A HALL OF A MESS

Much of the talk after last night’s 3-1 loss to Minnesota focused on Taylor Hall’s kneeing major on Cal Clutterbuck. I suspect Hall will get a short suspension from the hit, but I don’t think it was malicious. Hall never took any extra strides to hit him, and he did lean in and down to avoid head contact, however, the initial point of contact looked to be a combination of Hall’s knee/thigh/hip on Clutterbuck’s lower thigh and he likely gets a Shanaban.

But that play shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the Oilers continue to struggle in many facets of their overall game.

The Oilers didn’t come out of the gate with much energy or urgency. Tonight was the Wild’s first regulation road win in 20 games. They were 4-15 in their previous 19 and all the wins came in the shootout. They were not a confident road team, yet the Oilers allowed the Wild to lull them to sleep.

The Oilers refusal to shoot the puck from good shooting areas is killing them. They had guys in the slot who elected to pass to a teammate who was in a worse shooting area on the wing. The Oilers continue to be too pretty, and Ralph Krueger has no choice but to mix up his top-six.

He needs to put Ryan Smyth, Ben Eager or Ryan Jones amongst his skilled guys. Simplify the game in the offensive zone, and get somebody who is willing to go to the net and get some greasy goals.

QUICK HITS

  • I understand the Oilers are a young team and are still developing, but they need to realize they can’t just win games by playing pretty. It is a hard lesson, but one they need to learn quickly.
     
  • I thought Theo Peckham played well for his first NHL game in almost a year. He looked much more comfortable handling the puck than he did at any point last season. I’d play him again on Saturday.
     
  • Ran into Ryan Jones after the game and he will have one more meeting with the doctor, but he sounded confident that he’d be ready to play Saturday. The Oilers could use his simple, go to the net style of play.
     
  • I haven’t noticed Magnus Paajarvi in the last two games. With that type of speed he should be able to generate at least one good scoring chance a game. He and Hartikainen need to get their fire back.
     
  • Ben Eager did his job. He skated well, had five hits and as a bonus chipped in with an assist. In a game with zero emotion early, I’d love to see him ignite the crowd and his team with an energy shift or a solid hit, but overall his game was good.
     
  • Ryan Smyth scored a typical greasy Smyth goal. A nice birthday present, but it won’t mean as much to him in a loss.
     
  • Watched the replay of the Wild’s third goal, and the Oilers didn’t have a horrible breakdown. Nick Schultz steps up nicley onCal Clutterbuck and the puck doesn’t go anywhere until Clutterbuck ,from his knees and with one hand on his stick, pokes it ahead to Cullen. Not a bad decision, but a painful play to give up in a 2-1 game. Sometimes the other team makes a good play.
     
  • It was a great second effort by Clutterbuck, which is something the Oilers just aren’t getting enough of. They need to start paying the price more often and doing the ugly things that help you win games in the NHL.
     
  • I liked that Hall was willing to lay a big hit on an opposing player. Of course, you don’t want to see that result, but if he can add a bit of a physical presence to his game it would be good. I don’t need him laying guys out regularly, but having a bit of an edge to his game as he matures and gains a few more pounds is exactly what this team needs from someone on their top two lines.
     
  • Hall will have a phone hearing today at 12:30 p.m. Edmonton time. This is Hall’s second major penalty of his NHL career. His first came in a fight v. Derek Dorsett.
     
  • Here is the hit again if you didn’t see it. Thoughts?

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Hallsy should have put his shoulder into Clutterbuck’s heart. Would have been one heck of a yard sale!

    That would have been a win for the Oilers in my books.

    Hallsy decision to hip check the guy was dumb. Shoulder to the chest and we’d be talking about a great hit today.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hall? 2 games for that. Oilers are running the wheels of the cart. 1:1 going into the 3rd and they run you out of the rink in the first 3 minutes of the period. The play to Setegouchi was nice. wish we saw a few a those on the other end.

    Urgency and the need for the players to fulfill their role is needed in the next little while. If it does not the “ugly” will be all over this team by the time it comes back from its road trip next month.A poor road trip may spell the end of a season and perhaps jobs for certain people. The fun never ends when your an Oiler fan.

  • oilersOne

    Clutterbuck faked the whole thing and if not then got what he deserved. Hall should have hit him in the head as well because that’s how Shanny is going to punish him! Oil are cruising for lotto pick again anyways so that will help!

    • If Clutterbuck had done that to Hall, no penalty would have been called and there would be no hearing. Doan laid a dirty hit on Horcoff and got nothing, not even a fine. Morris hit Whitney when they had won in OT and got nothing. There seems to be a rule in the NHL rule book that throwing illegal and dirty hits on the Oilers is fine as we won’t suspend you matter if there’s an injury or not. See the Doan hit on Horcoff for proof.

  • Locksmithluke

    Too bad, it has to fall on Hall, to dish out these kind of hits, only because Fistric, Peckham, Eager, didnt look after business on Clutterbuck the rat, all game long.

    I think Hall was giving Krueger the message, that if you can’t take care of business I will.

    At the end, Hall didnt knee him, he hit him with his hip, as Clutterbuck was recoling from kicking the puck ahead just a second before. If anything he has his knee out and not Hall.

    Message to Fistric.. ” you are no Lindstrom”, so do what you were brought in to do.

    and.. Kruger, stop reading Renney’s mannual.

    At the end, Hall, is the only guy on this dead ass team, that seems to be playing with passion every game.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One game for lookin so good Hallsy. Good to see an Oiler lower the boom on a player in a vulnerable position……..or is this a symptom of Taylors frustration with the lack of progress on this hockey club the last 3 years?

    Fear not ON, if this situation was really bad/unacceptable, management* would certainly do something, wouldn’t they?

    *Tambellini has to remind Lowe to stick to the plan….lie back and think of England Kevin, just like the fans are.

  • oilersOne

    I agree with all of JG’s comments. Peckham really made some fine passes. He did look good for his first game.

    I think that the Oilers need both Horcoff and Jones back.

    I really don’t think that the Oilers will make the playoffs this year or next year with their current goalies.

    I don’t like our present line combinations – It seems like we have the best line ever if we were playing in the World Juniors but not so much the NHL.

    Oilers may have to trade some young talent to get a better veteran mix.

    I do think Gagner is the one player who is playing better this year whereas Eberle has taken a step back. Not too worried about Eberle, he will get better.

  • Crackenbury

    Nothing more than an attempted hip check where there was some incidental knee contact. It shouldn’t be but probably will be 1-3 games. We’re hearing now that Clutterbuck appeared fine after the game. Was that a performance at centre ice?