His left ankle is encased in a walking cast and it will likely cost Taylor Hall a chance at the Calder Trophy, but for me, Hall’s fight with Derek Dorsett Thursday makes the name that ends up engraved on the trophy for the NHL’s top rookie in 2011 a moot point.

In a season when Hall has delivered on all the hype and promise leading to him being drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers, he set another benchmark when he decided he’d had enough of Dorsett, one of the toughest pound-for-pound fighters in the game, dropped his gloves and started throwing punches.

While Hall loses style points for stopping to pick up his gloves after the scuffle, and the ankle injury — he will have an MRI today to assess the extent of the damage — is unfortunate, his first Gordie Howe Hat-trick tells us all we need to know about the kid wearing No. 4.

Stu MacGregor and the Oilers couldn’t have possibly got it more right when they called Hall’s name at the Entry Draft last June in Los Angeles. The ridiculously talented and driven Hall is everything a franchise fallen on sad-sack times could have hoped for.

Doesn’t matter whose name goes on the trophy.


For all of the debate about what should have or could have happened when and after Dorsett and Hall tangled in the second period, Hall’s 64th game with the Oilers marks the moment he decided to stop turning the other cheek and stand up for himself. To take care of business.

As with just about every other aspect of his game, Hall delivered a glimpse of another dimension sooner than it could reasonably be expected he would, win or lose when the gloves came off with Dorsett.

"There’s nothing in your contract that says you can’t fight and you can’t defend yourself and that’s all I was trying to do," Hall said. "He kind of gave me a few jabs in the face. It’s bad luck I had to leave the game but I’d probably do it again if I had to.

"There comes a time when you have to. There’s nothing wrong with sticking up for yourself. Eventually if you keep getting hit and people keep coming in for you. It’s not a great feeling when you’re that guy that keeps getting rescued. I was just trying to help out a little bit."

Unless you’re a pussy or a pacifist without the slightest clue, how can you not like that?


Hall, just a few months beyond his 19th birthday, showed in no uncertain terms Thursday he’s ready to push back. Ready to do his own dirty work. No need to have a teammate step in for him, again. I’m guessing fans can’t wait until he’s all grown up.

"We drafted character so we better expect character to show up and it did," coach Tom Renney said. "We’ll deal with the consequences, that’s what a team does. Scraps happen. That’s part of the game. He had enough of all the liberties being taken."

We won’t know until the results of an MRI how long Hall’s ankle will keep him out of the line-up. Will Hall be done at 22 goals and 20 assists after 65 games? Maybe. Doesn’t matter.

If the 65th game of Hall’s rookie season with the Oilers is his last, so be it. As advertised, the gifted, gritty and growing Hall has already delivered an eye-opening glimpse of what the future might bring.

Just one thing — next time, let somebody else pick up the gloves, kid.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • JDP

    I cant believe the majority thinks that hall getting injured and missing the rest of the season is okay! Shows how pathetic this team,management and some fans are. Pretty disgusting that a 19 year old rookie has the balls to do something and the rest of the team and management just sits and do nothing.

    I feel sorry for hall. Done for the season. Disgusting.

  • The catastrophic high ankle sprain I suffered kept me from playing dodgeball nearly 3 months, worst injury of my life.

    #4’s reckless style of play was one of the major concerns against drafting him..

    It wasn’t a massive head shot hit like some suggested but #4 put himself in that position.

    His season ended because he couldn’t control his frustration. Courageous, sure…Necessary? nope.

    Seguin’s learning a completely different game this year.


    • book¡e

      So did your dodgeball season end because you couldn’t control your frustration or because injuries happen during athletic competition?

      Or is it that somebody else couldn’t control their frustration and blindsided your smart-ass to applause from everybody who saw it?

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Face facts man, you got on the wrong train based on position. Trying to cling to this injure as some type of justification of your opinion is pretty sad.

      Weak, weak post.

  • @Brownlee,

    The playing surface was over waxed IMO…

    I exploded off the line but was unable to stop my momentum reaching for the balls…

    The grip on my Nike’s were staring at me before the pain set in…

    My injury inspired the team to victory!

  • Feynman

    The Oilers show gets run again. If they can’t realize that Hall is their future and act accordingly, there will be no more Stanley Cups for a long long time. Other teams consistently physically abuse and get under the skin of our top players and are not afraid to do so. It pissed me off that Renney seemed okay with what occurred last night. Being an Oiler is not what it used to be and I can’t blame any of the players for wanting the heck out of here. I was at the game last night and it made me sick watching the third period. But hey, we got our 2 points! …..only 23 pts back of a playoff spot now!!!

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Hall is done. But what a year he had. He is the real deal. Add another like him this at this draft and we’ll be watching magic happen for years. Does Eberle ever score any garbage goals? I imagine he does but I have yet to see one. Tambo is loaded for bear for this draft. He has 10 picks with which to improve this organization. The Senators look destined to finish ahead of us. Who do we think they would like to pick and how can we use that against them.Flip picks? Or the Islanders. The opportunity is there this year because o fthe depth of the first 10 picks. I’d be just happy at the 3rd pick taking RNH as I would the fifth taking Huberdeaux.Draft day is going to be wild.

  • Props to Dorsett for not beating the kid to a pulp. Its kinda ironic that in an effort to save Hall the embarrassment of being fed, he actually hurts him worse than if he had just knocked him out.

    ~go figure~