Everyone’s favourite colour commentator, Drew Remenda, appeared on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer yesterday and for the second year in a row, he was talkin’ practice. This time, the practice talk had to do with Jordan Eberle and it set the Internet on fire – to the point where Todd McLellan had to step in.
For the 1000th time this offseason, Jordan Eberle took shrapnel for his play and this time his practice habits also took a knock. Many words have been written about what Ebs lacks on the ice, but we haven’t seen a whole lot about what he’s not doing at practice.
“The one I’d sell would be Jordan Eberle for a couple reasons: objectively you look at Jordan Eberle and he just doesn’t do enough for me. He stays on the outside too much.”
Not sure how that’s objective nor were the reasons all that great, but go on…
“(Eberle) doesn’t, and Bob you know my thing about practice, if you want to get better you have to work on your game. You have to invest in your career. I don’t see that from Jordan.”
Practice, man… We’re talkin’ about practice. Alright, but Drew hasn’t really given me any examples of what Eberle is doing or NOT doing that’s bothering him. If he’s bad in practice, then I want to know why. I don’t want you to tell me that ice cream sucks and leave it at that. From where I blog, it sounds more like Drew isn’t an Eberle fan and used practice as an excuse for voicing that opinion.
“If you want to win in the playoffs, you’ve got to play inside. You can’t drive on the outside, delay, turn up and throw the puck away. You’ve got to be able to play out of your comfort zone.”
I agree with you on some of this, Drew, but I’m still not seeing anything about practice. You’re talking games. I thought we were talkin’ practice. What else?
“Again, it’s just being objective. People can say what they want about me, but I’ll be honest with you in what I think about hockey. To me, I don’t think Jordan Eberle gave you enough or showed enough to deserve another chance.”
I’m still not sure that Drew is being objective here, and I’m still not seeing anything about practice, but we’ll roll with it anyway. I guess what Remenda is getting at is that Jordan Eberle plays how he practices (I’m reaching here) and that’s not good enough. Agreed. Where I find this odd is Drew calling out Eberle’s practice habits and not really saying anything about what he is or isn’t doing. It just seemed like, here’s a thing I think and I’m going to use it as a safety net because there aren’t many people that can prove me wrong.
“Chiarelli said that guys like me were judging Jordan too harshly, but I think, in this situation, I would judge Jordan based on what I saw in the playoffs.”
Wait… in the playoffs? So why didn’t you say that, Drew? Why didn’t you say that Eberle’s compete level, or whatever you want to call it, in the post-season wasn’t enough for you? Why is this practice thing just coming up now when the season is long gone? Where were you to call out his practice habits in November, Drew?
MCLELLAN STEPS IN
Right as I was about to hit publish on this post, Todd McLellan appeared on Oilers Now to talk an array of topics, including defending Jordan Eberle. In regards to Eberle’s practice habits that were questioned by Drew Remenda only a day ago, McLellan said:
“I don’t agree with those comments. I’m on the ice with Jordan every day. I see his practice habits. I see what he does before practice in the gym. I see how he reviews his video. I know the questions that he asks. I know how much he cares. When it comes to that, I’ve been around a lot of players in my 12 or 13 years and their care factor is nowhere near what Jordan’s is.”
Firstly, I’m sure Todd McLellan was thrilled about having to appear on radio and shovel the pile of Eberdung that Drew piled up the day before. Secondly, it’s not at all surprising that Todd McLellan came to Eberle’s defence. What else was he really going to say in a public forum? Eberle sucks? Never going to happen.
“What ends up happening is there’s a focus put on a player or two, or a coach, or a manager, or a goaltender at the end of the year. You have to have something to talk about. You have to have somewhere to go, and not necessarily a place blame, but point fingers and I think that’s very dangerous. Rightly or wrongly, it seems to be Jordan more than anybody.”
I think we can all agree that no one is taking the heat that Eberle has so far in this offseason. He’s like the red headed step child right now and that’s not a good spot to be in. What else?
“People are entitled to their opinions but unless they’re in the tent with us and they’re in the meetings and they see how young men prepare and what they give the organization, I think it’s really unfair to throw an individual under the bus.”
Shots fired at Drew’s practice take! Barn fight? C’mon, Todd, let’s do it!
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
At this point, piling on Jordan Eberle just seems gross to me. I’m not saying that it’s unfair to critique a guy that makes $6 million to play hockey for a living, but I’m not sure that I understand turning over every stone to dump on a guy either. At the end of the day, Jordan Eberle has scored at a rate of 60 points per year (give or take) and those type of players aren’t easy to find, as Jason Gregor wrote just last week. Is a tough year really all it takes to get the boot? I don’t think that trading Jordan Eberle is going to magically make the Oilers better, especially when the return is likely to be disappointing.
David Staples also wrote about this practice thing over at the Journal this morning, and I think he was right when he said that it seems like the end is near when the MSM start taking shots at specific players. Unfortunately for Oilers fans, that end would likely mean another trade return that comes up short and another former cornerstone of the rebuild that could be set to start packing his bags. Then again, you never know. Todd McLellan said that Jordan Eberle is a big part of their club and that they’re still considering the group as a growth team. To put it another way, I never would have expected Taylor Hall to get moved last summer, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the speculation actually matches up to reality. Until then, I guess there are a few more stones that need to get turned over.