In all the noise and commotion of the first dozen sorties, some Oilers have been lost in the flood a little. No sophomore slump, no need to worry. Perhaps though, later in the season, another gear.
Number 11: He can be the best player on the ice, or the worst, and sometimes he is both on the same shift. He can be as thrilling as any player on the team or, without apparent reason, can decide to go for a leisurely skate.
-Peter Gzowski, The Game Of Our Lives
Two things: I am not directly comparing Taylor Hall to Mark Messier, they have miles of differences between them. A better comp for Hall from the Boys on the Bus might be Glenn Anderson, wreckless and dangerous (to himself and others) and driven for goals in a raw, exciting way.
Second: I don’t think Hall has been poor this season, in fact the young man is delivering offense at a pace that will see him exceed 20 goals and 60 points.
I think there’s another gear. He seems to be pressing a little, and his ice time is just a few ticks beyond Ryan Jones at even strength.The current road trip is likely to extend the gap (coach Renney has shown a willingness to shorten the bench when victory is at hand, and God love him for it).
It’s a challenger for Hall: earn the trust of the coach and impact the game so much that Tom Renney has to send his line over the boards to cheat for offense because the rewards are so great. I don’t think Taylor Hall has done anything wrong this season, but it isn’t his team.
Yet. He needs to make it so.
Nation Radio is on the air at noon today (Team 1260). Your emails are welcome at nationradio@theteam1260 or you can tweet @lowetide_ and tell me what you’re thinking. Among the guests scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey. Bruce has been doing outstanding work at the Cult of Hockey and also has a tremendous memory dating back before expansion. That’s a valuable resource, and I’ll ask him to break down the reasons for the Oilers early season success.
- Thomas Drance from Canucks Army. Thomas will drop by to talk about the Canucks–who are still unable to fire on all pistons–and the early days of the NW division this season. He has some good insights.
- Cam Charron from the Nations. He’s done some comparison looking at Toronto and Edmonton, and I’d like to know if both teams can keep up this pace. There are some cracks forming–Maple Leafs goaltending and Oilers lack of depth on the blue–and I’ll ask Cam to address those things.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation and the Nations sites. Kent is a terrific source of information, sussing out the real story using underlying numbers and spotting trends ahead of the curve. I’ll ask him about the Flames (promise not to giggle), and whether or not he feels the Oilers could be real this season.
I always enjoy doing the show, the best questions come from you. So drop me a line on this blog, over at Oilers Nation or email/tweet me.