In a game the Edmonton Oilers absolutely, positively had to win to prolong their playoff push, Taylor Hall threw his teammates on his back and carried them to an 8-2 butt-kicking of the Calgary Flames with what might be the best performance of his NHL career.

Leaders do that. Money players have that knack. Franchise guys find a way when it matters most. In just his third season with the Oilers, you can tick all three of those boxes when it comes to Hall, who is leading a charge down the stretch that has fans buzzing and wondering if their team’s playoff drought might actually end after six seasons.

The waxing of the Flames has the Oilers on a five-game winning streak and into a playoff position for the time being, and that winning roll has everything to do with Hall, who has 15 points in his last six games and 41 points in 33 games – he’s moved into the top-10 in NHL scoring.

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Hall had plenty of help of course in the form of linemates Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had four points, but it was No. 4, without any doubt, who drove the bus in a win that saw the Oilers fall behind 2-0 early before scoring eight straight goals.

What we’re seeing unfold right now – and it holds true even if this particular playoff push comes up short – is Hall, still only 21, putting his stamp on this team far faster than even the most optimistic fan could have hoped during a rebuild that’s taken longer than the faithful would like.

It’s a stunning juxtaposition.


. . . Hall aside, the Oilers pulled away in this one by taking a page out of the book the Detroit Red Wings have long relied on by turning the other cheek when the Flames tried to take the game to the alley. Three power-play goals in the second period, by Nail Yakupov, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, put the Oilers up 5-2 through 40 minutes.

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Overmatched physically by a sagging and frustrated Flames team that’s headed the wrong direction in a big hurry, the Oilers didn’t try to answer blow for blow. They used their heads instead of their fists – they don’t have much choice, given the make-up of this roster.

While I’d still like to see the Oilers tweak their line-up between now and next season by adding players who can better handle the physicality of teams like the Flames, making them pay on the scoreboard, as the saying goes, works just fine as long as the power-play clicks as Edmonton’s has this season.

. . . That said, ready and willing and Mike Brown again showed that there’s value in having a physical element. While he got his nose bent in a scrap with Steve Begin, his willingness to pay the price early when the game could have got away from the Oilers helped turned the tide.

Buckle up. Helluva ride to come.

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

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Time to make Hall Captn. next season. In with the new and out with the old, as the saying goes.

    This should now be the young guys team, after Tamelini gets rid of some of the deadwood this summer.

    Speaking of summer, he better get some help on defense, as its still a disaster back there.

    Too bad they missed on Bishop. even though Tampa over paid for that trade.

  • Carlos Danger

    I know there’s a lot of excitement about the Jays and baseball season firing up here. But let’s not use baseball metrics to alter the Oilers’ place in the standings.

  • OutDoorRink

    I have to laugh at ‘fans’ who are still doubting what Tambellini has done for our team.

    I would have gone ballistic if he would have made a trade simply to make a trade on deadline day just to make the whiners happy. We have a plan and throwing that out the window now would be Feaster-Grade madness.

    I’m sure that when we’re challenging for the Cup there will still be armchair GM’s lamenting the fact that we took Taylor over Tyler and Yak over Murray etc etc etc.

    Tambellini appears to have made mostly the right moves all along.

  • OutDoorRink

    Sthenri: I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist. The hysteria from some oil fans only hurts the quest for the cup as it takes the pressure off of mgmt to stick to that quest and rewards them for focussing on making the playoffs.

    OUtdoorrink: KL&T have been a disaster. Take away the high picks that the oil “earned” by finishing last and they are the at or near the worst management team of this Millenium.


    Tyler and Taylor were 1a and 1b. At the time I thought Seguin was the better – marginally – than the two. And I remain of the same opinion. 25 games does not make a career. Seguin is a centre and has spectacular +/- stats. And like hall he has the hates-to-lose attitude that all the greats have.

    That said, as I said at the time KL&T had NO choice but to pick hall. He was the Mem cup MVP for chrissake. No one could look away from that fact.

    And hall should have been made th captain earlier this season when he was the only thing going well. Horcoff lacks the fire and natural leader characteristics that hall has.

    • StHenriOilBomb

      Actually Gord, Seguin plays wing in the nhl, centre was his junior position but he has played very little centre so far. As for his plus/minus, this is a team statistic and his high number is a reflection of being on a dominant defensive team. Not including this season, Hall has still scored more points than Seguin in less games. Just sayin.

      • StHenriOilBomb

        I stand corrected. I, like most here out west, don’t see much of Seguin’s play and I’m sure when I did see him he was playing centre. And in the bruins site he’s listed as a centre.

        As for plus/minus – yes it’s a team stat to some degree but Seguin led the league last year if I recall and not by a small margin. This year he’s second on the team – one point behind Bergeron at 22. And just 4 behind the league leader Sid.

        And point stats can be misleading too – just look at Glenn Anderson’s bloated stats – never played a minute of time against the other teams first line and he’s in the HHOF.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Do you even watch hockey games?

          The fact that you are trying to downplay Anderson’s accomplishments tells every single person onthis site how little you really know about the game.

          • OilersBrass

            Watched GA play plenty. Also watched fleury and lindros and others who were more deserving to be in the HHOF. Stop being such a homer and look at the whole league of players.

            Surely you are aware what a close little club the HHOF committee is – worse even than the group that decsides who coaches and plays on our international teams. GA and gillies et al got in the HHOF because of politics – just as fleury and lindros did not.

  • Word to the Bird

    Why does this all happen when I’m in Mexico?!?! Seriously I got back yesterday and after the Morrow trade I was cut off. What the F?! The entire landscape has changed

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Oilerjed: There is definitely a rougher game allowed in the finals every year. Unless there is a dangerous play, or a scoring chance is blatantly negated, most things slide with the refs. I agree though, that the lack of push-back hurt their pp time. They managed to get to game 7 though, so a couple of more pp’s (broken back on an interference call) could have swayed things. I’m not griping, just trying to face the reality that the finals can be an all out battle.

    Serious Gord: you can be both a realist and a pessimist. Yo ain’t popping my balloon just yet. I’m waiting for the Oilers to do that in the final few games of the season. 😉

    edit: spelling

  • OutDoorRink

    The Oilers are on a serious roll right now and whether we make it into the playoffs or not is insignificant at this time. What we needed to see this year is growth and we’re seeing that is spades right now.

    The boys are becoming men right before our very eyes. This is fun and it’s gonna be fun for a long time because Tambellini and Lowe did not make knee-jerk deals to make armchair GM’s happy. Because of the work that these two men (and many others) have done, we now have a solid foundation for years to come.

    Props to Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini. You’ve built a team that is the envy of most other managers and many of the players as well. You’ve created an atmosphere of excellence and now we fans get to reap the rewards.

    Or most of us will. Some will just continue to complain because we didn’t trade Hall and a draft pick for Clowe or some other rent-a-player.

  • OutDoorRink

    Can’t be taken seriously Gord.

    Are you kidding about Anderson? You must be kidding, right? If you’re not kidding, then you never saw Glenny in action. The guy was a master at what he did and what he did was sacrifice everything to win Stanley Cups. Anderson was one of the players that, if you ask the Oilers of that era, was invaluable in any situation.

    To sell Glenn Anderson short is really…pathetic. I’m glad you don’t have anything to do with HHF voting.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Dead serious about GA. Played second line his entire career – with mess as his centre. Talk about point inflation.

      Meanwhile Theoren fleury played first line almost his whole career – with far weaker partners – played a more fully dimensional game the GA and 1088 PTs just 11 fewer than GA and in a hundred fewer games. AND he isn t going to the hall.

      Playoff points are irrelevant – or should be – as its not the players fault they play on a less competitive team.

      GA is undeserving in the same way that Clarke gillies shouldn’t be in the HHOF.

  • OilersBrass

    Are people really making this Taylor, Tyler argument!?
    Seguin was drafted into an all-star team while Hall was drafted into the WORST team in the league.
    Could you imagine what Halls numbers would be like if he was on the Bruins?
    I can’t believe people still talk about this, it’s pretty clear Hall is the better player, and not to mention he is a leader.

    • OilersBrass

      It is quite possible that Hall’s numbers would be lower. HE definitely wouldn’t be getting the minutes he’s getting now and Boston plays a much tighter defensive game – a game that is far more physical than the oilers play and it is an open question how well hall’s type of play would hold up – read: would he be injured even more often than he has – with the bruins.

      No way you can make the declarative “it’s pretty clear Hall is the better player, and not to mention he is a leader” (Seguin has shown some pretty good leadership chops the few times i have watched him play.)

  • StHenriOilBomb

    I had no intention of writing a comment today, just stopped by to have a glance. Bu … I am flabbergasted by anyone who could marginalize the accomplishments of Glenn Anderson. The guy was fearless, a true warrior, and he had an unbelievable skill-set that included blazing speed. he could play, and did play, against all levels of competetion…including the Russians when that meant something.

    The reason Gleen Anderson is in the HHOF, and the reason he has the admiration of his peers has nothing to do with stats. What this guy brought to the table when games were on the line was the difference between his team winning & losing. I am not trying to imply Edmonton won their cups because of him, but he certainly made a meaningful impact. The fact that he was picked up by the NYR just prior to their winning the cup in ’94 (in a trade for another HHOF’er) is no coincidence…

    • StHenriOilBomb

      He loafed. A lot, too.

      He never was the number one winger on any line on any team he played for. He was never even the number two best rt winger in the league ever.

      And his playoff pts – came on the second line with mess after gretz’ line had played for 30 min – tearing apart and exhausting the #1 line and #2 line of the opponent. Andersen had an excellent ability to score at the end of the other teams shift – his ability to loaf and have energy for the short burst served him even better in the playoffs.

      He played 23 playoff games for NYR – got 6 pts. Irrelevant.

      Players who will go through a wall to win are a dime a dozen – there are even a few playing at the nearest beer league. Andersen had no monopoly on that.

      But there are several (a dozen?) of much better players than GA who are not in the HHOF who played during GA’s time – who were far more dominant at the position they played – who played night -in night-out the very best player’s on the opponent’s team. GA’s nomination – like gillies’ – was a travesty and an injustice.

      Get your head out of the oiler fan cloud (and bring KAtz with you) and recognize the some of the players on those great teams were over-rated.

        • StHenriOilBomb

          “Get your head out of the oiler fan cloud”

          Actually, I lived on the coast through the 80’s and was a Canuck fan.

          “I agree that there a many players who would “go through a wall to win” but only a few actual do go through the wall and GA was one of them.”

          And … there are only a few who are CAPABLE of going through a wall. GA is in that elite category.

          To compare, today you have Crosby & Toews who are in that category. Others could also be named, but it is a pretty exclusive grouping…thus the HHOF.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    We all remember GA, he wasnt being busted up early in the year and he was always at about 60% in the regular season, but he threw down 110% come playoff time and I always remember understanding that and by god I was fine with it, we didnt have any more room for more stardom on that team, and GA still found a way into the HHOF, Kudos to him, I envy his career.

    Fame has little to do with statistics, success has to do with statistics, and it isnt the Hockey Hall of Success now is it? No one REMEMBERS the other fellas, it is what it is, and we ALL remember GAs suicide cuts to REAL hockey nets. Maybe thats a lesson to guys who want to be in the HHOF one day, make your mark, dont be one