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James Neal Has Sidney Crosby's Back: He Skipped The Line, Too

Originally published at: HOCKEYtalk where the tweets include media and retweet info, etc.

Twitter is an interesting phenomenon, isn't it? Immediate and less intrusive than Facebook which is like reading someone's personnel file, Twitter is like standing next to someone at a party and overhearing little snippets.

I've only had a twitter account  for a few days, resisting the pull like one does with dentist visits and break-up dates. To say I find it overwhelming might be stretching it, but only a bit. I do find it immensely fascinating.

Back when I first started out, research meant hours and hours in dusty old libraries and archive vaults, bent over micro-fiche machines, scouring through yellowed newspapers and rifllng through boxes of un-indexed material. Once tasked with finding out all I could about Bobby Hull, I spent three weeks looking in people's attics and going through their old photo albums and driving around Woodstock and St.Catherine's and Belleville, asking old-timers if they remembered him. Many did and it was one of the best few weeks of my life, frankly. I heard some GREAT stories.

All of them would take more than 140 characters to tell. In fact, 140 characters wouldn't even cover the preamble that old-timers like to add to their stories. You have to build your own stories today. Today you get the facts and have to weave the story around them. New rules. Once you get used to them, you can start to see the stories lurking behind the hash tags.

Always and ever interested in the human bit of things, I find Twitter, while not exactly a reliable research vehicle, does provide an amazing insight into the human being behind the name, or in this case, behind the jersey. I was doing some work-work today and had to find some things on Twitter and while I was travelling around, tracking down the feeds I was looking for, I found myself on something of an impromptu link scavenger hunt. Which had nothing to do with the work at hand. That's what the middle of the night is for. That's what I told my editor, anyway.

In short, I got sidetracked. I started following player's follows and followed-by links and realized that Twitter is like any other social group – full of cliques, insiders, outsiders and hangers on. I know that the rest of the world has known this for some time and that I am definitely late to the party but ... hey ... better late than never.

Twitter is for Kids (and media savvy old folks)

Well, not exactly "kids". And remembering that they are all kids to me. Many of the older players have Twitter accounts but they seem like the kind the nice team PR lady sets up for them and they never use. When they do use them the tweets are very matter-of-fact and informative.

The younger guys, the 25ers and under, grew up with Twitter and they have the sort of comfort with it that removes the stiffness, the sense of "publishing" themselves. The younger they are, the more their Twitter feeds read like the sorts of things they'd say to you as you were driving down the road, headed home from a movie or a game or dinner out. It gives you, the reader, a sense of familiarity ... the good kind.

Some players, like Sidney Crosby, do not tweet. Whether that's brand protection, disinterest or just a lack of time, is hard to say. The ones that do can make for a very interesting surf through the endless and fast-moving twitter master feed.

To find out which NHL players do tweet, check here.

Here are some of the NHL player tweets I found today that made me smile or shake my head – each one telling me something interesting about the person who tweeted it. And because I am avoiding the work-work I mentioned, I thought I would share.

Due to some formatting limitations at this site, the tweets themselves can't be posted. To see the photos and other details that go with each tweet (which is MUCH more fun), you're better off to read the rest at this article's original home .

Telling Tweets

James Neal, Crosby's teammate and fondly known as "the Real Deal" has a little fun with #87′s recent breaking news farce. On so many levels, this was cool. They must laugh about this stuff when they get together.
I skipped the line at the DMV 2. Just incase anyone was wondering. — james neal (@jneal_18) August 12, 2013
Taylor Hall, hot-shot forward and captain candidate for the Edmonton Oilers expresses a poignant human emotion when he wonders whether anyone else feels the same way. If it helps, Taylor, no, you are not the only one.
I don't even let Instagram videos play because I can't handle the second hand embarrassment. Am I the only one? — Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) August 10, 2013
Pavel Datsyuk's feed is always interesting. He is either the nicest man in hockey or he's a PR genius. He always ends his tweets with something positive and friendly, like a wave out the car window as he pulls away. Of course, he's pretty used to saying things as he's pulling away.
Mushroom picking. Hope your summer is going well — Pavel Datsyuk (@Datsyuk13) August 12, 2013
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is into race horses! Who knew. Nice looking horse. I wonder who is posing with whom. I wonder how Zenya did. Someone should ask.
Zenya's first day at the paddock. Great day of racing.— Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (@RNH_93) July 15, 2013
Ovie! How can you read Ovie's Twitter feed and not love him, just a little. He loves the exclamation point. In fact, everything he says seems exciting and when he's not saying "hahaha" he's using "!!!!". What might be annoying in some people is just downright charming in Ovie.
Coming to Praga with Darya Klishina for Nike shoot!!! — Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) August 12, 2013
P.K. Subban namedropping. But, hey, wouldn't we all.
Thanks @Cindycrawford and @randegerber for having me over for lunch! #Muskoka&cindyarebeautiful — P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) August 2, 2013
Andrew Bodnarchuk is addicted to Candy Crush, too! Yay for all of us who feel vaguely ashamed of our game addictions. I once spent an entire pay cheque playing Space Invaders in a bar. Thank the gods there was no Twitter back then,
Addicted ... Best time passer I've seen in a while — Andrew Bodnarchuk (@hali_bods) August 6, 2013
Nathan MacKinnon is not the only hockey player into Breaking Bad. The last few days have felt more the the BBL than the NHL.
Having to battle through that awful first season of breaking bad will be totally worth it tonight — Nathan Mackinnon (@Mackinnon9) August 11, 2013
Zenon Konopka may be a Belieber, but he would like the other Beliebers to be quiet now, please. Plus, he's attending union meetings. Two information birds with one stone.
@justinbieber I'm a fan of you being Canadian &even ur music but ur killing our NHLPA meetings with ur fan club screaming outside the hotel — Zenon Konopka (@ZenonKonopka) July 9, 2013
John Tavares sending some love back home. High five!
Very special thing to be Canadian...Never take it for granted #CanadaDay — John Tavares (@91Tavares) July 1, 2013
Andrew Ference channels Henry David Thoreau. Oh come on, that has to make you laugh. Made me laugh.
See! Love nature and it will love you back! — Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) August 11, 2013
Bobby Ryan is still figuring out the thing. Guy can figure a thousand ways to score a goal but Twitter stone-walled him. Heh.
Also all you twitter police. I had no idea you could delete a tweet and fix it or resend it. My bad. — Bobby Ryan (@b_ryan9) August 12, 2013
Jamie McGinn has a good sense of humor. AND he rocks the goggles, no?
"What? You guys don't wear shower goggles?" @Vandis #gem — Jamie McGinn (@JamieMcGinn11) August 10, 2013
Zenon Konopka again, running spontaneous Twitter contests. The picture is kind of cute.
This is one of Hoppy's fav outfits, tweet a pic of your animals in their fav outfit-Winner gets a signed pic & puck! — Zenon Konopka (@ZenonKonopka) August 6, 2013
Gabriel Landeskog starstruck? Yep. He's over there with Peter Forsberg and Marcus Naslund. Who can blame him?
They must've mistaken me for someone else..I'm playing center between them right now (?!) I'm starstruck like never before! Having a blast! — Gabriel Landeskog (@GabeLandeskog92) August 8, 2013
Jonathon Drouin to Nathan MacKinnon . "Oh THAT old trick." And they eat sushi. Hmmm.
Congrats to @Mackinnon9 on signing his first pro contract , sushi is now on you once again #DontForgetYourDebit — jonathan drouin (@jodrouin27) July 10, 2013
Claude Giroux proving you can mix marketing and mayhem. Was that a threat?
"@StuntmanStu: @28CGiroux @BauerHockey @BauerCEO these better make my game better!" Definitely it will!! — Claude Giroux (@28CGiroux) August 9, 2013
Dustin Penner quoting Mom. Okay, this one just made me laugh.
"Hold on let me check...Sorry the person that lives here doesn't live here anymore" ~Mom.Trying to get rid of a solicitor for me #improvfail — Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) July 24, 2013
Michael Kostka not only reads, but RE-reads. And it is a great book.
Rereading The Alchemist. I would strongly recommend it for anyone who hasn't already read it! — Michael Kostka (@Kostka85) August 12, 2013
Erik Johnson - Yeah, that would suck. Plus it can't be as ... strange ... as it sounds, right?
It's all fun and games until your mom gets put on this kiss cam with your uncle at the @Twins game. — Erik Johnson (@6ErikJohnson) July 31, 2013
Andrew Ladd - You heard it here first. There *are* enforcers in hockey. Who would have thought?
Happy to have our enforcer locked up for 6 more years! Congrats @BiggieFunke — Andrew Ladd (@aladd16) July 27, 2013
Harry Zolierczyk does yoga. Does anyone else find that charmingly hilarious?
Just did my first class @NowYogaFitness with @rasheed_wahlus great spot! #powerhour — Harry Zolnierczyk (@HarryZ87) July 24, 2013
Brendan Gallagher is NOT a Belieber. I always liked that guy and now I like him more. #ShameOnUs, indeed.
The song Baby by Justin Beiber just went 12 times platinum making it the most bought single in the history of music #ShameOnUs — Brendan Gallagher (@BGALLY17) August 1, 2013
Colby Armstrong has #connections. Hmmm.
Some fan getting pissy cause 87 got good treatment at the DMV. Seriously?? I've never waited at dmv in any city I've played in. #connections— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) August 13, 2013
Marian Gaborik need confidence? Just ask Bob.
Congraats to Bob! Well deserved! U better let me score on u in practice,to give me some confidence. Lol #BobTheVezinaWinner — Marian Gaborik (@MGaborik10) June 16, 2013
Max Domi perpetuating Canadian stereotypes, eh? But it is always good to beat the Americans, that's true enough.
Always good to beat the Americans eh @EK5Colts and @blemieux22 #congratsboys — Max Domi (@max_domi) August 10, 2013
David Perron has fond memories of his Dad.
One year, my dad never saw me lose, I believe it was with Lewiston. Couple later we lost all 3 in a week, I told him time to leave lol — David Perron (@DP_57) August 11, 2013
Mats Zucarello has a very cool office.
Back to work! #office! Trener her så lenge jeg da olympiatoppen! — Mats Zuccarello (@zuccarello36) July 31, 2013
Evander Kane - Missing someone?
Time goes by slower when you're missing someone you love. — Rarest Facts ™ (@RarestFacts) August 5, 2013
Brian Gionta - Now there's a guy who knows how to have fun.
@SeabreezePark my favorite ride! Old school wooden coaster — Brian Gionta (@Giostyle21) August 6, 2013