In the business section of today's Star, Christopher Hutsul takes a look at the rise and rise of Eklund, from anonymous blogger to anonymous mainstream pundit.
Eklund is supplying a column to Sportsnet for free on a "test drive" basis (whatever that is, it's never quite explained). Because he's anonymous, using anonymous sources, we can't really judge what's going on here:
It may be he's posturing for a real-money gig in hockey media. To that end, the validation that comes with being associated with a mainstream media outlet such as Sportsnet is invaluable.
But exactly why did Sportsnet.ca bring him on as a contributor? Is it because Sportsnet, a website rife with pop-up ads, wanted a slice of the hundred thousand or so hits that Eklund reportedly generates per day?
It's a good, provocative piece, raising some interesting points -- including the MSM's willing participation in something that would seem to violate some basic rules of journalism, disclaimers about "these are just rumours" notwithstanding:
I asked (Sportsnet director of news and hockey Scott) Morrison if he would have published a similar column in the newspaper when he was sports editor at the Toronto Sun. His answer: probably not. A newspaper is "kind of a different beast than the Internet," he said. "The timing is different too."
Hutsul alludes to Eklund's credentials having split opinion over the blogosphere, which is putting it mildly -- one recent example comes from the Acid Queen, who follows the forensics on one trade rumour that appeared on Eklund's site. It's a fascinating read, right down to the comments. (UPDATE: Over at Eric McErlain's Off Wing Opinion, have a look at the Eklund Files for more debunking.)