Another Kid in the Hall

Taylor Hall’s injury last night was a blow to all of Oilers Nation. The young guns have been feeling their oats all fall, and Hall–who was perhaps just a step behind RNH & Eberle–had "that look" of late. Oiler fans know that a goal scoring rampage often follows Hall’s shifts into overdrive. Now, we wait. For the MRI and then the news of how long Hall will be out. One thing to remember: this bad news also brings opportunity.

THE NHL CANDIDATES

This fan was a couple wobbly pops in Saturday night when #4 was felled (Robin Brownlee has an excellent article on the Hall injury and last night’s game here at ON. My only quibble would be that the Oilers were clearly gassed in period 3, so it was a game they were in tough to win no matter the circumstances) and the profanity around the LT house was not for the meek.

However, as day breaks (well, as midday breaks) it gives one a chance to think about current roster players who might benefit from Hall’s bad fortune. If Taylor misses four weeks, which NHL forward will benefit the most?

  1. Magnus Paajarvi: Buddy has been in a funk all year, and some of that is due to playing with less skilled men. Still, some of this is on the player, and he certainly lacks confidence at this time. I could see coach Renney moving Paajarvi up to the top 6, possibly slotting him in with Horcoff and Hemsky. That’s a soft landing for a struggling youngster, although Hemsky’s ad-libbing can be a nightmare for youth (you may recall Hall’s comments on playing with 83). If MP gets the opportunity, he needs to post some crooked numbers a-sap. That top 6 chance won’t last long if the puck doesn’t get past the goal line.
  2. Sam Gagner: Samwise has been doing some good things of late, finally coming alive after an injury filled and ineffective early fall. The problem: Gagner hasn’t been effective at Hall’s position (LW) in the past. It’s unlikely coach Renney will move the RW’s (Eberle and Hemsky) or the C’s (RNH and Horcoff) so Hall’s injury could in fact weaken Gagner’s position in the short term.
  3. Ryan Jones: This might be the option that coach Renney goes with, as Jones has shown exceptional adaptability and is in fact becoming what Fernando Pisani used to be for the Oilers. By that I mean, Jones is the guy that coach Renney can put on a line and see good things happen. If Renney puts him with Horcoff and Smyth, that’s a line that could do some heavy lifting. Jones is a definite possibility.

There are some other options, but those would be the three that I’d see as being likely. Ben Eager has in the past slipped up a line or two, but his subpar season so far makes him a distant option. Coach Renney clearly trusts Anton Lander, and the young Swede may also get a few spins at the position.

POSSIBLE BARONS

With the move up the depth chart for one of the bottom sixers, there’s a chance Steve Tambellini reaches down to OKC and calls up a forward. Although that player is extremely unlikely to take Hall’s place, a couple of weeks in the NHL and some 3rd or 4th line time could be in the offing. Here are some of the candidates.

  • Phil Cornet leads the AHL in goals (15 goals in 19 games) and has to at least be on the radar. He’s a fascinating prospect, in that the Oilers haven’t used him or talked about him as someone they see as a legit NHL option. Still, he’s ripping up a damn good league, and someone has noticed and that’s for sure.
  • Teemu Hartikainen has 8 goals and what’s more is having some impact on the OKC powerplay. He’s a big body and showed well during a cup of coffee last spring. Hartikainen would be my choice for recall, based on his nice range of skills and the fact that he shouldn’t look out of place on the 4line. He might deliver more pep than someone like Eager, who still looks a little tentative after the pre-season concussion.
  • Gilbert Brule took his medicine and has played well in the AHL. The organization might prefer to keep him in the minors (waiver concerns, or a longer term approach to his career recovery) but he is a player who could step in and play at a certain level for the Oilers.
  • Hunter Tremblay leads the AHL in shorthanded goals (3) and has impressed his coach this season. You never know, he may never play in an NHL game. But there’s a player here, and rewarding him with a recall might be an option.

FEARLESS PREDICTION

Those who follow my "reasonable expectations" series know I’m rarely wrong. In this case, my bet would be on the youngster Paajarvi getting the first at-bats. Coach Renney might feel this is a chance to get the young man some confidence and a goal or two.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Taylor Hall’s injury is extremely bad news. The young man has 30 goal power and no NHL team has the kind of depth required to plug and play that level of talent. The Edmonton Oilers do have some nice options, a reflection of their improved depth across the board. Stu MacGregor really is a magnificent bastard.

  • Big Cap

    I am also VERY discouraged that after the hit that NOTHING was done. Yes, Pecks tried to step up and go right after him but it resulted in a goal. BUT where was Hordy?!?!?!?!?!

    He has talked a VERY big game thus far,but what has he accomplished??? Hords didnt force the issue with Wilson, he didnt even make a run at any of their best players like Duchene, O’reily, or Stasney. He played his regular shift up and down the wing all night. IMO, it was a GUTLESS preformance! Our future captain and franchise player gets knocked out of the game and NOTHING happens???

    I would love to listen to the July interviews that Hordy proclaimed nothing would happen on his watch and if it did, he would make the other team pay…YEAH RIGHT!

    What do you think the chances of Seguin getting hit like that and having nothing done?? Would Thornton just stand around?? No true heavyweight on any team woukd allow this on his watch!!

    Hordichuk = Gutless and Useless!

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      i 100% agree with @cableguy. you are making yourself sound like such a nib, yes a nib. that lump you find right beside the nub on a chicken wing according to the guy on those bp’s commercial.

      even on the bench hordy was still chirping at wilson… maybe you shouldn’t be switching from twilight to the game during intermission.

      oooops knock me down and call me a susan

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      i am very discouraged to see you posting with your head up your ass on the fantastic sunday.

      LOOK AT HORDICHUKS ICE TIME FROM LAST NIGHT. HE HAD 1 (ONE, UNO) SHIFT IN THE SECOND PERIOD FOR A TOTAL OF 39 SECONDS AND ZERO (ZIP, NADA, ZILTCH) SHIFTS IN THE THIRD.

      regular shift up and down the wing all night? what game were you watching?

      how exactly is he supposed to do anything while he is stapled to the bench?

      For future reference, please view the ice time stats conveniently posted on the nhl.com website before posting with your head up your ass. In this case, we can see Hordichuks ice time using this link (http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20112012/TV020328.HTM)

      If you are to lazy (evidently you are) to surf over that way, i will take this moment to help you out and post it here:

      16 HORDICHUK, DARCY

      1—– 1 1:49 / 18:11 2:35 / 17:25 00:46

      2—– 1 4:30 / 15:30 5:15 / 14:45 00:45 G

      3—– 1 11:15 / 8:45 11:51 / 8:09 00:36

      4—– 1 14:06 / 5:54 14:43 / 5:17 00:37

      5—– 2 2:24 / 17:36 3:03 / 16:57 00:39

      • Big Cap

        @ Cable Guy

        Firstly, Thank you for responding to my message

        Secondly, Thank you for making personal comments, I guess your just another internet tough guy.

        Thirdly, and most importantly, Of Hordy`s 5 shifts he played, 4 of them were after Hall was hit. He played the remainder of the 1st period on a regular shift, and had one shift in the 2nd.

        It was clear that he was not about to do anything and Renney saw no need need to play him while up a goal in the 2nd period.

        Tough guys have limited icetime to make an impact. How many shifts are required for him to make some sort of payback within that 1st period…

        Hordy talked a Big game about how he would “Force“ guys into dealing with him. He did no such thing last night.

        I dont know what is a bigger joke, Hordy being completely useless, or you defending him. Hall is our Franchise player, and this can not be accepted. Limited icetime or not.

        • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

          I’m with cableguy on this one.

          When you make BIG and BOLD statements about anyone or anything in these forums, based mostly on your own opinion and very little facts, you open yourself up to BIG and BOLD criticism.

          Yes, something should have been done in terms of retribution but I wouldn’t put all that on Hordichuk. My guess is, Renney was trying to protect the lead and win the game.

          As far as name calling, well, everyone here is a tough guy behind the keyboard. Including yourself calling Hordichuk GUTLESS and USELESS.

          Your original comment reeks of “HATER” odour.

          Be critical but don’t hate. HATERS SUCK!

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          oh i see. so now it goes from “regular shift up and down the wing all night” to “It was clear that he was not about to do anything and Renney saw no need need to play him while up a goal in the 2nd period”.

          Where did i defend hordichuk? I called out your BS about him playing all night, that was it. i said nothing about whether i thought what he did was right or wrong. I wont fault the guy for doing nothing when he wasnt on the ice for almost all the last 2 periods

          I wasnt on the bench, i dont know if renney put the clamp down and told the team no stupid stuff with the game so close. I will leave the speculating to you, it looks like you seem to have a great handle on it so far

      • The simple fact is Renney did not want a dog-tired team having to kill off the ensuing penalty as the result of Hordicuk’s retribution. He (Renney) pretty much admitted the team was gassed in the third, and he doesn’t say those sorts of things very often.

        That Renney and his boys did not go headhunting after the hit on Hall tells me they really want to win this year – which is a good thing.

    • So apparently you didn’t watch the Minnesota game? And how much ice did Hordy see after the hit. And even when he was on the ice I’m pretty sure it wasn’t against there top guys..

  • The Farmer

    So why don’t we know the status of Hall. He wouldn’t have come bak if his collarbone was broken. Is it a deep bruise or separated shoulder. Did they xray him in Denver? I heard MRI…anyone know?

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Coach Renney said MRI on Monday….I just hope its not season ending like Hemsky

      Did anybody else notice after Hall recived the crosscheck the Avs player checked him into the boards after Taylor skated away with the arm at his side…kinda looked like the Avs player made sure Hall would stay down, finish your check or not that’s dirty pool IMO.

  • The Farmer

    Also, I would be curious what Colorado’s all time record against teams on the backend of back to back games in their building is. Just a shot in the dark but I’m sure it’s way higher than the league average.
    IMO the league should re think making teams go into Denver back to back.

  • Big Cap

    Because of the Oil`s great start and the great play of the team, MPS has dodged a major fan backlash.

    Though still very young and still learning the NA game, we cant get to down on him. HOWEVER, this is MPS big chance to step in and deliver as he will be given every chance to contribute.

    I am confident with 2nd line linemates and ice time, he will deliver and put this first quarter behind him.

  • The Farmer

    His numbers may not show it , but I think 91 has looked more engaged the last three or four games when he has been in the lineup.
    Silver lining says this could be a blessing in disguise if 91 gets going, then hall gets back, should mean 3 solid scoring lines. Here’s hoping anyway.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      So many agenda’s going on hard to believe the Oilers are actually winning. After that hit on Hall why wouldn’t someone (coach, player, assistant coach) send a message to the other team don’t touch our guy. Maybe Tom R IQ is really that low. If they want to earn there contracts than quit screwing around. The GM is basically coaching the team. Sack the coach these kind of hits and playing should not even be allowed!!