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Photo Credit: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Taylor Hall backs up Jordan Eberle on Edmonton Media

Over at ESPN, Greg Wyshynski posted an article where Taylor Hall essentially confirmed Jordan Eberle’s claims that the Edmonton media can be tough to handle. 

Here we are… for the second time in a matter of days, I have to write about a former Oiler talking about how tough the media can be in this city. This time around, Taylor Hall answered a few questions about life under the microscope in Edmonton and confirmed his former roommate’s feelings about how intense things can be.

“Yeah, no question. You get booed by fans, the media is all over you, everyone’s human. You can’t help but take that home with you.”

Like I said on Saturday, the idea that a 20-something-year-old would carry the negativity from articles around with them shouldn’t be a surprise — we’re all human beings regardless of how many zeros are at the end of our paycheque. The difference, of course, is that public criticism is part of the job when you’re a pro-athlete. A plumber probably won’t have an article written about him when he screws up a toilet install, but you sure as hell know they have some kind of performance reviews to go along with the real life pressures of providing for a family.

“I read that Spector called Jordan ‘mentally weak.’ It’s the same as blocking someone on Twitter: No one wants to read crappy stuff about yourself. You want to be blind to it.”

I agree with Taylor here. While I do think that a professional hockey player should be fair game in terms of criticism, I don’t think that they’re mentally weak just because they get upset by people telling them how much they suck. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been rattled in the past when people have gotten on me for whatever reason, and I’m saying that as a broke ass blogger. Not to mention, the whole idea becomes even more ridiculous when you remember how many people Spec blocks on Twitter.

Anyway…

“I think that if the media in Edmonton think that they don’t impact players, just a little bit, then they’re crazy. Everyone’s human. No one wants to read crappy stuff about them, no matter how good of a player you are.”

This is where Hall loses me. Let’s not pretend that the Edmonton media is any more critical than what you’d get in Toronto or Montreal. And let’s not pretend that this is only a hockey thing. Do you honestly think the New York Yankees have an easy time when they’re playing like shit? Try Googling the kind of press A-Rod used to get in his time there. How about what pro Soccer players get when they screw something up. Singling Edmonton out for being tough just isn’t realistic to me. Yes, they had it rough at times when they were here, but I also personally saw these guys being treated like Gods when they were out on the town. Why not talk to the press about that part of it?

While Hall did say that the Edmonton media can be intense, he did follow that up by saying that they’re generally fair in their coverage.

“I never felt that the media was unfair in Edmonton, but when you do read constant negative stuff about yourself, you can’t help but lose confidence.”

At the end of the day, I’m not surprised that Taylor Hall backed up his boy considering the reaction that Eberle’s comments got over the weekend. Those two have been boys for a long time and you just knew that someone was going to ask for Taylor Hall’s opinion on the subject. Here at the Nation, we had nearly 200 comments (actually more than that but some got filtered out for various reasons) and countless tweets with fans chiming in on both sides of the equation. Some thought that Eberle needed to toughen up while others thought that there’s some merit to what he’s saying, and I’m sure we’ll get the same thing here.

What do you guys think? Are you over it? I’m kinda over it. That said, I guess I’ll start getting ready for a threepeat just in case some journalist asks Nail Yakupov/Justin Schultz/Benoit Pouliot/Luke Gazdic/anyone else that left about just how mean the people of Edmonton can be.

  • OnDaWagon

    I’ve lived in this city since 1983, I have seen the media be brutal towards certain players. And the fans “every year” has to find one player to kick the $hit out of everyday. Overpaid. Too slow. No heart. Don’t backcheck…and on and on it goes.

    Do you think Chiarelli didn’t try to get a winger over the summer? A lot of players flat out refuse to come here, and it isn’t just because of the weather. It’s the jackasses who write a lot of the articles, and posters breaking a player down on blogs like this one. I would think most people don’t want to be hated, especially to the degree that it happens in this city towards hockey players.

    If you’re so perfect at your profession, post where you work, so I can come and watch a mistake free person. I’ve never seen one.

    • I am Batman

      Really?
      9 months a year it’s winter, 5 of them very cold, and dark.
      There’s absolutely nothing to do in this town except for festivals- in our 2 month summer- which for players might not be a concern but for their wives/girlfriend different story.
      Nobody comes here by choice, if you like Edmonton, you are from here. Given the choice the only hockey city I would choose after Edmonton is Winnipeg and maybe Columbus.

      But… great players don’t come here because a bunch of jack a…. call them names.
      Give me a break.

      • MrBung

        Don’t guys that age just play video games anyway. I always laugh when I hear this statement. “But there is nothing to do”. Sounds like something a “bored” toddler would say.

        • I am Batman

          That’s funny. But compared to LA, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, even Vancouver or Calgary…. there is not a thing (aside from the big a mall).
          And I’m not the only one that says it (and I’ve lived in a lot of cities), check what “Lonely Planet “ has to say about E-town.
          And no, they didn’t mention the mean press and the mean fans.

      • Boom76

        This is the elephant in the room that no one wanted to address before and during rebuild 1.0… Edmonton is NOT a desirable location. Rebuild 2.0 was, IMO, very much about Lowe & co. recognizing the reason they didn’t mind E-town as players was because they came of age here. They didn’t come of age in LA, NY, Florida, Chicago, or somewhere significantly better (city-wise)… and so they had nothing to compare it negatively to. Then Pronger leaves. Then Heatley won’t come. Jagr chooses Russia over Edmonton. And they’re like “Woah, we need to raise prospects here properly.” …. “And make a reality TV show out of them”… And I stand by my long held, bar-stool statement that the worst thing the Lowe/Tambo regime did was spoil these kids with that damn TV Show. But full-grown-men-Oiler-fans ate that S#$% up… And what happens? When they leave, and collect themselves after being ejected from the city they came of age in, they’re all like “No one wants to read crappy stuff about yourself. You want to be blind to it.” Long/short: Edmonton’s damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t. I think the city and fans would do well with a bit of Aristotelian balance. My 2 ¢!

    • Ty Guy

      that sounds great. as long as afterwards, when we go out for beers, i am treated like a king and every 20 something girl in a 40 block radius comes to ogle me….

      yes, they are kids. yes the media and fans can be harsh. there is a flip side and bonus to this too. nobody ever gave me a new FX150 just because or waited in line for 50 minutes for a picture with me..enjoy obscurity in NJ or Long Island along with your zero cups.

  • Mon Ami

    Someone should ask Justin Schultz this question. Penguins did’nt care about his so called short comings and he won two Stanley Cups with them. On top of that he was contributed in each one. Let him weigh in on what he thinks.

  • Lee

    When you are 21 and you just signed a contract to pay you 36 million bucks and there are games when you take the night off , you can expect some heat from the press. Sports like the NFL and the Premier League in England are much harder on the players.
    As long as it doesn’t become personal, but if you are cruising back and your man scores because you didn’t want to come back hard, you can expect plenty of criticism. I remember a HNC game where the national press showed Eberle cruising back and they were all over him for.
    Luckily he is in a city that doesn’t care about hockey, you can be as lazy as you want to because no one cares, for some hockey players this is as good as it gets.

    • BlueHairedApe

      This is key ‘the national press’ was equally as hard on Eberle and Hall so it wasn’t just Edmonton media. I sat with plenty of fans from other teams pointing out their deficiencies so it wasn’t just Edmonton fans that were critical either. The fact is both these players were in over their heads here and eventually gave up. They deserved every criticism for their lack of effort but the organization should have been criticized even more. This is where the MSM failed big time.

          • btrain

            haha. You think Kyper, Friedman, and Hrudey are watching every Canadian team every night in detail? This is why TSN and SN have their crew of reporters that follow the team like Spector and Rishaug. They do the investigating and filter it up. So then when it gets to the National Panel, they have a dozen or so items that are already receiving attention to watch for. When Eberle, despite 15 guys that game doing the same thing, misses a check, Hrudey is right on it. If it wasn’t already a story locally, Hrudey doesn’t make that comment.

  • camdog

    Sort of ironic how Spector and Henderson are polar opposites in their view point on players, however they have no problems trashing players to an extreme on an equal level. Matt’s continuous attacks on Justin Schultz and Spector’s equally venomous columns on Sportsnet have in the past turned into nothing more than click bait trolling.

  • I am Batman

    Nice. Now Hall comes out to say how tough the city was on him…. he doesn’t mention how people idolized him when he went to Knoxville or to Cactus Club to get sh…t faced and nothing got written about that…. not because the media didn’t know but because they kept it honourable…
    Nobody ever asked him neither “do you think you should start on working on not falling down like a clumsy giraffe?!”.

    Guess they were tough on him..,. They could have been a lot tougher.

    • Big Nuggets

      to be fair to Taylor he did say the media was fair in its treatment of the players. Everyone seems to be reading these comments like they complaining about and insulting Edmonton. The comments by both players are pretty mild and, and its obviously true that too much negativity can get to people. That is true in any city but in Edmonton there was overwhelming negativity because the team sucked ball bag for 10 years. Keep in mind the team didnt suck ball bag because of Eberle’s weak back check, it sucked becasue there was no defense, no veteran leadership, weak goaltending, small forwards. Not the fault of Hall or Eberle. Actually they kinda did a good job of staying upbeat dispite management failing to insulate them with a real team and leaving them as scapegoats.

  • camdog

    In the twitter verse (Dellows/Wood guy) looks like MSM and bloggers are looking to go at it again. How many players will be trashed during the quest to prove each side is right?

  • Supa Fly

    I 100% am on the side of these former players. It’s a chicken and the egg problem with the fan’s and media. I attended my first game in a number of years (vs Pitt) this year and I could not believe how negative 90% of all the fans were around me. I felt like I was the only one cheering for the Oil.

  • madjam

    The media and fans can be tough on the players , but trying to live up to expectations of teams from Oilers dynasty teams even more hard . Not an easy task being constantly compared to them , their results and the salaries they are now getting in comparison .

    • Oilerchild77

      I feel like that while comparison to the dynasty team is a generational thing. Only people from the older generation really do that. The problem is, the local media in Edmonton is full of writers from that generation, so those comparisons are still made. Hopefully some of those old blowhards retire soon, so we can get a fresh take on our local sports teams that is more fair, accurate, and less negative.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    “I think that if the media in Edmonton think that they don’t impact players, just a little bit, then they’re crazy”
    PLUS
    “I never felt that the media was unfair in Edmonton, but when you do read constant negative stuff about yourself, you can’t help but lose confidence”
    EQUALS

    MENTALLY WEAK

  • Mahaloeh

    I think that some Oiler fans want to bail & spew negativity at the first sign of failure! The leaders of this team are still very young men (like Eberle & Hall were) & booing them instead of supporting them will have negative consequences! Look at the teams home & away records, that tells a story! When I’m at a game I dread the thought of the Oilers making a mistake early in a game because you literally hear the moans go through the crowd! The players hear this as well & they usually tighten up after that!

    • madjam

      Hockey NHL is an entertainment industry , and fans or viewers will most often bail and spew when they feel players are not living up to expectations . Players deal with this no matter where they are playing, at home or away . Media like a critic in movie industry with all sorts of reviews . You pay good money to be entertained , and when you don’t get a decent level of entertainment and satisfaction , you feel cheated and often vent negatively as a poor performance . The more they play well and consistently , the less negativity thrown their way .

  • Admit it sports journalists and bloggers, you are largely hypercritical. Though it’s probably hard to admit as you see yourself as News Journalists. The likes of Colby Armstrong taking swings at players is rampant no matter how subtle; you transform yourself from journalists into tabloid piece writers positioning yourself as an informed perspective. No doubt you know a thing or two about hockey. But chill out. Give me a positive article. I dare you.

  • Anton CP

    Btw, using Yankees is a terrible example. Since MLB have no salary cap that the team like Yankees or Red Sox can just dish out millions of dollars to get whoever they want. For that kind of money that of course players are more willingly suck up to media pressure.

  • Heschultzhescores

    People saying they’re bored or there is nothing to do in Edmonton are really just saying they’re boring and they aren’t creative enough to figure out things to do. There’s tons to do in Edmonton, it’s a GREAT city!

    • TKB2677

      I agree with you. Not only did the team not make the playoffs when those 2 were the faces of the franchise, they didn’t improve. They were last or almost dead last every year. Hall’s last year, the Oilers were second last in the league. McDavid gets hurt that season, goes back to being Hall’s team and they are garbage again thanks to Hall mailing it in again. He was supposed to be an “Elite” player according to some, well elite players don’t mail in seasons like he did.

      I don’t put all the blame on Hall, Eberle and even Nuge. The roster wasn’t good enough. BUT that team should not have been as bad as they were with those 3 because those 3 were supposed to be star players and as they got older, bigger and stronger, they should have gotten better and in turn, the team would get better. But they didn’t. How many years did it take Hall to figure out you can’t fly the zone and leave your teammates hanging in the defensive zone and occasionally you have to back check? What was it 5 or 6 years? Eberle spent 7 yrs as an Oiler and he didn’t figure out that you can’t just stand there and watch your man fire in goals, you have to at least tie up his stick.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    I don’t know why anybody is surprised by the comments by Eberle or Hall. Eberle blamed the Edmonton media for his loss of confidence as an excuse for playing like garbage last year, when in reality he had a bad year. I’m not saying that the Edmonton media isn’ tough but Eberle was playing bad before the media turned on him. And keep in mind when we were in the midst of the decade of darkness the media was always kind to Eberle, because he played good. it wasnt the media’s turn on him that caused him to play bad, it was his bad play that caused the media to turn on him, just like it does to players in Toronto and Montreal. And don’t get me wrong i like Eberle, i just think he is placing the blame for playing poorly last year on something that was out of his control.

    • TKB2677

      How much abuse did the media give previous coaches and management for the team not being good enough or the system not being good enough when the team sucked but gave free passes to the players when guys like Hall and Eberle refused to give a crap about backchecking for 5+ years? Those guys played 20+ mins a night but for the bulk of their careers as Oilers, they would barely set foot in their own zone, let alone occasionally check an opposing player but it was all the coaches fault those guys couldn’t play defense. As a player you actually have to BUY IN and learn to play the pro game. Some of it is by coaching but a TON of it is on the players themselves to do the extra work it takes either during the year or in the offseason. As an example. I don’t think Eakins was a good coach and his systems weren’t great but he recognized that Hall, Eberle, Nuge, needed to learn to be better in their own zone for the Oilers to succeed and they didn’t improve. It wasn’t just Eakins.
      Renney realized those guys needed to learn the defensive side and tried to teach them and get them to buy in.
      Eakins realized those guys needed to learn the defensive side and tried to teach them and get them to buy in.
      McLellan realized those guys needed to learn the defensive side and tried to teach them and get them to buy in.
      Nelson realized those guys needed to learn the defensive side and tried to teach them and get them to buy in.
      Even MR. positive Kruger realized those guys needed to learn the defensive side and tried to teach them and get them to buy in.

      5 different coaches realized that in order for the Oilers to have a chance to win, the guys playing the most mins – Hall, Eberle, Nuge – had to be better all around players. It didn’t take. The media was pretty quick to run all those guys out of town. yet poor Eberle and Hall would get articles written about how the coaches failed them.

  • Dirtbag Daddy

    Winners would not go and pout in the corner. They would go out and prove that the comments are not indicating the player that they are. I guess the Oilers should maybe modify their character portion of the psych evaluation of the player to include ‘pouter or winner’. I guess that is why they are traded. We only want winners in the Oiler organization. Mental tough and physical tough.