Taylor Hall pushes the river, and Taylor Hall is the very best of the Edmonton Oilers. A recent article by Derek Van Diest in the Edmonton Sun offers an encouraging look into the mindset of the ‘face of the franchise.’ He’s ready, he’s rested, he’s had a full summer to prepare and the ‘fire in his eyes’ burns brightly. In a season where nothing rhymed, where the Corgi’s howled all night long and into the sunrise, Taylor Hall finished inside the top 10 in league scoring.
His next trick? Dragging this sorry carcass of a franchise into the promised land of the playoffs.
I’m not going to quote the entire article (because it’s a must read) but did want to post this Hall quote:
- “That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train. It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”
Music! With due respect to Hockey Canada, the Edmonton Oilers sent a generation of their best players over there for the glory of the flag, and there were times when our man Smyth was running on molasses and binder twine. Again, with respect, screw ‘em. Our man Hall, our man Nuge, our man Eberle, they are needed for 82 league games in the toughest league on the planet (probably not technically true, that Quebec league where they beat the living daylights out of each other sounds tougher).
BTN CORSI ON (OCTOBER 2013)
This was early on, during the swarm period that cut down on the shots against (but of course the quality of those shots was murder). Notice the third and fourth lines here—say what you will about Eakins but our man MacTavish saddled him with some real lug nuts. In March, Ken Warren published an article that included a quote from Ales Hemsky about the Edmonton Oilers.
- Hemsky: “I don’t know how to explain it. If somebody knew, they should step up and help them, but they haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe it’s just the kids. They have to step up and lead the team to the playoffs. They’ve been there for a long time and it’s their time, you know. They can’t only blame older guys or change their fourth line. They’ve got to start leading the team to the playoffs. Be leaders. That’s probably the one thing. But they are all great guys and I had a great time and hopefully they will turn it around and get into the playoffs. People deserve it there, you know. It’s a hockey city. People love their hockey and it’s painful.”
HALL EXTRA SKATER, VALENTINE’S
- Dellow at the time: What does this all tell us? I see three issues. First, the Oilers have become much more likely to dump pucks into the offensive zone with Hall on the ice at 5v5. Second, (in this sample at least but keep in mind that it was picked because it was pretty representative of the whole), they suck at retrieving those pucks. Third, they’ve gotten worse at generating shot attempts when they do carry the puck into the offensive zone.
I’d post the links, but the Hockey Gods have shined on us by sending Tyler to help with the three issues above. The way I see it, everyone seems to be locked and loaded to the task at hand: Eakins brought in Ramsay to help with communication and soften the message when needed; Eakins brought in Dellow to offer solutions to problems in real time; and Taylor Hall burns with the fire of a thousand suns to turn this team into something better, to begin a brand new day.
Godspeed, men. Make those Corgi’s dance.