Photo courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.
The future of the Edmonton Oilers was on display last night. Taylor Hall was cleared to play, scored a goal early and the Barons won. However, the game didn’t completely follow the script and Hall may be facing a suspension.
LETS GO TO THE VIDEO
The first 12 seconds of this video (courtesy Neal Livingston from Tend the Farm) are the story this morning. I’ve read a lot of online stuff suggesting it was a charge–I thought he took two strides, waited a heartbeat and then two more before the hit–and have also read that he targeted the head.
I’m no expert and these eyes aren’t what they used to be, but I think Hall hit him with his shoulder and it looked like the impact on Brodin was also shoulder. That’s my take, and as mentioned the internet has other views (I invite you to share your views too). The one thing I believe is dangerous–and all players seem to do this know–is the explosion through the man when Hall hits him. That’s how they coach it, right?
ON A LARGER SCALE
If you were offended by the hit, or are uncomfortable with your young Oilers being placed in a negative light, you may not like the next few seasons. The Oilers of 2012-20 are going to have that physical element and Oilers Nation should embrace it (in my opinion). I’m not suggested a Sean Connery "if they send one of yours to the hospital, send one of theirs to the morgue" mentality, but the bottom line is this a physical game and the Oilers have not been able to deliver that element in the past on their skill lines.
And it doesn’t mean you have to be ten feet tall–Milan Lucic has a teammate named Brad Marchand who is 5 feet nothing and an extreme pain in the ass.
Last night, two of the best young Wild prospects were hurt against the Oilers farm team. I take no pleasure in it, in fact its a damn shame and if that happened to the Oilers there’d be a lot of anger among Oiler fans today.
I get that. I understand it.
However, too many times over the last many seasons Edmonton has responded to physical intimidation with no pushback and a leaky powerplay. This current group can kill you on the powerplay and give you some trouble in the alley.
There’s nothing wrong with it. Nothing.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
You never want a player to be injured, but its also true that hockey has a lot of violence in it–that’s in the rules of the game. Hall’s hit wasn’t late to my eye, I do not think he charged Brodin, and as mentioned it looked like shoulder to me. If he gets suspended, I believe "check through the man and explode on your check"–which is coached into these kids from what I understand–is the culprit. The video posted here courtesy of Neal Livingston isn’t conclusive, but from what we see its pretty hard to give a suspension to a player with no history of head hunting. That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee.
Bottom line: I’m sorry Brodin got hurt, but don’t believe Taylor Hall did anything wrong or outside the rules of the game. If I stand alone, that’s fine too. The Edmonton Oilers of 2012-20 are going to be hell to play against. This fan thinks it is about time.