Taylor Hall’s decision on October 11th to join the Buffalo Sabres on a one-year, $8 million deal sent shockwaves throughout the league, and unsurprisingly, also brought about a mountain of criticism in the media. This is not some new movement that has popularized the scorning of newly signed players, but rather is just yet another example of the vocality of a certain noxious sector of NHL fans.
Players are criticized whether they sign in a winning environment, or they ink a deal with the intention to create one. This is not at all helped by most modern media outlets, the majority of whom only serve to stoke the flame of judgement in full view of the public, whether that be in print or on air.
It ultimately just adds to the old mantra that players should pay no mind to media and fan comments, especially in the social media era, and that’s not the way it should be. You’ll be able to gain a fuller understanding of the decision making process of these athletes if the barrage of criticism at the outset is kept to a minimum. Sit back, relax, and let them showcase what they can do in a new organization before you jump down their throats.
Taylor Hall obviously believes in what can be created in Buffalo, otherwise he wouldn’t have accepted such a short term when his value is at high. Let this man, along with all the others that come after, work on their craft and get the chance to silence your doubts before you even utter them. You may not understand a particular decision, but like in all things, there is a method to the perceived madness, one which takes time and patience to grasp, and such is a message that needs to be relayed across the media landscape of this sport.
Image: Toronto Star