The kid -- a promising prospect on a lot of levels -- is coming off a season where he helped Canada win a World Junior championship. But as surprising as this news might be, the way that news made it online might be just as interesting.
The first online report of Legein's retirement came from Aaron Portzline at Puck-Rakers, the Blue Jackets blog at the Columbus Dispatch. But when it came to nailing down the story, Portzline had an assist from a local blogger:
This story is shocking on so many different levels. Earlier today, I got an email from a Puck-Rakers reader, Bethany, of Bethany's Hockey Rants. Actually, it was a "forward" of an email she got from an anonymous person in Ontario saying Legein had retired.Of course, the next question has to be: Why? Why would a kid who had a pretty good shot at eventually making his way to the NHL decide to walk away from it all? From all indications, Legein didn't do much of anything to telegraph his punch.
After a slew of phone calls to sources throughout the NHL, I finally got somebody to tell be [sic] off the record that's it true. Just a few minutes ago, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson confirmed it.
Click here to watch an interview Legein gave to Blue Jackets television play-by-play man, Jeff Rimer, in the midst of the team's development camp earlier this Summer. If anything, the kid seems happy and he's saying all the right things, which wasn't all that different from the day that the Blue Jackets drafted him back in 2007:
Then again, there are some indications that Portzline's initial report isn't the last word. He also reported that he spoke to Legein's mother, who claimed she knew nothing about it. Later, in an update, Portzline added that he spoke to Legein's father, who told him: "Until Sept. 20 (when training camp starts), he hasn't quit anything." Portzline promises an update in Wednesday's edition of the Dispatch, but it has yet to be posted at the paper's Web site.
There may be other reasons to hedge our bets. The blog Two-Line Pass chimed in with some helpful reminders about just what sort of kid Legein really is:
Legein is famous for his pranks. Sportsnet ran a story stating he once tricked a rookie into thinking he had been traded, is known for putting shaving cream under the door handles of teammates' cars, and the CBC has called him "Team Canada's original prankster."To get a better idea of just what kind of a jokester he is, take a look at this mock interview he did with John Tavares at the 2007 World Juniors:
TLP makes some interesting points: The original report did come from an anonymous tipster, and you'd figure that a 19-year old kid would have consulted his parents before making such a life-changing decision. Then again, the team's general manager confirmed the report, something you'd think he wouldn't do lightly. If this is a prank as TLP has considered, I can't imagine the team, his parents or his agent will be terribly happy with him.
Needless to say, whether Legein has retired or not, something isn't right here, and my gut tells me we'll have to wait at least until morning for somebody to figure out exactly what that might be. Others are counseling the same.
MORNING UPDATE: Portzline's story went live at 3:00 a.m. this morning, and it looks as if Legein is just a young man who has lost his passion for the game:
[L]ast season, shortly after he served as alternate captain in Canada's world junior championship win, Legein settled into a funk, sources say, after returning to his junior club, the Niagara IceDogs.In a post over at Puck-Rakers, Portzline predicts that the story is just beginning, and it's hard to argue with that.
Later in the season, after he recovered from a shoulder injury, Legein played in two playoff games with the Blue Jackets' top minor-league affiliate in Syracuse, N.Y., before asking to return home to focus on working out. It seemed a strange request -- what hockey player would rather work out than play?
Legein looked out of sorts at Blue Jackets development camp in July, and he didn't stick around with other prospects this summer to train with strength and conditioning coach Barry Brennan.