A Rivalry Begins

I mentioned this awhile back and last night was an excellent example: as time rolls on, Taylor Hall is going to take care of Taylor Hall.

Back when we talked about getting some muscle up front (Bullets and Bad Guys) I wrote:

  • Hall looks like the most likely guy to emerge as his own enforcer. I think we can see that now, the kid is getting frustrated by the chops and hacks, and sooner or later he’s going to do something about it. As predictable as the weather.

From LA KIngs Insider this morning comes this from Drew Doughty:

  • I didn’t really think there was a rivalry. I was trying to make the hit and he nailed me in the nose, so obviously I was a little (upset) about it, but once I got back out there, it wasn’t about getting back at him. I was just playing hard and trying to not let him get a goal.”

Which must have been why he was chasing #4 to the blueline in the third period of a one goal game last night. It’s going to get really good here soon.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    It is too bad both teams are not fighting for a playoff spot, it would of made the game worth watching. Did anybody also notice all the empty seats.

    • Cosmo

      Empty seats?


      Fight in the stands?

      Yes (Section 128 towards the concourse in the second period!)

      Lady beside me in the seats filing her nails while the game was going on?


      I could have sworn I was at a hockey game…

    • Alex Hemsky

      I was at the game and I was talking with my brother about how amazing it was that a team in last place could fill an arena on a Wednesday night. There wasn’t many empty seats till LA made it 3 -1

  • I hope this rivalry goes on for years. Two of the best young players in the game going at it like that is fun to watch. Too bad the Oilers don’t play LA more times during the year. Let’s hope for a post season match up in the future, because this could get good.

  • Lowetide

    The gloves will come off soon.

    On another note, Dustin Penner really responded well moving to the third line. I guess McT was right when he had Penner on the third and fourth line.

    I was also happy to see Habbi in net. The only thing higher than his goals against was his blood alcohol reading. The only thing lower than his save percentage was the Oilers in the standings.

  • Ducey

    Tony Soprano can take care of himself, too. But that doesn’t mean he does it all the time. He’s got people to do that so that he can concentrate on “business” (which seemed to be mostly seeing a Psycholgist).

    This by far is the Oilers biggest weakness. They have little grit, toughness, or size. They can hardly forecheck, hit or fight.

    It impacts their ability to control games and even their PP. All you need to do is stand them up on the blueline, make them shoot it in, and they can’t recover the puck on the forecheck.

    Hall should be able to take care of himself, but he should have someone riding the range with him at least occasionally at age 19. Penner would be ideal, and he did step in last game against the Kings, but he seems less than interested in any physical play most nights.

    Someone needs to step up and say to guys like Doughty, “don’t touch the kids again” and be able to back it up. It has to be someone who can actually play. Smac, JFJ,or Zorg need not apply.

    • Lowetide

      The Oilers don’t have those players. They have MacIntyre who is the guy who comes out for the staged fight and then they have Penner who has size but isn’t going to use it every night.

      Hall is no shrinking violet. He’s getting stronger and I suspect it’s a role he’ll take on as times roll on. Not the enforcer’s role, but looking after himself.

      The Oilers don’t have options in this regard, but I think it’s a role he can fill. Last night made me think he can do it soon.

      • Clay

        I’ve always seen Hall as having the potential to be a player from the Iginla tree, but more dynamic with puck. Would this be a fair comp for you, LT?

        Of course, as soon as I post this, I see two other Iginla comments. Guess I’m not alone here.

    • Alex Hemsky

      Since I was curious enough to look it up someone else may want to hear this.

      According to hockeyfights.com Hall was in 2 fights in the CHL.

      It also indicates that another player named Taylor Hall fought Dave Lumley in 1984.

      God bless the internet.

  • EasyOil

    Go out and Get Tootoo From Nashville. He would be a huge Fan Favorite and while not a heavy weight, he hits like one, i can assure you of that. Mr Dough Boy Doughty would have bit Plexiglass last night. If we dont beef up and get gritter, the Oil will not succeed not now not tomorrow.

    • EasyOil

      I have thought this forever. Tootoo is exactly what the Oilers need, a wrecking ball that hits anyone anytime. JFJ, step aside, we’ll let the guy half your size do your roll 20 times better.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    I think it’s great that Hall is starting to look more aggresive out there. It’ll only be a matter of time before he starts throwing more and more hits, and letting the adrenaline feed him.

    Don’t get pissed… but when I look at Hall I see a 19 year old Iginla – except Hall is getting better twice as fast. It took Iginla 7 years to become a name in the NHL. It wasn’t JUST the fact Iggy was scoring… he started taking on a physical game and askering to opposing players pushing around other Flames.

    I REALLY hope we start to see Hall make a move like this in the near future. If he could swing over to an Iggy style of play he would be PERFECT!!!

    • Ender

      I was actually just about to make an Iginla comparison when you beat me to the punch.

      On the one hand, we could do a lot worse than have a young Iginla on the team. On the other hand, I dread the day that we find out we’ve lost access to one of our best players in the middle of a playoff drive because he broke two fingers in a scrap.

      Overall, I guess I’d rather see him follow the passive route. Guys like Hemsky don’t fight and they still seem to get points. People don’t challenge Hemsky physically as often, maybe because there’s a stigma attached to taking down a pure skill guy. While you might argue that you don’t want Hall to be treated like a lady in the league, I think there’s more benefit to the Oilers going that route than with him having to defend his masculinity to every new up-and-comer who wants to make a name for himself. Fighting in the NHL seems to have a cumulative effect; the more you show you’re willing to throw down, the more often you’re asked to do it.

      When I see Sid the Kid fighting, I cringe a bit; yeah, he can do it, but I don’t know if it is always the best thing for the Penguins for him to put himself in the line of fire like that. Once in awhile, as a Captain trying to spark his team – ok, I get that. But not selfishly – not just because somebody pissed him off. I think that would be the hardest part of being a selective tough like that – being able to recognize when your responsibilty to the team takes precedence and being able to just skate away, even when you’re furious.

      • The Hall Way

        I do not think you can compare Hall to Hemsky. Hall’s game will include the physical aspect where Hemsky’s does not.
        In general, Hemsky does not go out to make a hit where Hall will drop you (if not now, he will) with a hit.
        It does seem like the game is played to you as a player as the player plays the game!

        As Hall becomes more comfortable in the league and is taught a little on how to defend himself, he will grab someone at some time! No he shouldn’t do this on a regular basis but it is apart of the style he plays. He will earn respect from the players when he does so and therefore have more room to play the game.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A stern no BS policy is needed for Taylor Hall. It’s best to pick your spots and drill said rival into the boards bouncing his head off the glass/boards/ice, or perhaps knocking Daughty off balance 4 feet from the boards and enjoy his sudden stop at the end of that 4 feet. In a year or so down the road Taylor should be able to do this on his own to even the crustiest of veterens.

  • book¡e

    A move like Hall pulled yesterday sends a message that if you are coming to hit him, keep your head up because he is happy to get an elbow up into your face. I watched it in slow motion and he really popped him in the face. He didn’t just stick his arm out, he very subtly snapped it forward.

    It was really nice to see.

  • Vaclav

    Momentum is the product of mass and velocity…

    Both Hall and Paajarvi have velocity to burn. When they add a bit more mass they’ll be able to keep defencemen like Regehr or Doughty on their toes by putting them through the end boards every so often.

    This will open up more space for them on the ice and make them less likely targets for big hits from opposing players.

    • Ender

      Huh? Hitting defencemen hard makes you less of a target?

      Man, why didn’t anyone send that memo to Shelly when Iggy-pop tried to drive him through the end-boards?

      Hemsky doesn’t look for the bone-crushing hits, and somehow he’s managed to avoid painting a target on himself.

  • MJM

    I thought it was perfect. When you know a guy might get his stick up in your chops if you take a run at him, you think twice the next time you want to throw him into the boards. Hall’s showing he’s not going to let himself get thrown around. Loved it.

  • EasyOil

    Well if we’re talking the entire team and not just the forwards, I’m looking forward to the day that we have all three of Peckham, Smid and Marincin in the lineup. Now I know that other than Peckham none of these guys are really fighters, but all are physical (you don’t get a nickname like “Wreck’um Peckham” for nothing) and all have a nasty streak (I know it would have been nicer to see Marincin not be suspended for most of the WJCs, but I really enjoyed seeing his nasty streak). And they can all play.

    As for forwards, well Penner does stand up for the young guns when needs be, Gagner actually doesn’t like being pushed around although I’d hardly call him the deterrent we need! But then again (and maybe I’m just suffering from amnesia) I can’t think of many truly good forwards who can be called deterrents. I guess all we need is a guy who can keep up whilst making and taking passes. Maybe. I agree with LT that Hall will take care of himself and no amount of knocks seems to affect him (touch wood).

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    A few points about last night’s game and some of the more interesting posts … er … posted so far today…

    – I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want Taylor Hall having to step in and solve his own problems. I don’t mind body checks and playing tough and stuff like that (and that’s probably all you guys mean), but I don’t want him turning into an Iginla-type player who has to settle differences with his fists. I love the way Iginla plays but I’ve always wondered why you’d want your best player sullying his hands on the head of some idiot who crosses him. Those are expensive hands.

    – From the TV angles I saw last night, Doughty basically leaned in too far just as Hall was bringing his stick up to go around him. Hall wasn’t even looking at Doughty when it was happening, so it looked pretty accidentally to me. There was no need for Doughty to get so whiny about an accidental clip and, by extension, there’s no need to lionize Hall for giving Doughty a bit of the here-you-go in the face to create room.

    Basically, it was two accidents converging at the same place at once. No heroes, no victims.

    (Then again, Glenn Anderson had quite a few accidental stick incidents back in the day … so maybe it was more than an accident. But I doubt it…)

    – I can’t wait to hear Tom Renney’s answer on why Stortini was demoted. I still can’t believe it’s because he lost a fight in embarassing fashion. I’m sure Renney will have a more intelligent, hockey-based reason.

    – Also: If the word on the street is Steve Macintyre is going to play more now that Storts is gone, where was he last night? That looked like a fairly snarly game, at times. With Storts a Sodbuster and Smac in the press box, there was exactly one (1) forward – JFJ – whom we’d want throwing hands out there. That would be one or two less than previous nights, no? How exactly are we tougher now than 48 hours ago?

    – Just wondering when we’re going to reach the Statute of Limitations on jokes regarding Khabibulin’s DUI and his alcohol problems, but I hope it’s soon.

    C’mon guys – what are we, a bunch of standup-comic hacks? Yes, he got caught drunk driving. That’s a terrible thing. But, chances are, there are people whom you come across every day who got caught doing worse things. I used to cover courts for a newspaper and I can tell you there are WAY more people out there with DUI records than you probably realize.

    If you saw them face-to-face, would you openly taunt them? Those of you who criticize Khabby for the GAA and the wins/losses and the save percentage and the contract are OK with me. But I’ll never be able to figure out those who take perverse pleasure in the clever little digs at Khabby’s off-ice foibles. Not sure what you’re trying to accomplish there. Aren’t Oiler fans supposed to be more sophisticated than this? Aren’t Canadians supposed to have more class than this?

    • Ender

      Once Khabi has done his time and paid his debt to society, then perhaps people will let sleeping dogs lie.

      To this point, I haven’t heard an apology from him; have you? All I’ve heard is how he’s appealed his sentence because he’s ~not guilty~. It’s pretty hard to show respect for that.

    • Alex Hemsky

      Lighten up. When you are a paid millions to be a spot light role model, its open season. Talk show hosts do it, people around the water cooler do it, buddies talk about it and joke. Habbi’s problems are self inflicted. Have we had a few DUI ourselves and are a little sensitive?

      Perhaps focus on the point that it would be nice to see Devon D. for 20 games to see if he can do it. Perhaps focus on the point that he let in three goals on the first 24 shots. Maybe ponder whether he gave the team a chance last night.

      But your right, I now feel really bad I made a joke about drinking and driving. No one was hurt, right. Thank God we have advocates such as yourself for overly fair treatments of people that are charged with these criminal offences.

      I am sorry I offended you, Habbi, Oiler fans, and all Canadians

      • Alex Hemsky

        Haha. Nope. No DUIs. But like I say, there’s a lot more of them out there than you think. And a lot of them are way worse than what Khabby did.

        And, no need to apologize. Joke if you wish. Fill yer boots, dude. Keep on keepin-on.

        Actually, I admire anyone who’s willing to put themselves out on that kind of limb. It takes a courageous dude to argue on the side of classless comments on a blog side. I mean, joking about it around the watercooler or with your buddies – well that’s rather pedestrian compared to blogs, message boards and the like. Bravo!

        Really, it’s too bad there weren’t blogs when MacT was in court back in the day or when Fuhr had the drug problems. Honestly, you would have had a field day. There wouldn’t have been enough watercoolers to go around for you.

        One more thing: Most substance-abuse problems are self-inflicted, so I’m not sure how that justifies putting the crosshairs on someone, either. I’ll curious to see what branch you put yourself on explaining that one. Again, I’ll admire any attempt at a cogent argument.

        • I don’t take the internet or blogs too serious. I accept points of views even if I agree or disagree. That’s what makes these sites recreational.

          Don’t get me wrong I have my huge faults too, so I really don’t have the need to grind others to find my pleasure. However, I do have an opinion as you do. You may have been offended by my comments. However, I have not stooped to calling you classless. I don’t even know you. Try to find that acceptance in your life, that you have suggested I don’t have.

          Try to focus your energy on the Oilers and the points of view that are posted, as widespread and annoying as they may be.

          I told you I am sorry if I offended you. My intent was to draw attention to the fact we continue to fail to develop our young goalies. Its not as if Devon D could have had any worse result last night. It was still a lose. How will we ever get a gauge on the goaltending situation, if we don’t let them play?

          The internet is pretty easy to go out on any limb. That’s why it is so popular.

  • Ducey

    Fair enough, but why exactly do you need an apology? Why do we need an apology?

    At the risk of getting nitpicky, his DUI was in Arizona not, er, Airdrie.

    Yes, I know. He’s a public figure and thus a role model and thus owes our children an apology for his behaviour lest they think it’s proper for an NHL goalie to be doing that sort of thing.

    But, I, personally, don’t know if I require any acts of public contrition.

    Khabby’s been quietly going about his business since the start of the season. He’s working hard and trying hard, even if the results aren’t always there. He’s done well to ensure the court case hasn’t turned into a distraction.

    As a fan of the team who’s otherwise a complete stranger to the man, I don’t need any more than that.

  • Ducey

    The Oilers don’t have those players.

    I agree. But they need to make getting some a priority this offseason/ trade deadline/ draft.

    Get rid of pretenders like Smac and JFJ. Clear some space by tossing Fraser.

    Bring in a few Glencross, Konopka, Neil types along with a faceoff/checking centre and this team will be much better for it.

  • book¡e

    Squirrel – Watch the clip, Hall ‘pops’ his arm out somewhat like a boxer’s 3 inch punch. It was well timed. You don’t have to be looking to make that move. It was subtle, but it was there and it was intentional. Lot’s of players don’t think that way when playing (making the hitting player ‘pay’ for their hit), but I am glad to see Hall does.

    As per Khabi, I have been a pretty harsh critic because I have zero respect for people who drink and drive (the fact that lots of people do it makes it no better – good people die because of the selfish acts of drunk drivers), however I do understand that while his case is pending appeal, he is unable to appologise.

  • So basically this thread is saying that we NEED Landeskog???? Top 6 scorer who will beat the piss outta anyone. I get that we need D but isnt toughness more important right now.

    D chart: whitney, gilbert, teddy, petry, ….smid, marincin, chorney, plante. Yes, thats not the best but stay at home defense is much easier to find imo than a true top 6 enforcing will type.

  • Doesn’t matter how many hit men this team takes on. Teams will run us until the time comes when taking a penalty against the Oilers will mean a high probability of the puck ending up in their net. That’s why guys like SMac are useless.

    Seriously. You could do just about anything to Hall right now. The most you’d get is a few minutes in the box with your team having to kill the ~vaunted~ Oilers PP. Notice how much respect we got last night on our PP? NONE. Is it a coincidence that every PK we run up against is described as “super aggressive”?

    On the other hand, if we get one of those tough guys everybody is demanding, the only thing we’ll accomplish is having to face more PP’s. And well, we all know how that’ll end up.

    I think the reality we need to face is that until we get enough quality players on our team who can make the ST’s effective, it wouldn’t matter if we got the second coming of Mark Messier’s elbow in a trade. It wouldn’t help us out.

  • Alex Hemsky

    It looked like Hall was ready to cry and run away when Doughty talked to him at the start of the 3rd. Staring at the ref praying he would drop the puck soon.

  • Funny I was thinking about this last night. This is very similar to Selanne’s rookie year when he and Chelios ran each others show. It was amazing, Chelios was furious because the rook would not back down. It was great to watch and they really ramped it up when they played each other. The only difference of course is Drew is much younger that Chelios at the time. I can’t wait until Hall windshields him one day instead of being the bug…

  • After watching the game last night, I was appalled by Hall’s performance. I know he is a rookie, and the Oilers brightest star, but he is going to get killed if he keeps playing hockey like Greg Louganis.

    I figured it might be just a one time thing. But after seeing a few highlights on NHL.com, unfortunately it looks like his style. He has to be smarter on who he goes after when he gets lit up with his head down. He might be able to get away with such cheap-shots to Drew Doughty, but if this was ten years ago, someone like Scott Stevens would kill him.

    It is a sad hockey season to see such a great hockey community like Edmonton in the cellar. But it’s more depressing to see a team/hockey town, with such a rich hockey tradition, putting up with with a star player who acts like a two year, while completely disrespecting the game.

    • greg louganis? i didn’t see the entire game but i didn’t and haven’t seen #4 play the dive game yet …doughty tried the same exact hit as he ‘lit up’ him in LA with…’cept this time he went at him with his head down…Taylor Hall owned doughty for that and that’s why doughty was so pissed after …”cheap shots”? that’s just horse manure friend…doughty knew he missed him AND he paid for it.Oh and Scott Stevens wouldn’t have attempted that hit with his down like a sophomore. It was a breakthrough play [the push back] for Hall imo AND he didn’t get dinged for roughing because he did it so well…#4 needs to do more and more of that so one day he’ll be able to skate through little craps like doughty.

      greg louganis…an appalling comparison

      • OK, I was not taking about that hit. I am very familiar with players at the last second doing something to protect themselves when they don’t see a hit coming. It’s just reaction. I’ve done it countless times. I even felt bad when I popped someone in a scrimmage that tried to blind-side me.

        I’m talking about a few other moments throughout the game where Hall went down too easily and looked for calls. The best example was at the end of the game the penalty Doughty got for tripping. Doughty’s stick was nowhere near Hall’s skates. At real speed I took a double take, then on after the reply it was pretty obvious. Especially when I saw his head turn to the ref.

        You’re right, Greg Louganis might be “an appalling comparison” because I don’t recall any Canadians winning gold in the Summer Games. Hopefully Hall will mature out of playing Euro trash diving hockey.

  • Hey Scott…ya see i didn’t see that particular play but i notice at times Hall “looks for calls” and that’s becoming more obvious, ur point taken but man “Euro trash diving hockey”?

    that’s another stretch 4me but…there’s still time for me to change my mind after i saw the leg come out last night on …was it Johson? now that was something i don’t want to see too much of, what i’d call “a little snot play”

    you nailed it though …you said mature and that’s what i’m thinking of looking forward to and by the end of this season wouldn’t be too early for my liking.