When Taylor Hall’s pressure fracture in his lower leg is healed he should not be held out of the lineup. I realize some people don’t want Hall to risk further injury, but if he is deemed healthy then he should play before the end of the season.
You can’t tell a player to sit out the rest of the season if he is healthy. Players play with bumps and bruises for the majority of the season, so trying to tell Hall to “rest up” in late March will not be a good message from the organization.
I don’t expect the Oilers to do that, and fans shouldn’t either.
You should want Hall back playing in late March, so then hopefully he can represent Canada at the World Championships.
“I believe players should go
any time you get an opportunity or a call from your country. Whether it is for the
States, Europe or Canada,
go. Be a part of it,” Ryan Smyth told me last week.
“It trains your body and trains your mind to
be playing at that time of the year. You don’t get that if you’re out of the
playoffs. It is a whole new season when they play in the playoffs and
representing your country at the World Championships trains you for an extra
month at least,” continued Smyth.
That is exactly what Hall should do this year and so should Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and any other Oilers who might get invited. Last season, Hall, Eberle and RNH were all dealing with injuries and didn’t go, it made sense, but if they are healthy this year there is no reason they shouldn’t be going.
As Smyth said, they need to get used to playing an extra month or two.
The other factor regarding Hall is I believe you never want to tell players it is okay to just “pack it in.” It creates a loser mentality. You want players who do everything they can to get back on the ice.
I spoke to Hall about his injury and he said the pressure fracture is about a quarter way up his calf. It is not on his ankle where he took a shot in practice. I also spoke to a doctor and he said when one part of your body is injured the rest will try and compensate for it, but he admitted unless he saw Hall he couldn’t give an accurate opinion on whether the two injuries were connected.
Hall said his ankle felt good when he played against San Jose. He mentioned he has played with worse nagging injuries in the past, as have many of his teammates and didn’t feel he rushed back. He also mentioned he is the one who pushes to return to the lineup. The organization has never pressured him to return. He wants to play.
If Hall is cleared to play on March 16th, six weeks, he could play the final 12 games. If they wait until the 23rd, then he could play in the final ten games.
I expect Hall to return before the end of the season, and I believe getting him back on the ice and then to the World Championships would be a good move for him and the organization.
A REAL TRADE
- An actual hockey trade today between the Jets and the Sabres. Winnipeg sent Evander Kane (injured), Zach Bogosian and unsigned goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf to Buffalo for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 2015 first round pick. The pick will be either the Blues or Islanders pick, depending on which one is the highest (latest).
I don’t see this move as a tank job by the Sabres. Myers for Bogosian is pretty even. Bogosian is better defensively, while Myers produces more offence. They are the same age and their cap hits, $5.5 mill for Myers and $5.1 mill for Bogosian are similar.
Stafford is a pending UFA and the Sabres weren’t going to get more than a mid-round pick for him. The Sabres have been horrible for two seasons, and I don’t see how moving Stafford will make them that much weaker. Many teams have traded or released proven players recently, got lesser players in return or draft picks, but suddenly played better. The Edmonton Rush, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors are proof of that. I don’t believe moving Stafford handcuffs head coach Ted Nolan. He will still coach to win and the players will play just as hard. The players might even be excited because they see that the organization added Kane, which will help them next season.
- This deal has potential for both sides. Myers could emerge as an excellent D-man in Winnipeg. He won’t have to play all the tough minutes and will be challenged for icetime with the likes of Enstrom and Trouba, and Byfuglien if they choose to put him back on defence. They also will have three good prospects and if one or two pan out they will should be happy.
The Sabres get a solid defender in Bogosian. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said this about him today, “I’m surprised they included him in the deal. He is very hard to play against.” They will also get a player in Kane (Evander) who will be motivated to show the league he is more than a disciplinarian problem. It has potential to help both teams, but right now the Sabres got two of the best three players in the deal.
- Last night, Ryan Hamilton become the 331st player to score a goal for the Edmonton Oilers, and the 56th to have one goal as an Oiler. If he scores another he will tie our main man, Jason Strudwick, and others for 244th overall. You can see the entire list here. Eberle and Hall are 17th and 18th respectively.
- It is interesting to note that the Oilers have had 16 first round picks never score a goal for them. Alex Plante, Riley Nash, Rob Schremp, Jesse Niinimaki, Alexei Mikhnov, Michael Henrich, Michel Riesen, Mathieu Descoteaux, Nick Stajduhar, Scott Allison, Jason Soules, Peter Soberlak, Kim Issel, Scott Metcalfe and Selmar Odelein. Nash (21 and still active) Schremp(20), Descoteaux (1) and Metcalfe (1) did score in the NHL, but not with the Oilers.
If you toss in Joe Hulbig (4 NHL goals), Jason Bonsignore (3), Steve Kelly (9) and Jani Rita (9) that is 19 first rounders who never became regular NHL players. Nash is starting to be a regular for Carolina. It illustrates how bad they drafted, especially in the first round, between 1982 and 2007. Jeff Beukeboom, Martin Rucinsky, Ryan Smyth, Jason Arnott and Ales Hemsky were the few good first round picks during that span.
Contrary to what many think, I believe the Oilers scouting has improved under Stu MacGregor. We are seeing Anton Lander, Martin Marincin and Tyler Pitlick (when he is healthy) look like NHL players five and four years after they were drafted, which is usually how long it takes for non first-round picks. Oscar Klefbom is looking like a solid #19 pick. If the organization refuses the temptation to rush players and let them develop properly in junior or the minors, I think we will start to see more draft picks make impacts in Edmonton in the next three of four seasons.
- If the Oilers select #2 overall and take Jack Eichel I would keep him in NCAA for another season, or let him go to the CHL for a year. If he returns to NCAA, they wouldn’t even be tempted to let him play preseason games, or he loses eligibility, so that might be the best route.
- I give the Oilers full marks for their effort vs. the Islanders last night. It was their third game in four days, but they played a solid 60 minutes against one of the best teams in the east. Moral victories mean little, but if this team is ever going to improve they need to learn how to play that that type of game on most nights.
There is no magic cure to fix this team. I don’t expect massive trades in the summer to suddenly revamp the entire roster. The majority of these players will be here next year, and if they don’t learn how to be competitive down the stretch, then I’d expect them to be near the bottom of the western conference again next season. A high draft pick or one trade involving a star forward will not cure the woes of this team.
Hard work and commitment from the players must become a regular trait of this team. Once that happens they will improve, and then it is up to management to bring in better players.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
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- GDB 49.0: The McDavid Bowl