October 27 2012 12:22PM
Come hell or high water, come what may from dumb and dumber, somewhere in my lifetime the supreme talents that are The Nuge, Taylor Hall, Ebs and The Yak will grace our city. Their individual performances, injuries and struggles are well documented and this season is up and down like a yo-yo.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is vital for the future in many ways. A savant on the powerplay, he's also a center on a team that is building from the flank. A rusty start to his season in OKC gave way to some nice games from the Nuge, but he got roughed up a little last night.
- Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones via twitter: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took a stick to the face. Getting dental work. No lost teeth. Pushed back. Dimple appears to be fine, girls.
More from Jones this morning:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in yellow no contact jersey at practice. Two front teeth pushed back. One side tooth chipped. Will play Sunday.
The Nuge is an exceptional talent, one of the best teenage passers I've ever seen and his goal scoring ability is underrated--or at least as underrated as it can be for a #1 overall selection.
The straw that stirs the drink is off to Edmonton tomorrow in order to gain clearance to play in OKC soon. This article tell us Hall could be in action by this time next weekend. I'm of the belief that a so-so start for the Barons will turn around in a heartbeat once Hall arrives in town. Taylor Hall was becoming a difference maker in the NHL last season, God only knows what he'll be able to do in the AHL.
An item we saw last night--attempted intimidation of Justin Schultz by Houston--will need to be monitored in regard to Hall. As he's already shown, #4 isn't the type to look for others to fight his battles and the last thing the club needs is another Hall injury. I suspect the big men--Colten Teubert ("One Punch" after last night's tilt), Dane Byers and maybe Cameron Abney may see more playing time.
Taylor Hall is a joy to watch play hockey. The possibility of his return is terrific news.
He got nicked a little in practice yesterday (what the hell, Oilers?) but played last evening, as any good soldier would in an important game. Eberle's a heart and soul guy despite the lack of a physical game, and his offense was just coming around when this little blip appeared on the radar. Hopefully he's back scoring goals soon, and the good news is that he hasn't missed any game action.
Nail Yakupov keeps sailing past all expectations. This morning, he scored 2 goals in KHL game #11, meaning he's got 8 goals in the world's best league in those 11 contests. This is quickly becoming a ridiculous season, and I can't wait to see this kid in a regular season game with the other Oiler kids.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
One of the best things in life is knowing something is going to be very good and then having that something exceed even your own wild expectations. We can't say with complete authority that these four young men are going to be "special" together, but all of the elements are there.
Add in Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Oscar Klefbom and if the goaltending can stand up to severe testing, the Edmonton Oilers are going to be "must-see" entertainment for the next decade.