DANCE THE MESS AROUND

Taylor Hall has not played at his usual levels this season, but has been turning it on in the last 10 games (5-7-12, +1 in that time). For the first time since summer, there are rumblings about his chances to make the Canadian Olympic team. He makes my team all day, for the single reason that he’s a human chance machine, but does he have a realistic chance?

CENTER AND INJURIES

This has been a weird start for Hall in 2013-14, he was a center early and then the injury against Ottawa sent him sideways (and he may not be back completely from that injury, although he certainly looked like he was able to wheel against Colorado on Thursday night) and helped doom the Oilers for this year.

  • Hall in October: 9, 3-5-8 -6
  • Hall in November: 11, 4-7-11 -2
  • Hall in December: 3, 3-2-5 +1

He’s heading in a good direction, and the boxcars are always good to great with this guy. Let’s compare Hall’s numbers—in a season we can all agree has seen some struggles—to other candidates for LW on Canada’s Olympic team:

  1. Taylor Hall, 23, 10-14-24 (1.04)
  2. Chris Kunitz 30, 16-14-30 (1.00)
  3. Logan Couture 29, 10-17-27 (.931)
  4. Jamie Benn 27, 7-18-25 (.926)
  5. Matt DuChene 24, 12-9-21 (.875)
  6. Patrick Sharp 31, 11-13-24 (.774)

Now, we know there will be center’s moving over and that offense isn’t the only thing, but Hall’s "uneven" season seems to stack up nicely with the other candidates and he’s so good on NHL ice the mind boggles about what he could do with skill on the big ice.

RUFF’S TRUTHS

If you put a racehorse beside a plough horse and ask them to till the fields all day, perhaps other men were meant to lead national teams. However, there’s no denying Hall did struggle under Ruff’s guidance this past spring and we’ve seen him fly the zone with frequency as an Oiler this season.

If Hall doesn’t make the team because he hasn’t been eating his vegetables, I think there’s an argument there that suggests that Hall is not the best role player for the team (a player like Sharp is a better fit with a wider range).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I’d suggest that Hall’s natural fit—on the skill lines with the skill players—will end up going to Kunitz, or Couture or Benn. There are a lot of things in play aside from natural ability, including legit concerns about overall skills and inconsistency this season, and we’d be naive to think politics doesn’t enter into the equation.

For me, Hall makes the team without a throw. In the real world of hockey decision making, I suspect he’s on the outside looking in. Fair? No.

Taylor Hall is worthy of Olympic selection. It’s too easy for the men in suits to say "next time" and dance the mess around.

  • Lowetide

    Taylor Hall does not play a 200 ft game. He has not learned to play 2-way game.

    Against the best in the world he is a liability. That is why he is on the outside.

    This team is full of speed and scoring.

  • CMG30

    Hall is on the bubble. Ideally he should make it but I think in the real world he falls short. If he is to make the team I think that he needs to be ‘clearly superior’ than than his competition rather that just ‘slightly better’ to have a chance. If he doesn’t make it and team Canada falls short fingers need to be pointed.

    A nagging issue that has always bugged me is how players playing in the East, especially in big markets, tend to get over-valued whereas players out West tend to get under-valued.

  • CMG30

    Hall and this team is starting to trend in the direction we hoped they would at the beginning of the season but Dallas had to spend the first month getting those bad defensive habits that Kreoger and Renny had ingrained in them out of their games . They are still learning how to play the game correctly but each game you can see a little progress. I am starting to get excited about our the rest of the season although the playoffs are out of the question.

  • I am the Liquor

    Hall makes it, if not for the plus/minus!! Fact is fact, offensively he is the best of the bunch. Sharp, Kunitz, Couture all have more mature and defensively sound line mates right now. What would Halls +/- be if he skated next to Crosby? Then there would be no debate, but luck has it in for Kunitz. So lucky you got traded to Pittsburg Chris. Olympian with the Ducks NO, with the Pens YES. By default only.

  • Edsez

    I don’t think Hall makes it because of poor valuation of his skill set. He’ll get overlooked just like Nurse and the Oilers will be denied again.

    However… I think his D game is really coming around… look at Thursday’s game. If he keeps stripping the other team of the puck and causing turnovers its just a matter of time before he’s up their at the top of the league. Hall is the tits