Stop the insanity!

ERIC FRANCIS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Make it end.

End the rumours, the fabricated sources and the regurgitated pap passed off as news that even the most casual of hockey fans get sucked into this time of year.

The NHL's 1 p.m. trade deadline simply can't get here fast enough to rid the airwaves of the inane chatter and blind speculation that embarrasses both the hockey world and the sports media at the same time.

Oh sure, for some the month leading up to the deadline is a highly entertaining and intriguing guessing game many suggest helps sell the sport.

For others, it's seen as a colossal waste of airtime and newsprint as so-called journalists clamour over one another throwing out baseless possibilities or trying to be the first to report the next Mike Sillinger swap regardless of how inaccurate or inconsequential the move. What follows is a frenzy of bloggers and blowhards alike who dispense such reports like drug dealers, spreading it no matter the quality of the product.

Sadly, the masses get hooked.

This space has never had time for the sort of out-of-control rumours and made-up stories that dominate the headlines this time of year.

Never will.

Only after the final moves are made can we can discuss the ramifications, the winners and the losers rationally, without the silly innuendo and wishful thinking that often muddies pre-deadline talk.

Until then, we'll let gossip geeks such as Eklund of HockeyBuzz.com continue to embarrass themselves by posting word the Devils and Flames are in talks for a trade that will see Dion Phaneuf head east for Zack Parise. (Yes, that was his actual front-page report earlier this month.)

Darryl Sutter, who is also clearly sickened by the 'shoot-at-the-dartboard-enough-times-and-eventually-you-might-hit-something-jo urnalism, said yesterday he will not trade Alex Tanguay.

That eliminates approximately 173 rumours out there linking the Flames with everyone from Michael Ryder to Michael Caine.

Truth is, 99% of the brewing deals reported/fabricated by the media won't come to fruition.

Mats Sundin, for example, went on record almost a month ago saying he wanted to stay in Toronto and wouldn't waive his no-trade clause. Yet somehow, after millions of trees are killed to print suggestions to the contrary, Sundin's reiteration of said facts was big news again Sunday.

Last we heard, Olli Jokinen, who has been traded by several tabloid typists to every team in the league the last three years, was told months ago by his team's owner he's not going anywhere as the Panthers retool. Yet, no one wants to believe it.

Lo and behold, the first official egg was delivered to the faces of the media's rumour-mongerers yesterday when Peter Forsberg signed with Colorado. Yes, the same player, who had reportedly been injured and/or disinterested in an NHL return, put a sweet head-fake on everyone to bolster the Avs.

The same talking heads who missed that one will kick off a marathon of coverage today, making fools of themselves by faking on-air phone calls to "sources" ('hi honey, I'll pick up milk on the way home') before claiming to be the first to report Minnesota acquired a fourth-line winger for a seventh-round draft pick.

Then they'll shamelessly pat themselves on the back, touting it as a scoop only the player and his mother could possibly care about.

The anticipation is killing me.

Wake me when it's over.


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