Ekholm and Bouchard with the Oilers
Photo credit: The Score

Oilers reporter tries to get Ekholm to sewer his teammate and gets shut down

Published February 27, 2024 at 3:58 PM

For whatever reason, some Edmonton media members have it out for defenceman Evan Bouchard. The 24 year old defender is emerging as a star in the NHL with his offensive production, but still has some weaknesses defensively. After an eventful game last night, TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug tried to bait Ekholm into focusing on Bouchard's faults. Instead, Ekholm shut him down, and fans are going after Rishaug.

Rishaug: Evan Bouchard, a huge goal there but there was also a pretty big error earlier on in the game too. You know him well, how hard is he on himself when those things happen and how clutch was that for him to turn it back the other way?

Ekholm: I honestly don't think he is hard on himself and I don't think he should be either, cause he does all these plays, and he more often than not, he is on the scale of giving us the good stuff. I've played with some high end offensive defenceman, and I know if you start getting down on yourself, you're gonna take yourself out of the game.

Despite scoring a goal and an assist last night, some of the Edmonton media are fixated on defensive mistakes from the still developing Bouchard. Instead, the reality is that Bouchard is becoming one of the premier offensive defenceman in the league, and at 24 years old, his defensive game will only continue to improve. Ekholm shut down the type of criticism that would stop Bouchard from playing his game, and reassured that Bouchard would continue to develop.

Many more than just Ekholm shut down this question from Ryan Rishaug too. Plenty of fans on X today were criticizing Rishaug for taking such a critical approach, enough for Rishaug to respond to the concerns himself. In a tweet earlier today, he defended his question as a means to illicit a reaction from Ekholm.

Bouchard has taken a huge leap this year, becoming a point per game defenceman through 56 games this year, with 15 goals as well. True Oilers fans who are locked into the games can clearly see the value Bouchard provides already, and the potential that he could still reach in a two-way game. Defensive positioning can always be taught, but offensive talents are often a gift - the Oilers and their fans should be building Bouchard up, not tearing him down.
February 27   |   370 answers
Oilers reporter tries to get Ekholm to sewer his teammate and gets shut down

Will Bouchard win a Norris Trophy in his career?

Yes, his offence will carry him14940.3 %
No, he's not strong enough defensively20054.1 %
See Results215.7 %
Latest 10 stories