McDavid and Hall making it look easy. ? #worldchampionship #oilers

A video posted by OilersNation (@officialoilersnation) on May 9, 2016 at 12:34pm PDT

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – Taylor Hall and Connor McDavid haven’t played together much during the first six games of the IIHF World Championship, but when they have, the results have been magical.

During Canada’s 4-0 shutout win over France on Monday, McDavid and Hall combined with a nice give-and-go play to set up Mark Stone for the first goal of the game—which also proved to be the game-winner.

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“We haven’t really been on a line together, but anytime we get out there together, we seem to be able to do some good stuff,” said McDavid after practice on Sunday. “It obviously helps to be able to play on a club team with a guy that you can come over and have a little bit of experience playing with, so I think we’ve used that to our advantage here.”

Coach Bill Peters started the preliminary round playing Hall on Canada’s top line with Derick Brassard and Corey Perry, with McDavid centering Brad Marchand and Matt Duchene. The Oilers’ dynamic duo only got together for spot duty on the power play and in rare situations where the Canadians needed to crank up the offense, but Hall and McDavid are starting to see more time together as the tournament progresses.

Canada went into the final 20 minutes of last Thursday’s game against Germany locked in a 2-2 tie—the only time in the tournament to date that the team hadn’t held a comfortable lead heading into the final frame. After McDavid was whistled for an early interference penalty at the 52 second mark, Peters left him on the ice with Hall and Duchene when the Canadians got back to full strength—and got instant results.

Hall’s fifth goal of the tournament put Canada up 3-2 and clinched the win in the game.

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Taylor Hall

When Canada won gold at the 2015 World Championship, Hall played on the team’s top line with Jordan Eberle and Sidney Crosby. He was one of the tournament’s offensive leaders, tallying 12 points and a team-leading seven goals in 10 games. 

This year, his scoring pace is even higher, as he has six goals in Canada’s first six games. “I’m trying to find some areas on the ice that maybe I don’t go to in the NHL,” he explained. “So far it’s been working out.”

Canadian starting goaltender Cam Talbot has learned a lot about Hall’s shot from a year of facing him in practice with the Oilers.

“He’s got kind of a sneaky release,” said Talbot. “I see it all the time in practice but his speed is so deceptive on the outside that he can get around that guy. You can’t play him too far out, because if he gets a step on the defenceman he can beat you to the back post as well. 

“It’s kind of give-and-take. If you give up the shot, then he’s going to take it. If you give up the back door, maybe he’ll beat you to it. Hallsy’s a special player and has a lot of speed and a great shot, so he’s tough to defend.”

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Unbeaten Canada plays 6-0 Finland on Tuesday to determine first place in the final Group B standings, then the World Championship medal round begins on Thursday. Coach Peters is starting to tinker with his lineup to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, which means more responsibility for McDavid.

“We want to boost certain guys’ minutes to make sure that when we want to lean on them here down the stretch, that they’ve played enough hockey and are in game shape,” said Peters after the win over France. 

“I thought (McDavid) was stronger as the game went on—he played real well in the third period.”

Peters likes the way Hall, Duchene and McDavid work together. “There’s chemistry both ways,” he said. “There’s chemistry between Hallsy and Dutchy, then there’s chemistry between Hallsy and Connor. Dangerous line—we shuffled a couple of different things to have a look moving into not only tomorrow (against Finland) but into the quarterfinal.”

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“I’ve had a couple of goals assisted by Connor that were all-world plays and it’s fun to be out there with him,” summed up Hall of the opportunities that he and McDavid have generated so far during their time in Russia.

Oilers fans have every reason to hope that chemistry will continue to evolve at Rogers Place next season. 

    • madjam

      I think what it does point out/shows defensively is Oilers do not necessarily have to have get a NBR.1 defenseman immediately to improve a lot defensively . Canada’s defense is not made up of big name defenseman .

      • Spydyr

        Other than Sekera every defencman on team Canada is better than any defencman the Oilers have at this point in time.

        The Oilers cannot bring in five other defencemen so two top four guys are needed.

          • McRaj

            Nurse was not ready for NHL duty last season, maybe spot duty on third pairing. So they are not maybe better than Nurse today, they are most definitely better than Nurse today. I can agree with you on Klefbom but these players have shown a lot more then klefbom has. A true first pairing D-Man (i.e. Faulk) will push everyone down a spot and into more natural positions.

            Eberle + Reinhart + 2017 First for Faulk 🙂

          • Spydyr

            You had me up until 2017 First.

            No one knows what that may be at this time.

            Never trade an asset that you are not 100% sure of its worth. That is gambling and that is no way to build your team.

          • McRaj

            You are correct about gambling but do you not think that with the acquisition of a #1 D-Man who will play 24 minutes a night (and likely another top four D) the Oilers will at least be contending for playoffs. Meaning that first round pick will be somewhere between 12-20.

            If the Oilers still cannot contend for playoffs with a top pairing D, then the entire team might just have to be gutted save for McDavid.

          • McRaj

            Again you are correct but McDavid played only 45 games and he was still a rookie (Sid’s Pens finished 2nd last in his rookie season), and a D-Man who plays 25 minutes a night has a greater impact on the game than most Forwards in the league. In fact only a great goalie can impact a game more then a #1 D-Man. Look at all the winning teams and you will notice one thing they all have in common: a #1 D-Man.

            If the Oilers were to add Faulk and someone like Michael Stone or Connor Murphy while only subtracting Eberle from the impact forwards on the team, I think most would agree that the Oilers should at the very least be competing for the playoffs until the very end.

          • Spydyr


            Your not getting Faulk and someone like Michael Stone or Connor Murphy while only subtracting Eberle.

            From 29th to competing for the playoffs by adding one or two players?

            No…I don’t think so. Not unless one is a top ten defenceman in the NHL and the other a top four on the Oilers. It is just too big a jump.

          • Spydyr

            IMO that is an overpay.

            I feel Yak’s draft pedigree as a first overall carries more weight with NHL GM’s than many people here believe.

            Others may feel different.

          • Spydyr

            At this point Klefbom has not played enough to be better than the team Canada defencemen. They are all established NHL defencemen. As good as Klefbom potential is he is not at this point an established NHL defenceman. Perhaps he can play a full season next year and change that.

          • madjam

            You no doubt have not seen Klefbom play much or well. I doubt someome like Matheson is better seeing as he has only played in NHL I believe 5 games . Yet you somehow put him above Klefbom . I prefer Klefbom to almost all , if not all , the Canadian defenseman we have in the Worlds .

          • McRaj

            While you are correct about Klefbom being better than Matheson, how can you possibly say that right now Klefbom (107 games) is better than Ellis (281 games), Ryan Murray (160 games), Morgan Rielly (236 games), and Cody Ceci (205 games). They have all proven more than Klefbom has. Klef has never played a full professional season anywhere (Sweden, AHL, NHL) without getting injured. You can say that Klef is better or more proven than Matheson and maybe even Dumba and Tanev, but saying that Klefbom is better than most, if not all the D-Men on Canada is just a straight out lie. He may be better one day, but as of today he has as good a chance as being a 41 game per season player as he does of being a Top Pair D.

    • madjam

      Here is a list of UFA defenseman that could help our club over next two years while we wait for improvement from Nurse , Reinhart , Davidson , Oesterle and probably this years first draft choice being Juolevi , Chychrun or Sergachev . These can all be had for just money . Weigh their possible contribution as compared to gutting our top 3 forwards in Hall,Eberle or Hopkins .

      Just a few , not all : Gologoski , Demers , Yandle , Campbell , Polak ,Boyle , Miller , Russel, Liles , Lovejoy , Schenn, Zidlicky , Benn ,Hamhuis , Rosival , Quincey, Erhoff, Mitchell ,Gilbert , And Diaz just to name a few and only the NHL list .

      • McRaj

        None of which are Top Pairing 25 minute a night Right Shot players. I understand that you do not care about a Left-Right Balance but analysis has proven how important that is. Secondly, look at the 8 West Playoff team’s this year, each and every one had First Pairing D. The oilers need a Faulk more then an Eberle.

        Also, the list of UFA Forwards is much much better. So why not trade a forward for D and then go sign a forward?

      • Spydyr

        The team can’t continue to wait. The McDavid clock is ticking the time to start winning is sooner rather than later. A trade is what is required at this point in time.

        Had for just money?

        There is a salary cap to consider.

        They can’t just buy their way out of a decade of incompetence.

      • @Hallsy4

        I’d rather have someone like Campbell on a 1-2 year deal than Demers long term. The team could use a good vet or two, but only if it’s possible to sign them short term. I still think Ebs should/will be traded at some point, I guess we can speculate all we want but we never know what deals are actually available out there. I don’t see ebs, yak, or pouliot in the long term plans though, and I’d almost throw Nuge in that list.

        • madjam

          That’s the way I believe the Oilers will go and perhaps add one more that way giving us a reasonable top 4 , and quite an improvement over last years top 4 . That allows time for others to improve in the interim , be it on staff here, on farm or even thru draft this year perhaps . Our best bet might be this year to get and draft a top offensive defenseman in Juolevi or perhaps Chychrun or Sergachev . Most on that UFA list seem better than our option on defence now beyond Sekara and Klefbom .

  • @Hallsy4

    Chi Pete has found himself in a goldmine of puzzle pieces. We have a good goalie, we have some of the best young forwards in the world, and we have a couple young D men with great potential. But we finished 29th, and have expendable pieces to trade to make this team better. We gave you a year to “evaluate” Peter. Now your’e on the clock. Make it happen boy.

  • Hockey123

    They are playing against mostly AHL teams, they should look good. Also the bigger ice surface helps too.

    But in the NHL both players like to carry the puck into the offensive zone, they compromise each other and should not be on the same line.

    • Spydyr

      The both should be on the Oilers first powerplay.

      Splitting them 5 on 5 because they both want the puck makes sense and it gives you two guys pushing the river on two lines.

      With their speed playing on the penalty kill would not be a bad idea either.

  • I remember after last year how everyone was like, well if we only had a generational centre to put with Hall and Eberle. But that line didn’t happen once last year. What the hell? Sure I know about the chemistry and the injuries and such. But if Nuge is still here, and I was Chi, I would at least try Hall, McDavid, Eberle, followed by Pouliot, Nuge, Draisaitl. Nuge elevates his game when he’s the driver of the play anyway, and him and Driasaitl looked really good to start the year.

    Anyway, just a thought

  • @Hallsy4

    Chi Pete is the puppeteer of the sh!t puppets for us peasants to watch. Pull the strings Chi Pete! We have so many good players but an awful team, there’s ways to fix it Chi. Work those phones sexy boy

  • R U Kidding Me!

    Not really complaining but I would like to see McDavid shoot a little more in this tournament.

    It seems whenever he has the puck in the offensive zone he wants to pass first.

    He has a great shot and I think he should have a bit more confidence to use it.

  • @Hallsy4

    I believe the draft lottery was fixed this year. As if Toronto tanks that bad then gets Mathews. NHL knows its money comes from Canadian markets, so threw a bone to TO and Winnipeg. Leafs will be bad for a while though, they are us of 6 years ago… you’d think they would have learned from our mistakes

  • @Hallsy4

    Might have to go after shattenkirk, and attempt to extend him… Free agent overpays for guys like Fayne haven’t worked. We might be able to get Shatty for something reasonable, like Snow did with Boychuck. One of the best deals MacT made was perron for Magnus.

  • Randaman

    Just a thought but would Ceci & or Ellis be available? Would they be good options to grow with the current group less what is traded of course. I think Ellis is very underrated.

      • cberg

        As an outside observer this kind of comment really cracks me up. The Oilers are overloaded with Forwards, too many for a balanced roster, and in spite of some elite talent there the team continues to fail abysmally.

        What is one of their primary problems? Terrible defence, especially lacking top-end D. Someone floats two two strong D names out there which would go a long way to bolstering the defence and what’s the response? “Like them both for our right side , but cost to acquire either would probably be far to much.” Too much? Really? Your team is crap as it currently sits. It has been for a decade. You could give away half your precious forwards and the team can’t be any worse. But in the meantime perhaps you get the pieces needed to turn things around.

        Unbelievable! When are the Oilers and their fans going to GET it?

        • madjam

          For sake of argument lets say Oilers get both , but lose Hopkins and Eberle in trade process . Your defense is better and close to same contract amount to sign them long term . You then have not the money or personnel to fill the extreme void losing Hopkins and Eberle and their offensive production . How does this addition subtraction work out for team . Overall it would be in the negative, and we’d be even further behind . Obviously you do not get it . I’d be for it or both if you could get them for personnel that does not destroy the main base . First line offensive players given up for 3-4 th defenseman is not going to make you a better overall team . If your going after Doughty might be a different story .

      • Shredder

        I am of the belief that 99% of the people that blog on any hockey blog have no clue what the cost to acquire any player really is. Let’s just hope Chiarelli picks up the phone anyway.

  • Spiel

    Canada loses 4-0 and we have silence on the blog about the world championships.
    Talbot allowed 4 goals on 19 shots, all of them terrible. On merit, he should not be starting the next game.