@Dan Ellis: Peace Out, Twitter! #DanEllisProblems

By Steve Farnham, AllHabs.net

MONTREAL, QC. – Dan Ellis, remember him?  He’s the goaltender who’s rights were obtained from the Nashville Predators in the Sergei Kostitsyn trade.  He’s the goaltender we quickly adored for an entire two days before he decided Montreal was not the proper place for him, and then ventured off to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Dan Ellis, who happens to be one of the NHL’s most active “twitterers” has decided, either himself or due to pressure, to leave his Twitter account.  He made the announcement late Wednesday night, his account was still active a little after midnight.

Let me explain for those who are not up to date on the Dan Ellis fiasco (if you want to call it that.)  It started a few days ago when Dan Ellis posted the following “tweets” on his Twitter account:

  • “Kind of bored today…what can I stir the pot about today?”
  • “RT @reggie_bush:: ok so what is the sticking point with the negotiations? (the owners want the Players to take an 18% pay cut)..try 24% NHL”
  • “If you lost 18% of your income would you be happy? I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now then when I was in college.”
  • “I can’t explain it and I never thought it would be the case but it is true. $ in no way makes u more happy or makes life much easier.”

The first thing that jumps out at me is that Dan Ellis said that he would stir the pot that day.  He announced it himself and it was only a matter of time before he would “tweet” something controversial.  As we can see by his tweets, he then “retweeted” a message by Reggie Bush of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.  Bush was commenting on salary claw-backs professional athletes can be faced with.  Then, in my opinion, things went a little overboard on his part when he started playing the sympathy card.

To his dumbfounded surprise, he didn’t receive much sympathy from his followers and the situation degenerated like none other.  His followers attacked, some in a professional manner, others with childish name calling.  Ellis fought back, sometimes even insulting his followers.

The story sparked excellent write-ups from many including Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy.  He wrote an article titled Goalie Dan Ellis Discovers Lack of Sympathy for Whiney Millionaires. Another came from Spector’s Hockey in an article titled His Own Worst Enemy.  Both are great reads and I definitely recommend them.

Personally, his initial comments did not bother me all that much.  I found it surprising that he would dare say something of that nature and I definitely believe he lacked judgment in choosing to say what he did, but it was his reaction to his followers reactions that really bothered me.

How can you intentionally decide you’re going to “stir the pot” as he said it, and then when you do, react in a way that makes it seem like you never intended this in the first place?  Perhaps he thought he would only stir up a pot, truth is, he stirred up a pot alright, but the pot contained a hornet’s nest.

Here are some examples of Ellis’ reactions to his followers from his Twitter account:

  • “Simple solution to the sensitive=unfollow! I am not holding a gun at your head to follow so do yourself a favor”
  • “If your getting overly jazzed up about my meaningless tweets maybe unfollow or therapy is just what the Dr ordered?”

Okay, so Dan Ellis is definitely not the guy you want doing public relations in any crisis situation.  What followed was, I must say, the highlight of the week.  Followers of Dan Ellis started mocking him, and sometimes in the most brilliant and witty of ways.  The hashtag #DanEllisProblems on twitter (which was already existing because of past Dan Ellis rants, yep, not the first time) came back into circulation and inspired some rather funny tweets:

  • @taylorhatchett: “Wondering how many gifts I can afford at Christmas time #DanEllisProblems”
  • @adam47kauffman: “Not actually getting a penny for his thoughts #danellisproblems”
  • @CooterTV: “Letting in goals from the neutral zone… http://youtu.be/Vp2eTuoUz3Y #DanEllisProblems”
  • @drewfansler: “Pekka Rinne. #DanEllisProblems”
  • @davidvjones: “Rebounds. #DanEllisProblems”

Dan Ellis then came out the following night and apologized to his followers.  In what seemed like a sincere but maybe ‘pressured-into’ apology, he said how his intentions were never to hurt or offend anyone.  Case closed.  Right?  No.

It looks like Dan Ellis is now closing his Twitter account.  His decision?  Was he pressured into it?  Is it even true or just a tactic to see what kinds of reactions he gets?  Who knows and frankly, this story is getting played out so fast I’m starting to wonder if I even care.  I was amazed at the way Dan Ellis came out tonight to announce this.  He’s in Tampa, I’m in Montreal, yet I could hear the violins all the way from here.  The sympathy card being played was very weak in my opinion, and the worst thing in this to me is that it’s probably going to work.

Here was how he broke the news:

  • @33dellis: “Twitter was a great way to see inside the life of athletes outside of public media. But this is even too much for me.”
  • @33dellis: “I feel bad for the sincere followers/fans who just wanted a glimpse of things from the inside. But with the recent explosion…”
  • @33dellis: “I am shutting down my twitter because in no way shape or form do I want this to disrupt my team.”
  • @33dellis: “I deeply care for my teammates and faithful followers. This has all been misconstrued to no end and ppl’s feelings are getting hurt.”
  • @33dellis: “There was never any intention in my tweets to undermine ppl who are in different income brackets. I donate 10% of my salary each year to..”
  • @33dellis: “Help under privileged kids across the world. as long as I play in the NHL my peldge will remain the same to The Garth Brooks Foundation”
  • @33dellis: “I deeply care for the less fortunate and make many efforts to be of even marginal help. I wish you all a happy twitter experience and…”
  • @33dellis: “Hope you do not allow this misunderstanding to form the basis of your opinion of me. I welcome any of you to meet me in person to chat.”
  • @33dellis: “But no longer will I xpress things through this medium. Thx again to all the good ppl I have met on twitter. I wish you all the very best.”
  • @33dellis: “Peace out twitter!”

I have tears in my eyes just reading it again…  But seriously, was all of this really necessary?  Why am I here thinking that this ‘event’ could rival “as the world turns” on weekday afternoons in terms of soap opera type material?  (Does that show even still play?)  Already, messages are pouring into Dan Ellis’ twitter account asking him not to leave.  Whether this was the plan or not, everyone’s already forgiven him, well, mostly.

Jeff Marek, from CBC Sports, had the following tweet which got a loud laugh from me:

  • @JeffMarek: “When do we start the countdown for @33dellis2point0 ??????”

Jeff was making reference to Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes, who recently came back on Twitter under the handle @BizNasty2Point0.  His original Twitter account had mysteriously disappeared following some questionable tweets with regards to Kovalchuk’s contract situation.

In conclusion, I say this.  If you have a Twitter account, whether professional athlete or not, be responsible.  Take a second to realize what you are doing.  If you want to stir things up, assume the consequences of your actions.  It’s a relief so few of the Montreal Canadiens players have Twitter accounts!

(Feature Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Previous articleMSM and New Media, Next Steps
Next articlePreviewing the ‘Q’
Born and raised in the Montreal area, Steve is an Associate Editor and Senior Writer at All Habs. Steve started playing hockey at the age of four, played as a goaltender as high as Junior AAA and was drafted to the QMJHL. When he isn’t writing about the Canadiens or twiddling with HTML code on the website, you can usually find him sharing his sarcasm on Twitter where he enjoys the never-ending hockey arguments. Steve also works as an analyst for Rogers Communications and enjoys the fact that his downtown office is only a five-minute walk from the Bell Centre. On the personal side; Animal Planet, poutine, the colour blue, the word ‘weaponized’ and Pepsi are just a few of Steve’s favourite things.


  1. If he’s that sensitive, and couldn’t handle a bunch of tweets taking the piss on his pot stirring, Montreal would have eaten him alive.

  2. No doubt he’s going to be a case study for NHL team PR departments when they educate players about fan interaction and handling the media.

    The gift and curse of our new media world is that you can say absolutely anything you want and publish it to everyone instantly. That can be a great thing, or, in this case, a very bad thing.

    Ellis, and everyone else on twitter *should* take a moment to think about clicking that ‘submit’ button before they regret what they say. Every day I see people who would probably take back what they had said if they could (the delete function doesn’t delete people’s memory).

    For his part, Ellis was irresponsible for talking about money woes to a following who don’t even make 1/20th of what he earns. Personally, I wasn’t bothered by what he said, hence why I haven’t said a word about it until now. I learned long ago that athletes live in an entirely different world than we do. To him, losing 18% of his pay is a huge chunk, considering there are guys in the league who make 5 or 6 times what he does. He’s lost his perspective on the plight of the average joe, and he paid the price for his ignorance.

    Some of the criticism was unwarranted and downright mean spirited. It wasn’t necessary at all, but like any mob, people want to be a part of something, especially when its giving an opportunity to pile on someone for a blunder. That Ellis decided to stubbornly fight back instead of being contrite right off the bat only made it worse.

    I think this whole thing is unfortunate. Ellis was a candid member of the NHLPA on twitter. As we’ve been trying to build bridges between MSM and bloggers, so have we been trying to get closer to the athletes. It’s too bad that so many people, Ellis included, decided torch that bridge.

    Number31 is right on though – if this was enough to turn him off of twitter, Habs fans would have ruined him.

  3. The sad part here is that it seems lost on Dan Ellis that the amount held back via escrow is a direct indicator of how much (or how little) dollars the fans are spending on hockey. So when he has to take an 18% haircut in salary that’s probably because most of his fans had to take a similar discount in their collective earning power (via job losses, reduction in disposable income, etc). I think what irked most fans the most is the fact that he didn’t realize that most fans have also had to suffer through the recession and even 5% to them or just maintaining the status quo while seeing their colleagues let go added to their stress levels a lot more than losing 18% of a $1.5M salary.

    I think it’s the “I don’t expect u (sic) to understand” part that ruined it for me. The rest was fine, pure economics and numbers, I had no issues with it.

  4. I personally liked how Ellis was *candid* on Twitter, but he deserved the backlash he received when he started whining about an 18% claw-back to thousands (tens-of-..? hundreds-of-..?) people who are barely making a fraction of the amount he’s complaining about.

    I’m not a hockey player, but I am very skilled at what I do – and I took a 30% pay-cut at the beginning of the year (that was only supposed to last “a couple of months – we’re now September). I’m lucky if I have a twoonie in my pocket a day or two before payday.

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but the almost $300K he’s whining about that he’ll have deducted from his salary *just this year* is an amount it would take me almost 10 years to see – if I didn’t pay taxes and paid for absolutely nothing in that time. Trying to garner that kind of sympathy from people who share my “plight” was totally and unequivocally irresponsible – particularly when just the week before he was tweeting pics of his latest luxury sports cars…

    So Dan… unless you’re planning on offering up 0.5% of your salary just so I can spend money and pay bills, rent, feed/clothe my kids, and actually see the amount you’re complaining about losing this year sometime over the next 10 years or so – I wouldn’t be putting a lot of time into whining about your finances.

  5. Don’t forget that it was the PLAYERS that voted to activate the salary cap accelerator (or whatever it’s called). That was I believe (and please correct me if I’m wrong) a 5% increase in salary caps. That directly affects how much of the players’ salaries will be held in escrow. If you don’t want that much to be held back, then don’t vote for it (and maybe Ellis did) but if you’re going to complain against owners in a general format then you have to stand by the decision that the players’ took in a general format as well.

Comments are closed.