Sidney Crosby

I’m as baffled as you, Sid!
Photo courtesy of Michael Miller, Wikimedia Commons

Since the end of the season, Canada’s largest sports media network, TSN, has been running a public vote as to who the best players in the NHL under the age of 25 are.  Now I had assumed that Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar centre whom many consider the greatest player in the world at this time, despite his recent concussion issues, to run away with this – perhaps with Steven Stamkos or Claude Giroux as his nearest competition.  Well you’d be wrong, by far.


Homer Simpson

Photo courtesy of Jim Champion, via Wikimedia Commons

Enter Edmonton Oilers fans.  Now, we are already a pretty crazy breed – you’d have to be to follow this disaster of a team for the last six years – but what’s happened with this TSN vote is just hilariously obvious “homerism”, or in other words, bias.

First, Taylor defeated Tyler Seguin in the first round.  Now, I believe Taylor to be equal if not slightly ahead of Seguin, but I was still surprised by the vote as there are a great number of people who believe that Hall is a bust and Seguin is the next big thing.  Maybe that’s just a vocal minority.  This despite the fact that Hall has outpaced Seguin in points per game over their first two years, and impacts his team more positively (as per Vollman’s Player Usage Charts).  They’re both tremendous young players though, and I don’t see why people can’t like both of them – why do you have to choose one or the other?!  Either way, Hall moved on.

Taylor Hall

Photo courtesy of Resolute, via Wikimedia Commons

This was as far as I thought he’d get – he now had to face Steven Stamkos, the super-sniper out of Tampa Bay who had defeated NY Islanders star centre John Tavares in his matchup.  Now I would say Tavares at this moment in time is the better player than Hall, so I didn’t think Hall would stand a chance against Stamkos.  Shockingly, Hall moved on.  I honestly cannot see a reason why, except for maybe the fact that Hall actually plays in Canada and so is more regularly seen.

Next matchup, Erik Karlsson, the Norris Trophy winning superstar defenceman out of Ottawa.  Now I don’t think Karlsson deserved the Norris, that honour should have gone to Shea Weber – Karlsson, despite putting up outstanding offensive numbers, was pretty crap in his own end, whereas Shea Weber dominates at both ends of the ice.  Nonetheless, Karlsson is a great young player who would have probably had most of Eastern Canada voting for him, but no – Hall moved on to the Final!!!  Hall vs. Crosby it is then…


Jordan Eberle

I know, right?
Photo courtesy of Resolute, via Wikimedia Commons

Jordan Eberle, the Oiler’s star right winger, had a breakout year this season, his second in the league, scoring 76 points and playing in the All-Star Game, along with a nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play.  His first round matchup had him see off Phil Kessel.  Kessel is a great sniper, don’t get me wrong, but he’s pretty one-dimensional and a fairly bland, nearly unlikeable guy.  Toronto fans clearly didn’t get behind their star forward, as Eberle cruised through to face his next opponent.

Like Hall, I expected Eberle to falter here – he was facing Chicago Blackhawks captain, star and all around beloved Canadian centre Jonathan Toews.  Toews has an almost Chuck Norris type persona in Canada – he can do anything.  The kid has won everything, everywhere.  World Junior Championship Gold, Olympic Gold Medal (plus MVP award), Stanley Cup (plus Conn Smythe Award), all before he reaches 25.  Despite being a very serious character, he is beloved by Canadians for his international contributions, and I’m sure many in Canada follow the Blackhawks solely because of him.  Eberle also has his fair share of fame on the international stage, having scored numerous vital goals at the World Juniors (see the video above) and actually holds the all-time record for WJC goals scored for Canada, and is revered by fans over the entire country.  Still, he hasn’t done nearly as much in the NHL, but once again he cruised through!

He now faced Sidney Crosby, the guy who has won scoring titles, a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold, WJC Gold, MVP awards, All-Star team  nods, and has been mentioned as a future Hall of Famer at the tender age of 25.  He has 609 points in 434 games.  This is a guy who should win head-to-head in this competition.  Every. Single.  Time.  And then Eberle, who has WJC Gold, has led his team in scoring in his first two seasons in the NHL, has a Lady Byng Trophy nomination, and is too young to say how good he’ll be over the next 15 years or so.  They don’t really compare.

So why, in the name of frick, is Eberle now facing his housemate Taylor Hall in the final?!

Oilers fans.  That can be the only reason.  Now I’m a die-hard Oiler fan, but I’m not even sure I could bring myself to vote against the greatest player seen in a generation?!  It kind of makes a mockery of the competition to be honest, even if it is just a bit of a laugh that TSN are having. Oiler fans must be more common than I thought!  Or TSN fans are just fucking crazy.


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