My Instagram username is pekkarinne. Why? Not sure. I certainly never intended to fool anyone, nor thought anyone would mistake my stupid pictures of funny signs on Long Island as the actual photography of NHL goalie Pekka Rinne.
And yet, people followed me, assuming Instagram wouldn't issue that particular username to anyone but the man himself. Instead of politely correcting everyone, changing my username, and making my account private, however, I did the responsible thing and leveraged the confusion into an April Fools' Day prank, one year ago today.
Last April was the first since Shea Weber had signed an offer sheet with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Predators stunk and the trade deadline had been pushed to April 5 because of the lockout. So I posted this:
I don't remember what logo originally appeared on the hats. The original photo seems to have disappeared from the internet, which is about the best outcome possible.
Originally, I posted the Instagram link on Twitter, thinking no one would be fooled. But I underestimated the unintentional layering of the prank. Everyone expended their incredulity on the idea that Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber had been traded, implicitly accepting that the real Pekka Rinne posted the photo.
Travis Hughes, who followed me on Twitter, posted it to his popular Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey, and from there it took off:
Getting Comcast Philadelphia was a highlight, and went a long way toward convincing the Flyers fans it was real. Several issues then came to the fore.
Should the Flyers seek retaliation on the ice?
Should Predators fans be mad?
I have some other more inflammatory responses saved that I might dig up another time. The lesson for today though? Be careful what you believe online. And squat the names of up-and-coming hockey stars on popular social media sites.