Draisaitl's exchange with Oilers reporter captivates, divides hockey world

·5 min read
Oilers star Leon Draisaitl and beat writer Jim Matheson's
Oilers star Leon Draisaitl and beat writer Jim Matheson's "pissy" exchange brought a plethora of perspectives from NHL media, fans and former players. (via Twitter/Sportsnet)

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.

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.

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.

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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