The Edmonton Oilers compounded the loss of Taylor Hall to a shoulder injury in Denver Saturday by coughing up a lead and two points in a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
It was a lousy way to end what could have been a wonderful road trip on two counts, something that obviously frustrated not only some fans of the Oilers, but 630 CHED radio analyst Bob Stauffer, who made his feelings known on the post-game wrap-up.
Stauffer figured somebody, anybody, had to do something, anything, in terms of a physical response after Hall was knocked out of the game – he was rocked on a hit by Ryan Wilson, left the game and then returned, only to be put out for good by a cross-check from Kyle Quincey.
It’s not often I disagree with Stauffer, a colleague and a friend, but I do on this one. First, the initial hit by Wilson was punishing, but legal. Second, the cross-check was by Quincey was pretty much a garden variety minor, aside from the fact it put out Hall, who obviously shouldn’t have come back from the hit by Wilson.
Finally, if the Oilers were looking to stick it to Wilson, Quincey and the Avs, they could have started by holding on to that 2-1 lead they had and flying out of Denver with two points.
That’s the only "retribution" that matters.
WHY WAS HALL BACK?
What stands out for me when it comes to the loss of Hall isn’t why somebody didn’t doff the leather and get after Wilson and Quincey looking for revenge of the bare-knuckle variety. That would solve what, exactly?
The question for me is why Hall, who struggled off the ice with his left arm hanging at his side, was back in the game at all. Unless I see another replay that shows me otherwise, I didn’t see anything in the follow-up cross-check by Quincey of much consequence — if Hall wasn’t already injured.
"It was just a takeout, a fair, clean hit," coach Tom Renney said of the initial hit by Wilson.
Hall was accompanied to the dressing room by head trainer T.D. Forss, then returned to the game. The benefit of hindsight tells us that was a mistake.
"In fairness to T.D., you ask the right questions, do the proper things," said Renney. "He’s the medical guy but the player is going to answer yes or no. We all know how competitive Taylor is. T.D. is a pretty prudent guy."
The Oilers never did get their pound of flesh from Wilson or Quincey and they didn’t get the win, either, after allowing four goals in the third period to take the shine of a trip that could have yielded six of a possible eight points. The former is secondary, no matter what some old-school types will tell you.
It’s the latter — failing to buckle down, dig in, play a robust, smart game and put the boots to the Avalanche on the scoreboard as payback after Hall went down — that I consider the equivalent of turning the other cheek. It shows me this team still isn’t as formidable as it could be.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.