Future Edmonton Oilers captain Taylor Hall isn’t the first NHL up-and-comer who has had to play a secondary role when wearing Team Canada silks at the Olympics or the World Championships and he won’t be the last.

So, while there’s a segment of Oilers fans out there less-than-impressed with how Hall was used, or wasn’t used, by Lindy Ruff and his staff at the 2013 World Championships, my guess is his lack of ice time and any consternation that comes with it will play in Hall’s favor in the long run.

I can’t imagine Hall, coming off a season in which he scored 16-34-50 – he’s the first Oiler to finish in the top-10 in NHL scoring since Doug Weight did it in 2000-01 – is going to waste any time sulking about his role. He’s got a little bit too much "I’ll-show-you" in him not to use this experience as motivation.

As Jason Gregor pondered earlier today, I wonder if Team Canada brass will take a look at how Hall reacted, and will react from here on out, to his use with an eye to the next Olympics. Chances are, Hall, who is still only 21, won’t be looking at top-six minutes at Sochi in 2014, so if he’s going to make the cut he’ll likely have to show he can accept – and excel – with bottom-six minutes.

My guess is Hall will.


I had to smile when former Oiler draft pick Fredrik Pettersson scored the shootout goal to beat Team Canada in Stockholm because I know first-hand the former Calgary Hitmen forward knows how to make an impact.

Pettersson, a seventh-round pick by the Oilers in the 2005 Entry Draft, and I had a little run-in at training camp in Edmonton – I want to say it was right after his draft year, or maybe it was 2006.

Anyway, I rolled out of the parking lot at Rexall Place in a spanking new Charger SRT8 I was driving at the time and headed into the intersection at 118th Ave and Wayne Gretzky drive with Pettersson, Alexei Mikhnov and Patrick Thoresen right behind me in a pick-up truck.

To make a long story short, a dump truck stalled just past the intersection. I saw it and braked in time. Pettersson didn’t and ploughed into me – nothing serious, maybe 20 KMH, but the bumper of his truck fit nicely into my trunk lid and peeled it back like a sardine can.

I’ll never forget the look on Mikhnov’s face when he saw it was me. Mikhnov looks at me, looks at the car and, barely able to speak a word of English and perhaps envisioning an account of the mishap in the newspaper the next day, said, "This is bad."

Not really, although it cost Fast Freddie about $4,000.


. . . We still don’t have word whether mayor Stephen Mandel, who oversaw the downtown arena debate from the start to the final 10-3 vote to approve the project, intends to run for another term of office, but I certainly hope he does.

Simply put, Mandel strikes me as a man who says what he means and means what he says. I think no matter where you stood on the question of a new arena for the city, we can agree that’s all too rare in the world of politics. I’ve been in Edmonton since 1989 and I don’t recall a straight-shooter like Mandel occupying the mayor’s chair.

. . . So, what’s the over-under on the number of players who finished this season on Edmonton’s roster who will still be with the team when the Oilers play their first game in the new arena? I say six.

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

  • Citizen David

    Hall will need to have a great start to next season to make the Olympic squad. I would send him no matter what. His skating ability, and ability to take over a game mean he should be there.

    • Spydyr

      First off I think Hall is a fantastic player but what I also see are his turnovers at both blue lines.His junior moves,to many to drags and such.He has to learn the pro game a bit more.

      Sure he scores points, he is fantastically gifted offensively.He just has to learn to play without the puck and make the smart plays at both blue lines.I’m sure that will come in time Ruff made him pay the price for his mistakes.Something the Oilers should be doing.Making every player accountable for their mistakes.

      Not sure if he will be ready for Sochi though.Did you see Stevie Y shaking his head in disappointment after Hall gave up the puck at the blueline over and over again?

  • Slapshot

    I hope Mandel runs again to.He has been a great mayor for the city of Edmonton.I also hope that when the next provincial election comes along people do not forget all the help that the Tories gave us in getting the arena deal done. U7 Hall,Yakupov,J Schultz,Smid,Hopkins,Eberle,Petry

  • Slapshot

    I was more interested ( and still am) as to how Hall will respond over time to his usage at the Worlds. I hope that he carries himself proud, and does not get inot the player/coach thing……….kid has too much class and hope that he retains this class, even when thing are not going his way.

    Not sure what the facination is with the Worlds……….every time I watched the highlights there were more empty seats than people. Exactly what is the situation over there?

  • Rocket

    Hall has all the intangables to be a fourth line winger on an olympic team if he chooses to play that way, but during the world hockey championships he and eberle were both tryin to deke around everyone and make no look soft backhand cross ice passes in the neutral zone and got burned..It sucks because Hall has so much speed, skill and tenacity but I think he and Eberle are a little too set to try and make the “perfect offensive play” instead of playin basic, hard dump in and chase/out battle your opponemt style game..

    I think both will make it to Sochi, to good not to be there, just need to make a little adjustment to their games I think..

  • Maybe Hall isn’t as good as OIL Nation thinks right now? Fans tend to over-evaluate their own players. The universal spin: “its gonna be good for him”, makes me laugh. How about: “Its not good that he was a 4rth liner on a team full of non-playoff players”, or “He didn’t make an impact against weaker teams” or “It has to be a blow to his confidence”. Not impressed. Maybe Hall Eberle Shultz, DD, just aren’t what you build a team with, but you dance with the one you brought: were stuck with them. Good spin though…

    • Boourns99

      1 Steve stamkos, Claude Giroux, Stall, etc are locks to make the Olympic team. They are elite NHLers Not exactly slouches.

      2 This is Hall’s first trip and he’s 21. Of course he’s going to get a lesser role.

      3 Hall was top 10 in scoring and top 2 in the west.

      4 Do you even watch the games? Even fans of other teams are impressed with the young group. These guys are kids! They have 15 yrs of hockey in front of them!

      5 Brownlee is one of the best. How DARE you question the crackmaster!

      • Rocket

        I wonder how old Stamkos was when he was left off the 2010 team. I still think he should have made that team. I don’t think Oiler fans overvalue Hall, Ebs etc. but maybe lesser guys instead.

        Right now I don’t see a lot of players so much better than Hall to pass him up playing in the Olympics.

    • Boourns99

      why specify “non playoff players”? Stamkos and Giroux bad because they’re not in the playoffs?

      I thought I was a pessimistic fan. You basically just said the last 4 years and the next 5 will all be for nothing. You hate the oilers more than DSF. I sure hope EDM proves you wrong soon.

  • Rocket

    Unless Hall has an absurdly bad season, he should be able to make the Olympic team. All this talk about making him captain got me thinking if leadership & character would also help him make the squad.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Put me down for four.

    Hall,Yakupov,RNH and Justin Schultz for guys whom played this past season. Perhaps 3 others that are currently in the organization, Klefbom, Marincin, Bunz.

    • oilredemption

      Now this has vision. Well done!

      Eb’s will be the way to a #1 dman. As tough as it is to think about you know it’s true! With the ELC’s coming off the books the $$ to pay a top dman will be hard to come by.
      So to get something you have to give and that will be Eb’s.

  • Boourns99

    “Who will still be with the team when the Oilers play their first game in the new arena? I say six.” — Brownlee.

    There is a difference of who will be and who should be. If Klowe and Tambellini were still in charge, the over/under would probably be 10. Brownlee is probably correct, six, but it could be even less as the new arena won’t be finished for three seasons.

    Additionally, I expect the current coaching staff will be gone and there is no guarantee Klowe and MacTavish will still be around if the team doesn’t improve significantly, which will be difficult if not impossible given the roster and what is in the pipeline.

    Watching the SC playoffs remind us how far away this roster is from actually getting to the third and fourth rounds and playing the big dogs.

  • Reg Dunlop

    How many current oilers will suit up for the opening game downtown? Unless Smyth and Khabbi retire, I say 15. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

    RB, fear not that you are alone in being rear ended by a swede. Look at the sedin sisters.

  • Boourns99

    I suspect Mandel runs again. To a man/woman, there is likely no one on council that wants Diotte to win. Sohi and Iveson have aspirations, but I bet they put them on hold so they don’t split the vote.

    Hall is a competitor, I think he will take being relegated to the 4th line in stride.

    If the NHL does go to Sohi, Team Canada has some thinking to do. We don’t do that well on the big ice so the team will have to be picked with that in mind.

  • oilredemption

    Well i really (unfortunately) dont see any oilers making it…

    Line 1: Nash Crosby Stamkos
    Letang Weber
    Line 2: Giroux Thornton Tavares
    Keith Subban
    Line 3: Perry Bergeron Getzlaf
    Doughty Pieteranglo
    Line 4: Couture Toews Iglina

    Goalies: Luongo
    Extra: Smith

    Extras: Ryan McDonagh (for left-handed shot/shutdown ability)
    Brent Seabrook(good sub qualities)
    Eric Staal (been there before – Triple crown club)
    Andrew Ladd (for grit)

  • Reg Dunlop

    I really really hope Mayor Mandel runs again. Our city is taking steps in the right direction on being a more modern and vibrant city under his leadership. I too appreciate his straight shooter attitude, but I really respect him for willing to put his neck on the line to try to do bold new things and not just accept the same old same old. There are some things I don’t agree with that he does, but at least he is willing to try to improve our city. It would be a shame for him to get things this far, just for some idiot like Diotte to get in as mayor and piss it all away.

  • I just have one question: does Canada actually want to win at the Olympics next year? Because if they do, they better have Hall on that squad.

    Other than Chris Kunitz, he was the highest scoring Canadian left-winger in the league, and Hall had a slightly better points per game ratio than Kunitz. When you factor in that given Kunitz is 33 and consistently a fifty to sixty points guy, it’s probably a one-off. Everyone else is way off his pace. Taylor Hall is probably capable of sustaining his past season’s numbers. In short, Taylor Hall is Canada’s current best left-winger, full-stop.

    Even if you expand to right-wingers, he’s still probably one of the four best, and therefore top six, options. You will have to give Martin St. Louis the nod, and probably Giroux (though Hall might catch him eventually, too), but after that? Corey Perry? Very good player, but other than the one brilliant year, he doesn’t seem to be more than a slightly less than point-per-game player.

    So even if you take a blender to the wings, Hall is still probably Canada’s third best available winger as of next year. Not only should Taylor Hall be on the Olympic squad, as one of the premier players in the NHL, he should be in a featured role. If they don’t put him there, they’re weakening their line-up.

    • Rocket


      Also, who does Kunitz play with? Some guy named Crosby? Kunitz is a pretty good player but compared to Hall?

      Good grief.

      (That was not meant as an invitation to DSF to join this thread but how funny would it be to watch DSF try to argue that Kunitz is better than Hall without Crosby)

      • oilredemption

        And Team Canada brass are generally very good at introducing young talent into the line up to ensure the pipeline remains stocked. I don’t see Iginla on this team. And Thornton may be on his last legs as well. Perry and Getzlaf – they are still a very good duo but I agree that Getz is the straw that stirs on that line. He is still very dynamic.
        So – I think Hall is in the top group of ‘front runners’ for a fourth line role. I also believe he’ll figure out how to play fourth line minutes for his country. Perhaps Smytty can pull him aside when he gets home…. His future is bright one way or the other.

  • Spydyr

    My vote is in for Mayor. Kerry “I don’t want a new arena” Diotte is my man. Not. He is the only declared candidate. So he currently is the only choice. Mandel at 67 years young is still vibrant and passionate about the ity of Edmonton. Public Service is not easy. Mandel has had his share of dumbasses to deal with on council during his tenure. Forget the arena for a moment. During his tenure projects like the Henday,23 st interchange,the Waste management center,LRT,Municipal/International airport,Shaw Conference Center, The Boyle Street revitalization,new remand center,new provincial museum,new libraries in highlands,meadowlark,rec centers in Clareview,Twelligar,and the list goes on and on. Under his watch the City has grown. His passion for the City has pushed this ity forward.Remember the Reimer years? Can’t tell anyone how to vote but sometimes change is not a good thing.

    Lindy Ruff is a smart man. Hall needn’t worry about impressing Ruff. The guy he needs to impress is right here in Edmonton.Who cares what the frak Ruff thinks. Klowe and company know his value.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Team Canada will need someone to turn the puck over at the other teams blue line, so Hall will be on the team.

    J/k. But I’m glad he finally got called out since he is the annointed one in Edmonton.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Good call on the mayor. Like his decision or not, nothing abut it felt sneaky, underhanded, or clandestine. The whole thing was very transparent, and that is so refreshing. I hope he runs again.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Hall a lock for the Olympics?? I hope you people are kidding. IF he can learn to not turn over the puck like a Horcoff2.0, and utilize his speed to his advantage, he might be a late pick. Maybe.

    He finished top ten. Sure. In case you all forgot, his team wasn’t exactly sprinting to the finish line in a Half season. If it had been 82 games you can rest assure his stat line would look a helluva lot worse seeing how bad the Oilers looked down the mini-stretch.

    There is a reason Ruff didn’t use him much. He looked intimidated and overwhelmed to me. Turned the puck over too much, and that is even worse on the big ice. He simply didn’t deserve more ice. Canada had much better options and they used them. Surely Tippett and Ruff know a bit more than the Oiler-vision fans that are posting on here.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Hall ,Hopkins , Eberle and possibly J.Schultz will be on the watch list . Whether any make final team is probably less than 40%, due mainly to lack of defensive abilities/soundness .