LOS ANGELES — It’s going to be a busy and historic day for OilersNation and fans of the Edmonton Oilers, and my guess is the action is going to start long before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman steps to the podium to get things going at 4 p.m. Pacific Time (5 p.m. in Oil Country).
Aside from making the No. 1 pick today, which will mercifully put an end to the Taylor-Tyler debate, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, as we’ve previously reported, has already said he’s looking to make a deal that will land him another pick in the first round.
Tambellini will talk to Peter Chiarelli of the Boston Bruins about the No. 2 pick. He’ll talk to Florida GM Dale Tallon about the No. 3 pick and the No. 15 pick. Expect Tambellini to come calling on Columbus and former Oiler assistant GM Scott Howson, who holds the fourth overall pick. Don’t be a bit surprised if there’s more first-round picks in play than those.
Before The Count opens proceedings, I’ll fill you in on who’s talking to who and, as best as I can, and what they’re talking about. As soon as I know something, so will you. So check back on this item early and often. I’ll be posting updates (listing Edmonton time) as things unfold.
2:30: Some people laughed when I first pitched the question, "Taylor or Tyler, why not both?" at ON a while back, but Tambellini’s pursuit of Boston’s pick and a sweep of the first two spots in the draft is creating some of the louder buzz being heard around here today. Tambellini has already spoken with Chiarelli (again) today trying to see what it’ll take to get his pick, without any success. Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reports:
"I spoke with Steve this morning and I told him what I told him before: that we’re not in a position to make a significant offer to allow us to pick the player we want in the first two picks," Chiarelli told ESPN.com early Friday afternoon. "But he inquired about trading for the second pick and I have to give him credit. He’s been really persistent in trying to get that pick. But I told him, as I’ve been telling everyone else, that I’m not moving the second pick."
Don’t think for a second Tambellini is through trying to get this done. At some point, though, if Chiarelli won’t budge, it’ll be time for Tambellini to turn his attention elsewhere (Florida and Columbus) . . . Sheldon Souray is definitely in play in a pitch to move up.
3:30: THUMBS DOWN MEANS HALL? I just got the thumbs down from a member of the Oilers contingent, one that has told me in the past he favours drafting Tyler Seguin. Now, that’s just one interpretation — the person I’m talking about might just not like my choice of cologne today — but I’m reading between the lines here. I’m going to sniff around.
4:35: Lots of action around the Oilers table, which is as far away from we penned off media types as you can get. Camera crews etc hanging around . . . Tambellini hasn’t come near this end of the rink for about an hour and neither has any other member of the Oilers contingent . . . haven’t been able to pick up on Tambellini huddling with anybody yet . . . Scott Niedermayer, just retired as a member of the Anaheim Ducks, is down on the floor looking like a management type, a position I’m guessing is in his future . . . Oilers scout Frank Musil has been chatting with agent Ritch Winter, who I’m guessing will end up representing his son, David Musil, who will be a top-5 pick in 2011.
5:00: It’s still several minutes before the Oilers make the first pick and their interview area outside the main arena area is already 10 deep in reporters and camera crews staking out space to get their interviews . . . owner Daryl Katz will be part of the Oilers on-stage contingent when the pick is made, although Tambellini will announce the selection.
5:08: WE HAVE A TRADE!!!!!! . . . Just screwing with you . . ..
5:18: The Count (after being lustily booed) has finished his introduction . . . the chant "Let’s go Oilers" starts . . . the Oilers, including Paul Coffey, Dave Semenko, Stu MacGregor, Kevin Lowe and Katz, have made the walk up the stairs . . . Tambellini leans in and, "With the first pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select, from the Windsor Spitfires, Taylor Hall."
5:19: The Oilers have a jersey with No. 10 on it waiting for Hall . . . Horcoff is giving up his number?
6:02 STRAIGHT TALK FROM TAYLOR
"I was so shocked. I was shaking in my seat," Hall said. "I got to the podium and I was shaking so much I couldn’t even put my jersey on. I was so happy. My whole family is so happy."
"I had no idea what was going on. They said, ‘Windsor Spitfires,’ and it’s all a blur from there. I’m so happy right now. It’s a great franchise. Hopefully, I can make that team next year. That’s my first step.
"We can really re-create some of the magic they had there. We’re going to have a young team. That’s something I’m really looking forward to at this point.
"That’s something I worked for all year. I always push myself on and off the ice . . . I have no words right now. I’m just honoured to join this organization. I feel so wanted.
"They’re such a great franchise with so much history behind them with the five Cups they’ve won."
6:20: Lowe told reporters the separation between Hall and Seguin was absolutely minimal until a couple of weeks ago when the scouting staff held meetings in Vernon and, one-by-one, MacGregor’s scouts made their case and the advantage swung heavily to Hall.
6:23: Still no deal to move up from Tambellini as the names get ticked off . . . Hall, Seguin, Gudbranson, Johansen, Niederreiter, Connolly, Skinner, Burmistrov . . . Minnesota up next . . .
6:29: Nine picks in and still no Fowler and no move-up deal for Tambellini . . . I thought I was going off the board by having Skinner go 11th to Dallas in my mock draft, but seventh to Carolina? That’s surprising, but so is seeing Gormley still available.
6:31: "Hopefully, they like me." That’s Hall on the giant scoreboard here at the Staples Center when asked if there’s anything he’d like to say to fans in Edmonton.
7:03: The Panthers pick next and so far no word on them moving the 15th pick, one that Tambellini has been in hot pursuit of . . . anything at the last minute between Tambellini and Tallon? I’m taking a look . . .
7:07: Will be filing a Hall item and how the Oilers finally decided he was their guy, but we have to wait until the end of the first round to get Tambellini. That could be another two hours . . .
7:08: Panthers trade the 15th pick to Los Angeles for the 19th and 59th picks . . . Tambellini shut out again despite putting Cogliano on the table for Tallon, according to Darren Dreger.
7:15: Ottawa trades the 16th pick to St. Louis . . .There goes Tarasenko . . .is that Tambellini slamming his head against the Oilers table? I keed, I keed . . .
7:35: Here’s comes Florida again with the 19th . . . Bjugstad.
7:37: The Oilers want Jarred Tinordi, but they won’t get him if they can’t get one of the next four or five picks because I can’t see him there at 31st . . . might take more than Cogliano.
7:42; Gregor and I thought Pysysk was going to Pittsburgh at 20th. Instead, it’s Beau Bennett.
7:53: Phoenix has the next pick and GM Dave Maloney is talking to Buffalo’s Darcy Regier, who has the 23rd pick (neither one is talking to Tambellini).
7:57: Coyotes send 22nd and 113th to Montreal for 27th and 57th . . .there goes Tinordi to the Habs. Ouch!
8:13: Pysyk finally goes, 23rd to Buffalo. Nice pick this deep. Too bad they pronounced it "Phithic," like a hair-dresser with a lisp.
8:27: Everybody in the Staples Center — including the fans, ushers and parking lot attendants — except Tambellini, has made a deal now.
8:33: A quick quote from Seguin on going No. 2 while there’s a lull: "I wasn’t surprised or disappointed," said Seguin. "I think I just came in here really with an open mind. I didn’t have any expectations. I think everyone has their own opinion. We’ve seen it all year with whatever scouting service there may be. You know, Edmonton decided to select Hall first overall, and good for him. He deserves it. And I’m happy to be a Bruin."
8:36: I’m told Tambellini made three separate runs at Chiarelli and Boston for the No. 2 pick and that Hemsky and Eberle were, indeed, on the table.
8:43: San Jose takes Charlie Coyle at No. 28. He’s one of the players the Oilers hoped to get with the 31st pick.
8:55: The Taylor Hall Q&A from NHL.com:
Q. Was there an element of surprise out there for you tonight?
TAYLOR HALL: I was so shocked. I was shaking in my seat. I got up to the podium, or whatever it is, and I was shaking so much I couldn’t even put my jersey on. I’m just so happy. My whole family’s so happy. It means a lot to us.
Q. Why were you nervous?
TAYLOR HALL: Because I had no idea what was going on. They said Windsor Spitfires and it’s all a blur from there. I don’t remember anything. I’m so happy right now.
Q. What’s it mean to be an Oiler?
TAYLOR HALL: Just to join such a great franchise. Hopefully I can make that team next year. That’s my first step. We can really recreate some of the magic they had there. I think when you have a young team, that’s something I’m really looking forward to joining.
Q. Uniting with Jordan Eberle, a pretty good opportunity as well?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, that’s going to be awesome. He’s such a good guy, and good player, and somebody I had a good chemistry in Russia. It’s going to be awesome playing with him.
Q. Tambellini said you’re the best player, that’s why he went with you. How much do you respect that?
TAYLOR HALL: That’s something I work for all year. I always push myself on and off the ice, for him to say that, that’s such a tremendous comment for him to say. I have no words right now. I’m so honored to join this organization, I feel so honored by them.
Q. You’re a student of history. Did you do anything to get drafted by the Oilers and Paul Coffey’s on the stage, and Kevin is on the stage?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, they’re such a great franchise. They have so much history behind them. With the five Cups they won it would mean a lot to me to join their organization, hopefully bring another one up there. That is the ultimate goal for me and the franchise.
Q. Why was Windsor such a good organization to prepare you for that next step?
TAYLOR HALL: I haven’t able to give credit to the guys in Windsor. They transformed me as a player. I went there as a young 15-year-old, and I came out as an 18-year-old man. With all the winning they did there, it really taught me a lot about hockey. Just what you have to do in the postseason and everything like that.
Q. Personal significance of going number 1?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, there is a lot of significance. I feel honored with all the players that have gone number one. I came into this year, that was one of my goals was to go number one. In saying that, there is still a lot of work to do out here. Dustin Brown on the podium before just saying how much work he had done so far, there is still a lot more to go. So hopefully I can do that.
Q. What kind of play per do you think you were before?
TAYLOR HALL: I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about that. That’s for them to decide. I don’t even know if I’d wear it.
Q. What kind of player do you think the fans at Edmonton should expect to see?
TAYLOR HALL: Well, like I said, I have to still make the team. Nothing’s for sure. There are a lot of number 1’s that have gone back to junior.
But I hope to be a dynamic offensive player, I like to play in the corners and knock it up, obviously get points because that’s my role.
Q. For somebody who was born in Canada, how does it feel playing in the battle of Alberta?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, that is something that shows my career has come full circle. I played in my backyard in Calgary, now I’m playing in the big rink. There’s been such a transformation, and it’s a tremendous journey that I’ve been on.
Q. What number will you wear?
TAYLOR HALL: I have no idea. I haven’t even thought about that.
Q. The fans it seems were toting whoever was going to be number one as a bit of a savior. Do you feel a burden of expectation in that regard?
TAYLOR HALL: Not really. I thought about that. There are always expectations no matter what you do. Obviously being a number one pick, I have to go in there and have a job to do, and I think I have the tools to do it. I know I have the confidence and the drive, so that’s what’s going to push me every day to be a better player and help the team out.
Q. Does this make up for going second in the OHL selection?
TAYLOR HALL: No, I’m still really shocked about that, actually. That was a long time ago. I can’t imagine three years ago I was that 15-year-old kid hope to go play in the OHL, now I’m going to become a member of the NHL soon. That’s tremendous.
Q. Does winning Memorial Cup or going first overall?
TAYLOR HALL: They’re totally different things. There’s a lot going through my mind right now. Those Memorial Cups are tremendous. You play for a team the whole year, and you develop a bond. With this, this is purely individual; I have a lot of family, and lot of people — I owe a lot to them.
TAYLOR HALL: I had no idea. I was so shocked. Like I said, when they said Edmonton Oilers, my mind went blank there. I have no idea what went on: I was smiling as big as I can. He just said congrats, and the TSN interview said my drive and intensity is what pushed me ahead. That’s a part of my game that I’ve never had to work on, so it’s always been good.
Q. You’re such a competitor?
TAYLOR HALL: Yeah, being a competitive guy is pretty important to me. At the same time, there is a lot of work to do. Lot of guys have gone number one. They played in the NHL, but they haven’t really exceeded the expectations that they began.
So I have a lot of work to do. Sure I went number one, but I still have a team to join, and a team to make better.
Q. Taylor, it’s personal for you to win this. What’s it mean for the franchise and all the people in Windsor for a Spitfire to go number one?
TAYLOR HALL: Hopefully they’re pretty happy. I know my time in Windsor has been remembered really well. I owe a lot to that organization, that city, and it’s still a city I love. A city I’m going to go back to. Just like I said, a city I owe a lot to. And hopefully they really appreciate me going number one because I appreciate them.
Q. Do you have a message for the fans back in Edmonton?
TAYLOR HALL: Just that I’m very excited to join the organization. I know that some of them are pulling for me. Hope they’re excited for the next season. I know I am. I can’t wait to get started with training camp, and just to meet the guys on the team, and hopefully develop a bond with the players and the fans.
9:20: Just finished up with Tambellini and Stu MacGregor. Stories coming on Tambellini’s trade attempts and on the the process the scouts went through in deciding on Hall. Stay tuned.