The word that best describes the Oil Country faithful.
Jordan Eberle once beloved; Jordan Eberle once a hero; Jordan Eberle once a performer in the clutch is now become Jordan Eberle the Dog, the Betrayer of Trust, and perhaps worst of all, Jordan Eberle the disappointment.
To the minds of many fans, he is now anathema – he who shall not be named.
The playoffs have awakened the passion and zeal of Oilers fans everywhere, but there’s a flip side, an ugly side, to the chanting and cheering, as Jordan Eberle is surely finding out.
I’ll say it from the start: I cannot imagine Eberle performing further below his capabilities than he did this (now past) post-season. At the conclusion of Game 7, one couldn’t help but wonder what could have been if Eberle was playing like the 76 point man we all have fixed in our memory. I have no doubt they would have trounced the Ducks and walked all over the Predators.
But that Eberle didn’t show up, and here we are.
Calls for his dismissal abound. We fans who languished in the cellars of NHL insignificance are now flush with the promise of burgeoning triumph. In our newfound self-respect, we demand the best, nothing but the best, and Eberle’s post-season was nothing of the kind.
But wait just a moment. I ask you to consider two courses of action, and let them temper your rage.
Remember that, for 7 years, Jordan Eberle was one of the only reasons to watch this team. He showed up most nights, he excelled under trying circumstances, and flourished – all with the loathsome weight of an inept organization perched on his slender shoulders.
He’s given us some pretty special memories.
Or have you forgotten how he slew the godless Flames, producing a masterpiece so magnificent it sent the excellent Mikka Kiprusoff into retirement, banished their champion Iginla to Pennsylvania, and felled a mighty Latvian giant?
So remember, and let your memories shave the razor’s edge from your pitchforks.
It is all well and good to see a need for improvement.
A more complete player, a 200 ft player, bigger, stronger, more willing to go to the net, and fiercer along the boards would be nice.
One can only think that such a winger would be a boon to the gallant Nugent-Hopkins.
But, pray tell, who is this winger?
Project, then, fellow fans, and see that this replacement will come at a cost, and is, in fact, quite a rare creature to be found in the wilds of the NHL. Chiarelli has done yeoman’s work, but finding a suitable replacement will be a significant challenge. The regular season is long, and it will be almost impossible to replace Eberle’s talent and production.
So, let the lack of a successor also calm your ire.
You’re not crazy for wanting more from Jordan Eberle. I have a feeling the player himself would agree with the assessment that he didn’t bring enough this post-season, especially for someone being paid to be a leader and a gamechanger.
But let’s be reasonable about it, and at least respect what Eberle has done in his time as an Oiler. It couldn’t have been easy.