Look, we can all agree that the Oilers are puke right now. Losers of six straight and 12 of 14, they’re wasting typically great seasons from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as they sink like a stone in the Pacific. But, I submit, the real cause for much of the current agita is the postponements. Edmonton has played just one game in the last two weeks, thanks to a series of Canadian-attendance-restriction-related postponements. Losing’s bad, but even worse is losing and then not getting a chance to stop losing. Just practice, every damn day. It’s unsatisfying. You’d be pissy, too.
It’s not just the players. Spare a thought (no, don’t laugh) for the reporters and columnists of Edmonton, which is functionally a one-sport town this time of year. There ain’t shit to write about. And you can only write the same “The Oilers didn’t play today, again, and they’re still on a bad losing streak” piece so many days in a row, unless you’re the sort of pervert who cares about who skated on the fourth line in practice that afternoon.
So it’s a perfect storm. Everyone’s irritable and sick of each other’s dumb faces. Which is how we get Tuesday’s passive-aggressive confrontation between Draisaitl and the Edmonton Journal‘s Jim Matheson.
Matheson: “Would you like to expand on that?”
Draisaitl: “Nope. You can do that. You know everything.”
Matheson: “Why are you so pissy, Leon?”
Matheson: “Why are you so pissy?”
Draisaitl: “I’m not. I’m just answering your-.”
Matheson: “Yeah, you are, whenever I ask you a question.”
Draisaitl: “I gave you an answer.”
Matheson: “Not a very good one.”
Spicy! As spicy as it gets when involving a heavy Canadian accent and a taciturn German, anyway. There may be a history here between these two, but not necessarily so. This is just kind of who Draisaitl is: dry, laconic, and when he’s not interested in talking, he doesn’t hide that fact. So when you get a situation like this, where there are no developments and thus no new questions to be asked, he gets fed up with being asked the same and/or stupid ones. At the same time, the reporter has column inches to fill, whether or not he’s already asked Losing sucks, right? questions, in so many words, every day for the last few weeks.
So it’s fine. Both guys are professionals. Matheson has been covering the Oilers since their inaugural WHA season. I’m sure he’s had worse exchanges with surlier players. He didn’t even see fit to include most of this one in his column today. This is just a little cabin fever on both men’s parts. What the Oilers need to do, to put a little life back into their media availabilities, is win a game. Or at the very least just to play one, so the specifics can differ.