Did Taylor Hall somehow lean on Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe to pull his old No. 4 out of mothballs and hand it over to him?
To hear Mark Seidel tell it in a blog carried on the CBC Sports website today, that’s pretty much what happened. Seidel’s jersey jabs at Hall, which runs without on-the-record attribution from anybody, paints an unflattering picture of the 18-year-old Oiler and flies in the face of what he and Lowe said about the decision to give the former Windsor Spitfires Star No. 4 last summer.
Also interesting, Seidel isn’t some anonymous Hall-hater hiding in his momma’s basement. According to the bio accompanying the article: "Seidel is the chief scout for North American Central Scouting. Mark has been involved at all levels of hockey, including the position of regional scout for the Minnesota Wild, as well as consultant for various NHL teams and personnel regarding the draft."
Does Seidel know something we don’t?
NEWS TO LOWE
I spoke to Lowe about what’s implied in Seidel’s story, and he wasn’t indecisive with his response.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," Lowe said. "It’s utter nonsense, It’s shoddy journalism. His dad never even talked about it for one, but Taylor was so respectful of the whole thing, it never even came up."
That’s a jarring denial of Seidel’s version of how Hall ended up taking the number from Lowe, especially the following passage:
"People who are 40 and beyond remember the absolute greatness with which the Oilers of the 1980s played the game. They know how important Kevin Lowe was to that team. Yet, Team Hall was bound and determined to secure No. 4.
"Pressure was even applied to Lowe. Many former and current stars were outraged and spoke to both Lowe and members of the organization, but Team Hall was determined. Ultimately Lowe quietly agreed to the "transfer" of the number."
That’s news to Lowe.
"Initially, Taylor’s first response was he’d just wear whatever number we wanted him to wear," Lowe said, who said the same thing months ago when Hall was handed jersey No. 4 at a team photo-op.
"I said, ‘I think you look good in No. 4. I thought that from the first time I saw you.’ Nothing could be further from the truth."
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.