HALL: I TRIED TO IMPROVE MY PASSING

Jason Gregor
January 07 2013 10:39AM

When the NHL finally gets going, most likely on the 19th of January, you might see a small subtle difference in Taylor Hall's game. I chatted with the 2010 first overall pick before he played his final two games in OKC, and I found out that he worked hard on improving one specific skill set and that he'd love the opportunity to kill penalties.

Gregor: You tallied 10 points in your last five games, did you finally start feeling more comfortable after being out so long with an injury?

Hall: I had a long time off hockey and a long time where I just didn’t play any games. It’s always hard to come back and play after that. It took me a little while to get used to the AHL style of play, but lately I have been feeling really good. I feel like  when the NHL starts up my game will translate really well to that level. I’m getting some really good chemistry with guys like Schultz down here and more so with Eberle. We’re playing well, so it’s been a lot of fun. I think I’m ready for the NHL now.

Gregor: Tell me about MarK Arcobello, who has filled in for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, what do you like about his game?

Hall: He’s a really good centreman. He wins a fair amount of his faceoffs.  The thing that I like the most about him, since he has come on the line with me and Jordan, is he hasn’t tried to change his game too much. He’s played to his strengths and therefore, it’s helped us out a lot. He needs to keep going. It’s been a lot of fun playing with him and seeing him improve as a hockey player and really seeing his confidence go up. Nuge is a great centre too, it was a lot of fun playing with him, but so far with Arco we’ve had some success and the team’s relying on us. I think he really enjoys it, he hasn’t had that kind of pressure on him for awhile. He’s having a lot of fun with us. If he can keep going, it will help me and Ebs out a lot. It’s been a nice fill in for Nuge.

Gregor: When I spoke to you last, you mentioned you wanted to become more of a leader. In OKC, being a proven NHL player, I’m guessing a lot of your teammates would look to you and think, 'We’ve got to listen to what he has to say.' Is it an easier place to become more of a leader, because the guys look at you as a better player?

Hall: I think so, they really expect us to produce here, and the coaches do as well. I think the players; they really kind of gravitate to what we do. You see that if we have a good start to the game and we’re doing the right things and not turning pucks over, a lot of guys seem to follow. I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed, that how we play kind of dictates how the other guys play and we’re fine with that. It’s a good responsibility to have. As long as we’re playing good hockey, good sound hockey usually the guys will follow. We have a few other guys on the team that kind of take care of the vocal stuff in the room. As far as the one ice goes, we like being in a role where guys count on us to do the right things out there.

Gregor: Just before the Christmas break Rousell and you got into a scrap. Have guys tried to take liberties with you more often in the AHL than in the NHL?

Hall: No, it’s been pretty much the same. There have been some players who slash us a little bit more and there’s obviously a line every night that’s pretty much out there to shut us down. For the most part, people have played just really hard against us and really fair. But, Rousell was taking a few liberties and cross-checked me for no reason so just dropped the gloves with him, got a few shots in and went down before anything else could happen. I wasn’t the worse for wear by any means. It’s kind of nice to have a fight, not necessarily that I’m a fighter, but just the last time I fought I got hurt. So it’s nice not to get hurt in a fight.

Gregor: Can you talk about Justin Schultz’s game and how you see it translating to the NHL game?

Hall: There has been many defenseman that have dominated juniors and not necessarily had that translate at the pro level, yet there are countless guys that do well at the AHL and then do well at the NHL. It really does translate and especially with a guy like Justin, who is a very good skater and he moves the puck incredibly well. What I’m trying to say is that everything he does in the AHL will work in the NHL. He’s fast, he moves the puck well, he knows when to jump in and he uses his hockey IQ very well. The coaches seem to put him out a lot with us, and it helps out us out a lot having a guy back there that is really an offensive threat.

Gregor: Is there anything specific, that you worked on in the AHL that you might not have been able to work on in an NHL game?

Hall: I think my passing has been something down here that I’ve really been able to utilize. I have, I think, 20 assists in 25 games or 24 games or whatever. I feel that on the powerplay and in certain situations, I’m able to move the puck a lot better than I did at the NHL level. I’m just going to be the same player when we do start the season. I’m just going to be that guy that takes the puck to the net and tries to get a lot of shots and direct the puck towards the goal. If I can add that other element to my game, passing the puck and being a threat, I think it’ll make teams look at me a little differently. That is something I think I have improved on and am still trying to improve on.

Gregor: Jordan Eberle was named the greatest Canadian Junior player. How much has he been telling you about that? Did you guys get him any special gag gifts for that nomination?

Hall: He put a list up on our board in the room of the Top 40 guys and he highlighted his name. At the bottom, he said, “Where’s Hallsy?” Of course I wasn’t on the list because I only played one World Juniors. He made sure I knew. He’s a little bit like that; if he gets some recognition he’s going to let me know that he did. (laughs)

Gregor: Does it just add to the healthy competition between the two of you?

Hall: Ya, there’s always a competition between us. When I say he’s competitive, he’ll let you know that he’s going to try to beat you, where as I’ll probably just maybe try to sneak up on you a little bit. I’d probably say that I show a little bit more passion out on the ice because he’s a little bit more of a cerebral player. As far as hat tricks and stuff, he got a hat trick and then I came back and got one, then he got one a couple games ago, and now it’s my turn. If I don’t get one for awhile, he’ll probably let me know about it. With me and him, it’s always fun. We’re best friends and we have a lot of fun with the fact that we’re good players and we can compete with each other.

Gregor: Have you been killing penalties lately?

Hall: No, they don’t let me kill down here.

Gregor: Is that something you’d want to do at the NHL level?

Hall: Ya, that’s something for sure I’d want to do. In junior I penalty killed all the time and I was a very good penalty killer. I’d go a month without being on for a powerplay goal, but it seems like since I’ve gotten to the pro level they don’t really see me doing that, which is fine, but I’d love to do it some time.

QUICK HITS

  • Ryan Jones suffered an eye injury in Minnesota last week when he got hit by an errant puck. It happened on a freak play when he was away from the play and the puck ricocheted off a skate and hit him directly in the eye. Very unfortunate. He's already had surgery but is expected to be out three to four weeks. I'm curious to see if the Oilers start the season with 14 forwards, and keep Magnus Paajarvi up with the team, or just go with 13.
     
  • Teemu Hartikainen was "the most consistent player we had from game-to-game," said OKC Barons' GM Bill Scott over the phone yesterday. Hartikainen will be at camp later this week and expect him in the starting lineup.
     
  • I'm very curious to see what line combos Ralph Krueger decides to start the season with. Krueger told me before that he believes more in duos than trios, mainly because it is hard to keep one line together for a long stretch. Best guess might be having Hartikainen with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky and Nail Yakupov start on RW with Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth. I doubt those combos last very long, but letting Yakupov stay on the RW to start season might make transition a bit easier for him.
     
  • Ladislav Smid told me his knee feels great. He tweaked it in mid-December, but he's been in Edmonton since before Christmas getting treatment. He'll be ready for the season opener.
     
  • I'm most interested to see how Ryan Whitney looks. He told me he feels great and was able to take powerskating lessons during the off-season for the first time in three years. Whitney's play will be one of the key factors whether the Oilers make a serious push to the playoffs or not. He is extremely motivated to show people he can still play at a high level, and if he does the Oilers will be a much better team. His first pass out of the D zone is one of the best in the NHL. The Oilers spent way too much time in their own zone last year, and if he's healthy that will change.
     
  • I'd love to see Whitney on the ice with Yakupov. Yakupov is great at exploding out of the zone, combined with Whitney's passing abilities I could see a few quick transition plays emerge. If Krueger plays Hall, Hemsky and Yakupov on different lines the Oilers could stretch the ice very quickly on almost any shift.
     
  • Here is a rule change the NHL should make, but likely never will.
     
  • Some have wondered if Hall, Eberle and Justin Schultz might be tired by the end of the season. I don't see it being an issue at all. They will get a one-week break before training camp starts and two-weeks with no games, so even  if they play all 48 games Eberle and J.Schultz will play 82 games while Hall will have suited up for 74. I don't see fatigue being a factor for Hall or Eberle.
     
  • The grind of games every second day might fatigue J. Schultz, but I'm not sure it's as big a worry as some think. The AHL travel schedule is difficult in different ways. Travel days are longer, either on the bus or waiting in airports, and he's had to play back-to-back nights almost every weekend. Only 8 of the 34 games he's played in OKC occurred between Monday-Thursday, so he'll play fewer back-to-back games, but he'll play more often. Krueger is a huge believer in rest days, so I'm sure he will monitor Schultz closely.
     
  • The Oilers have 20 home dates secured at Rexall Place. They will use those dates and then add in more in April to finish out the season. It sounds like they will likely open the 2013 season at home on Saturday January 19th. They were scheduled to play the Ducks that night, but there are rumblings they might see the Flames instead.
     
  • Their remaining home dates are as follows:
    January 22nd
    February 2nd, 4th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 19th, 21st and 23rd.
    March 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 26th, 28th and 30th.
    April 1st, 9th and 13th.
     
  • The reason the Oilers are out of Rexall from Feb 23rd to March 15th is because the Brier takes over Rexall from basically February 25th to March 12th. They have to put in the ice, have practices and then the games are played March 2nd to 10th.
     
  • On the old schedule the Oilers had an 8-game road trip during the Brier, so expect something similar when the new schedule comes out. That 8-game trip, followed by a 7-game homestand could make or break their season.
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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Fatbob24
January 07 2013, 10:51AM
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Hey-0! I'll be the fist one to admit that i can't wait to see Yak flyin' down the ice and scoring goals!!!

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#2 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
January 07 2013, 10:52AM
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Nice work, Gregor.

Question: what's going to happen with the TV schedule? I'm hoping they're all televised - I don't want to go to any games this year.

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#3 Glenn (headpins) Schwarz
January 07 2013, 11:02AM
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Is this really hockey talk great. Kruger also mentioned Yak playing LW with Gagner and Hemmer, do you think thats to much for him right off the bat? With Jones hurt i see harti taking his spot no? And did they buy out Belanger yet would be nice not to have the belanger triangle this year lol

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#4 OILERSORDEATH
January 07 2013, 11:02AM
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Sooooo Pumped we have NHL! Cant wait to see Shultz and Yaks! Cheers Nation its gonna be a fun next few months.

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#6 David
January 07 2013, 11:05AM
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If Whitney is healthy then the idea of the oilers making the playoffs could be reality. I'm so excited for Hall, Eberle, and nugent-Hopkins to dominate.

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#7 db7db7db7
January 07 2013, 11:07AM
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Anybody else think the Oilers might be looking at trading Yak for #1 goalie like Schneider, Lundqvist or Halak?

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#8 Steve
January 07 2013, 11:10AM
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You don't know how happy an article like this makes me after sitting through the lockout the last 3 months.

Its so awesome to see people talking about lineups and trade rumours rather than pensions and what kind of sweater Steve Fehr was wearing today.

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#9 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
January 07 2013, 11:12AM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

Anybody else think the Oilers might be looking at trading Yak for #1 goalie like Schneider, Lundqvist or Halak?

Unless it's Lundqvist: GOD! PLEASE! NO!

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#10 Czar
January 07 2013, 11:14AM
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Glenn (headpins) Schwarz wrote:

Is this really hockey talk great. Kruger also mentioned Yak playing LW with Gagner and Hemmer, do you think thats to much for him right off the bat? With Jones hurt i see harti taking his spot no? And did they buy out Belanger yet would be nice not to have the belanger triangle this year lol

Can't wait to see the surgically repaired Hall tear it up!I think Yak would be a good fit with Hemsky and his pass first attitude. Let's hoping Belanger gets his sh!t together,last year was a nightmare for him and we could use him on the 4th line.

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#11 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
January 07 2013, 11:15AM
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Glenn (headpins) Schwarz wrote:

Is this really hockey talk great. Kruger also mentioned Yak playing LW with Gagner and Hemmer, do you think thats to much for him right off the bat? With Jones hurt i see harti taking his spot no? And did they buy out Belanger yet would be nice not to have the belanger triangle this year lol

I really don't like the idea of Yak playing on the off wing. It's not going to help make his transition to the NHL any easier.

I'm glad to hear he'll likely stay at RW. This would have been Kruger's first mistake as the Oilers coach.

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#12 Rick
January 07 2013, 11:19AM
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Would the Oilers be looking at bringing in any camp invites?

There are still a few UFA's out there and not alot of time to work out deals.

Is there any merit in inviting a guy like Colin White, for example, to see what he has in the tank for a half season?

I would think it could almost be counter productive to strip the AHL squad to fill depth positions. The guys in OKC need to learn to win as well.

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#13 Irfani
January 07 2013, 11:19AM
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Ales Hemsky -ELH- for ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice in the Czech League GP 27 G 14 A 18 P 32 +/- +5

Ladislav Smid -ELH- for Ocelari Trinec Czech League GP 22 G 2 A 12 P 14 +/- -9

Nail Yakupov -KHL- for HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, GP 22 G 10 A 8 P 18 +/- -4

Lennart Petrell -SM-liiga- Helsinki, Finnish League. GP 26 G 11 A 0 P 9 +/- -1

Corey Potter - Vienna Capitals in the Austrian League GP 17 G 1 A 3 P 4 +/- -2

Sam Gagner - EC-KAC Klagenfurt in the Austrian league GP 21 G 10 A 10 P 20 +/- 0

Jordan Eberle -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 34 G 25 A 26 P 51 +/- +11

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 19 G 8 A 12 P 20 +/- +7

Justin Schultz -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 34 G 18 A 30 P 48 +/- +8

Taylor Hall -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 26 G 14 A 20 P 34 +/- 0

Magnus Paajarvi S. -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 35 G 4 A 16 P 20 +/- -3

Teemu Hartikainen -AHL- Oklahoma City Barons GP 35 G 11 A 15 P 26 +/- -1

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#14 BubbaGump
January 07 2013, 11:20AM
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How long till ratification? How long after that till the trades start flying...have to think most have already been lined up.

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#15 justDOit
January 07 2013, 11:20AM
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Glenn (headpins) Schwarz wrote:

Is this really hockey talk great. Kruger also mentioned Yak playing LW with Gagner and Hemmer, do you think thats to much for him right off the bat? With Jones hurt i see harti taking his spot no? And did they buy out Belanger yet would be nice not to have the belanger triangle this year lol

CBA amnesty buyouts aren't valid until after this shortened season, and will be valid for two off-seasons.

Krueger had discussions with Belanger before the lockout and is convinced that he can rebound this season. He has been an effective player his entire career, and has had one bad season playing on the worst team in the league. Like Fraser, who now has his 2nd Cup ring, I don't think the Oilers' problems last season were the fault of any one player.

We can talk about players and rosters all we want, but I believe the most substantial improvement in this team will come from Krueger.

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#16 They're $hittie
January 07 2013, 11:21AM
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Anyone else see the stanley cup odds?

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#18 Matt Henderson
January 07 2013, 11:29AM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

Anybody else think the Oilers might be looking at trading Yak for #1 goalie like Schneider, Lundqvist or Halak?

No way Vancouver gives up Schneider and definitely no way the Rangers give up Lundqvist.

I like Halak, but he isnt worth Yakupov.

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#19 dessert1111
January 07 2013, 11:36AM
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Anyone know when training camp rosters will be announced? Shortly after CBA ratification, or before?

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#20 Harlie
January 07 2013, 11:41AM
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why in the H..E..Double Toothpick wasn't Hall killing penalties in OKC? So ridiculous..

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#21 David S
January 07 2013, 11:43AM
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If it isn't the stupid CFR, now it's the stupider Brier("Hurry HARRRRRD!").

So when's RX2 scheduled to be completed?

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#22 DSF
January 07 2013, 11:45AM
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@They're $hittie

Odds to win the 2013 Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1

New York Rangers 17/2

Vancouver Canucks 9/1

Los Angeles Kings 12/1

Philadelphia Flyers 12/1

Chicago Blackhawks 14/1

Boston Bruins 16/1

Detroit Red Wings 16/1

St. Louis Blues 16/1

Minnesota Wild 18/1

San Jose Sharks 20/1

Carolina Hurricanes 22/1

Washington Capitals 22/1

Buffalo Sabres 25/1

Edmonton Oilers 25/1

Nashville Predators 28/1

Tampa Bay Lightning 28/1

Montreal Canadiens 30/1

New Jersey Devils 30/1

Toronto Maple Leafs 30/1

Anaheim Ducks 40/1

Colorado Avalanche 40/1

Dallas Stars 40/1

Florida Panthers 40/1

Ottawa Senators 40/1

Phoenix Coyotes 40/1

Calgary Flames 50/1

Winnipeg Jets 50/1

New York Islanders 66/1

Columbus Blue Jackets 100/1

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#23 Matt Henderson
January 07 2013, 11:46AM
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David S wrote:

If it isn't the stupid CFR, now it's the stupider Brier("Hurry HARRRRRD!").

So when's RX2 scheduled to be completed?

We have to wait until Wanye releases his new line of Sweat Pants before RX2 is announced.

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#24 DSF
January 07 2013, 11:48AM
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Odds to win the 2013 NHL Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks 9/2

Chicago Blackhawks 6/1

Los Angeles Kings 6/1

St. Louis Blues 7/1

Detroit Red Wings 15/2

Minnesota Wild 9/1

San Jose Sharks 12/1

Edmonton Oilers 14/1

Nashville Predators 14/1

Anaheim Ducks 18/1

Dallas Stars 20/1

Phoenix Coyotes 20/1

Colorado Avalanche 22/1

Calgary Flames 28/1

Columbus Blue Jackets 50/1

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#25 DSF
January 07 2013, 11:48AM
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Odds to win the 2013 NHL Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins 4/1

New York Rangers 19/4

Philadelphia Flyers 7/1

Boston Bruins 15/2

Carolina Hurricanes 11/1

Buffalo Sabres 12/1

Tampa Bay Lightning 12/1

Washington Capitals 12/1

New Jersey Devils 15/1

Montreal Canadiens 16/1

Toronto Maple Leafs 16/1

Florida Panthers 20/1

Ottawa Senators 20/1

Winnipeg Jets 28/1

New York Islanders 33/1

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#26 Matt Henderson
January 07 2013, 11:48AM
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Harlie wrote:

why in the H..E..Double Toothpick wasn't Hall killing penalties in OKC? So ridiculous..

Maybe they didnt want him blocking slappers from the point. Just a random thought.

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#27 Truth
January 07 2013, 11:51AM
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Harlie wrote:

why in the H..E..Double Toothpick wasn't Hall killing penalties in OKC? So ridiculous..

I sure as hell wouldn't put Hall out there to kill penalties in regular season AHL games. He is on the top line and the top line powerplay. I believe he and Eberle were tops in TOI for forwards (rightfully so). Last thing the Oilers need is Hall's minutes reduced on the PP or even strength to go block shots and play in the defensive zone. If he was put on the PK during the NHL playoffs or if he was being used for 14 minutes a night it would be a different story. Just my own opinion.

No to trading Yak for a number one goalie. Hopefully Dubnyk is the guy. They have expended this many years developing him, it would be a shame to see him walk and turn out elsewhere. Especially after trading a 1st overall to replace him.

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#28 DieHard
January 07 2013, 11:54AM
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@DSF

14 to 1 for an improving Oiler team is not bad. Will get much better in the coming years.

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#29 db7db7db7
January 07 2013, 11:56AM
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So I guess that makes it 100% that we are playoff bound then. 25/1 That we win cup; I like our odds!!!

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#30 justDOit
January 07 2013, 12:00PM
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Those are astonishing odds given to the Oilers. I never would have thought they'd be that high.

Hall killing penalties? Leave the foot-shaped ice bags for guys like Belanger or Petrell, please and keep Hall's ice time for situations where he can do some good - scoring.

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#31 Dipstick
January 07 2013, 12:01PM
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I would be very interested to find out how Hall's shoulder is feeling and if he has full range of motion in it. I would guess that he has had enough time and use of it to have a good read on its condition post-surgery.

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#32 youarecrazy
January 07 2013, 12:01PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

Anybody else think the Oilers might be looking at trading Yak for #1 goalie like Schneider, Lundqvist or Halak?

None of those goalies are worth Yakupov. IMO no goalie is worth a first overall forward.

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#33 DSF
January 07 2013, 12:12PM
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DieHard wrote:

14 to 1 for an improving Oiler team is not bad. Will get much better in the coming years.

Could be true but they're not the only team improving.

I would pay special attention to Dallas which has a new billionaire (Canadian) owner who will want to quickly rebuild that market.

The Stars have just a ton of cap space (more than $30 million next season) and will be in prime position to pick off free agents who are bought out.

The also have some very nice prospects in Radek Faksa, Brett Ritchie, Cody Eakin, Jamie Oleksiak and Jack Campbell.

It'll also be interesting to see how quickly John Davidson can turns things around in Colombus.

He's got 3 first round draft picks in a very deep draft and a nice stable of prospects in Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner and 4 high end D prospects in Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon, John Moore and David Savard.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jackets traded one of their D for another first round pick.

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#34 They're $hittie
January 07 2013, 12:14PM
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We do t care who else is improving. So long as canucks and flames are getting worse.

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#35 justDOit
January 07 2013, 12:15PM
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Dipstick wrote:

I would be very interested to find out how Hall's shoulder is feeling and if he has full range of motion in it. I would guess that he has had enough time and use of it to have a good read on its condition post-surgery.

Judging from his last 20 games or so in OKC, I'd say that shoulder is just fine. 100% range of motion? Maybe not, but enough to play the game in beast mode.

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#36 David S
January 07 2013, 12:22PM
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Not sure if anybody noticed this yet, but it's January 7th and the Oilers are still in the race for a playoff spot.

#Progress

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#37 DieHard
January 07 2013, 12:28PM
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DSF wrote:

Could be true but they're not the only team improving.

I would pay special attention to Dallas which has a new billionaire (Canadian) owner who will want to quickly rebuild that market.

The Stars have just a ton of cap space (more than $30 million next season) and will be in prime position to pick off free agents who are bought out.

The also have some very nice prospects in Radek Faksa, Brett Ritchie, Cody Eakin, Jamie Oleksiak and Jack Campbell.

It'll also be interesting to see how quickly John Davidson can turns things around in Colombus.

He's got 3 first round draft picks in a very deep draft and a nice stable of prospects in Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner and 4 high end D prospects in Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon, John Moore and David Savard.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jackets traded one of their D for another first round pick.

I agree that Dallas and Columbus will be up and coming but the Oilers will be making the most noise first.

Regarding bought-out UFA players. Who do you think will be the most sought after?

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#38 db7db7db7
January 07 2013, 12:29PM
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DieHard wrote:

I agree that Dallas and Columbus will be up and coming but the Oilers will be making the most noise first.

Regarding bought-out UFA players. Who do you think will be the most sought after?

I'd take a good look at Redden.

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#39 smokinmonkey8
January 07 2013, 12:36PM
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Great read, good to see Hall is working on adding that to his game.

Side note, anyone know when tickets go on sale or if they have yet. I'm from Winnipeg and coming out to Edmonton during the opening weekend and would kill to watch a game as they wont be coming to Winnipeg this season...

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#40 A-Mc
January 07 2013, 12:50PM
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Calgary isn't looking so good on those odds. I saw the odds on TV last night and had a good chuckle.

While our precious Oilers have been bottom feeders for a while, there is no denying that there is significant buzz around the team. All the TV personalities light up when they talk about the Oilers, and the new players we have here.

Win or lose, we have an interesting team and i can't wait for this season to start.

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#41 dman09
January 07 2013, 12:52PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

Anybody else think the Oilers might be looking at trading Yak for #1 goalie like Schneider, Lundqvist or Halak?

After Dubnyk's performance at the Spangler I think there will be no question this season Dubby takes this team by the reins

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#42 DSF
January 07 2013, 12:52PM
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DieHard wrote:

I agree that Dallas and Columbus will be up and coming but the Oilers will be making the most noise first.

Regarding bought-out UFA players. Who do you think will be the most sought after?

Pretty difficult to say exactly who will be bought out other than the obvious ones like Gomez, Redden and Horcoff.

Here's a rundown of who is available now.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2013/01/07/nhl_available_unrestricted_free_agents/

I think the Oilers should take a close look at Redden, Campoli, and especially Pavel Kubina as D insurance.

I also wonder if Columbus will buy out the Wiz who could be quite useful if he comes cheaply enough.

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#43 Czar
January 07 2013, 12:56PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

I really don't like the idea of Yak playing on the off wing. It's not going to help make his transition to the NHL any easier.

I'm glad to hear he'll likely stay at RW. This would have been Kruger's first mistake as the Oilers coach.

Hemsky on his off wing could be the set up man Yak needs. Yak did play some games in the KHL on LW.

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#44 Will
January 07 2013, 01:01PM
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I like the idea of spreading out the rushers, but how good would it be to see Nuge and Ebs on the top line, with Hall and Yak rushing the second line, and the veterans playing shut down on the third line?

Seriously, just the idea of Hall and Yak on one line is crazy, especially if Hall's been working on his passing.

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#45 Czar
January 07 2013, 01:03PM
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@DieHard

"It'll also be interesting to see how quickly John Davidson can turns things around in Colombus." @DSF

It's surprising how much talent they do have left with Howson at the helm. If anyone can turn them around it's JD.

This is the year the Oilers finish ahead of the Flames. Vegas seems to think so,why not you?

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#46 Czar
January 07 2013, 01:09PM
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Sorry DieHard was meant for DSF.

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#47 They're $hittie
January 07 2013, 01:13PM
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@db7db7db7

too bad we didnt have a replacement for horcoff right now. We could swap for Redden this year and buyout in the summer.

Other option is a one year deal for him next year.

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#48 dman09
January 07 2013, 01:14PM
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Czar wrote:

"It'll also be interesting to see how quickly John Davidson can turns things around in Colombus." @DSF

It's surprising how much talent they do have left with Howson at the helm. If anyone can turn them around it's JD.

This is the year the Oilers finish ahead of the Flames. Vegas seems to think so,why not you?

I think people are forgetting something else as well. Kruger is running the team. I honestly think he can make this team finish well above the flames. In a shortened season. Van better be on their games because the Oil are coming to take the top spot

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#49 DieHard
January 07 2013, 01:19PM
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@DSF

Overall, how do you think the bought-out UFA market will go? Do you see most of them getting new contracts and will there be a bidding war (but not too much as to have regret)? Or, are most of these guys just toast?

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#50 They're $hittie
January 07 2013, 01:24PM
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Funny no mention of the odds at flames nation

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