Over at Sportsnet, Tim Pannaccio posted an article about Jordan Eberle’s emergence in New York and it included some pretty scathing quotes from former winger about what life can be like in Edmonton.
Firstly, I have to say that reading this article the day after being dummied by Buffalo was like a kick to the pills that I just didn’t need right now. The last thing I wanted to do today was to write about how much better off Jordan Eberle is in New York and how the pressure of being in Edmonton sucks and blah blah blah, but here we are.
Pannaccio’s article started off with how things ended in Edmonton for the former winger and offers a look at what the rollercoaster was like to ride in his last season as an Oiler.
“Definitely didn’t play up to my standards, especially in the playoffs. It has to do with points. I had a really good first series and it didn’t show on the scoresheet. Those are times you have to score and I got demoted in the lineup and beaten up a bit, too.”
Beaten up? What do you mean? You weren’t a fighter. And demoted? You played on the second line with Nuge. What’s going on here?
“The Edmonton media can be pretty brutal and your confidence goes and this is a game you can’t play if you don’t have confidence. It’s that simple.”
Oh, you mean getting shit on and blamed for losses for more than half a decade started to wear on you? That’s weird. I can’t imagine why you’d feel that way. You could be one of the best players on the team (or on earth) but the media will still write articles that blame you for losses.
“It’s the Edmonton Oilers and everything around it. When you read articles every day about how much you suck, it’s tough.”
Fist, meet testicles.
When asked if you can just ignore the constant pressure, Eberle explained life in the fishbowl.
“You can’t (ignore it). It affects you and I lost my confidence. The biggest thing for me since I got here with the Islanders, is trying to get that back.”
This is the part where I get lost. So many people shredded Eberle last season, the worst of his career, and he still had 20 goals and 51 points. He was part of the reason the Oilers made the playoffs, something that doesn’t look like it will happen this year. What is it about this city and needing a specific scapegoat? That said, dude gets paid a shit tonne of money to play hockey so criticism kinda comes with the territory, no? I take heat in the comments section all the time and I’m broke af.
I’m not saying I’m any better, I throw the guys in management under the bus on a daily basis. I blame a lot of this horrible season on Chiarelli for trading guys like Eberle away for pennies on the dollar and his overpays even though I know there are many factors (like confidence) that are contributing to it. But then again, I’m not the guy that blames the furniture if the roof caves in.
“We don’t get as much media coverage and don’t have to deal with that sort of element and maybe can play looser and freer and it helps our game. Doug lets us play. I feel I have lots to give them here.”
Confidence is one of those things that doesn’t have a stat to track it. I think it’s tough to remember that these guys need to be feeling good in order to play well. Clearly, Eberle knows he didn’t have a good last year in this city but it’s amazing to see how he has blossomed away from it. Frankly, it is disheartening to see how guys that Chiarelli has traded away are thriving in other cities right now especially because the Oilers are losing. That said, this scenario is a tough one. I think players should be criticized if they’re not playing well, it comes with the job of being a pro athlete, but maybe the line gets drawn before they’re blamed for absolutely everything. So where’s the happy medium on this?
What do you guys think? Is the criticism part of the job or is there something to what Jordan is talking about? Should players man up on these types of things? One thing is for sure, if Edmonton is winning right now then we’re probably not even talking about this.