Mark Seidel is either unfashionably late on the draw, or he’s got a beef with Taylor Hall and his father. Seidel, the chief scout with North American Central Scouting, unloaded a thinly veiled attack on Taylor Hall and his wearing of the number 4 with the Edmonton Oilers.
In a blog post at CBC Sports, Seidel takes aim at Hall and his father’s supposed agenda and insistence on wearing the number 4, which was Oilers president Kevin Lowe’s former sweater.
It is no secret that Taylor and his dad operated completely on their own schedule and agenda last year in Windsor. But before you condemn them or the Spitfires, please remember that this kid won back-to-back Memorial Cup MVP awards, so obviously it served everybody well. However, Team Hall’s approach to securing the No. 4 sweater has bothered a lot of people both inside and outside the Edmonton Oilers’ organization.
Seidel would go as far to suggest that talks between Hall’s camp and the Oilers organization over the number began long before Lowe had ultimately made the decision to relinquish it:
As it turns out, he’s a member of the Edmonton Oilers. His quest for the number began early and was discussed with the highest authorities within the Oilers franchise . Anyone who knows Kevin Lowe, Edmonton’s president of hockey operations, understands that he is a proud man who is one of the best players in team history. We all assumed that Hall wouldn’t dare raise the issue of taking Lowe’s famous number. We were wrong and once it became apparent that this was the Team Hall plan, a lot of people in the game were outraged.
The problem with Seidel’s take on Hall sporting the No. 4 on his back is that it contradicts earlier statements from Kevin Lowe himself regarding his old number. It didn’t take David Staples at the Cult of Hockey to come to the defence of camp Hall:
As for Lowe handing over the #4 sweater, here’s what Lowe said on September 8, 2010, when he gave the sweater by hand (the sinister ‘transfer’ that Seidel refers to) to young Hall: “I know I’m excited to see No. 4 back on the ice. I’m not a real nostalgia buff. It’s not a statement. Vinny Lecavalier (of the Tampa Bay Lightning) looks right in No. 4 and I think Taylor Hall looks right in No. 4.”
Staples also called into question Seidel’s motivation for the story, lack of sources cited, and his remarks about Hall’s early season struggles:
So let me see if I have this right: Seidel likes Hall, but Seidel or someone very much like him is apparently quietly happy because Hall is deemed to be struggling early this season. First off, Hall isn’t struggling. He’s doing quite well, if not very well. He’s creating of ton of scoring chances and starting to cash in on them. Second, if Seidel is going to launch this kind of shot, it would be sporting for him to name his source, so Hall can face his accuser head on.
Furthermore, Staples references an earlier report from Joanne Ireland where Taylor Hall was quoted saying to have never requested the number 4. So where is Seidel’s sudden interest in damning Hall for his choice of number coming from? That’s a good question, and one that we’re less than likely to have answered. It’s no secret that some traditionalists scoffed at the idea of Lowe’s old number being put back into action, but if the man himself is passing it on then why is it even an issue?
Regardless of who said what, and who’s wrong and who’s right here, Seidel had a couple of months to weigh in on Hall’s decision to take No. 4. It’s just kind of odd that he’s waited until now to unleash his attack.