Yes, it can get worse for the Edmonton Oilers. And it likely will after NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan reviews the video evidence of Taylor Hall burying Cal Clutterbuck late in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Rexall Place Thursday.

Not only are the offensively challenged Oilers facing a nine-game road trip after lurching their way through a five-game homestand, they’ll likely start the grueling swing without Hall, who drilled Clutterbuck and knocked him out of the game on a hit that saw Hall make first contact with his knee.

Hall didn’t stick out his knee. It wasn’t a textbook knee-on-knee hit, although we’re quibbling about an inch or two in terms of where Hall’s knee contacted Clutterbuck. As for intent, I don’t know what Hall was thinking and neither do Oilers fans who rushed to defend No. 4 on Twitter and elsewhere. Hall denied intent, and I’m not going to call him a liar.

It matters not. The bottom line is Hall made first contact with his knee and Clutterbuck was injured on the play. Hall was assessed a major for kneeing and a game misconduct. The question is not whether Hall will be suspended by Shanahan. The question is how many games he’ll get.


My best guess is Hall will get two or three games, which will put him out for Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes and, at a minimum, for the first game of the road trip, which begins in Chicago Monday. That’s the last thing the Oilers, losers of two straight and now 6-7-3, need right now.

That, at least to start the trip, will force coach Ralph Krueger to shake up his forward lines, which is something many fans have been calling for as the Oilers have struggled to score. Suffice to say, doing so without his leading point-getter in the mix is not the way Krueger would like to draw it up, even with the consolation of having Ryan Jones set to return.

There’s no silver lining to the discipline pending from Shanahan, although I’m guessing the Oilers will circle the wagons and vow to dig in as they prepare to face the next two or three games without Hall. They can talk that talk. We’ll see soon enough if they can walk that walk.

I’m less than hopeful.

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

  • NewfoundlandOil

    Oilers still can’t score – this is the real issue.

    On Hall’s hit – he’ll likely get suspended, although to me it seemed like a late hit which caught Clutterbuck off guard. Clutterbuck’s thigh was wrapped up and he’s on the plane to Calgary . . . regardless, I like one quote on twitter: “somewhere, Mark Messier is saying, well done, son, well done.” We need to have players with an edge. Don’t forget that some of those players we keep talking about, Messier, Muni, Beukeboom, did play with an edge, even crossing the line sometimes.

  • db7db7db7

    I’ve watched it a couple of times now and I really don’t see Hall’s knee making any contact…it just looks like a classic hip check that caught Clutterbuck a little too low.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      in super slow mo frame by frame it sure looks like knee first. game speed i agree, looked like hip

      • Phixieus666

        Either way, it definately wasn’t a classic Marchment knee-on-knee.
        I was just glad that someone was angry enough to do something after these last 2 horrendous games.

  • JSR

    It appeared to me to be a hip check, but is the top of your leg considered a knee? I would say no, but this is turning into the No Hit League! The knee did not go straight out to catch Clutterbuck.

  • Sox and Oil

    Watching last night and then putting some sleep on it I still don’t see a suspension. Most likely a fine and very worst case scenario 1 game.

    But if Hall had led with his shoulder then he hit would have become much more dangerous as he would have hit clutterbuck high with his head down.

  • Hall for President

    Hall was pissed off they were down 3-1, and he was looking to smash someone. He tried to run Brodin earlier in the shift. He was out for blood. I’m all for that, and I love seeing him throw the body, but this wasn’t a legal play and he deserves a suspension. You don’t hip check someone facing them. He tried to set himself for the hit, but instead of committing and dropping the shoulder into Clusterbuck, he hung his knee/thigh/hip out there to take out the legs. I love the kid, but that’s just not legal. I just hope the suspension doesn’t deter him from keeping the physical aspect that he’s starting to add to his game.

    • Rob...

      My only worry is that they will agree with you that it wasn’t a kneeing, but will also conclude ‘correctly’ that it was a blindside hit. I’m adamant that this was not as bad as what Doan did to Horcoff, yet this fickle public opinion driven league will likely suspend him 2 games.

      EDIT: I take that back on watching it again… it wasn’t even blindside. This sucks. It’s like the Proctology episode of Family Guy. This is being built up to be much bigger than it was because nobody liked the end result.

  • paul wodehouse

    …other than the injury being of “the lower body type” has the “knee” been confirmed as the body part Hall was to have injured?

    …if the injury is a hip injury and NOT a knee injury Hall shouldn’t feel all of Shannys’ wrath …imo

    ordered to sit one game and feel proud about getting this run around fool…i liken it to when Messier elbowed the Russian back in the day…we were all proud…like now

  • oilerjed

    Well if it takes a Hall suspension to get Krueger to change his lines maybe the (dirty)hit will be worth it. As good as Krueger may be its time this team was bag skated and the lines totally changed up . Once again this points to Tambellini & Co not supplying what is required . Another “D” and some real bite at center. Once again there dealing from weakness so a good trade will be hard BUT a trade is needed even if we overpay . By the way Hall is probably frustrated either with Kruegers system or his teamates.

  • Phixieus666

    Ok saw the hit last night, slept on it and watched a bunch of slow mo replays and here is what I think.

    Hall was clearly looking for a big open ice hit. Hall foot position didn’t change the whole time from cutting a sharp turn at speed. Hall lowers his body and drop his shoulder. Given that Minny had possession of the puck and was in the process of moving it up I think Hall was predicting that Clutterbuck would continue moving north/south instead of changing to east/west.

    Because of this Hall didn’t catch him as clean as he would have liked however Hall’s leg appears to go right in between clutterbucks legs on the hit. I think he actually caught him in the groin and hip and caught him hard. As they were taking him off the ice, the way his leg was hanging and with the way he was loaded on the gernie I would assume its more of a hip injury.

    Was it a game misconduct? Yes, it was a little reckless and caused an injury.

    Was it a suspend able offense? I personally don’t think so because Halls leg positioning didn’t change and therefore I don’t see any intent like sticking your leg out on purpose. I think a fine is more than reasonable considering the outcome however because he is an Oiler player, Shanny will suspend him regardless of anything on tape just like Sutton. I would guess 1 game only because its a first offense.

    thats my take

  • Phixieus666

    This happened only because, Fistric, Eager, Peckham and Smid, had allowed Clutterbuck to dance freely all night long. He even had a couple of break aways on Dubynk. So Hall, took up himself to take care of business.[ Hall made a mistake by admitting in press that he went after him, which wont help him in the hearing ].

    Glad someone on this team has some passion and balls. The rest of team was asleep the entire game, along with Kruger.

    With all this talent and they continue to score one goal a game.???? I think Kruger is a carbon copy of Renney.At least Renney tried some line matching.. where Kruger is either to lazy or too stupid to try it.

    Cant blame it all on defense, goal tending, and youth….

  • oilerjed


    “Also something more recent was the dangerous hit by Dustin Brown’s on Nuge from blind side on a defenseless player – I thought that was worse. Ok goggles on there but I think that hit deserved a penalty.”

    I was thinking the exactly same thing the other night when it happened and while reading the comments today. That hit was blind side and pretty high. Oddly enough no penalty and no retakiation from the oil. I read on here that Clutterbuck is fine, can anybody confirm? Should be a factor in Shanahan’s decision as the severity of the injury is one of the NHL’s determining factors. We shall see.

    • Rob...

      The things about the Brown hit that I find more dangerous are:

      1) He comes from blind side (vs. Hall watch video CB actually looks up ice and sees Hall at center ice a good 3-4 seconds before hit)

      2) Brown straightens up in his hit and does not stay low – which leads more to a shoulder on head shot, and luckily he missed and did not leave his feet. (vs. Hall stays low shoulder tucked. In interview he talks about lowering the boom on CB but said he elected for hip check)

      3) Nuge gets up. Had he stayed on the ice – Brown gets 5 and a hearing and LA fans are doing the slowmo dissection. (vs. CB which is obvious he was hurt)

  • PlayDirty

    Had Clutterbuck gotten control of the pass he would of been in possession of the puck at time of hit. As it happened it bounced off his skate. Hall has no way of knowing the pass to Clutterbuck wasnt going to be successful. He lined him up true. But injury to clutterbuck is his thigh… How does Halls knee hit his thigh? Crouched and pulling a sharp turn would actually put his knee lower then clutterbucks thigh and knee. So his thigh was injured because of thigh on thigh or hip on thigh.. No suspension.

  • Phixieus666

    Halls after game interview of the hit has me worried. I have a feeling he isn’t going to be hitting much the next little while. We need those kinds of plays to make sure other teams don’t mess with use.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Taylor should tell Shanaban he was going to go high on Clutterback, he let up but couldn’t totally get out of Clutterbacks way. Taylor could’ve done plenty more damage than that.

    Shanahan himself knows first hand what was going through Halls mind. One or two games for optics sake only.

    • Phixieus666

      That’s exactly it, he could have done a lot more damage on that play he even admitted it himself. But instead he realized the guy had his dead down and minimized the destruction. I say if he gets a suspension for this, then next time don’t let up and just destroy the guy because it won’t matter what you do your just going to get a$$ raped by the Shanny man.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    take what ever suspension the league feels fit to give you with grace ,and be proud of the message you just sent out league wide,that you can get pissed off too,so keep your head up when i’m on the ice .i love the edge he showed.

  • JSR

    You live by the sword…… die by the sword.

    I do not feel sorry for Cal Buttercluck …….he has made a career out of hit like this and maybe he will think twice, now that he is on the receiving end.

    My issue is that our skill players have to fend for themselves……….one day we will lose one of our skill players to a hit like this.

  • RexLibris

    Ignoring the names on the back of the jersey’s and looking solely at the body positioning of both players, in my opinion it was an attempted hip check wherein the targeted player shifted his weight enough at the last minute to bring his leg into contact.

    I’d say a suspension is probable, although I’m not convinced it is deserved. And the player that was hit should have absolutely no bearing on the penalty meted out.

  • Truth

    Hall did not stick out his knee in any way. If Clutterbuck would not have dodged shoulder to shoulder contact his leg would not have been exposed.

    Hall shouldn’t try to just catch a piece of someone, if he would have put Clutterbuck directly in his “trolley tracks” we would be talking about an excellent open ice hit.

    They’ll suspend him for 2 games in an attempt to shed the notion that star players get preferential treatment. I think it deserves a fine only for being a moment late. I also think we wouldn’t be discussing this if Clutterbuck skated off the ice unharmed. Would have been 2 mins max.

  • Spydyr

    To anyone who thinks it was not a dirty hit: Reverse the situation, what if it was Clutterbuck hitting Hall like that, how many of you would be saying the Clutterbuck should not be suspended? Your bias is showing.

      • Rob...

        Are you serious? Do you watch Oilers games? How many headshots have opponents gotten away with on especially RNH, Hemsky and Eberle in the last 2 years? Also look at how many ‘checks against the boards’ only ever seem to involve a knee on knee when it’s Taylor Hall trying to streak by.

    • Oilers4ever

      How much do the Wild pay you? Your comment is a joke dude… Setoguchi one game before for the Wild blatantly head shotted someone and only got fined. Hall makes a solid hit on a chucklehead who’s been making the same types of hits his entire career with no repurcussions and goes turtle wimpy boy with a charlie horse.

      The reffing in this league is a joke. Shanahan’s a joke (thought that when they hired him, having a previous player dealing with this terrible idea).

      BUT at least its only two games. Sucks that we won’t have Hallsy against the Hawks but they should be fine without him against the Dogs…

      And I betcha Clusteryouknowwhat plays within the next two games… pansy.

  • Rob...

    If Hansen got suspended for batting a puck out of the air and making contact with Hossa’s head, then Hall will surely get something. Unfortunately, this league is more about the result of the hit than it is about the intent. Hall shouldn’t get any more than 3 games max. Hall could have done a lot worse to Clutterbuck than he did.