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.