fog of activity lifts.
To be fully transparent for our readers and the record, here is what we know and what we don’t know.
We can neither confirm nor deny that Patric Hornqvist waived his no-trade clause. Specifically, a source in the Penguins hockey ops told us that reaching Hornqvist for his approval was one of the hold-ups, but we have not been able to confirm if he approved. Then Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the insurability of Hornqvist’s contract was a major obstacle. And the same source who told us about the Hornqvist delay confirmed the issues were linked, at least in the beginning.
In other words, communication was an issue but not the insurmountable obstacle (we didn’t report that it was, but we fear some interpreted our Tweet in that way).
Unfortunately, our initial reporting took on a life of its own. By the end of the day, it was being reported that we reported Patric Hornqvist wouldn’t take the Penguins calls on Wednesday. We don’t believe that is true.
Believe me, I have never been a part of or chased a story with so much conflicting information from people on the inside. The players were talking amongst themselves, and they too were wondering what was coming next.
Finally, late Wednesday, multiple sources expressed belief the deal was off. However, neither source said the deal is dead. That is an important distinction. Take the nuance for whatever it is worth to you.
Now, how the Penguins, Hornqvist, and the left-side defensemen move forward from this will be an interesting story, too.