Yes, it can get worse for the Edmonton Oilers. And it likely will after NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan reviews the video evidence of Taylor Hall burying Cal Clutterbuck late in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Rexall Place Thursday.

Not only are the offensively challenged Oilers facing a nine-game road trip after lurching their way through a five-game homestand, they’ll likely start the grueling swing without Hall, who drilled Clutterbuck and knocked him out of the game on a hit that saw Hall make first contact with his knee.

Hall didn’t stick out his knee. It wasn’t a textbook knee-on-knee hit, although we’re quibbling about an inch or two in terms of where Hall’s knee contacted Clutterbuck. As for intent, I don’t know what Hall was thinking and neither do Oilers fans who rushed to defend No. 4 on Twitter and elsewhere. Hall denied intent, and I’m not going to call him a liar.

It matters not. The bottom line is Hall made first contact with his knee and Clutterbuck was injured on the play. Hall was assessed a major for kneeing and a game misconduct. The question is not whether Hall will be suspended by Shanahan. The question is how many games he’ll get.


My best guess is Hall will get two or three games, which will put him out for Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes and, at a minimum, for the first game of the road trip, which begins in Chicago Monday. That’s the last thing the Oilers, losers of two straight and now 6-7-3, need right now.

That, at least to start the trip, will force coach Ralph Krueger to shake up his forward lines, which is something many fans have been calling for as the Oilers have struggled to score. Suffice to say, doing so without his leading point-getter in the mix is not the way Krueger would like to draw it up, even with the consolation of having Ryan Jones set to return.

There’s no silver lining to the discipline pending from Shanahan, although I’m guessing the Oilers will circle the wagons and vow to dig in as they prepare to face the next two or three games without Hall. They can talk that talk. We’ll see soon enough if they can walk that walk.

I’m less than hopeful.

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

  • Yup. It will be two or three games. I mentioned this in specs piece as well but can anyone dig up the video of Hall nearly ending Tavares in the OHL with a massive hit behind the net.

    Been a while since I saw it and maybe its been pulled. Not sure if Hall was 16 or 17 when he creamed him but that was my first awareness of the kingston missile and the somewhat Messier like capacity to change a game.

    There will never be another Messier in the sense that we knew him, somewhere between the best player on the ice and the most feared and ruthless with his physicality. It makes me somewhat nostalgic.

    Oh well.

    Seth Jones looks good!

  • I think this was, in general, a clean hit. No suspension.

    Woeful loss tonight, but at least the Oilers are getting a little less pleasant to play against. Eager was good tonight and even if it does draw a game or two suspension, I don’t think it is a bad thing that opposing forwards have to hesitate a bit when bringing the puck into the offensive zone. It has been pond hockey for them for too many years.

  • Clutterbuck in tonight’s game was throwing dirty hits all game. He ran Eberle & Yakupov with no call. He cross-checked Hemsky in the face and no call. He has taken liberties at Hall in previous games. Where was the suspension to the Flame last season after he gave Hall a concussion for a hit to the head? Where are the suspensions to dirty hits on Oilers players causing injuring. There are rarely suspensions or penalties. Apparently there’s a rule in the NHL that say you can take cheap shots at the Oilers and not worry about a suspension. When Gilbert was injured by a cheap shot last season, Carcille only got 7 games but it should have been more.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    All I have to say re: Clutterbuck is you live by the sword you die by the sword. No sympathy here for someone who plays like he does. Too bad it was Hall that did it instead of someone less valuable. That being said, I do not mind Hall taking runs at people. It would be nice if he, RNH, and Ebs took the odd high sticking or elbowing penalty as well to clear some space for themselves.

    As much as people complain about a lack of size in the top 6, I would argue that a lack of size and grit in the bottom 6 is hurting the team more. This team also needs more players with an edge to them. Check out some of the borderline and dirty plays on youtube clips that the Oilers used to do during the dynasty days. That is what the current team is lacking. The old Oilers had third and fourth lines that would 1) instigate not retaliate, 2) punish the opponents physically and 3) cross the line to send a message when needed. The fact that they could contribute offensively was a bonus.

    Right now, the only forward in the lineup that instigates, finishes his hits and can be nasty if needed is Eager. Smyth and Belanger are not physical. The fourth line of VV, MPS and Harski is less physical as well (and Harski and VV do not skate well enough right now for the NHL). Ryan Jones will help a bit when he is back, but Tambi needs to find two or three more bigger and grittier 3rd and 4th liners that can actually play a regular shift in order for this team to take the next leap (and another couple of regular NHL d-men would help also – Peckham, Whitney and Potter are 7s and 8s on a mid to upper level team, not 5s or 6s).

    • Problem is if the Oilers play physical, they’ll get penalized. There’s apparently a rule that the Oilers aren’t allowed to hit or be physical. If they get physical and hit, they’ll get penalized.

      • The Soup Fascist

        No. They can play physical and not get penalized. However, if they do take the odd penalty for being too physical that is not an issue either. It is better to instigate than retaliate, which is what this team has done for way too long.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Late hit – Maybe. Interference – certainly. But am I the only one who thinks it was Hall’s hip catching Clutterbuck’s thigh. I did not see Hall’s knee do any damage.

    Five minutes for ….. er ……. Umm …….. Excessive interference??

    I am sure you are right about the suspension, Robin. Just not sure it is justified.

      • Oilers4ever

        Watch the damn replay on TSN’s site.. you can clearly see that Hall’s body squatted down and the side of his hip caught Clusterbuck… If you can’t see that you need damn eye surgery. Seriously.. you usually write good stuff dude.. But you are out to lunch by a country mile on this one.

      • Nail and Nuge

        Sorry Robin but don’t see that and don’t have the goggles either.

        But let me ask you this – as skilled as Hall is – Do you think there is a player in this league that can lead with his shoulder and knee at the same time?

        Also something more recent was the dangerous hit by Dustin Brown’s on Nuge from blind side on a defenseless player – I thought that was worse. Ok goggles on there but I think that hit deserved a penalty.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Must have given the same goggles to the Wild announcers.

        “He didn’t put is knee out, but he did put his hip into Clutterbuck”

        This was after they initially thought it was a knee on knee and then saw the replay.