Draisaitl's exchange with Oilers reporter captivates, divides hockey world
The hockey world was set on fire Tuesday when veteran Oilers reporter Jim Matheson and team star Leon Draisaitl came to verbal blows during a press conference.
While the main highlight that most people enjoyed from the amazing video was the reporter calling the Edmonton forward “pissy,” it did bring out a lot of established and well-aged Hockey Men to tweet in support of their fellow scribe.
Not a good look. @jimmathesonnhl is a pro's pro. You don't get into the HHOF for nothing. I hope the next time Leon sees Matty, there's an apology coming out of his mouth. https://t.co/4W20zrtUjs
— Michael Traikos (@Michael_Traikos) January 18, 2022
Jim Matheson covered the most star studded team in NHL history. He had great relationships with the biggest stars the game has ever known. He asked good questions then in the heyday of the Edmonton Oilers - he still asks them now. https://t.co/yIWb2yEKlc
— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) January 18, 2022
Here's a look at Leon Draisaitl delivering whatever the Oilers' message is in the media.
Legit question, immature, dismissive answer.
This is not leadership. https://t.co/krF0kA1exc
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) January 18, 2022
Man. This guy would last 7 minutes in NY, NJ, Philly, Boston, Montreal, Vancouver, LA and Anaheim, even DC https://t.co/P1ajSCaUxF
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) January 18, 2022
Some took offense to a player — whose team has been able to earn just five points since Dec. 1 and is spiraling down the standings — talking back a little to a question. And others were pointing out that some markets have just supposedly tougher media to deal with.
But not all — or even most — media members agreed with those takes in defense of Matheson. Others sided with Draisail and pondered the laziness and intent of Matheson's line of questioning, while some just took it for what is was: an extremely entertaining piece of content.
Players are obligated to answer the media’s questions, but they’re not obligated to give good answers, and calling them pissy certainly won’t make them more forthcoming. https://t.co/a6Q6bvS8O1
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) January 19, 2022
Doesn’t matter how much you make; everybody’s pissy in Edmonton right now. My truck doors were frozen shut this morning, FFS. #yeg #yegpissy #yegwx #Oilers https://t.co/LeuhnrRaIu
— Ryan Jespersen (@ryanjespersen) January 18, 2022
This isn’t OK. I know Jim. I respect his career in Edmonton. This can’t happen in a professional setting. Among other damage it causes, it distorts existing misperceptions about what we do for a living and how press conferences are conducted. https://t.co/zW8q6G6hWk
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) January 18, 2022
Wow. If this reporter didn't like the quality of the player's answer here, he hasn't seen anything yet. Once Draisaitl's teammates see the reporter's performance, it'll be a while before any of them give him the time of day. https://t.co/5GagDjj6Vp
— Steve Warne (@TSNSteve) January 18, 2022
There’s a habit to make things more than they are, but this is just great.
Players don’t owe the media good answers or politeness, so long as they’re available.
The questions were entirely fair, and so was pushing back on the dismissive non-answer.
Love it all. https://t.co/IvIE0NtTi3
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 18, 2022
Someone that was in Draisaitl’s shoes for 13 years and now sits on the other side of the player-media dynamic offered his two cents, too.
It’s not the players job to address why a team is struggling. He can certainly give an opinion but he isn’t obligated to do so. That’s the general manager and head coach’s job. Following it up with a question like “why are you so pissy?”…Leon handled it with class. https://t.co/ntPrx0AeMF
— Marc Methot (@MarcMethot3) January 18, 2022
After the dust settled and everyone was able to shout their opinion into the digital void, Matheson appeared on a radio show to give his perspective on how the exchange went down.
“It’s not supposed to be an adversarial relationship between the media and the players,” Jim Matheson told 630 CHED Tuesday night. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I think I’m very fair at what I do.
“Obviously, something I’ve written or said has ticked him off, but I have no idea what that is.”
Matheson continued and wanted to remember the past, back when he was still covering the Oilers during their glory years in the 1980’s and after.
“Things aren’t the way they used to be and they need to go back to the old days,” he said. “If I was having a disagreement with a player, you could sit beside him in the dressing room and say, ‘Have I done something to upset you? Tell me what it is and I can try to make it better if it’s something I said or did.'
“I’ve written some things over the years… where you’ve tossed off some gratuitous shot which seemed like a cheap shot at a player and then you go to bed at night and you sleep and you toss and turn and you get up in the morning and you say, ‘That wasn’t very nice of me.’ And then the next day at practice, you go up to a player and you say, ‘I’m sorry, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say,’ and you can apologize and go on from there.
“But that’s not the way it works now in today’s NHL. …Because with COVID, you don’t get into the dressing room and so you can’t sit beside a player and say, ‘Look, have I done something to upset you?'”
The veteran reporter is largely correct that interaction between reporters and players for the last two years has been stagnated and mostly restricted to video press conferences.
Not sure if that should entice any reporter to call a player “pissy” or not, but here we are.
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