In case you missed it, earlier this week former NHL enforcer Georges Laraque was on Montreal’s CHOI Radio X 98.1 where he claimed that former Edmonton Oilers and current New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall had substance abuse issues that necessitated his blockbuster trade in the summer of 2016. According to Laraque, "Hall had problems off the ice, and went to rehab during the summer of his trade.”
"When he got to rehab, word got out across the NHL that the Oilers were looking to move him because of it. It reminds us of the Zack Kassian case. When everyone in the league knows the player's dirt, it's normal that the player's value is going to drop."
Unsurprisingly this set off a firestorm of controversy once it hit the airwaves with fans and analysts calling out Laraque for airing Hall’s private information or, even worse, reporting false information. Well, today, just two days later Laraque is taking back all the information he shared on air.
In a statement prepared for social media, Laraque said:
"In a french radio interview, I mentioned that years ago Taylor Hall had to go through rehab, info I got from an NHL hockey agent. After further verifications I can say that this information was 100% wrong, I was wrong and apologize to Taylor for the mistake."
Wow… how’s that for walking back a statement? What’s your take? Do you believe the big man? Or is he just trying to cover his own behind? After all, lawyers don’t take too kindly to wild allegations of drug abuse… maybe Laraque wised up and decided to avoid a potential lawsuit?
We’ll probably never know the true story, but regardless kudos to Laraque for coming clean and admitting that he was wrong and for setting the record straight.
Eberle opens up on Edmonton media and trade that shipped him to Islanders
Former Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle returned to Edmonton earlier this month as he and his New York Islanders took on the Oilers in a heated contest. While back in the city he used to call home, Eberle opened up for the first time following his offseason trade.
Eberle is having a remarkable renaissance season in Brooklyn, NY following last offseason’s trade for winger Ryan Strome. The 27-year-old Eberle has 23 goals and 47 points in just 66 games with the Islanders, following a 20 goal, 51 point campaign in 82 games last season with the Oilers. Meanwhile Strome has struggled to find consistency in his first season with the Oilers, managing just 12 goals and 31 points in 66 games.
"The [Edmonton] media has never been unfair. They just (tell it) like it is. If you’re not playing well, they’re going to tell you.”
Wow… how’s that for a refreshing take on the Edmonton media? All we typically hear from the players is that the Edmonton media is brutally hard on players, particularly those who have been traded, and constantly sides with management and ownership. Now the Edmonton media is “fair”? Alright then…
Regardless, it’s hard to take issue with Eberle. At least he’s not throwing his former team under the bus like New Jersey Devils superstar Taylor Hall seems to take so much joy in these days.
In an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, Eberle opens up on his time in Edmonton and how he’s moving on and moving forward with the Islanders.
On the city of Edmonton:
“I loved my time there, had a great time. As I’ve always said, they gave me a chance to play. My wife loved it too, a lot of friends are still there.”
On the Oilers’ struggles in 2017-18:
“I don’t really have any take on it. Still have buddies over there, it’s never fun to see them go through that. I’ve gone through that there and it’s not fun. Other than that, I’ve been focusing on playing here, focusing on my game, so I don’t really have any grudge towards them or happiness about what’s going on there.”
On Islanders rookie Matthew Barzal:
"He reminds me a little bit of (Connor) McDavid, the way he creates room for himself with his speed. I don’t want to compare the two because they’re different players, but in the way that they’re both tremendous passers and they’re going to find you if you can get open. It’s been fun."
On tonight’s return to Edmonton and playing his old teammates:
"All in all, it’s still a game and we need the two points. I take it as that approach. It was nice to play them at home early on to get that out of the way. Early in that game it felt weird, but then it settled in so [Thursday] I don’t expect anything different."
For the full interview, check out the link below: