Taylor Hall, Opportunity and the 2014 Olympics

Jonathan Willis
December 10 2013 08:14AM

Yesterday, TSN’s extremely well-connected Darren Dreger listed five players at left wing on his projected Canadian Olympic depth chart. After those five names, he listed four other players as left wings fighting for a spot on the team. That’s nine names total; Taylor Hall’s wasn’t even mentioned.

It’s pretty unlikely that Dreger just pulled those names out of thin air. Anybody who follows hockey knows that he has sources, and given the number of NHL people involved in the Hockey Canada selection process it’s a pretty good bet that he’s given us a decent look at what the management group is thinking.

Hall’s Chances

Despite Hall’s well-publicized lapses in the defensive zone, there’s no doubt that he stacks up extremely well against the nine guys on Dreger’s list offensively. Even if we stack the deck against Hall – starting the clock in his rookie season and giving no weight to his improvement since then – he shows very well:

Player G/82 A/82 PTS/82
Eric Staal 28 48 76
Patrick Sharp 34 40 74
Taylor Hall 32 40 72
Jamie Benn 26 44 70
Chris Kunitz 32 38 70
James Neal 35 34 69
Patrick Marleau 33 34 67
Logan Couture 33 32 65
Matt Duchene 27 35 62
Milan Lucic 26 35 61

If we nix Hall’s rookie year, he’s seventh among Canadian forwards in points-per-game since 2011.

It’s more than scoring, too. Hockey’s a game of what a team creates versus what it gives up, and Hall was incredible in that regard last season. With Hall on the ice in 2012-13, the Oilers out-shot the opposition 36-32; with him on the bench those numbers fell to 23-32. That’s an insane tilt, the mark of a true difference-maker, one of the very best players in the entire world.

Is it frustrating that Hall sometimes cheats for offence, or occasionally turns the puck over while making plays? Yes, it is, because he could be an utterly dominant player and instead he’s just a very, very good one. It’s probably going to cost him an Olympic spot, even if it shouldn’t.

But it’s also an opportunity for Edmonton.

Coachable Moment?

It’s a pretty good bet that Hall wants to play for Canada. He represented his country at the World Championships last summer and he played in various international tourneys as a junior. Last year, of course, was marred by Lindy Ruff’s usage of Hall but if anything that should only go toward illustrating the same point.

People aren’t going to take Hall seriously as one of the game’s greats – even if he is one – until he’s as enthusiastic about work in his own zone as he is about putting points up on the board. He’s already shown an ability to adapt his game, focusing on being more aware of hits and improving his play-making; he can make another shift to be a more responsible two-way player.

Self-preservation likely helped motivate the first change. Getting his proper due can help motivate the second. And ensuring that Hall makes that jump is one of a bunch of challenges facing Dallas Eakins.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
Avatar
#1 Lowe Expectations
December 10 2013, 08:19AM
Trash it!
18
trashes
+1
37
props

To be considered for the Olympics, every player must excel in all areas of the ice. Taylor Hall has very little concept of defensive zone coverage (where to go, how to react). Skating a zillion miles an hour down the wing to float the puck on the net is not the stuff of Olympians.

Avatar
#2 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 08:25AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
+1
29
props

"Taylor Hall’s wasn’t even mentioned." This is not surprising anywhere outside of Edmonton.

Learn to play a complete game Taylor.You have four years to the next chance.Make the most of that time.Making the playoffs might help.Winning a Cup definitely would.

Avatar
#3 Clarko
December 10 2013, 08:35AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
+1
27
props

Interesting that Taylor Hall's numbers are better than both Neal and Kunitz. Imagine what Hall's numbers would be if he got to play with Crosby and Malkin.

Avatar
#4 j
December 10 2013, 08:39AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
44
props

Very few players on Canadian Olympic teams play on terrible NHL teams. Most players come from successful organizations and are part of a winning culture. The Canadian Olympic brass have more than enough players to choose from without taking a chance on a thoroughbred without structure. They don't need to take that chance. And you really can't blame Hall for the player he is or isn't. He is the product of the organization i.e. unstructured, chaotic, lost in the desert. Hopefully there is time to turn this around for all the young talent on the team but it will take iron will from MacT and Eakins to do it.

Avatar
#5 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 08:40AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
+1
29
props
Clarko wrote:

Interesting that Taylor Hall's numbers are better than both Neal and Kunitz. Imagine what Hall's numbers would be if he got to play with Crosby and Malkin.

By numbers you mean points right?

Points alone do not make the player.

A complete game a great attitude a big heart and above all winning makes the player.

Avatar
#6 K_Mart
December 10 2013, 08:40AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
5
props

you'd think his defensive zone lapses would take away from his offensive zone time and offensive production, yet he is still 3rd on that list. I get why he won't make the team, but not why he isn't even in the conversation.

We you are constantly driving the play towards the opposition you are going to have the most turnovers. It's hard to turn the puck over when you never have it.. hall always finds a way to get the puck. In turn he turns it over quite a bit. Something he's getting much better at.

Avatar
#7 Clarko
December 10 2013, 08:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
18
props
Spydyr wrote:

By numbers you mean points right?

Points alone do not make the player.

A complete game a great attitude a big heart and above all winning makes the player.

I mean all of the above. Look at Pittsburgh's organization, structure, coaching consistency, winning culture, and surrounding players.

Would Hall not benefit in not only points, but also from having a very good coach, a consistent system to play under, and the benefit of being sheltered by Crosby, Malkin, Letang, etc.?

Avatar
#8 OilClog
December 10 2013, 08:47AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
18
props
Spydyr wrote:

By numbers you mean points right?

Points alone do not make the player.

A complete game a great attitude a big heart and above all winning makes the player.

Because Kunitz and Neal are known for their defensive game... Lololol

Avatar
#9 Greasy Goal
December 10 2013, 08:49AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
3
props

"If we nix Hall’s rookie year, he’s seventh among Canadian forwards in points-per-game since 2011."

I dont see Crosby on the links list, is there a filter in place that takes him out of the stat?

Avatar
#10 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 08:51AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
4
props
Clarko wrote:

I mean all of the above. Look at Pittsburgh's organization, structure, coaching consistency, winning culture, and surrounding players.

Would Hall not benefit in not only points, but also from having a very good coach, a consistent system to play under, and the benefit of being sheltered by Crosby, Malkin, Letang, etc.?

Sure, but who wouldn't. You could say that about any player on a losing team.

Avatar
#11 Fresh Mess
December 10 2013, 08:55AM
Trash it!
18
trashes
+1
6
props

Hall's destiny should still be at centre. His apologists tried to blame his horrible lapses on being out of position, but they continued when he moved back to wing. If he could get his game together and be responsible, his perceived worth around the NHL would skyrocket as a C/LW.

Avatar
#12 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 08:56AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
11
props
Fresh Mess wrote:

Hall's destiny should still be at centre. His apologists tried to blame his horrible lapses on being out of position, but they continued when he moved back to wing. If he could get his game together and be responsible, his perceived worth around the NHL would skyrocket as a C/LW.

Hall stated he did not want to go to centre but would for the good of the team.He was weak at centre. What makes you think he should be a centre?

Avatar
#14 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:01AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
11
props
Spydyr wrote:

Sure, but who wouldn't. You could say that about any player on a losing team.

That's my point. Hall's offensive numbers are already better without two of the best players in the game playing center with him. He would crush Kunitz and Neal in points playing with Crosby.

And to your earlier comment about heart, I would argue that Hall has plenty of that with a winning attitude. He has a history of winning, but the Oilers organization has a way of beating that out of their players.

Avatar
#15 Citizen David
December 10 2013, 09:07AM
Trash it!
24
trashes
+1
6
props

Hall makes my Olympic team any day. Gets a spot in the top six. Absolutely fantastic player.

Avatar
#16 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:08AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
+1
10
props
Clarko wrote:

That's my point. Hall's offensive numbers are already better without two of the best players in the game playing center with him. He would crush Kunitz and Neal in points playing with Crosby.

And to your earlier comment about heart, I would argue that Hall has plenty of that with a winning attitude. He has a history of winning, but the Oilers organization has a way of beating that out of their players.

Winning in the NHL is harder then winning in junior.Winning at the Olympics is even harder still.

Hall at the last Worlds was benched because of his give aways , play without the puck and defensive liabilities.

The Olympic team is much, much harder to make then the Worlds team.That is why he is not even in the conversation outside of Edmonton.

The people picking the Olympic team take into account your play at the Worlds.

Avatar
#17 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:10AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
+1
17
props
Citizen David wrote:

Hall makes my Olympic team any day. Gets a spot in the top six. Absolutely fantastic player.

And that is why you are not in charge of picking the team.

Avatar
#18 Mikey
December 10 2013, 09:12AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
11
props
Clarko wrote:

That's my point. Hall's offensive numbers are already better without two of the best players in the game playing center with him. He would crush Kunitz and Neal in points playing with Crosby.

And to your earlier comment about heart, I would argue that Hall has plenty of that with a winning attitude. He has a history of winning, but the Oilers organization has a way of beating that out of their players.

Or, what if he had an actual NHL D corp behind him? His defensive game would look a lot better.

Avatar
#19 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:15AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
+1
10
props
Mikey wrote:

Or, what if he had an actual NHL D corp behind him? His defensive game would look a lot better.

He could be playing with the best defence in the NHL.A give away at either blue line is still a give away at the blue line.Until Hall removes that from his game he will not be in the Olympic conversation.

Avatar
#20 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:15AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
28
props
Spydyr wrote:

Winning in the NHL is harder then winning in junior.Winning at the Olympics is even harder still.

Hall at the last Worlds was benched because of his give aways , play without the puck and defensive liabilities.

The Olympic team is much, much harder to make then the Worlds team.That is why he is not even in the conversation outside of Edmonton.

The people picking the Olympic team take into account your play at the Worlds.

If you offered Taylor Hall straight up for any player on that list today, you could basically have any one of those players. Especially Kunitz who will probably make the team.

If you wouldn't trade Hall straight up for Kunitz, then you are full of crap when if anyone says Kunitz is an all-round better player than Hall.

The ONLY reason Kunitz makes this team is because he plays with Crosby. If Hall plays with Crosby, he makes this team every time all day long...there wouldn't even be a question.

Avatar
#21 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:17AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
22
props
Spydyr wrote:

He could be playing with the best defence in the NHL.A give away at either blue line is still a give away at the blue line.Until Hall removes that from his game he will not be in the Olympic conversation.

Watching the Pens game last night, I saw Malkin give the puck away several times throughout the game...he actually turns over the puck quite a bit. I imagine there is no conversation to leave him off the Russian team.

Avatar
#22 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:20AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
7
props
Clarko wrote:

Watching the Pens game last night, I saw Malkin give the puck away several times throughout the game...he actually turns over the puck quite a bit. I imagine there is no conversation to leave him off the Russian team.

All skill players give the puck away.That is a given.It is the turnovers at both blue lines that hurt a team.

Avatar
#23 vetinari
December 10 2013, 09:22AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
14
props

Before the season started, I was hopeful that both Hall and Eberle would get some consideration but after the mess of the first couple of months, it was obvious that they are not (yet) Olympic material. They need to work on their team and defensive play and get their consistency up.

Avatar
#24 K_Mart
December 10 2013, 09:25AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
12
props

Hall deserves to be in the mix, no question

Avatar
#25 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:26AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
8
props
Spydyr wrote:

All skill players give the puck away.That is a given.It is the turnovers at both blue lines that hurt a team.

I agree with that statement...and also, Malkin's turnovers are often in his own zone and at the offensive blue line.

I like Malkin a lot, but he turns over the puck quite a bit.

Avatar
#26 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:29AM
Trash it!
16
trashes
+1
10
props
Clarko wrote:

I agree with that statement...and also, Malkin's turnovers are often in his own zone and at the offensive blue line.

I like Malkin a lot, but he turns over the puck quite a bit.

Malkin has won the Cup and a Conn Smyth. Played at the Olympics.All things Hall has never even remotely come close to doing.He has never even played a playoff game in the NHL. There is no comparison between the two players.

Avatar
#27 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:29AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
9
props
Spydyr wrote:

This about picking the Olympic team not making trades.They are two completely different balls of wax.

But my argument is that Hall is a better all-round player than Kunitz. Sure, Hall has some deficiencies in his game (I think they are a little overstated), but I would rather have Hall on my team than Kunitz. Doesn't matter if I'm the GM of the Penguins, Oilers, or Team Canada.

If you take Hall over Kunitz as GM of both the Pens and Oilers, why wouldn't you take him over Kunitz as GM of Team Canada?

Avatar
#28 Walter Sobchak
December 10 2013, 09:30AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
12
props
Lowe Expectations wrote:

To be considered for the Olympics, every player must excel in all areas of the ice. Taylor Hall has very little concept of defensive zone coverage (where to go, how to react). Skating a zillion miles an hour down the wing to float the puck on the net is not the stuff of Olympians.

Hall's defensive laps are not as bad as you think they are.

Hall turns the puck over mostly because he's the only option left and try's to do too much, not because he has no "concept"

You do realize that Hall would be playing on international ice right, flying down the wing would be an understatement.......Try blowing past people who had really no idea how fast the kid really is.

You still need to score goals to win.

Avatar
#29 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:34AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
7
props
Walter Sobchak wrote:

Hall's defensive laps are not as bad as you think they are.

Hall turns the puck over mostly because he's the only option left and try's to do too much, not because he has no "concept"

You do realize that Hall would be playing on international ice right, flying down the wing would be an understatement.......Try blowing past people who had really no idea how fast the kid really is.

You still need to score goals to win.

Hall has to learn to get the puck deep when he runs out of options and sometimes getting the puck out is the best thing.Not a pass over a couple sticks.Last time he played on the big ice he was benched.

You have to stop goals to win.

Avatar
#30 confused clarence
December 10 2013, 09:34AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
+1
3
props

@spydyr, pleasse stop making sense. I'd really like to avoid giving you props...

Avatar
#31 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:35AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
+1
6
props

@Clarko

Kunitz has won the Cup he has a history with Crosby he is a more mature player.

Avatar
#32 Guy Lafleur
December 10 2013, 09:36AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
12
props

Its gonna be the same as before , they are taking guys having bad seasons , Staal , Giroux and Nash and expecting them to find thier game ..how has that worked before , remember the Friends of Gretzky Olympics ..how did that work out ? Canada always way overthinks its national team ..lets do like Russia and the Americans do the players playing best GO , if Nash gets replaced by Kunitz fine , If Giroux doesnt make it so sad too bad .Take the guys who are playing good NOW !! World Juniors same thing , last year the best goalie in junior hockey Laurent Broissoit but everyone knew Malcolm Subban was starting .This year same thing no Darnell , its a joke . PK SUbban ..how is he on the outside looking in , the old boys club dont like him is that it //NO GOLD for either team!!!

Avatar
#33 Clarko
December 10 2013, 09:43AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
13
props
Spydyr wrote:

Kunitz has won the Cup he has a history with Crosby he is a more mature player.

I guess we can agree to disagree on this one.

Today (without any consideration to future potential and age), I still would rather have Hall on my roster.

Avatar
#34 TigerUnderGlass
December 10 2013, 09:43AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
26
props
Spydyr wrote:

Kunitz has won the Cup he has a history with Crosby he is a more mature player.

Sweet. Does this mean Penner gets to go? He has a couple of cups as well and has a history with Getzlaf.

Avatar
#35 geoilersgist
December 10 2013, 09:45AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
+1
9
props
j wrote:

Very few players on Canadian Olympic teams play on terrible NHL teams. Most players come from successful organizations and are part of a winning culture. The Canadian Olympic brass have more than enough players to choose from without taking a chance on a thoroughbred without structure. They don't need to take that chance. And you really can't blame Hall for the player he is or isn't. He is the product of the organization i.e. unstructured, chaotic, lost in the desert. Hopefully there is time to turn this around for all the young talent on the team but it will take iron will from MacT and Eakins to do it.

Nash played for a horrible Columbus team forever and is now playing for a Rangers team that can't get it together yet he is a shoe in for Canada... it all makes so much sense now....

I would argue that Hall is more useful on that large ice than Nash

Avatar
#36 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:47AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
3
props
TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Sweet. Does this mean Penner gets to go? He has a couple of cups as well and has a history with Getzlaf.

Well many fans here thought he should of went to the last Olympics.

I didn't and still don't lazy player.

Avatar
#37 cccsberg
December 10 2013, 09:52AM
Trash it!
12
trashes
+1
6
props
Clarko wrote:

If you offered Taylor Hall straight up for any player on that list today, you could basically have any one of those players. Especially Kunitz who will probably make the team.

If you wouldn't trade Hall straight up for Kunitz, then you are full of crap when if anyone says Kunitz is an all-round better player than Hall.

The ONLY reason Kunitz makes this team is because he plays with Crosby. If Hall plays with Crosby, he makes this team every time all day long...there wouldn't even be a question.

Crazy, crazy homer comment, but its good to be a fan and support your guys, even if its crazy. Hall right now is a big fish in a little pond. His defence is terrible, selfish play and turnovers galore... but, since Edmonton hasn't got anything better, and because the Oilers turned the team over to the prima donna youth (way too early) they can't bench him or try some other things and he doesn't have to listen, and he continues to get primo minutes to rack up the misleading stats. LOL on him learning and getting the message. Everyone else on that list are team players, and Kunitz for instance is good is because he can work with Crosby and they make a great unit. Putting Hall with his me-first attitude and sloppy play with Crosby is a huge down-grade on what they already have.

Avatar
#38 Spydyr
December 10 2013, 09:54AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
9
props
confused clarence wrote:

@spydyr, pleasse stop making sense. I'd really like to avoid giving you props...

Man, I really like Hall as a player. His speed his puck handling his shot .He has the chance to be a special player one day. He is just not there yet.The team he plays for has not helped his development. In fact I would dare to say they have hindered it.

This is a very, very hard time to be an Oiler fan with this "braintrust" in place.

Avatar
#39 TigerUnderGlass
December 10 2013, 09:55AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
9
props
Spydyr wrote:

Well many fans here thought he should of went to the last Olympics.

I didn't and still don't lazy player.

But...history....great season....cups....tall...heavy....

He should be automatic!

Avatar
#40 -30-
December 10 2013, 09:57AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
7
props

After watching Hall execute a few "Gagneresque" passes this weekend it's not a surprise that he isn't in the running to play for the Olympic team.

Maybe this will motivate him to play a complete 200ft game?

-30-

Avatar
#41 Anthony
December 10 2013, 09:59AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
+1
4
props

From what I gather, Canada would rather shift a bunch of Centers to play Left Wing, instead of taking one of the most dominate left wings in the NHL. I think a pretty good comparison for Hall is Kessel. Similar numbers, similar type of player, now imagine the US left Kessel off the team. I guess this shows how deep Canada is, but also, how insane they are to leave Hall off the team/discussion table.

Avatar
#42 Clarko
December 10 2013, 10:01AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
9
props
cccsberg wrote:

Crazy, crazy homer comment, but its good to be a fan and support your guys, even if its crazy. Hall right now is a big fish in a little pond. His defence is terrible, selfish play and turnovers galore... but, since Edmonton hasn't got anything better, and because the Oilers turned the team over to the prima donna youth (way too early) they can't bench him or try some other things and he doesn't have to listen, and he continues to get primo minutes to rack up the misleading stats. LOL on him learning and getting the message. Everyone else on that list are team players, and Kunitz for instance is good is because he can work with Crosby and they make a great unit. Putting Hall with his me-first attitude and sloppy play with Crosby is a huge down-grade on what they already have.

LOL...if you called up Pittsburgh and said that you want Kunitz and would offer Hall straight up for him, Kunitz would be on a one-way ticket to Edmonton within the hour.

Does Kunitz not get the "primo" minutes that you are talking about. What is it about Hall's points are "misleading" and what is it about Kunitz's points that his points more legitimate? Other than the fact that he plays on a line with the best player in hockey?

Avatar
#43 D
December 10 2013, 10:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
16
props

Hopefully the fact that Hall isn't even in the Olympic team conversation should send a nice message to Oiler management.

Avatar
#44 Brownsie
December 10 2013, 10:04AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
4
props
Spydyr wrote:

Sure, but who wouldn't. You could say that about any player on a losing team.

So if you agree with his point then why argue with him? You don't always have to play devils advocate.

Avatar
#45 Smokey
December 10 2013, 10:06AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
8
props

Every Olympics someone great gets left off. In 2010 Stevie Y left off his own player, Steven Stamkos, who ended up leading the league in goals that same year. Hall is not going, I accept that. I think its just one of those things.

I just hope they take guys that are playing well.

I wonder who from the Oilers is going to the Olympics...

Bryzgalov, Belov, Yakupov, Hemsky, Smid (should be an Oiler), Joensuu (well probably the big finn, he has pretty narely in the world championships)????

Avatar
#46 Kr55
December 10 2013, 10:09AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
7
props

I think it's good for Hall to be off the list. Should give him the kick in the pants he needs to develop his 2-way game.

I personally completely agree with not having him on the team in 2014. Would annoy me to no end watching him play bad D and throwing pucks away with bad plays for team Canada and potentially costing us, or just being benched or sat out all the time and having him confidence chipped away.

Avatar
#47 Citizen David
December 10 2013, 10:09AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
6
props

Looking at Dregers list:

Stamkos probably won't be back. He has Bergeron and St.Louis on the outside looking in at the moment. Those two should be locks. I've ranted enough about Spezza I won't do it again but I can't believe how hockey Canada ignores him.

Avatar
#48 Reg Dunlop
December 10 2013, 10:12AM
Trash it!
16
trashes
+1
6
props

Guys like Dreger sicken me. An Alberta boy and he's completely disrespecting Hallsy and the Oiler org. Can't he see the crazy, top-end skill of a first overall? Maybe he has been brainwashed into having an eastern bias because not only Hall but Ebs, Nuge and Gags should be in Sochi. We have to have cute nicknames and mad top end skill to bring home gold. Who is going to wheel those Russian babes with Hall playing Xbox instead of flying toward the opponents net and coasting back to his own blueline? Who else is going to look sullen on the bench when coach grinds him for taking a 2 minute shift?

They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard.

Avatar
#49 Smokey
December 10 2013, 10:18AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props
Citizen David wrote:

Looking at Dregers list:

Stamkos probably won't be back. He has Bergeron and St.Louis on the outside looking in at the moment. Those two should be locks. I've ranted enough about Spezza I won't do it again but I can't believe how hockey Canada ignores him.

St. Louis will be there. Yzerman I don't think will leave him off.

Bergeron is too much of a beast on faceoffs not to be there. At worst he's a 4rth line center or extra skater.

Avatar
#50 Zarny
December 10 2013, 10:19AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
9
props

Perception is often reality.

Right now the perception with Hall is similar to Spezza and Mike Green.

Whatever increase in offense you get is marginal compared to the increased defensive liability. Right or wrong that is the perception.

Despite what Dreger reports Hall's name will at least be mentioned in the conversation. His speed on the big ice is too tempting not to be.

With his struggles at the World's and his tendency for turnovers and to cheat for offense Hall isn't going to make the team on the 3rd or 4th line. HC will go with Marleau, Couture, Sharp or a LW more suited to being a role player.

Which means Hall's only chance to go to Sochi is on the top 2 lines.

Personally, I think the debate comes down to Kunitz or Hall on Crosby's LW.

Kunitz has the established chemistry and I think is a bit under-appreciated; but I also think there are questions as to whether he can hang with the world's best on big ice.

One factor could be Stamkos. If he plays it's likely on Crosby's RW. In that case I suspect HC goes with Kunitz on LW to bring some tenacity and defense.

If Stamkos can't play I won't be surprised to see Bergeron on Crosby's RW. They have history playing well together at the World Jr's. And with one of the best defensive forwards in the world on RW HC may be tempted to put Hall on LW.

There are going to be 15-20 very, very good players who don't go to Sochi. If Hall is passed over I agree it is a "coachable moment" and hopefully one Hall takes to heart.

Comments are closed for this article.