In case you missed the news earlier this week, the Edmonton Oilers officially announced that they have signed former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen to a professional tryout (PTO) contract.
Since then social media has been full of both positive and negative reactions considering Virtanen's history. The 26 year old forward had a sexual misconduct case against him dismissed this offseason, but it's worth noting that seven other women have come forward with allegations against Virtanen. There are no pending charges against him though, it's also worth noting. Still... you can't blame Oilers fans for feeling a little bit uneasy about their beloved team giving Virtanen a chance at redemption. And GM Ken Holland's words yesterday aren't putting their fears at rest.
Check out what Holland had to say about Virtanen's court case to the media yesterday:
“He went through the court system for something for the courts and jury to decide on. The jury decided he was not guilty.”
“We’re in trouble if the legal system’s bad. We have to have confidence in the legal system.”
- Ken Holland
Ah, spoken like a man who has experienced nothing but privilege and who has received the benefit of the doubt his entire life...
And I say that as someone who is mostly in the same boat as Holland, but as someone who can also recognize that the legal system isn't a true arbitrator of what's moral and what's immoral in this world. In fact, the legal system does a pretty poor job of determining one's character.
Needless to say, Holland's words aren't going over to well in Oil Country with Oilers fans who were already unhappy with the Virtanen signing. To those fans though, I encourage you to simply wait things out. I'm willing to bet that Virtanen won't crack this team's roster and it has nothing to do with his character, it has to do with his play. The fact of the matter is that Virtanen isn't a very good player at the NHL level. Sure, he has size and speed but he rarely utilizes either and he has all the hockey sense of a Gatorade bottle. I suspect he'll be yesterday's news once the team's official roster is announced.