HALL C?

Lowetide
September 26 2013 05:14PM

 

The Edmonton Oilers asked Taylor Hall to position switch this fall, and the young man said  he'd do his best. Now, Dallas Eakins backup plan looks pretty good (borrowing a line) as the club approaches opening night. I'm wondering if that kind of moment--where the player expresses a preference in position but adopts a new position to help the club--might be the backdrop for the Oilers to name him their new captain.

HE'S THEIR BEST PLAYER!

Although the Oilers have a passel of gifted youngsters, Hall's the Alpha male in the group and their best player. He's been pushing the river at 5x5 since he was a teenager and he's been delivering results against the toughest opponents available. Hall's move to center has to be considered a Godsend at this point, and his ability to play the position (Ray Ferraro was commenting during this week's broadcast about how well Hall is adjusting) isn't a major concern at this point. A lot to learn, but a quick study.

Which is incredible. Athletes. They're amazing. 

Hall could very well move back to LW when Nuge and Gagner return, but the thought of keeping him there is very, very interesting. Imagine a top 9F that looks like this:

(C-L-R)

  • Hall-Smyth-Hemsky
  • Nuge-Perron-Eberle
  • Gagner-Joensuu-Yakupov

If Smyth begins to falter, the club could put Boyd Gordon in Gagner's slot and move 89 to the top line with 4 and 83. That's some outstanding talent, more than we've seen since the Boys on the Bus in this town. 

And the leader? Turns 22 in November. 

HE'S TOO YOUNG!

There's a lot we can find wrong about today's youth (here) but there's a lot of good too. Although Taylor Hall might be a little young for the captaincy, it's also true that he's been a leader since his arrival, and the cluster's heart can be traced to his draft day. 

There are other quality options, but from here Taylor Hall looks like the right choice. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

This fall's training camp may be brought to you by the number "4" and the letter "C" as the biggest items are Taylor Hall moving to center and emerging as a young leader. The young man has sacrificed the known comforts of the wing and ventured forth into a more difficult job with no guarantee of success--and made the transition (so far) very well.

Doesn't that sound like a leader? I think it does.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 EHH Team
September 26 2013, 05:23PM
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Agree totally. The experiment with Hall at Centre might affect his Olympic selection. He is truly showing his leadership by accepting the change for the good of the team.

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#2 David S
September 26 2013, 05:21PM
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NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!! BLASPHEMER! WANYE SAYS GAGNER HAS THE C LOCKED!

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#4 Bucknuck
September 26 2013, 07:33PM
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I like Hall getting the C. I like Gagner getting the C. I like Eberle getting the C.

Some player (Ference) who is a new oiler? No Thanks. If You need an Interim Captain, then pick Smytty.

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#6 Will
September 26 2013, 05:24PM
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The maturity and attitude Hall has shown during the switch is the fabric from which all good captains are cut. I wonder if not rushing back Nuge had the added benefit in Mac T's mind that Hall would be put in this position.

Now imagine if he excels at center. This might just be the shift in team dynamic that propels the Oilers back into a cup contender.

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#7 Jay Gray
September 26 2013, 05:45PM
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If age is the only reason why we say don't give him the C, we must give him the C.

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#8 justDOit
September 26 2013, 05:33PM
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David S wrote:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!! BLASPHEMER! WANYE SAYS GAGNER HAS THE C LOCKED!

Gags is too ugly to wear the C now, with all his chicklets askew.

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#9 tom.MTL
September 26 2013, 06:48PM
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Slap the "C" on Dubnyk's grill and call it day.

What could possibly go wrong??

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#10 Smokey
September 26 2013, 05:52PM
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Watching Hall on the wing is a delight. I think he would be an amazing center and the team could be perennial contender with Nuge and Hall at there. Not trashing Gagner, but the reason people want Hall at Center is that its painfully obvious that Hall and Nuge down the middle is scary.

I think there is no rush to name a captain, but I believe he's the guy. Very few play with his fire. He never mails in a game or takes a night off. I don't think this team could go wrong with him or Eberle as captain. Hall and Ebs are the face of the franchise. Both play hard in different ways, both are committed to success.

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#11 Smokey
September 26 2013, 06:11PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

I would have been ok with a bridge captain like Ference too.

Horcoff and Moreau were a bridge captains, neither were the face of franchise. Both were declining significantly for a long time, and both were maligned because of it. I don't want to see the same thing happen to Ference. In Edmonton the captain should be your best player, a guy who does it for the next 10 years. Too me this idea of having a bridge captain cheapens the aura of the captaincy. When I think of great Oilers captains I think of Al Hamilton, Gretzky, Messier, Weight. Sure there were others bit its time to say this guys the guy, why wait a year to slap a C on him.

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#12 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 26 2013, 05:47PM
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I would have been ok with a bridge captain like Ference too.

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#13 Rama Lama
September 26 2013, 06:55PM
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Taylor Hall made it on the 50 Best Players List...........should have been top five in my opinion!

Eberle did not even make the list.........just who are these morons making the list? Either way the dynamic trio RNH, Hall, and Ebs should all have even a little more motivation to show those in the "centre of the Hockey Universe", that out west we have the best team bar none.

Damn the injuries......we have Hall!

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#14 china town man
September 26 2013, 08:05PM
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Hall for captain would and be the right choice for the oilers. That is just my own opinion. And please anybody for mayor just not Kerry idiot .

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#16 Beans
September 26 2013, 07:49PM
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I wanted to read this article but the centers were listed before the wingers so I stopped reading .

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#17 Racki
September 26 2013, 11:13PM
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Team Omark wrote:

Am I reading this correctly?

The third line is the quintessential checking line. Not a role for 4.8m Snowpants.

I think you fell asleep through some press conferences and such, as the Oilers are hoping to roll 3 scoring lines this year.

It seems you missed the memo on Linus Omark too, unless you're just being goofy.

Three lines of scoring! Difficult to fathom, but the Oil are certainly going to give that a whirl. So yes, this "Snowpants", as you call him, does belong somewhere in the top nine.. 3rd line is as good a place as any with Yakupov also being there (currently by most mock lineups).

Checking lines are for teams that are short on offensive players! :P

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#18 Ari Gold
September 26 2013, 06:59PM
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justDOit wrote:

Gags is too ugly to wear the C now, with all his chicklets askew.

I imagine that you weren't too satisfied with Horcs in that case. Guy looks like Sloth from the Goonies.

Hey you guys!!!!

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#19 Dawn
September 26 2013, 11:57PM
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From what I'm told, the C has less to do with what happens on ice and everything to do with what happens off camera. Doubt most of us have an inside view of the locker room.

From what I do see, Ference has leader written all over him. He barely unpacked before he had half the city working out with him and the other half wishing they could...

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#20 Ari Gold
September 26 2013, 07:04PM
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I still don't like the idea of putting a major offensive threat as the C. Everyone goes through slumps and when they do, it's a little harder to speak up to the team.

I like the idea of giving it to a strong D-man. Call up Nurse, give him rabies, feed him a live goat before every game and slap that C on his chest with pride.

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#21 Harlie
September 26 2013, 07:38PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

I like Hall getting the C. I like Gagner getting the C. I like Eberle getting the C.

Some player (Ference) who is a new oiler? No Thanks. If You need an Interim Captain, then pick Smytty.

Indeed, agreed proceed to..

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#22 OilCanFan
September 26 2013, 05:54PM
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Does anyone think that any of the players asked to play center would say "No"? I think they are paid enough to do what the coaches/GM say so I don't think Taylor Hall saying he is willing to try center should be a deciding factor in whether or not he should be captain. That being said, all the other reasons; his skill, leadership, determination, hatred of losing, etc., should be why he is named the captain.

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#23 Velo
September 27 2013, 12:30AM
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Dawn wrote:

From what I'm told, the C has less to do with what happens on ice and everything to do with what happens off camera. Doubt most of us have an inside view of the locker room.

From what I do see, Ference has leader written all over him. He barely unpacked before he had half the city working out with him and the other half wishing they could...

Exactly. And, he's socially engaged. While Hall might be the alpha dog one the ice, Ferrance might be the best to lead these boys into becoming community-minded, well-rounded men.

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#24 Ducey
September 27 2013, 09:28AM
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I'd be inclined to give the C to Ference.

He is vet with a ring. He has been very active in the community already and would be comfortable doing all the off ice things required for the job. There are multiple community appearances required, and you have to always be there for the media.

He will also be spending a lot of time mentoring young defensemen over the next 4 years.

Hall might be the Oilers best player but that is a small consideration for the job.

I'd rather have Hall focus on the new position and on his on-ice role.

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#25 EricOG
September 26 2013, 06:52PM
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tom.MTL wrote:

Slap the "C" on Dubnyk's grill and call it day.

What could possibly go wrong??

That soft goal every other period may just undermine his leadership.

Aside from that,I don't know.

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#26 Justino
September 26 2013, 05:32PM
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I don't know, if Hall goes permanently goes center we don't have much depth on our lw. Joensuu hasn't proven enough to me yet and smyty is probably on his last year.

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#27 Muji
September 26 2013, 08:01PM
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Beans wrote:

I wanted to read this article but the centers were listed before the wingers so I stopped reading .

Me too :( Tell us again why you prefer writing "C-L-R", Lowetide? "L-C-R" just makes sense. I could even see "C, L, R" making sense. But "C-L-R" makes my brain hurt every time I see it.

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#28 Dangilitis
September 26 2013, 09:43PM
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I think for once, I am afraid, I agree with Gregor. The top 9 with 2 more top 6 draft picks in it is scary good, and pushes Brown and Arcobello out of the roster.

If Gagner really is out for 2 months and RNH for 1 month (I hope these are both guarded timelines), then Eakins keeping them in the playoff hunt by the time they're both back would be a ringing endorsement for his coaching abilities. I also suppose it also depends on how Smyth fares in the top 6 and how Hall fares as a C.

For the record, I have thought Smyth still was a hockey player when everyone started calling for his head at the end of last season. I do remain skeptical that he should play top 6 minutes but at the same time he should play with skilled players and not the Browns and Eagers. If Eakins makes him into a center again, then we might as well write his Oilers obituary.

And LT, I think you should just cut and paste a disclaimer above every forward line you post, so as to save you the inevitable explanations!

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#29 Oiler Al
September 26 2013, 10:49PM
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Eakins is not a fan of having clans within the group, ie:young vs old guys etc. I think there is an element of clan in the Hall, Eberle,RNH, and Justin. Kind of makes it young vs old. Maybe that's why the Gagner for Captain came up.

If the only dynamic for being Captain, is you have to be the best player on the team... then its Hall hands down. He is a leader on ice for sure, I really don't know his off ice character.

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#31 Noelpm
September 26 2013, 11:49PM
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@EHH Team

When you don't have size the best option is to roll three scoring lines. That is the way the team has been built. We aren't Boston. With Ference and a seemingly stronger Defensive core then last year, I can see this strategy of having a surplus of skilled forwards pay off this year. I also agree with LT that Hall should be at the Helm.

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#32 Tim in Kelowna
September 27 2013, 11:07AM
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I fail to see how agreeing to move to Centre makes Hall worthy of the captaincy. I would hope every Oiler would do what the coaching staff asks of them.

I also don't agree that just because Hall should be our captain just because he is our best player.

The fact that he is 22 doesn't mean he isn't ready to be captain. But I do think he lacks the maturity necessary to be captain. The way he conducts himself around town is less than ideal.

With everything that Ference has done since he has arrived in Edmonton, how do you not make him captain? He's already engaged in the community in a very meaningful way. Not only that, but he was a key part of a recent Stanley Cup championship team. To me he shows a lot more leadership than Hall does.

I would name Ference captain, and maybe when he retires in 4 years Hall will be ready for the C.

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#33 Dan 1919
September 27 2013, 11:28AM
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Hall is the best choice for captain, he has the work ethic that every captain should display, he has the ability to bring instant energy to the team with one shift (something that when choosing a less impactful captain like Giordano you will seldom get), and he is more concerned about winning hockey games than anything else. And in a league where 34 is considered old, Taylor Hall is plenty "old" enough.

Horcoff is gone and I don't mean to heckle the guy, but when guys come to the team where the third line centre is a captain, and even though he was very "professional," it automatically puts your team in a different category than when you have a captain like Toews, Chara, or Crosby.

Now when guys show up to the Oilers and they look up and see one of the best players in the league wearing the C and giving it 98% every shift, they realize they better compete just as hard to be apart of this squad.

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#35 Team Omark
September 26 2013, 10:03PM
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Justino wrote:

I don't know, if Hall goes permanently goes center we don't have much depth on our lw. Joensuu hasn't proven enough to me yet and smyty is probably on his last year.

False. We have Omark

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Then Jones.

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#36 Serious Gord
September 27 2013, 12:16AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Old habit I'm afraid, C-L-R just makes sense to me, always has and always will. Esposito-Cashman-Hodge, Gretzky-Tikkanen-Kurri, Nuge-Hall-Hemsky.

Sorry Beans stopped reading, but certainly understand.

Rubbish.

Abel Lindsay Howe? I don't think so

Ditto Hay Hull Balfour

And lemaire shutt lafleur

When talking great lines the best player (or most famous) is the first listed you just cherry picked examples that fit your confusing template.

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#37 Reinmand
September 27 2013, 07:37AM
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rob wrote:

with injuries Perron gets lots of play time and will lead this team in scoring this year(by a mile),slap the c on hall,trade for a goalie and back to the playoffs we go!

I still have faith in Dubnyk. I love Hall at center. If anything we could use one more left winger. I don't think Smyth is a long term solution playing with Hall and Hemmer. I had some hope that Omark could be our man, but unfortunately, he was not able to put it together.

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#38 madjam
September 27 2013, 10:38AM
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Hall would be a good Captain as he makes all around him play better . If you cam make Smyth and Hemsky look good , you've got something special . Hopkins and Eberle to a lesser extent in that regard , and Yak looks like he will follow closer to Hall . Gagner is not at that level from what I have seen -slightly below the 4 of them and not as dynamic . Far to early for Ference . Question : Who now becomes the Union rep for Oilers ?

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#39 916oiler
September 27 2013, 11:21AM
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Throw Wayne and Gags to the wolves, HALL FOR CAPTAIN!!!

Still love ya Wayne ;)

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#40 Ivan Drago
September 27 2013, 12:23PM
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Team Omark wrote:

Am I reading this correctly?

The third line is the quintessential checking line. Not a role for 4.8m Snowpants.

If Gagner was 4.8m he would be loved and signed to a 25 yr deal

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#41 Racki
September 26 2013, 08:13PM
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Any time I read the center first it often briefly confuses me, but I often know to expect it from posters such as Lowetide. It's more the other randos that follow this that throw me off. :P It's a petty thing to stop reading over though, even if it makes less sense to me.

Anyways, I may drink the kool-aid to often, but I'm in love with this team's top 9 possibilities. The fourth line is a big dud right now, but it is what it is. Ideally (with the group the Oilers have), the 4th line is the non-factor this year, and the top 3 lines are tremendous factors.

Oh and Eakins' comments to the media recently made it sound like Hall's accepting of the centre role was inconsequential to the captaincy. I didn't get the "Hall would be a good centreman captain" vibe by what I was hearing, which seemed odd to me. Eakins gave me the vibe like he doesn't give a crap about what the leadership has been like before he showed up either.

Edit: oops, that should say "Hall would be a good captain" not "Hall would be a good centreman". Fixed it above.

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#42 dcsj
September 26 2013, 11:26PM
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FWIW, I think there are some good leaders in the bunch, worthy of consideration. However, I've been really impressed with the way Hall handles himself in front of the press this pre-season. I think he's the captain of the future, might as well give it to him now.

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#43 MrMackey
September 26 2013, 11:58PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Old habit I'm afraid, C-L-R just makes sense to me, always has and always will. Esposito-Cashman-Hodge, Gretzky-Tikkanen-Kurri, Nuge-Hall-Hemsky.

Sorry Beans stopped reading, but certainly understand.

Have always had a really hard time with it too. "Left"-"Centre"-"Right"... the template instructions are in the words. Listing them in order of who leads the lines followed by the left then right wing seems so arbitrary to me - almost like listing the players in order of minutes played. But, to each his own...

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#44 Reinmand
September 27 2013, 07:05AM
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Slap the C on Hall. It is time for him to lead this team into the playoffs. He leads by example and I believe he is the cornerstone of our new era. Love Ebs, think Yak will be great too. But for me it is Hall that should get the C.

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#45 Reinmand
September 27 2013, 07:13AM
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Oh, and further to Hall, I think he is a guy that responds well to being challenged. I think the C will solidify in his mind that this is his team to carry, and I believe he will respond positively. Whether he is the best player on the team, I don't know. Eberle, Yak, and a healthy Nuge might have something to say about that in the coming years. Also in a couple of years time, Nurse may prove to more important to this club then any of them.

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#46 Batfink
September 27 2013, 09:55AM
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Just my opinion, but I believe that we should give the C to a player who will grow long term with the team. whether that is Gags, Ebs, or Hall. Even if Yak shows he's the best candidate and we have an interim C until he's ready. I certainly wouldn't be adverse to Ference in the short term, but this is not 'his' team. And I don't get the impression that he does all his community work just to get the C. He'd do it anyway. I believe if we gave a youngster the C, Ference would be an ideal leadership mentor. So, in summary, Ference for short term, but if MacT is looking 5yrs down the road, then someone else.

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#47 Batfink
September 27 2013, 09:58AM
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Also, during my military days, I saw a few instances of some people with huge potential, but maybe a little wild being given promotion and responsibility to 'ground' them out. Being under greater scrutiny from senior ranks did not allow them to show their wilder sides. Also, they were so busy with the extra duties of a leader they had no time to party hearty! Could this be applied to Hall......

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#48 Tim in Kelowna
September 27 2013, 11:10AM
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EDIT: I also don't agree that just because Hall is our best player he should be our captain.

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#49 voom04
September 26 2013, 09:07PM
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Way better than Smyth at centre(no offense) but that was brutal last go around

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#50 Team Omark
September 26 2013, 10:00PM
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Lowetide, why in the world do you think Snowpants can be a 3rd line checking center. If Hall to C is a success then you ship him out of town ASAP.

Also, for the top 9, replace Joensuu with Omark and you're good to go. Proof is in the pudding.

Omark is worthy of top 9 exhibit A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7uCLxJW1bQ

Can Joensuu do those moves? Don't think so. Come back Linus!!!

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