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January 19, 2022, 1:31 PM ET [54 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

For those who didn't see it yesterday, allow me to explain the title. After practice, Leon Draisaitl sat down to do a media avail as he usually does. Of course, because of the horrendous play of the team and loss after loss, Leon was asked a myriad of questions about what the team can do better, why things aren't working, and on and on. I have no issue with the reporters asking these questions; it's their job, but watching the entire interview it's frustrating to hear each question essentially be a slightly different version of the previous question.

That's why when it came time for Jim Matheson to ask his question, "what do you think is the number one reason for the losses... is there one thing... you got to get better at."

Leon responded with a simple sentence, "yeah we have to get better at everything." Not the most detailed answer, but an answer nonetheless, and again one after providing far more detailed answers to basically that question three times before. Still Matheson pushed further, asking if he wanted to expand on that. Leon replied, "nope, you can do that. You know everything."

By no means should Leon get a pass for that statement. If anything he should have left it at "nope" and not gone on to attack Matheson. If things ended there I would have made a passing remark about the incident in the game blog tomorrow and left it at that. Instead, Matheson chose to make things 1000 times worse.

"Why are you so pissy Leon."


That is "Hockey Hall of Fame Journalist" Jim Matheson calling a professional hockey player, a Hart Trophy winner, and one of the core members of the franchise; pissy. It didn't end there. After a bit more back and forth, Matheson angrily said he wanted to ask a follow up and stated that Leon was frustrated on the ice against the Senators and then asked Leon if that was a good thing, showing that frustration to the other team.

I am a hockey blogger. I have next to no insider information. I do not speak with the players, the coaches, or anyone in management about the team. I am a writer and I have my own thoughts on the Edmonton Oilers and I enjoy sharing them with you. Some of you enjoy my work and some of you don't and that is fine. I say all that because it makes me question that if I, a writer with no credentials can see how unprofessional Matheson was during that exchange, how in the world can Matheson and other members of the MSM not?


Leon Draisaitl is in his 8th NHL season. He has won a Hart Trophy, been a top 2 scorer the last three straight seasons and has been to the playoffs a total of 3 different times, made it past the first round once and won a total of one playoff games in the past two seasons. His head coach hasn't been behind the bench for a win since December 1st and his General Manager has somehow managed to make the team worse than a year ago, despite spending over 30 million dollars to "fix the team."

I'd be pissy too.

But instead of talking about all of these real issues, you have most of the Edmonton MSM discussing how Leon wasn't show leadership and was immature like how Mark Spector did.

Spector wasn't the only one. Numerous reporters and media types all came to the defense of Jim Matheson while not only claiming that he did nothing wrong, but that the blame rests entirely on Leon Draisaitl's shoulders.

For the record, this is what is going to make players want to leave Edmonton. It isn't the fans as Mark Spector once said. It is members of the media who decide to paint a target on the back of a player and continuously fire shots. We've heard the buzz words too many times to count, "lazy," "bad in the locker room," "doesn't have the hockey smarts", a "cancer."


Of course you will never see Jim Matheson, or Mark Spector, or Terry Jones speak about or to Ken Holland or Dave Tippett or Daryl Katz like how they spoke to and about Draisaitl. Therein lies the problem. Just as Kevin Lowe once called out "two tiered fans," there is a two-tiered reporting issue in Edmonton and throughout most of the National Hockey League. When a GM or coach is fired and their seat is still warm, reporters will jump in to point out everything that they did wrong, even though hours before they were likely singing their praises. They're afraid to bite the hand that feeds them. But the players? They don't pay their bills so it's open season on them.

I want to see reporters ask real and tough questions to players. I appreciate when someone goes out of the box to ask a question. The frustrations come when those same types of out of the box questions aren't being asked to the ones in charge and are instead lobbed softballs.

The Oilers are a dysfunctional team, with a dysfunctional coaching staff, and a dysfunctional management group and we receive a fair amount of our information about them from a dysfunctional media. From the top to the bottom this entire organization needs an overhaul.

Jim Matheson wants to know why Draisaitl is so pissy? That all about covers it. I'm pissy too and the fans of this team certainly are as well.

I hope that answers your question Jim.
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