SAIL ON, WINDSOR SPITFIRE

The first thing I wrote on this blog about Taylor Hall came in the hours after he was hammered into the boards at the Memorial Cup by Travis Hamonic. I remember thinking a body isn’t supposed to do that, and we all sat silent, waiting to find out how badly he was injured. Answer came later that period, when he scored a goal—and from that point forward Taylor Hall was an Oiler in my mind.

Came the draft, the crowd went crazy—and that was a calling card for the young 4. As an Oilers fan, I have been blessed to watch all manner of brilliance on skates since 1972. Taylor Hall was a unique talent, breathtaking, a solo on ice right in the middle of a team game.

I called him Chance, because he got so many. I well remember an overtime goal he scored against St. Louis maybe December 5 of his rookie season. Fast, quick, brilliant. Music! Visiting Rexall when Hall was in the lineup was never boring, not once. He was, and is, a wonderful talent.

I think this is a difficult day for every Oilers fan, because the No. 1 overall pick used on Taylor Hall belonged to them in a very real way. A faithful fan base walked those steps to Rexall in a season lost and bought into the idea of a rebuild fast as lightning.

Today, Taylor Hall was traded away for a player we barely know. Worse, said player does not have the same value as Hall, who we have seen his entire career. It is a bitter pill, from an organization that has not earned our trust in over a decade.

Oilers fans may try to figure out a way to trade management and keep Hall but it does not work that way. We can curse the decision, we can shake our fists, we can name-call as children, or we can turn on each other.

It does not matter. The die is cast. The Edmonton Oilers made a bad trade today, and they will again. The only difference about this trade is that, this time, they traded the city’s favorite son—and after you are done hollering, you must decide if you can forgive them, devote your passion to this addled team.

Peter Chiarelli is a veteran general manager who cast about looking for a solution to a major problem—brought about the day Jeff Petry was traded for picks. Peter Chiarelli found his defenseman and will now go about the business of roster building over the rest of the summer.

I do not believe Oilers fans will forgive this, and if the playoffs do not arrive next spring my guess is Edmonton’s hockey team will have a new general manager. If the standings reflect darkness, he might be gone by Christmas. Godspeed, Peter Chiarelli. You better be right.

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424 Responses to "SAIL ON, WINDSOR SPITFIRE"

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  1. Brad says:

    It was December 4th, that OT winner against St. Louis, not that it matters. I remember that goal though. I was out for my girlfriend at the time’s birthday dinner at broken plate, and I refused to watch her break the plate because the Oilers game was on the TV above her and I was recording it. I watched the game recorded that night, and had no regrets about upsetting the girl.

    Taylor Hall will be missed, and I think your closing statement is dead on the money LT. Chiarelli means business. He just put his own ass on the line, and the long knives are ready for an 11th year of playoff sobriety. Let’s hope we don’t see that. I would hate to lose a talent like that and still fail to compete.

    As an aside, I sure hope Jersey makes the playoffs next year, young Taylor deserves it more than most for what he’s been through.

  2. Shizuka says:

    Do you really believe Draisaitl and McDavid should be facing that level of competition? Because that is what will happen if/when RNH is moved for some D. I cannot understand the reasoning behind stripping out C depth like that at this point, even to address the crap D core.

  3. Pouzar says:

    McSorley33:
    Please read JW’s great article on Sportsnet.

    New Jersey traps in pre game warmup.
    Adam plays with Andy Greene. The same guy that carried Fayne.
    Cory Schneider makes all look beautiful.

    Does he quote giveaways?

  4. Lackadaisical says:

    Skeeziks:
    I have read at least a hundred times on this site that it takes 5 years to determine the value of a D man. What blows my mind is that the same people making that claim figure they can assess a trade and know who won it, in less than 2 minutes.

    Is Hall a better player than Larsson? Maybe but who cares?

    The key question is – are the Oilers a better and more balanced hockey team after the trade?

    If the answer is yes, then quit your damn whining.

    I’m not sure where to start with this one, so I’ll just say this: No one thinks Larsson is a bad player. How old do you think he is (almost 24)? He has played enough games in the NHL to know what he is. This was very poor asset management, to the point where most fans of the league are either laughing at us or feeling sorry for us.

    We are absolutely allowed to be upset the day of a trade like this. And you know what? You could have a little class and leave it alone instead of calling people whiners.

  5. Bling says:

    Gregor’s article on ON is bang-on. We’re back to hoping on Larsson, the same way we hoped on Hecht, Carter, Isbister, Smid, Lupul, Whitney, Reinhart, etc to turn into something that they weren’t.

    Hall was already elite!

    Chia is a terrible GM who rode the coattails of Zdeno Chara to an extended career in hockey management. Good for him, I don’t begrudge him for it at all.

    But between this, Reinhart, Marincin, and Korpse, has there been a worse GM in professional sports over the last calendar year?

    Can we fire him yet?

  6. Dustylegnd says:

    Stauffer was spot on months ago when he said the rest of the league would decide which Oiler would be traded and Shero is no fool, he baited Chia, took him to the wood shed, and tore out his jugular …nice doing business.

    The Irony being the Oiler draft Gurus talked themselves out of Larsson in the 2011 Entry draft, and instead opted to draft a physically weak Centre that can’t win face offs, stay healthy, score more than 25 goals, or 60 points and was recently passed over for the World Cup U-23 team, yes indeed, thank goodness we still have Nuge.

    The oilers fresh off the 2011 draft lesson, use the 2012 draft to forgo Murray, Rielly. Lindholm, Dumba and Trouba to draft Yakapov, but hang on don’t worry they gave up the 2015 16 th and the 33rd overall picks to bring in the 1 failed D man and resident Clydesdale of the 2012 draft Reinhart….well Done Chia.

    Fresh off the 2012 Draft lesson the oilers use the 2013 draft to grab Darnell Nurse one spot in front of Rasmus Ristolainen who is a dominant right shot D man…..nuff said

    Fast forward to the 2016 Draft, Oilers nation rejoices in our good fortune to have Jesse Puljujarvi “fall into our laps” was it good fortune…or does Sergachev become a 30 minute a night Stud with significant offensive upside??? The oilers can’t score, they have no 1 shot scorer on the team McDavid included, and Puljujarvi does nothing to change that weakness and probably never scores more than 30 in a year.

    I have always given Chiarelli the benefit of the doubt, however to make the same mistake twice within 3 years tells me everything I will ever need to know about him, he gave away Seguin for nothing and repeated the exact same mistake with Hall, he also gave away Boychuck for a 2nd round pick, you know a stud Right shot D with a Bomb that tears off fingers….but he was only worth a 2nd round pick. But somehow Larsson is worth a 1st overall in his prime?? Whisky Tango Foxtrot Chiarelli you are dead to me. The fact that he kept MacT and Howson in his employment was a terrible omen looking back and he will pay the price when he is wrong about this roster make over.

    I am guessing he is not done trading because fawk it…he is all in now…no point stopping now and falling in love with what remains of the previous rebuild, so long Nuge hello DUMBA he of the exceptionally low hockey IQ a Yak on D so to speak. Eberle survives the purge only because nobody wants his soft ass at 6 mill per year.

    Finally it scares the shit out of me that Draisaitl loses over a point per 60 5X5 when not playing with Hall….did Chia and his band of idiots consider that? …the stupidity and Irony is too much to take.

    So tell me Chia if this is the price you pay for sort of Kinda good D men…why don’t you use all 7 picks in every draft on D men, and parlay them into trades for DOMINANT forwards…easy right???

  7. West says:

    Make it hurt Pete, it’s been a decade.

  8. BONVIE says:

    That’s a very fine NHL veteran that we lost today, I hope only great things happen to Hall, and I know I will follow him till he retires as I did Arnott and Smyth.

  9. Pechetr says:

    This trade happened because the team sucked for 10 years!….PC has to fix this debacle and I believe today he took a step towards that very goal. People here talking like someone died. At least now I no longer have to read “Hall pushes the river” 500 times a day.

    I love this site and Lowetide’s writing but the obsession with a player that has never taken this team anywhere other than to a top 5 draft pick every year is insane. This is a business and Taylor Hall is a player in said business. He was not and is not a generational talent, he is not a franchise altering player. In today’s NHL a top 2 RHD carries more value than a top 2 winger. Period.

    By the end of the weekend this will be a much better team and team success is what matters, not individual performance.

    I have been a fan of this team since before they entered the NHL. I remember every cup run, every HOF’er that has played and been traded. Watched this team go from champion to plucky underdog to an embarrassment. If we trade the better player to create a better team, so be it. Whatever it takes to be a better team I am all for. I am sick of losing and so should all of you.

  10. JDï™ says:

    Dustylegnd,

    Effexor. Stat.

  11. Dominoiler says:

    bill needle:
    The real problem the Oilers have now is how little faith the fans have in the entire franchise. They were already a laughingstock before this trade. The weakest part of the team has never been the defence, it’s the management, and they’re the ones given the task of turning the team around.
    That’s a way bigger risk than putting Larsson on the top pair.

  12. ashley says:

    Kitchener:

    Call Chiarelli what you like, I’ll call him BOLD.He needed to rebuild his blue line and he’s spent serious ammunition over two summers bringing in **potential** pillars of a championship D. Those are bold bets, friends.I hope they turn out.

    Bold indeed. It definitely doesn’t have the same feel as the Jarred Smithson-for-a-third days.

    The should cure the Oiler fans tendency to cheer for trades. I suspect we’ll see a lot less “Come on Chia, you’ve got to do something. Get in on this” around trade deadlines and at the draft. Everyone will be busy biting their nails and thinking “Come on Chia, just stay off the phone and don’t do anything”.

    I watched the presser. Smart guy. His mind is moving so quickly he comes up with 6 different ways to answer a question in half a second and changes tact halfway through his first word resulting in some stuttering.

    I really like the trade. I think NJ will regret this.

  13. Gerta Rauss says:

    It’s a sad day

    The trade was poor value, there’s no debating that

    I do like the addition of Adam Larsson and I’m hopeful for the rest of the team

    We’ll see what they do with the the roster over the next few days

    I’m upset, but I’ll get by. I survived the Gretzky trade and the Weight trade and all the others before and since

    This too shall pass

    Welcome Adam Larsson

    Sail on Taylor Hall

  14. Centre of attention says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0ISXWdXEgc

    Good tribute to Halls Oiler career.

  15. Younger Oil says:

    This still doesn’t feel real at all.

  16. wheatnoil says:

    Damn it.

    So long Taylor. You deserved better than this ridiculous franchise. I hope you win a Cup. Even two.

  17. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Dustylegnd,

    I wish I could, but I cannot disagree with this comment.

  18. Centre of attention says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Dustylegnd,

    I wish I could, but I cannot disagree with this comment.

    For the record, he wasn’t passed up for the world cup team. Nuge made the team, Hall didn’t.

  19. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    She should have died hereafter.
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Scene: The Oiler Offices on Kingsway after dark. Only dim Hall lights are on. The Other #4 enters. He looks at his old jersey in the display case, takes a little bow towards it. “Soon, you will be raised to the rafters, my boy. First one in the new rink.” He turns to the audience, breaking the 4th Wall,

    “Yes, this is all going according to plan.”

    Exit stage left. Dim lights to black.

  20. Walter Sobchak says:

    Good luck Taylor, Gord bless you for giving us fans hope again.

  21. Dominoiler says:

    Sanderson:

    Also, I recall a certain previous GM whose ability to assess NHL talent was questionable.After enough transactions were made that simply did not improve the team, I remember a comparison being made on this blogbetween our GM and a certain talented cat.I dug up the video on youtube and for some reason it made me feel a little better.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_hwerqogzQ

    Thank you very much for the blog Lowetide.It has kept me sane as an Oilers fan, and for a long while has been far more entertaining and better run than the team it covers.

    Great first post of the thread!.. and yeah, thanks Lowetide..

  22. Wonder Llama says:

    NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker":
    She should have died hereafter.
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Scene: The Oiler Offices on Kingsway after dark. Only dim Hall lights are on. The Other #4 enters. He looks at his old jersey in the display case, takes a little bow towards it. “Soon, you will be raised to the rafters, my boy. First one in the new rink.” He turns to the audience, breaking the 4th Wall,

    “Yes, this is all going according to plan.”

    Exit stage left. Dim lights to black.

    Damn. That was a bit too perfect.

  23. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Like all on here, losing Hall kills me. I would’ve rather seen a major overpay of numerous players and I still would’ve sighed and said at least we have McD, Hall, and a team to play with them. But this hurts the emotions.

    Logically I can see it though. Larsson and Jones are in the same tier of defenders and Larsson has a better track record at being a top pair than Jones did at his trade. Hall is a beast but his value would be less than RyJo. Logically, the value is there if Larsson is indeed on track for top pairing. I was desperately hoping Drai+ would work for a comparable to the Jones trade, but that was optimistic… everyone knows Hall carried that line, and with the expansion draft it is probably very hard to pull in a 3-for-1 now, so we are left with this.

    Reading the NJ message boards has calmed me somewhat, but trading an all-star for potential is bad business. I’m still at a loss with losing the heart of this team, but after 8 hours of grieving I can start to rationalize it… hopefully this will feel better by preseason.

  24. Dominoiler says:

    It’s tough knowing there were posters here calling for Larsson 2-3 years ago, if I remember correctly.. the delay has caused the price to have been inflated immensely.. not a single pick at the draft, C’mon..

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