GDB 42.0: Hall is healthy

Taylor Hall’s production through the first half of the season has not been close to how he produced the previous two years. In 2013 and 2014 he had 130 points in 120 games. He produced the 6th most points in the entire NHL during that span, but so far this season he has struggled.

He has 25 points in 35 games thus far, but Hall told me that his health is not the reason his numbers have dipped.

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“My health is not an issue at all,” said Hall.  “This hasn’t been the greatest season for me, and I know that, but there is a lot of hockey left. I’m confident that my game is turning around. I’m doing things that I wasn’t comfortable doing early in the season, and I feel that with 40 games left I’m going to come on,” he continued.

He has tried to adjust his play away from the puck, and at times he feels it has hindered his overall game. Many have wondered if Hall is playing banged up because we haven’t seen his blazing speed as often this year, but he explained that is not the case.

“I haven’t put myself in positions to use my speed as much. I feel the past few games I’m starting to get back to that, and I’m confident that I’m starting to find the right balance between reading the play properly and then being in a position to use my speed,” Hall said candidly.

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He also pointed out that he feels Nelson’s emphasis on pace and tempo in practice has helped his overall game, because Nelson wants everything done quickly and the flow in practice is continuous with fewer stoppages.

“They’ve been great. I can appreciate the tempo we are playing with in practice because it is helping us in games. To be honest, I’ve never been a guy who believed in going 100% in every drill in every practice, but I’m starting to believe that because it does make you a better player. I went hard most practices, but since Todd’s come in, he wants every drill to be up-tempo and I think it really helps,” Hall said.

It can’t just be practices of course, because Hall tallied 130 points in 120 games the past two years, but this year he has tried adjusting his play away from the puck, and he hasn’t found that comfort zone that will allow him to be productive offensively, defensively and away from the puck.

Based on our conversation yesterday, he feels he is much closer and is hoping to show that in the second half of the season. He knows his job is to produce points, and after the last two seasons he knows he can score with the best in the NHL, and if he can return to being a point-a-game player his team should win more games.

LINEUP…

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Nelson switched Teddy Purcell and Nail Yakupov last game and he’ll keep with those combinations tonight. He mentioned he was hoping that Purcell could help get Anton Lander going offensively.

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Scrivens returns to the net. Viktor Fasth played well vs. Detroit, but it seems obvious the Oilers feel Scrivens is their starter.

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QUICK HITS…

The Oilers have allowed 47 more goals than they’ve scored, (89-136), while the Blackhawks are +35 in goal differential (123-88). But there are some other major differences between these teams.

  • Chicago leads the NHL with 1,455 shots on goal. Los Angeles is second with 1,303. The Oilers are 24th with 1,139.
  • The Oilers are actually very close in shots against to the Hawks. Chicago sits 15th in the NHL with 1,203, while Edmonton is 22nd allowing 1,234. The difference is the Hawks have allowed the fewest goals in the league at 88, while Edmonton sits 29th having let in 136.
  • Edmonton’s goalies need to be better, there is no debate, but the Oilers allow way more odd man rushes than the Hawks. Every team gives up grade A chances in their own zone, but the Oilers allow far too many odd man rushes every game.
  • The chart below shows team’s standings for goals against (I didn’t include empty net goals), and then on the right side I added how many shots against they allow and where that ranks in the league. Minnesota for example, if they were getting solid goaltending, would be a much better team. They allow the fewest shots in the league, but they are 21st in goals allowed. The Islanders surrender the 3rd fewest shots, but have given up the 20th most goals. The Islanders do give up more odd man rushes, but they need more saves from their goalies.

    The bottom nine teams in goals against are also the bottom nine in allowing shots.

Team  GP  GA SA rank
1 CHICAGO 41 85 1203 15th
2 NASHVILLE 40 85 1137 9th
3 NY RANGERS 38 87 1062 2nd
4 MONTREAL 40 89 1215 18th
5 FLORIDA 38 90 1148 11th
6 PITTSBURGH 40 92 1209 16th
7 DETROIT 41 89 1115 4th
8 WINNIPEG 41 93 1160 14th
9 ST LOUIS 41 98 1132 7th
10 WASHINGTON 40 100 1151 13th
11 LOS ANGELES 41 99 1150 12th
12 VANCOUVER 39 98 1135 8th
13 CAROLINA 41 99 1129 6th
14 TAMPA BAY 42 101 1127 5th
15 BOSTON 42 104 1229 20th
16 CALGARY 41 101 1140 10th
17 OTTAWA 40 107 1310 27th
18 ANAHEIM 42 106 1214 17th
19 SAN JOSE 42 107 1226 19th
20 NY ISLANDERS 40 107 1087 3rd
21 MINNESOTA 39 107 1045 1st
22 NEW JERSEY 43 106 1294 26th
23 COLORADO 41 112 1393 28th
24 PHILADELPHIA 41 112 1254 23rd
25 COLUMBUS 38 114 1265 24th
26 TORONTO 41 124 1401 29th
27 ARIZONA 40 128 1277 25th
28 DALLAS 40 126 1231 21st
29 EDMONTON 41 130 1234 22nd
30 BUFFALO 42 139 1477 30th

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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From the Committed Indian:

The Hawks will continue what is now their last place tour of the West, yes Virginia the Wild have slipped behind the Avs, and see the last place team in the other division which would be the kabuki theater for and by monkeys that is the Edmonton Oilers. And while I know these guys fly on charter jets and stay in five-star hotels and all that, a back-to-back in St. Paul and then Edmonton seems a bit over the top. So I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hawks’ legs just aren’t there tonight. Hell, they haven’t always been there when they’ve had optimum rest. But thankfully, you don’t have to be all there when playing the Oil.

TONIGHT…

JackNBoxMacT

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Hawks have three times as many wins as the Oilers, 27 to 9 in 41 games. That is ridiculous. Hawks win 5-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Benoit Pouliot will not spear someone in the offensive zone.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Anton Lander scores his first goal of the season, giving him three points in five games.

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  • bazmagoo

    So Pouliot doesnt get scratched tonight? Thats a joke. No player should play the game after taking a 4 minute penalty with 3 minutes left in a game. I dont care who you are.

  • geoilersgist

    The newbies along with Hendricks are setting the pace of the game on the Oilers side. I think its starting to rub off on the core guys, to kick their game up a notch.

    God help Yak and Schultz to play like NHL players!

    Oilers have a shot of beating a tired Chicago team provided we don’t have one of those 2 goals in the first 5 minutes of the game by the Hawks.

    PS.. good to see Hall is healthy. Fans can stop the ” trade Hall shouts”.

  • geoilersgist

    He may be physically healthy but his hockey IQ may have the flu. Plays are ending with him way too often, he can’t make or take a pass and the giveaways are inexcusable.

    Don’t tell me it is because he always has the puck. Hall’s game is a mess IMO. Hopefully Nelson can turn his game around. Taylor Hall is the poster boy for the folly of over-paying players before they have proved anything.

    He needs to watch the Hawks Toews. That would be a good start.

    • bleedingoil

      He would:
      add character
      leadership
      show boys how to play like men
      play in front of the net
      toughness
      likely get more points than Yakapov
      cheap contract, no long-term commitment, don’t lose a player

      may be a little old and slower, but for what you get at the low cost.

      Again why not?

  • YFC Prez

    I’m really not used to seeing the puck come out on an oilers stick in one of those battles along the boards. The team is bigger and is starting to play with a little grit. Nelson has them playing a much better game than Eakins did. Hopefully he can eliminate their fragility when they face controversy.

    I know a lot of commenters will likely disagree but with the way this team plays now for Nelson. They actually look like a NhL team. Not a good team but at least in the same league. I don’t see this team finishing last. I see them beating both Buffalo and Carolina.

    And when Hall gets his game going again ( and he will, he was the best friggin left winger in the League last year ) forget about it. New acquisitions are helping improve club too.

  • geeker99

    Really like Ebs game in last couple of weeks. out playing his linemates when he was boat anchor for the longest time. He is building his value back up and could be a nice trade chip this summer.

    • YFC Prez

      I’ve liked Ebbs game lately too. If he’s playing like this for good now I say just keep him. With both Perron and Gagner gone the oilers don’t have a over abundance of small skilled forwards like they used to.

      Nelson is having a very positive effect on these players. Hopefully he can figure out Yak and Schultz.

      • vetinari

        I think Schultz’s ideal future partner will be Nurse. Nurse is big, strong, and plays with a controlled mean streak– he is Schultz’s opposite and would complement his game well.

      • geeker99

        I agree Prez, but if Ebs with maybe that first rounder from Pitt can get a stud D=man or a solid first center man would hve to think hard about it. To trade from strength means whoever would have to be playing well. I love Ebs but when he is not playing well he is frustrating to watch.

  • vetinari

    I don’t know what makes me madder. The fact that senior management let the team wither and die for so long under Eakins or that they failed to put together a competitive roster for eight years. Nelson, in a few weeks, has these guys forechecking and playing as a team for the first time since Krueger and the only big changes on the roster is the third and fourth liners.

  • Slapshot

    Each game that Nelson coaches the Oilers and they keep playing like this ,it proves Eakins was the wrong coach for this team,makes one wonder we’re would this team and Yakopov be had they kept Kruger instead of firing him.

  • Ever the Optimist

    not used to this …. coming back from an early lead then taking the lead twice ….

    also roy is doing well …. he keeps playing like this and he might fetch something at the deadline

  • Congo Powerarm

    Anyone considering hiring Eakins for a coaching position in the future damn well better have a look at the before and after of this team.

    We’re not out of the woods to be sure but these guys are resembling a team that should be in this league.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Does anyone else see a parallel between Glencross and Klinkhammer? I don’t know if Klink has the offensive upside but I would HATE to see him go to the flames.

  • vetinari

    At the Rockets/Blazers game.
    Drasaitl isn’t very noticeable, my buddy and I have to make an effort to watch him. Seems disinterested.
    1-0 Blazers after 2.

  • Anton CP

    Who is still missing Arco? Oilers are better off without Arco anyway. Arco lack of offensive instinct to play on top 2 lines and lack of defensive ability to play bottom 2 lines.

  • YFC Prez

    If the oilers do decide to extend Roy or klinkhammer. I’m hoping it’s only for a year. They’re both hungry, and playing to save their careers. Keep them that way.

    • vetinari

      Klinkhammer is better value than Gazdic or Pinizotto. Roy is definitely someone I would try to extend on a 1 or 2 year deal to give Draisatl time to develop.

      • Reg Dunlop

        Oh, Wes, seems like nobody liked that comment. I guess I shouldn’t say that brides wear white so the new dishwasher matches the stove. How about this then; Drew the colorman looks like the principal at Marty Mcfly’s school. I just feel giddy with the big oil win, so forgive me.

  • vetinari

    Is it wrong to want a Klinkhammer jersey? Guy is everywhere. Roy contributes almost nightly and even Fraser shows some life in a checking role. Good effort from top to bottom.