TAYLOR HALL: IT SUCKS

Robin Brownlee
March 15 2011 05:00PM

Taylor Hall was talking about the ankle injury that ended his rookie season, but he just as easily could have been talking about the sad-sack fortunes and the crap-for-luck injuries the already woefully undermanned Edmonton Oilers have endured during the 2010-11 campaign.

"It still sucks," said Hall, facing reporters in the Oilers dressing room at Rexall Place today. "I've never been hurt before. I've never had to deal with this kind of stuff.

"It gets pretty boring. All I do is workout and watch the boys play. It's definitely not something you want to go through, for sure."

No. No, it isn't. But on the day the Oilers made it official that Ales Hemsky is done for the season, joining Ryan Whitney, Sam Gagner and Hall in a growing see-you-next-year contingent as the team engages in a pitched battle with Colorado for 30th place, it's worth noting fans have been dealing "with this kind of stuff" for five years now.

There is distinction between short-term sucking for a teenager like Hall and the variety that is never-ending, the kind that has stained the fabric of this organization since the Oilers robbed the Anaheim Ducks blind in the Chris Pronger trade.

But I digress . . .

NO TROPHY FOR THE KID

One by one the walking wounded limped by the ink-stained newspaper people and TV types, like Dave Mitchell in his cheap shoes, today in a pitiful procession that lacked only a Monty Python soundtrack (yes, I'm a fossil) or a telethon as a back-drop.

Hall hobbled out in a walking cast. So did captain Shawn Horcoff, letting us know the slapper Magnus Paajarvi rattled off his ankle in Pittsburgh cracked a bone and will keep him out about 10 days. J.F. Jacques also left with his foot in a walking cast.

Like I said last weekend, you have to feel for the Oilers as they stagger into the final 12 games of the season with who is left and whatever three players they call up from Oklahoma City. If fans don't somehow find a way to laugh at the atrocious luck, they might cry.

I feel particularly bad for Hall, who could have slapped some lipstick on this pig of a season if he'd stayed healthy and taken a run at the Calder Trophy.

"I think me, Ebs (Jordan Eberle) and Horc were playing well," said Hall, who buckled his ankle in a scrap with Derek Dorsett of Columbus. "I was just starting to feel good.

"I was going to try and make a push for the Calder and try and really finish out the season strong. It just kind of put a damper on that."

HARSKI: BLESS YOU

What is Harski?

That's the question that popped into my mind the first time I saw the term "Harski" on one of the Oiler blogs (I don't remember which one) months ago. Harski sounds like the noise my uncle Arthur used to make when he'd sneeze and spray gumbo all over the sleeve of his shirt.

I've since learned through the wonder of the interweb Harski is a nickname for Teemu Hartikainen -- although I should mention to those who already have a Harski name bar stitched to their pajama tops that teammates were calling him "Harti" this morning.

Be that as it may, the big Finn arrives from Oklahoma City with qualities this team is woefully short on -- a willingness to grind, bang, charge to the net like his hair is on fire and, generally speaking, mix it up.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Hartikainen has progressed since the prospects camp here. If he can pick up a step -- footspeed is his biggest shortcoming, based on what little I've seen -- the Oilers might have a steal with a player they selected 163rd overall in 2008.

Hartikainen, 20, skated today on a line with Colin Fraser and Steve MacIntyre, but I wouldn't put too much stock in that. The Oilers had just nine forwards on the ice, so their combinations will change when the call-ups arrive before Phoenix comes calling.

What is Harski? We'll start to get an idea Thursday.

WHILE I'M AT IT

-- So, we're told Gilbert Brule has a concussion. He is either a medical marvel in terms of the number of different injuries and ailments that have kept him out of the line-up the last two seasons, particularly this year, or there is something else going on here.

-- Eberle is a lock to lead the Oilers in scoring (unless he's been injured since leaving the rink this afternoon). Eberle has 36 points and will set a franchise low in points for a team scoring leader (full season). That distinction is held by Petr Klima, who had 32-16-48 in 1992-93.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Mantastic
March 15 2011, 05:01PM
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really looking forward to see Hartikainen play in the show.

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#2 Kaiser Wilhelm
March 15 2011, 07:40PM
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My team suffered less injuries in World War I. . .

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#3 fuck off
March 15 2011, 05:12PM
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I pr'fer ta pranounce 'is name wit a wee irish ahkcent. HartehKIYnen can reahleh rool oof yer tung if ya let 'er.

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#4 fuck off
March 15 2011, 06:12PM
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Here's the truth about Brule:

GB plays balls out hockey!! He is the most prone to injury because he's risking the most with his style of play. The cause of his most recent injury was himself! Knocking noggin's with Letang while he steam rolled the All Star D-man is just a by product of playing hard hitting hockey. Of course everyone will go on about his illnesses and flu bugs but when your body's immune system is busy trying to recover from last night's dozen bruises it's going to be weak to attacks of other kinds.

Pure and simple, he's a wrecking ball made of flesh; not iron.

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#5 Team whoever is best
March 15 2011, 07:45PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

No, I don't care to speculate.

That's okay in 4 months you can say you told us so based on the very little info you gave now.

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#6 freeze
March 15 2011, 05:37PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

I have no faith that Tambo is capable of making that kind of deal.

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#7 Quicksilver ballet
March 15 2011, 05:32PM
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Gagner,Hemsky and the Kings first round to Florida for Steven Weiss (2 more yrs@3.1 per) and the Panthers first selection in this summers draft.

Gagner,Cogliano and the Kings first in exchange for Weiss and Gudbranson.

Weiss,Horcoff,Couturier/RNH,Brule and Fraser down the middle going into next year, still have a good shot at Larsson with the Oilers selection as well.

Fairly aggressive offer but we could end up with the best players in the deal.

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#9 jake
March 15 2011, 08:10PM
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I hear the Oilers have consulted Rudy and Oscar Goldman. The post injury Oilers will be "better than they were before; better, stronger, faster".

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#10 DaveManson
March 15 2011, 08:24PM
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Duke wrote:

I'm with you Robin, something is up with Brule, and it seems kinda weirder that all the guys covering the Oil combined can't (or won't) get to the truth.

I would hope that there is a code of ethics thing going on here. It's obvious that Brule is not well, and the press is good enough not to speculate on what is happening. They are passing on what comes out of the Oilers communications dept. and that is the myriad of injuries & illnesses - if there is indeed something deeper and darker wrong with the chap, they are respecting his privacy and not sharing it or speculating on it.

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#11 Tim S
March 15 2011, 08:30PM
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Brule did throw a huge hit, and it did appear their heads hit. So maybe this one really is a concussion. But having the flu for 6 months is hard to explain.

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#13 Eetu Huisman
March 15 2011, 09:41PM
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Actually it's "Härski": http://suomisanakirja.fi/englanti/h%C3%A4rski

See http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0021262/ for more information about the origin of the nickname.

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#14 9 Inches Uncut
March 15 2011, 11:04PM
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This team was relatively injury free compared to many teams until the last few weeks and let's face it. This team was a 30th place team at that point as well.

It makes these last few games even more pointless to watch but don't let the media and Lowe blame another failed season on injuries.

They built a crap roster and got a crap season.

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#15 T.C.
March 15 2011, 05:18PM
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36 points!seriously that's how bad we are.god this sucks c'mon landeskog!

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#16 Jodes
March 15 2011, 05:31PM
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I think its time to end the experiment with Brule and send him packing this off season. Enough's enough allready!

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#17 Duke
March 15 2011, 05:40PM
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I'm with you Robin, something is up with Brule, and it seems kinda weirder that all the guys covering the Oil combined can't (or won't) get to the truth.

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#18 Duke
March 15 2011, 05:46PM
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Perhaps an article "What's Eating Gilbert Brule"

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#19 stevezie
March 15 2011, 05:55PM
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fuck off wrote:

I pr'fer ta pranounce 'is name wit a wee irish ahkcent. HartehKIYnen can reahleh rool oof yer tung if ya let 'er.

Reads more Scottish than Irish, but yeah.

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#20 OILERSORDEATH
March 15 2011, 06:03PM
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What really kills me it Horcoff just stood there like a moron while Mags is winding up, WHY THE HELL DIDNT HE JUMP!! I've watched that reply 3 times now I just dont get it!! Its like he was checking out some hot chick in the audience.

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#21 stevezie
March 15 2011, 06:06PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

I don't think either team does that deal. Tallon has a huge boner for draft picks and with the state that Florida's in I can't see him shipping a top fiver out for one year of Hemsky. From the Oilers- Weiss is not a size or talent upgrade over Gagner, he's just older and more developed. That's nice and all, but I'd rather stick with our guy who should start peaking right when we need him. I'm also not sure this year's top 5 is worth Hemsky. I'm not saying it's a terrible deal, I just don't see it working.

Looking at it again, maybe Florida does it if they have some reason to believe they can extend Hemsky; maybe the Oilers do it if their scouts are much higher on some kid than everyone else's scouts are, though I agree with Willis on the wisdom of betting that you're much smarter than everyone else.

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#22 fuck off
March 15 2011, 06:14PM
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stevezie wrote:

Reads more Scottish than Irish, but yeah.

Yeah I tend to blur those two together all the time. Never ceases to amuse tho =)

BTW season seat holders, your renewal is up! lolz

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#23 Jonathan Willis
March 15 2011, 06:43PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Would you care to speculate on what's up with Brule? I know the timing of his missed games has been bizarre, but honestly I haven't a clue what to make of it. Any thoughts?

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#24 Dr. Oil
March 15 2011, 06:51PM
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@ RB:

The Oilers robbed the Ducks blind????

I assume you either got that reversed, or meant to write "Blues," depending on when you think the string of bad luck began...

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#27 Quicksilver ballet
March 15 2011, 07:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The absurdity of the sentence is not a blunt enough hammer? It does not scream "sarcasm" to you?

Page 4875 paragraph 313 in The Mans Guide to the Internets.

The use of those squiggly little lines ~~~ before and after sarcastic attempts may be in vogue again here. Maybe we should ask OB1 for a ruling on this, depending on his mood this week, could go either way.

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#28 BaconWrapped
March 15 2011, 07:30PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The absurdity of the sentence is not a blunt enough hammer? It does not scream "sarcasm" to you?

LOL. I assumed you meant the Blues too - w/o the sarcasm.

Seriously though, that was a huge steal for the Oil. Hey, what about bringing back Doug Lynch? Don't we need some physical defensmen?

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#30 Victory City
March 15 2011, 08:09PM
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Great article, Robin.

If you get a chance to talk to Tambellini, could you ask him if he's considered replacing Renney with John Maclean next season and making a run for the playoffs?

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#31 Craig1981
March 15 2011, 08:22PM
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Without talking about Brule directly, have you ever heard of another example where a team found ways to keep them on an injury roster?

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#32 Mitch
March 15 2011, 09:23PM
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@Brownlee

Listening to Oilers lunch today, Stauffer was really high on RNH from the rebels. This kid is really lighting it up, I do feel the same as Stauffer, draft the best player available. If the Oilers draft RNH we must move out some smaller guys but don't need to rush, I have seen RNH play live but not recently, it was at the start of the year. I felt he was a very effective pass first player, generating off the rush, who needed to work on his finishing, there would be no reason to rush this player into the NHL. What I also found interesting was how he mentioned next years draft for 2012 also had some high end players in it as well. All things considered, I really don't feel that there is any player in this years draft that would have any impact on a roster to warrant keeping him around more than the 10 game mark. The year 2012-2013 should be huge for the oilers many important players on board and ready to dominate. The biggest question of all is can the team stay healthy?

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#35 robinrussia
March 15 2011, 10:21PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I doubt this will register in the slack-jawed dimension in which you exist, but when it comes to the health and well-being of a player, I'd rather provide information based on facts rather than speculation and then say, "I told you so." If there is a story to be told regarding Brule and I get it, I trust you will be the first to congratulate me.

"Team whoever is best" PWNED

RB No need to speculate....Brule is made of glass. Hope he can pull it together next year and get some games in, b/c its seriously going to affect his career if he can't put in a showing next year. Can't trade him, can't resign him...it's like Pisani 2.0.

The guy, and the team, have no luck at all.

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#36 The Farmer
March 15 2011, 10:32PM
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I really hope we dont get too concerned with making our lottery pick fit with our current roster. Even if it's a weaker draft, we are talking about a lottery pick, adjust whatever area we need to to make the newbie fit, if the best player is small, who cares, pick the best player. If we have to trade Gagner or Omark or Cogliano, who cares. I like the players but they are much easier to swap with a hundred other players in the NHL. Lottery picks have the potential to change your franchise for 15 years. Complimentary players are easy to find with a core of superstars.(Hall Eberle RNH )

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#37 Jonathan Willis
March 15 2011, 11:11PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Fair enough.

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#38 JackBauer
March 16 2011, 12:14AM
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There were rampant rumors amongst the fan base that Mike Comrie's battle with "mono" was a bunch of BS. It wouldnt surprise me if Brule's bout with "the flu" was BS as well.

But this latest injury is pretty obvious.

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#40 kilgoretrout
March 16 2011, 09:42AM
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@Kaiser Wilhelm

you must not be russian.

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#41 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
March 16 2011, 10:07AM
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DELETE

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#42 risto
March 16 2011, 11:19AM
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Back on form, Robin.

The nation is in hibernation, but we still need you to help focus the chaos.

The Finn is in! Praying this is a fine time to bring a good luck charm to the team for leprechaun Day - not to help us win, but to play that ELPH, not join the zombies in walking casts/boots brigade and keep the fans involved. Poor OKC, hitched to poorest-run team in the show.

The future of the Oilers really depends on them signing some quality players this summer. The new arena, the season ticket base, and any shot at fixing this mess of a team.

This isn't a rebuild. That term implies keeping some foundation or even a corner stone. Ditching Penner, a good move in my mind, goes to "scorched and salted earth".

4-6 years is not plausible, unless you are Pocklington-promising a Stanley, and cannot be justified in any sense. We need new management now.

The Souray/Khabibulin/Foster/Fraser signings are all sour. Letting Glencross go to Calgary without a phonecall was truly incompetent. The humiliating chase for Heatley. The carousel of P'Killers and faceoff maestros Stoll/Reasoner/Brodziak gone without being replaced. It has all the signs of directionless leadership, such that they now claim we should look to the future.

Well, our future is on the shelf for fighting a smallish goon who leg-hooked him on the throwdown. Hall would've been better off fighting a giant, getting a few busted teeth and a shiner but none the worse for wear, instead of authenticating another one of these scrappy shames to the game, dirty buggers like Dorsett and Cooke who play to injure.

Again, thanks for the good read Robin. I'm curious to read Lowetide's assessment of "the Nuge". Perhaps the Penner trade helps us get some back end help, freeing up Stu to draft the BPA and addressing our needs for an offensive centre to match with the baby Oil on the wing.

Go Oil! crazy fans we be

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#43 Cool Beans
March 16 2011, 12:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You overstate.

While the roster is flawed, the Oilers were going to be a lottery team this season even if they had stayed healthy.

I don't agree, before Whitney got hurt the Oilers were right with the pack and everyone here was saying there is no way the Oil are in the draft lottery.

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#44 Robin Brownlee
March 16 2011, 02:57PM
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@Cool Beans

You don't have to agree, but you're mistaken with this right in the pack argument. Check the standings at 35 games when Whitney went out. They were 12-17-6. Right near the back of the pack?

And who is "everybody" that was saying "no way" the Oilers were a lottery team? Crazy Wanye? A handful of die-hard kooks?

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#45 Cool Beans
March 17 2011, 12:36PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You don't have to agree, but you're mistaken with this right in the pack argument. Check the standings at 35 games when Whitney went out. They were 12-17-6. Right near the back of the pack?

And who is "everybody" that was saying "no way" the Oilers were a lottery team? Crazy Wanye? A handful of die-hard kooks?

OK, not everybody

http://oilersnation.com/2010/12/3/is-this-team-better-than-last-year

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