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Maybe Leon Draisaitl has a proper to be ‘pissy’ about struggling Oilers

Leon Draisaitl didn’t appreciate his interaction with long-time beat reporter Jim Matheson this week.

Leon Draisaitl didn’t recognize his interplay with long-time beat reporter Jim Matheson this week.
Image: Getty Images

Athletes are individuals. People get upset once they and/or the group they affiliate themselves with aren’t dwelling as much as expectations. Hence, with the Edmonton Oilers having gone 2-10-2 of their final 14 video games, 2020 Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl would possibly discover it slightly patronizing when a reporter asks him postgame what the most important drawback has been with the Oilers.

I don’t thoughts the query from reporter Jim Matheson, by the way in which. Some individuals are saying that he was fishing for a headline and making an attempt to get Draisaitl accountable a few of his teammates. I don’t get that vibe from his query. Was the query imprecise and open to interpretation? Absolutely. It wasn’t some thought-provoking assertion worthy of pondering from Greek philosophers, nevertheless it probably additionally wasn’t as deep as some individuals are making it out to be. Matheson did deal with the scenario poorly afterwards.

As I stated earlier, you may’t count on profound evaluation from cheery, happy-go-lucky hockey gamers when their crew is in a funk as dangerous because the one the Oilers are in. Draisaitl provided knowledgeable reply with the intent to keep away from any type of drama. You can inform by the look on his face that there are a selection of issues he needs to say, however he doesn’t as a result of he understands that his phrases may have penalties. Matheson wants to know this and never push the envelope any additional. When he does push it additional, particularly within the condescending tone we hear within the video, that’s when Draisaitl snaps with “You know everything.” Matheson wants to know that he went slightly over the road there. He must make like a hiker who simply noticed a mountain lion and again up slowly. Calling a grown man “pissy”? You’re simply asking for hassle at that time, however I assume Matheson has by no means minded going over the sting.

Matheson has lined the Oilers since their inception into the WHA in 1973. In that point, he has developed a historical past of being blunt with Oilers’ gamers, and that’s placing it flippantly. As just lately as September of final 12 months, Matheson informed Oilers’ goaltender Mikko Koskinen that Oilers’ followers “don’t want him.” While a number of Oilers’ followers had been disenchanted with Koskinen’s play in 2021 after his strong 2020 season, it’s onerous to say they didn’t need him round. He is best than a lot of the choices the Oilers’ would’ve thought-about that offseason, and though his stats could not present it, the Oilers have accomplished very nicely with him in internet. After all, in 20 video games performed this 12 months, Koskinen is 12-7-1 (60.0 outright win proportion; 62.5 factors proportion). That’s a far cry from the Oilers’ precise factors proportion this season of 54.3 %. Obviously, this doesn’t immediately correlate to Koskinen’s play in internet, and Koskinen is 0-5-1 in his final six video games, nevertheless it ought to be famous.

Matheson’s query to Koskinen (almost certainly) unintentionally created division within the Oilers’ locker room and solid pointless self-doubt on the Oilers’ netminder. Matheson succeeded in that regard. Koskinen has gone on to state that he is aware of he must get higher and that he’s undecided if he can deal with a full starter’s value of video games in an NHL season. The former was achieved a lot later although. Two weeks in the past, Koskinen voiced his frustration with the fixed bashings he’d been receiving within the media by concentrating on the Oilers’ offense.

“When the team loses, it’s either the coach or goalie who gets sacrificed,” stated Koskinen. “I have to be better, but at the same time, we scored seven goals in my last six losses. I can’t score goals. It’s not only about goaltending when it comes to winning and losing. Everybody has to better from now on and we will be.”

Maybe it’s what occurred with Koskinen that has led so many individuals to consider Matheson held comparable “intentions” together with his query to Draisaitl. In actuality although, it was probably only a bland query that Draisaitl was uninterested in listening to and reacted to in an emotional approach. That in all probability bruised Matheson’s ego and prompted his personal emotional retaliation that was approach out of line.

Matheson was clearly within the unsuitable for the way in which he acted, however let’s not fake that Draisaitl didn’t up the ante together with his “you know everything” response. I perceive his frustration and unwillingness to play silly video games with nothing however silly prizes on the road, however that additionally simply comes with the territory of being one of many NHL’s largest stars. You’re going to get badgered by reporters with terrible questions that you may’t actually reply in an sincere style lest you throw your teammates underneath the bus. You’re going to should placed on a faux smile once you’re feeling upset and provides family-friendly statements responding to hate in a modest/understanding approach lest you be considered as a diva by the general public. Is that proper? No, however that’s simply how the world works.

Hopefully, Matheson can come again and be slightly extra understanding of the scenario that Draisaitl, Koskinen, and McDavid are in with how poorly the Oilers have carried out as of late. If that’s the case, everyone grows as an individual. Everybody wins, and we’ll all sing Kumbaya in a circle. Unfortunately, that’s by no means going to occur.