Taylor Hall, Opportunity and the 2014 Olympics

Yesterday, TSN’s extremely well-connected Darren Dreger listed five players at left wing on his projected Canadian Olympic depth chart. After those five names, he listed four other players as left wings fighting for a spot on the team. That’s nine names total; Taylor Hall’s wasn’t even mentioned.

It’s pretty unlikely that Dreger just pulled those names out of thin air. Anybody who follows hockey knows that he has sources, and given the number of NHL people involved in the Hockey Canada selection process it’s a pretty good bet that he’s given us a decent look at what the management group is thinking.

Hall’s Chances

Despite Hall’s well-publicized lapses in the defensive zone, there’s no doubt that he stacks up extremely well against the nine guys on Dreger’s list offensively. Even if we stack the deck against Hall – starting the clock in his rookie season and giving no weight to his improvement since then – he shows very well:

Player G/82 A/82 PTS/82
Eric Staal 28 48 76
Patrick Sharp 34 40 74
Taylor Hall 32 40 72
Jamie Benn 26 44 70
Chris Kunitz 32 38 70
James Neal 35 34 69
Patrick Marleau 33 34 67
Logan Couture 33 32 65
Matt Duchene 27 35 62
Milan Lucic 26 35 61

If we nix Hall’s rookie year, he’s seventh among Canadian forwards in points-per-game since 2011.

It’s more than scoring, too. Hockey’s a game of what a team creates versus what it gives up, and Hall was incredible in that regard last season. With Hall on the ice in 2012-13, the Oilers out-shot the opposition 36-32; with him on the bench those numbers fell to 23-32. That’s an insane tilt, the mark of a true difference-maker, one of the very best players in the entire world.

Is it frustrating that Hall sometimes cheats for offence, or occasionally turns the puck over while making plays? Yes, it is, because he could be an utterly dominant player and instead he’s just a very, very good one. It’s probably going to cost him an Olympic spot, even if it shouldn’t.

But it’s also an opportunity for Edmonton.

Coachable Moment?

It’s a pretty good bet that Hall wants to play for Canada. He represented his country at the World Championships last summer and he played in various international tourneys as a junior. Last year, of course, was marred by Lindy Ruff’s usage of Hall but if anything that should only go toward illustrating the same point.

People aren’t going to take Hall seriously as one of the game’s greats – even if he is one – until he’s as enthusiastic about work in his own zone as he is about putting points up on the board. He’s already shown an ability to adapt his game, focusing on being more aware of hits and improving his play-making; he can make another shift to be a more responsible two-way player.

Self-preservation likely helped motivate the first change. Getting his proper due can help motivate the second. And ensuring that Hall makes that jump is one of a bunch of challenges facing Dallas Eakins.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • Reg Dunlop

    Guys like Dreger sicken me. An Alberta boy and he’s completely disrespecting Hallsy and the Oiler org. Can’t he see the crazy, top-end skill of a first overall? Maybe he has been brainwashed into having an eastern bias because not only Hall but Ebs, Nuge and Gags should be in Sochi. We have to have cute nicknames and mad top end skill to bring home gold. Who is going to wheel those Russian babes with Hall playing Xbox instead of flying toward the opponents net and coasting back to his own blueline? Who else is going to look sullen on the bench when coach grinds him for taking a 2 minute shift?

    They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard.

  • Citizen David

    Looking at Dregers list:

    Stamkos probably won’t be back. He has Bergeron and St.Louis on the outside looking in at the moment. Those two should be locks. I’ve ranted enough about Spezza I won’t do it again but I can’t believe how hockey Canada ignores him.

    • Zarny

      Yeesh, enough about Spezza.

      What does Spezza bring that you don’t get with Crosby, Toews, Tavares or Getzlaf?

      Nothing..except he’s more of a defensive liability.

      Spezza certainly sits behind Crosby on the depth chart and you would never play him on the 3rd or 4th line. He’s not a candidate to play the wing which means the only spot he could possibly play is 2C.

      Thanks but the smart money says Toews, Tavares or Getzlaf are better picks. Whatever increase you may get from Spezza is marginal compared to the increased risk and defensive liability.

      Hall is in the same boat. The extra 5 pts a year doesn’t make up for the increased turnovers or flying the zone cheating for offense.

      • Citizen David

        I’m not sure what qualifies some centers to be able to switch to wing and not others. I also missed the class that says Spezza is a defensive liability. In my mind this defensive liability thing has become a boogeyman. Like Tigerunderglass says if you carry the puck more you’ll have more turnovers just like if you don’t have the puck much you’ll have more hits and blocked shots. But having the puck is what we want. To win in hockey you have to score more than the other team. Spezza is better at getting points than almost anyone on that roster.

        • Zarny

          Missed the class? More like the last decade.

          Spezza routinely gets caught deep in the offensive zone and/or on the wrong side of the puck. He has games where he floats instead of back-checks and frequently he’s the forward to coming into the top of the screen as the opposition scores on a 3-1 from a Spezza giveaway.

          When you are trying out for the Olympic team your defensive capabilities aren’t compared to Tyler Pitlick. They are compared to guys like Toews, Richards and Sharp who literally have some of the best defensive games in the world.

          As for C able to switch to the wing it includes positional play, ability to play on the boards and the corner, specifically the ability to play physical on the boards and the corner.

          Compared to the best in the world Spezza is not very good at any of it. Go watch the work Toews and E. Staal have done against Chara in the playoffs. Spezza can’t do that.

          Scoring more than the other team is not only about offense.

          Even if it was, Spezza is not better at getting points than almost anyone on that roster.

          He’s light years behind Crosby and Stamkos. And right now he’s sitting behind Getzlaf, Perry, Thornton, Tavares, Kunitz, Couture, Marleau, Seguin, Little, St. Louis and Sharp.

          He is tied with Jonathan Toews; who unlike Spezza is literally one of the best defensive forwards in Canada.

          So again, other than a nifty toe-drag what does Spezza bring that you don’t get from 15 other Canadian forwards?

          Because most of them bring a lot that Spezza doesn’t have.

          • Zarny

            Whoopty flippin doo.

            Over the last few years Spezza is actually behind Crosby, Stamkos, St. Louis and Giroux and tied with Neal and Tavares for pt/gm.

            Oh…and you get a whopping 0.2 pt/gm more than the guy in 25th place.

            Meanwhile, the chances Spezza gives up a game-winning goal in the last 10 minutes is about 200% higher compared to Toews, Getzlaf, Staal, Couture, Sharp and about 10 other forwards.

            Like I said, whatever offense you “might” get from Spezza is marginal at best compared to the drop in defense play.

            Which is why he has a 0% chance of going to Sochi.

          • Zarny

            Wow…5 pts in 5 games.

            Gagner got 8 pts in 1 game 2 years ago. Should he go to Sochi?

            You can cherry pick stats however you want.

            Giroux had 91 pts to Spezza’s 84 pts. In 2010-11 Spezza only had 57 pts in 62 games. Getzlaf had 76 pts in 67 games.

            And this year Getzlaf has 37 pts compared to Spezza’s 27 pts.

            The reality is any offense you gain with Spezza is marginal. Literally, fractions of a pt per game.

            The increased defensive liability he brings is a lot more than that.

            If Spezza was 3rd in league scoring this year he might have had a shot. He isn’t. Tied with Brian Little for 19th.

            Zero chance he makes this squad.

          • Would you trade Hall for Couture, seguin, or kunitz? If your answer is yes, there is no hope for you.

            If Hall was playing on San Jose or Pitt there is no question he would be on the team.

            The fact that the oilers are struggling, and that his turnovers are always on the highlight reel are the reasons he isn’t on the team.

            EDIT: Should have read your post. I agree with everything you said about Spezza

          • Zarny

            Seguin and Kunitz…no.

            Right now Couture is a more complete player. I wouldn’t make the trade because I think Hall has more offensive upside and you can teach him defense; but Couture will make the Olympic team and Hall won’t specifically because Couture plays a better 200 ft game today.

            And there is no question Couture benefits from being supported by Marleau and Thornton.

            That is one of the fundamental flaws in the Oilers rebuild. It isn’t surprising when young kids make mistakes.

            Not having skilled vets to back them up and teach them is an organizational weakness. Look what David Perron has done for the Oilers.

    • Reg Dunlop

      St. Louis will be there. Yzerman I don’t think will leave him off.

      Bergeron is too much of a beast on faceoffs not to be there. At worst he’s a 4rth line center or extra skater.

  • Spydyr

    I think it’s good for Hall to be off the list. Should give him the kick in the pants he needs to develop his 2-way game.

    I personally completely agree with not having him on the team in 2014. Would annoy me to no end watching him play bad D and throwing pucks away with bad plays for team Canada and potentially costing us, or just being benched or sat out all the time and having him confidence chipped away.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Every Olympics someone great gets left off. In 2010 Stevie Y left off his own player, Steven Stamkos, who ended up leading the league in goals that same year. Hall is not going, I accept that. I think its just one of those things.

    I just hope they take guys that are playing well.

    I wonder who from the Oilers is going to the Olympics…

    Bryzgalov, Belov, Yakupov, Hemsky, Smid (should be an Oiler), Joensuu (well probably the big finn, he has pretty narely in the world championships)????

  • Reg Dunlop

    From what I gather, Canada would rather shift a bunch of Centers to play Left Wing, instead of taking one of the most dominate left wings in the NHL. I think a pretty good comparison for Hall is Kessel. Similar numbers, similar type of player, now imagine the US left Kessel off the team. I guess this shows how deep Canada is, but also, how insane they are to leave Hall off the team/discussion table.

  • Spydyr

    After watching Hall execute a few “Gagneresque” passes this weekend it’s not a surprise that he isn’t in the running to play for the Olympic team.

    Maybe this will motivate him to play a complete 200ft game?

    -30-

  • Guy Lafleur

    Its gonna be the same as before , they are taking guys having bad seasons , Staal , Giroux and Nash and expecting them to find thier game ..how has that worked before , remember the Friends of Gretzky Olympics ..how did that work out ? Canada always way overthinks its national team ..lets do like Russia and the Americans do the players playing best GO , if Nash gets replaced by Kunitz fine , If Giroux doesnt make it so sad too bad .Take the guys who are playing good NOW !! World Juniors same thing , last year the best goalie in junior hockey Laurent Broissoit but everyone knew Malcolm Subban was starting .This year same thing no Darnell , its a joke . PK SUbban ..how is he on the outside looking in , the old boys club dont like him is that it //NO GOLD for either team!!!

    • Spydyr

      Man, I really like Hall as a player. His speed his puck handling his shot .He has the chance to be a special player one day. He is just not there yet.The team he plays for has not helped his development. In fact I would dare to say they have hindered it.

      This is a very, very hard time to be an Oiler fan with this “braintrust” in place.

  • vetinari

    Before the season started, I was hopeful that both Hall and Eberle would get some consideration but after the mess of the first couple of months, it was obvious that they are not (yet) Olympic material. They need to work on their team and defensive play and get their consistency up.

  • Hall’s destiny should still be at centre. His apologists tried to blame his horrible lapses on being out of position, but they continued when he moved back to wing. If he could get his game together and be responsible, his perceived worth around the NHL would skyrocket as a C/LW.

  • Greasy Goal

    “If we nix Hall’s rookie year, he’s seventh among Canadian forwards in points-per-game since 2011.”

    I dont see Crosby on the links list, is there a filter in place that takes him out of the stat?

  • you’d think his defensive zone lapses would take away from his offensive zone time and offensive production, yet he is still 3rd on that list. I get why he won’t make the team, but not why he isn’t even in the conversation.

    We you are constantly driving the play towards the opposition you are going to have the most turnovers. It’s hard to turn the puck over when you never have it.. hall always finds a way to get the puck. In turn he turns it over quite a bit. Something he’s getting much better at.

  • Very few players on Canadian Olympic teams play on terrible NHL teams. Most players come from successful organizations and are part of a winning culture. The Canadian Olympic brass have more than enough players to choose from without taking a chance on a thoroughbred without structure. They don’t need to take that chance. And you really can’t blame Hall for the player he is or isn’t. He is the product of the organization i.e. unstructured, chaotic, lost in the desert. Hopefully there is time to turn this around for all the young talent on the team but it will take iron will from MacT and Eakins to do it.

    • geoilersgist

      Nash played for a horrible Columbus team forever and is now playing for a Rangers team that can’t get it together yet he is a shoe in for Canada… it all makes so much sense now….

      I would argue that Hall is more useful on that large ice than Nash

  • Spydyr

    Interesting that Taylor Hall’s numbers are better than both Neal and Kunitz. Imagine what Hall’s numbers would be if he got to play with Crosby and Malkin.

    • Spydyr

      By numbers you mean points right?

      Points alone do not make the player.

      A complete game a great attitude a big heart and above all winning makes the player.

      • Zarny

        Chris Kunitz has twice as many give aways as he does take aways. Hall is a little bit better than that.

        Just becasue Hall has more turnovers overall doesnt mean he is worse than Kunitz defensively. It simply means he has the puck more and therefore turns it over more.

        Would you rather have a guy that makes less mistakes because he gets involved less or a guys that drives the play and makes a differene?

      • Spydyr

        I mean all of the above. Look at Pittsburgh’s organization, structure, coaching consistency, winning culture, and surrounding players.

        Would Hall not benefit in not only points, but also from having a very good coach, a consistent system to play under, and the benefit of being sheltered by Crosby, Malkin, Letang, etc.?

          • Spydyr

            I’m not always trying play the devils advocate. As much as I love the Oilers I have the ability to see things through non-Oiler colour glasses.

            Watching hockey for over forty-three years and playing for over thirty-five gives me the ability to judge hockey without the hometown bias.

          • Giving your credentials doesn’t make your argument any more or less convincing. I’ve played, coached, and watched hockey for 30 years…doesn’t mean I’m always right. It also means that two people who love hockey and have a lot of experience in the game can still disagree with one another.

            Also, providing an argument for Hall to make the Olympic team doesn’t necessarily mean you are biased just because you cheer for the Oilers. Most of us can see that this team is terrible and will call out players, coaches, and management. However, it doesn’t mean every piece of the team is rotten. Hall, in my opinion, is one of the few bright spots and deserving of serious consideration to make the Olympic team (again, just my opinion). You can choose to disagree.

          • Spydyr

            I like your attitude.

            Of course we can agree to disagree that is what makes this board great. If we all had the same opinion that would be boring as hell.

            With the devils advocate.I was not just commenting on this article but the many, many discussions that take place here.

            More often then not my opinion here is trashed as it is not the popular fan-boy opinion. Two recent players that come to mind are Dubnyk and Gagner. Never been a fan of either player. there was lots of negative responses to my assessment of those players in the past. Time did show the light to many.

            You thinking Hall is ready does not bother me in the least .That is your opinion and you have every right to be wrong.Just kidding.

            Myself I feel he is just not there yet and their are better options for this Olympics.

            I hope him not making it this time drives him to be a better player and in next Olympics he is a automatic pick and might even be a leader on that team.

          • Spydyr

            That’s my point. Hall’s offensive numbers are already better without two of the best players in the game playing center with him. He would crush Kunitz and Neal in points playing with Crosby.

            And to your earlier comment about heart, I would argue that Hall has plenty of that with a winning attitude. He has a history of winning, but the Oilers organization has a way of beating that out of their players.

          • Spydyr

            He could be playing with the best defence in the NHL.A give away at either blue line is still a give away at the blue line.Until Hall removes that from his game he will not be in the Olympic conversation.

          • Spydyr

            Watching the Pens game last night, I saw Malkin give the puck away several times throughout the game…he actually turns over the puck quite a bit. I imagine there is no conversation to leave him off the Russian team.

          • Zarny

            No.

            Because Malkin has won a Stanley Cup, an Art Ross and a Conn Smythe trophy.

            You saw Malkin give the puck away several times in 1 game.

            Hall gives the puck away several times every game.

            I’m a big Taylor Hall fan. IMO he’s by far Edm best player. But he isn’t Evgeni Malkin. Not yet anyway.

          • The entire Giveaway argument is idiotic.

            Turnovers are a measure of how often someone has the puck, nothing more.

            Regulars among the turnover leader board include Datsyuk, Getzlaf, Zetterberg, Kessel, Tavares…

            People need to stop it.

          • The takeaway/giveaway stat is often useless. But the takeaway/giveaway argument is not useless. The Oilers in general (including hall, but not pointing fingers) make absolutely embarrassing giveaways all game long. If you actually watch the games, these things are important and noticeable.

            The stat may be useless, but the giveaway argument is not. The oil make too many garbage giveaways and they need to stop it.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Talk about not getting it.

            Magical attributes like “balls,” “heart” and “truculence,” which I distribute randomly based on the assortment of narratively packaged out-of-town clips I watch on occasion tell me who is good and who is not.

            I will not be contested in this way of thinking which is somehow both rigid and subject to wild, sweeping changes!

            I Will Not!

          • Spydyr

            “balls,” “heart” and “truculence,”

            Those things are known as intangibles.They don’t show up on your spreadsheet.They do however win hockey games.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Perhaps.

            Unfortunately, such “measures” are rife with bias, bogus narratives, moving goalposts, arbitrariness and post hoc rationalization. All of which, makes them hard to take very seriously.

            What they do do, however, is give people without much insight lots to say.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            Not perhaps…..for sure.

            And what is unfortunate is that “statistics” are rife with bias, bogus narratives, moving goalposts, arbitrariness and post hoc rationalization. All of which makes them hard to take seriously.

            What they do do, however, is give people with zero insight lots to say.

          • Spydyr

            A giveaway that ends up in the back of you net does matter.It costs teams games.

            Turning the puck over trying to make a offensive play 180 feet from your net is not the same as turning it over at your blueline trying to pass it over a couple sticks. Lots of times because your teammates are going the wrong way that turnover ends up in your net.

          • S cottV

            Not necessarily true. Mixing it up, keeps the defensive alignment guessing. Hall is way too predictable and opposition d men, pretty much know he is going to carry, even 1 on 3. So – no need to back off him, in case he dumps and chases it, play him tight and look to separate him from the puck = turnover. Same with his tendency to throw the puck east west vs pushing it north, where a line mate can skate into it or start an effective pressure forecheck. The defensive alignment cheats up rather than back and will often pick off these lame passes, in very sensitive areas.

            With Halls speed – in an NHL rink, dumping and regaining control through effective forechecking with his linemates – needs to be part of the arsenal to mix in with possession hockey. The one opens up opportunities for the other and visa versa.

            The score – the time remaining, the position of his line mates on the ice relative to where he is in possession, the defensive alignment, who your playing against -etc etc, would determine when best to possess vs dump and forecheck. Even factoring in his speed and ability to carry – Hall needs to dump and chase – way more than he does. Hell – with his speed, he would be first to the puck many times anyway, or force an immediate opposition turnover.

            Almost impossible to create an odd man rush against you – with a dump in – and 200 foot away turnover. Whereas – very possible to create an odd man rush against, with an errant east west pass or trying to stickhandle through the opposition in the neutral zone and into the attack zone.

            Sorry but lets not compare Hall – who has a lot to learn to – Datsyk and Zetterberg. Those guys are veteran proven winners, who have earned their spurs and no how to play – when to pick their spots.

          • S cottV

            Ok – well take your case to Hockey Canada and good luck – because even with his lack of defensive play to fit in a bottom 6 role, too many turnovers, is on a next to last place team with leadership in question – etc etc, i would still like to see him play in the Olypics. You may be his and our best hope to change their minds. Go get em – Tiger…

          • Zarny

            Umm no…you argument is idiotic.

            Those regular leaders on the turnover board…Datsyuk, Getzlaf, Zetterberg, Kessel and Tavares are also on the leader board for players who get on their horse to get the puck back when they turn it over.

            Hall…not so much.

          • Zarny

            It all ties together.

            Hall is a chronic turnover case. As you pointed out though he’s certainly not the only one.

            However, those other players are voracious at getting the puck back and correcting their mistakes (with the exception of Kessel).

            So if Hall turns the puck over and isn’t going to get it back he becomes a defensive liability.

            When Datsyuk turns the puck over the odds are he gets it back. It also helps that he’s one of the best defensive forwards in the world.

            When Hall turns the puck over the odds are the other team gets a scoring opportunity. It’s the same story with Spezza and Mike Green (not as much anymore).

            HC is about mitigating risk. Sure, you might get a few extra points from players like Hall but that’s a marginal increase in offense compared to the increase in likelihood he coughs the puck up and causes the game-winning goal.

          • Zarny

            Sorry bud but it does all tie together.

            Yes, players who have the puck a lot turn it over a lot.

            Players who make the Olympics, however, go get it back.

            Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Getzlaf…everyone you named but Kessel does just that.

            Hall doesn’t. Period.

            So when you turn the puck over and don’t get it back you become a defensive liability.

            It also matters where you turn the puck over. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Getzlaf etc almost never turn the puck over at either blue line. Their giveaways rarely lead to immediate scoring chances.

            Hall? Quite frequently his turnovers lead to immediate scoring chances for the opposing team.

            If this is too confusing for you then perhaps you should go watch some more hockey.

          • Sorry bud but it does all tie together.

            Bud? Really?

            Yes, players who have the puck a lot turn it over a lot.

            Players who make the Olympics, however, go get it back.

            Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Getzlaf…everyone you named but Kessel does just that.

            Hall doesn’t. Period.

            Yet Hall has a solid record of drastically outchancing the opposition. How has he managed this with so many turnovers and without any ability to acquire the puck I wonder.

            It also matters where you turn the puck over. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Getzlaf etc almost never turn the puck over at either blue line.

            This is false. Most turnovers by puck possession players occur at the blue line. As I said to someone earlier – if you can prove to me that Datsyuk is more prone to dumping in the puck than Hall I will listen to this argument. Otherwise it’s just the shrill noise from fans of a losing team reaching for answers.

          • Zarny

            Good grief, you should try making a point instead of just driveling on.

            And learn to read.

            I didn’t say Datsyuk is more likely to dump the puck. He’s simply less likely to turn the puck over at the blue-lines.

            If you need proof go watch any of Detroit’s 82 regular season games. Pavel Datsyuk is a perennial Selke trophy candidate.

            Finally, even if Hall and Datsyuk turn the puck over in the exact same spot on the ice Datsyuk repeatedly gets the puck back far more often than Hall.

            Thus, preventing the opposition from getting a scoring chance.

            Hall? Not so much. He’s much more likely to be the forward 5th back into the d-zone and just creeping into the screen as the opposition scores.

            It’s not a coincidence that of all the LW being mentioned for Canada Hall is virtually the only negative in plus/minus.

          • Zarny

            Nope.

            You literally didn’t make a point. Just driveled on about dumping the puck for no apparent reason.

            The fact you even try to compare Hall and Datsyuk regarding turnovers is laughable.

            Fun stats:

            Giveaways this season:

            Taylor Hall: 35 Tied for 4th most in the NHL

            Pavel Datsyuk: 14 Tied for 138th most in the NHL

            Takeaways this season:

            Taylor Hall: 19 Tied for 55th most in the NHL

            Pavel Datsyuk: 40 Literally has the most takeaways in the NHL.

            Turnover plus/minus:

            Taylor Hall: -19 16th worst in the NHL.

            Pavel Datsyuk: 26 The 2nd best in the NHL.

            When Taylor Hall gives the puck away, he should literally watch and do what Pavel Datsyuk does.

            He doesn’t and it’s not even close.

          • pkam

            Why do we compare Hall to Datsyuk?

            Datsyuk is the best two way center at the moment, can you tell me one center who is better than him?

            The whole argument should be comparing Hall to the wingers that TSN suggested.

            If defensive game is key to why Hall is not considered for Team Canada, then why Kunitz and Lucic are in the conversation?

          • pkam

            You should have mentioned Lucic since he is not only in the Olympics conversation, he is a player that most Oilers fan would like to acquire. 28 GA and 8 TA, so -20.

            If turn over the puck is such a big problem, why do we even want to add Lucic?

          • Mikey

            I agree with that statement…and also, Malkin’s turnovers are often in his own zone and at the offensive blue line.

            I like Malkin a lot, but he turns over the puck quite a bit.

          • Spydyr

            Malkin has won the Cup and a Conn Smyth. Played at the Olympics.All things Hall has never even remotely come close to doing.He has never even played a playoff game in the NHL. There is no comparison between the two players.

          • Spydyr

            Winning in the NHL is harder then winning in junior.Winning at the Olympics is even harder still.

            Hall at the last Worlds was benched because of his give aways , play without the puck and defensive liabilities.

            The Olympic team is much, much harder to make then the Worlds team.That is why he is not even in the conversation outside of Edmonton.

            The people picking the Olympic team take into account your play at the Worlds.

          • Spydyr

            If you offered Taylor Hall straight up for any player on that list today, you could basically have any one of those players. Especially Kunitz who will probably make the team.

            If you wouldn’t trade Hall straight up for Kunitz, then you are full of crap when if anyone says Kunitz is an all-round better player than Hall.

            The ONLY reason Kunitz makes this team is because he plays with Crosby. If Hall plays with Crosby, he makes this team every time all day long…there wouldn’t even be a question.

          • Zarny

            Crazy, crazy homer comment, but its good to be a fan and support your guys, even if its crazy. Hall right now is a big fish in a little pond. His defence is terrible, selfish play and turnovers galore… but, since Edmonton hasn’t got anything better, and because the Oilers turned the team over to the prima donna youth (way too early) they can’t bench him or try some other things and he doesn’t have to listen, and he continues to get primo minutes to rack up the misleading stats. LOL on him learning and getting the message. Everyone else on that list are team players, and Kunitz for instance is good is because he can work with Crosby and they make a great unit. Putting Hall with his me-first attitude and sloppy play with Crosby is a huge down-grade on what they already have.

          • Spydyr

            LOL…if you called up Pittsburgh and said that you want Kunitz and would offer Hall straight up for him, Kunitz would be on a one-way ticket to Edmonton within the hour.

            Does Kunitz not get the “primo” minutes that you are talking about. What is it about Hall’s points are “misleading” and what is it about Kunitz’s points that his points more legitimate? Other than the fact that he plays on a line with the best player in hockey?

  • Spydyr

    “Taylor Hall’s wasn’t even mentioned.” This is not surprising anywhere outside of Edmonton.

    Learn to play a complete game Taylor.You have four years to the next chance.Make the most of that time.Making the playoffs might help.Winning a Cup definitely would.

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    To be considered for the Olympics, every player must excel in all areas of the ice. Taylor Hall has very little concept of defensive zone coverage (where to go, how to react). Skating a zillion miles an hour down the wing to float the puck on the net is not the stuff of Olympians.

    • Hall’s defensive laps are not as bad as you think they are.

      Hall turns the puck over mostly because he’s the only option left and try’s to do too much, not because he has no “concept”

      You do realize that Hall would be playing on international ice right, flying down the wing would be an understatement…….Try blowing past people who had really no idea how fast the kid really is.

      You still need to score goals to win.

      • Spydyr

        Hall has to learn to get the puck deep when he runs out of options and sometimes getting the puck out is the best thing.Not a pass over a couple sticks.Last time he played on the big ice he was benched.

        You have to stop goals to win.

  • #PENNERFORSOCHI

    IN THE BLEAK COMMUNIST TUNDRA ONLY ONE MAN CAN SAVE THE PEASANTS FROM THE PANCAKE DESPISING KREMLIN, AND THAT MAN IS DUSTIN PENNER!

    But for real, if Claude “Invisible for the first 25 games” Giroux is in the mix, then how the hell can Hall not be?

    And what about the injured, overvalued Nash? Ryan Smyth has more points than him and Thornton, and Smytty needs a walker to get to the rink these days.

    There are too many questionable picks for Team Canada right now, which seem to be based on “what guys used to be” instead of the young drive and passion in guys like Hall that seems to get overlooked.

  • Spydyr

    But my argument is that Hall is a better all-round player than Kunitz. Sure, Hall has some deficiencies in his game (I think they are a little overstated), but I would rather have Hall on my team than Kunitz. Doesn’t matter if I’m the GM of the Penguins, Oilers, or Team Canada.

    If you take Hall over Kunitz as GM of both the Pens and Oilers, why wouldn’t you take him over Kunitz as GM of Team Canada?