The cottage industry that has become the NHL trade deadline reminds me of that scene from the movie Twister when a tornado roars by and there's a cow in the midst of the tumult.
You understand how it could be there, but it still looks kind of weird seeing a cow flying through the air.
At this time of year the names come flying by with all kinds of other crap swept up by the indiscriminate sucking power of the trade deadline storm when there cannot be anything close to a vacuum - or silence, God and the panel shows forbid.
You see a name, like, say, “Rick Nash,” and then “Toronto Maple Leafs,” whip by and you're like, “huh?”
It is entertaining, even for some of the players how now see their names go spinning by in the crazy tumult.
Some dread the process.
Others have learned to live with it.
Others even embrace it.
Dallas Stars veteran forward Steve Ott has been hearing his name come up this year.
He is as much a fan of hockey as he is a hockey player and he, like millions of others, enjoys the speculation.
“We get a pretty good giggle out of it,” said Ott, who recently passed through Montreal and indulged in the speculation kind of like you would have a smoked meat sandwich or a poutine. “You can't really take it seriously until it is actually in your face or it's happened.
“To be honest with you, now that I have joined Twitter and I've joined other things, I've got people texting me and whatnot, I don't mind. I don't mind hearing it and looking at it. I like the media. I like reading stories about the league, the players, myself, whatever, taking the insight,” he said.
“That's probably why I pay attention to it more than anything is how much I am a fan of hockey as a I am a player.”
Ott, 29, is a veteran guy and tough to play against, two qualities that can be valuable to a team that thinks it can make some noise in the post-season.
Ott's name has come up in connection with the Vancouver Canucks.
“If a playoff contending team thinks you're a piece of the puzzle and can make them better, there's no higher compliment any guy can get. It's part of the business, it's part of being professional. I've learned that from a lot of ex-teammates over the years, the professionalism side of things and the way that hockey goes, the changing of the business and the changing of the guard. I guess you can say the unknown side of things is always there in your face.
“Trade rumours are a part of our business. I take it as a serious compliment if other teams are rumouring about me or wanting me for a playoff push. That's obviously one of the highest compliments you can get. I'm a Dallas Star and I've been here for 12 years. I want nothing more to be a Dallas Star for the rest of my career. But you can only control what you can control. That's the way I take it when I hear stuff. I can't control it. I don't have a no-trade clause, I don't have anything in my (contract). I just go out and play hard no matter what and that's kind of my focus and everything else will take care of itself.”
Buffalo Sabres veteran defenceman Jordan Leopold has seen how the trade deadline has become a beast unto its own.
"It's changed a lot over the years as far as the access to blogs, rumors, Twitter, television tickers on the bottom of the page," said Leopold. "The whole thing has just evolved into a social media circus. You start reading all that stuff and start believing it, you never know. It's absolutely crazy at that this time of year. As a player, the best thing you can do is not read any of that stuff."
With the media onslaught, how do you do that?
"You're asking a guy with three kids and watching Mickey Mouse clubhouse all day long,” he said. “So it's pretty easy for me."
Yeah, but Mickey has the Sabres making a deal for…