By now, you’ve all heard the “news”, and I use that term extremely lightly. Apparently, keyword apparently, Taylor Hall doesn’t want to sign an extension with the New Jersey Devils. Instead of picking a
None of us want to see the reigning (for the next few weeks at least) Hart Trophy winner leave New Jersey. I, for one, am still hoping we meet each other, become best friends and roommates, and inspire an Emmy and Stanley Cup award-winning sitcom, where I’m of course played by George Clooney. According to one hockey writer, ‘The Fourth Period” to be exact, us Devils fans should start getting used to life after Hall. Is there any truth to that, though, and if so does anyone even care?
Let’s be frank here, the Devils are not the NHL’s favorite team. They receive little media attention, and the NHL itself seems more swayed toward the larger market revenue generating teams. No matter how much the hockey world looks over the Devils, the entire hockey community was ready to eat up news of Hall’s imminent departure.
Now I’m not saying there’s an anti-Devils bias in hockey, but let’s compare the Taylor Hall “news” to another potentially groundbreaking story. Just a few days before The Fourth Period dropped his Hall theory, news emerged that star winger Patrik Laine might sign an offer sheet to get out of Winnipeg and away from the Jets. Understandably, Jets fans were upset, but most outside of the Winnipeg fan community met the news with skepticism and doubted its credibility.
The exact opposite happened with the Taylor Hall news. As soon as it broke, you would have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Hall wanted out of the Prudential Center ASAP. All fact checking and credibility was put aside as everyone outside the Devils fanbase rejoiced at the news. Even when Ray Shero and Hall’s agent came out to directly to contradict the claim, they made
With the news not coming from the organization or Taylor Hall himself, it should have been open to interpretation and speculation. Why wasn’t it? Why did some in the media and hockey fans alike paint the story as case closed? While with Laine they sat and said, “we have to wait and see what happens.”
The unfortunate truth of being a Devils fan is that, prior to the Hall trade, fate was not kind to the fan base. You were more likely to see headlines of Parise going to Minnesota or Kovalchuk “retiring” to Russia than you were to see on-ice success. Three Stanley Cups later, and the Devils haven’t been able to fully erase those “Mickey Mouse organization” comments from Wayne Gretzky from the franchise’s early years. Hall leaving would just seem like the latest domino to fall in the Devils’ hockey misfortunes.
Now none of us except Hall, and to a lesser degree Ray Shero, know what will happen. Maybe the story is 100% true, but it could also be a 100% false, and Hall can sign a contract extension to be a lifelong Devil. Point being, if any other unconfirmed or discredited story about another player or organization comes out, we wouldn’t automatically believe it. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Devils didn’t get the benefit of that doubt this time around.