You’re not so bad after all, Taylor Hall

How to make the Nation hate you 101: admit that you’re not a fan of Taylor Hall.

It’s not because he didn’t sleep with me after a night out at the Ranch or because he snubbed me on a high five once — these events never actually took place, BTW — but it is because I find him to be reckless, unfortunately efficient at generating turnovers, and a festering pit of bad attitude. That being said, there’s no denying that he’s a talented guy, which brings me to my point: You’re not so bad, Taylor. 

After watching Hall play at the World Championships, I am vowing to keep an open mind should he remain on the Oilers roster this coming season. Before the tournament started, I was as quick as many others to accuse him of being a cancer to the team, but the more I watched him play for the red and white, the more I realized that watching him play without a massive scapegoat target on his back calmed my hater-esque feelings against him.

Though the talk of the town is McDavid and his timely goal, Hall’s contributions shouldn’t go unnoticed. Hall lead all Team Canada forwards in ice time in the gold medal game, seeing the ice for 19:26, and finished the tournament with six goals and three assists in ten games. While his work ethic was undeniable, I didn’t see the reckless “I’m invincible” play I’ve so often judged him for in the past. Could this be a sign of the maturity fans have long since been yearning to see from him?

Taylor Hall

Here in Edmonton, Taylor Hall has been dealt the unfortunate hand of being the scapegoat for many Oilers fans. I’ve heard on multiple occasions that the team will never get their hands on the Cup with him in the lineup, that he makes the players around him worse, and that his presence in the dressing room brings down the entire team. The funny thing is, the people saying this have never stepped foot inside the Oilers dressing room (and half have probably never worn a pair of skates).

Oilers fans (myself among them) are so tired of the massive black hole of suck we’ve all been subject to for the last ten years that we’re willing to blame anything and anyone for the shit we have to suffer through. Cue Taylor Hall. The guy’s got layers upon layers of bullseye rings on his back that he can’t shake off. He’s under a microscope every game (and every bar outing) so that fans can pin yet another excuse for the Oilers’ woes on him. Need I remind you all of the water bottle incident that resulted in powerful fuel for the haters’ fire? It’s too bad Eakins only acted like he melted upon water contact rather than actually melting.

The Verdict…

Two weeks ago, I didn’t care if Hall ever wore an Oilers jersey again, but today I’m less quick to believe that trading Hall will lead me to drink less beer throughout the season. Would I be opposed to sending him for a non-useless defenceman? No. Am I just as quick to jump to the “solution” of getting rid of one of our best forwards because he’s the best man to blame? Definitely not.

Watching Taylor Hall celebrate his gold medal with a smile on his face was an odd, yet welcoming sight. The kid hasn’t had a lot to smile about in his NHL career, but maybe some Oilers fans can smile a little more knowing that Taylor Hall is not quite the team cancer he’s been painted as. It’s easy to acknowledge the talent of a player on a team that isn’t looking for a fall guy.

  • rkabyn

    Did not really enjoy the article, but I believe the opening set a sour tone for me. Anyone who believes he is a cancer to the team clearly has not watched the Oilers enough. The only way we should trade him is if we get a player like Drew Doughty coming back our way. Just some constructive criticism, if you present a bias in an article, it would be nice to see it backed up by factual data.

  • Kyla it breaks my heart that you have to ‘keep an open mind’ about Hall when he’s so clearly one of the two best players on the team (and definitely one of the best LWs in the game), but I’m glad you’re doing it.
    You’re not wrong about how he’s perceived by fans, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. This is a 24 year old hockey player who has decided he wants to be here, and is signed through 2020 (on a dream contract for the team), and has said explicitly that he wants to be in the playoffs here in Edmonton. That’s a gift that Oilers fans need to embrace instead of ignore, because there are precious few players in the league who would ever say that.
    I do love Taylor Hall an awful lot, though, and I’m glad that someone else is seeing the light!

    Great first piece!

  • 916oiler

    Your credibility has plunged almost as low as chris the intern. And it wasn’t even really his fault he cursed the team (although he did, and results are results).

    It is, however, definitely your fault for thinking that Hall was ever part of the problem.

    0 for 2 on interns oilersnation…

  • toprightcorner

    I respect your opinion Kyla, even people that are wrong can have one.

    The thing that frustrates me the most about Oiler fans is they get an initial impression of a player and then never see the growth that they have had.

    Sure, 2 years ago, hall could be considered reckless, make poor decisions and act immature but the fact is he has grown a lot in the last 2 years. Even with this growth, some stubborn blind Oiler fans will never change their first impression.

    Same thing happened with Petry and it wasn’t until he left that his haters realized the importance of him on the team.

    Kyla, I would suggest that know that you are writing at ON, which is awesome BTW, you need to rid yourself of the preconceived notions that affect haters like yourself and truly see the player for what they are not just weaknesses, especially those that have long been corrected.

  • I think it’s fair for the media and bloggers to point out issues with players. At the same time, it needs to be balanced with perspective.

    The fact that these players are insanely young, the fact that the organization hasn’t done them any favours in the past half decade, and the fact that this is a team sport where they succeed and fail as a team…criticisms need to be tempered, but should still exist.

    It’s one thing to say that player X should not be in a leadership role with a C or A on their jersey, which I think is fair despite how hard it is to hear as a fan…and it’s another thing to say that a player is a “cancer” on the team, which crosses lines of reasonable discussion. What we see on ON has been pretty fair IMO.

    That said, I think Kyla’s criticisms are fair and I like this piece because it demonstrates that Hall’s growth as a player has won even the most hardened critics.

    Some of Hall’s (undeniably honest) comments after the season was done about it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel rubbed some people the wrong way. I can see how, but I appreciated the brutal honesty. Combine those comments with his spectacular play during the IIHF tourny, and you have to wonder if he’s ready to everything it takes to make the playoffs next year.

    He’s stepped it up to yet another level, and I’m happy for him.

  • Total Points

    What an insane article.

    She is just stating stuff which she doesn’t know if it is true but repeats it without consideration for the person she is writing about.

    I think if she expects to gain any respect on Oiler Nation she should interview Hall face to face and ask him if he is a cancer or was ever a cancer in the room.

    I have met many back stabbers in my life and they usually cower in the corner and go away when having to face directly with the people or situation that they are criticising.

    I hope she doesn’t stir the pot with non factual information to try to run Hall out of town.

    I hope she just goes away

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Are we in love with Hall or are we in love with being in the playoffs? Something has to change guys, decade of suck is too long. I like Hall, but if he gets us what we need then so be it. Hell, what’s the worst that can happen we will be back in 28-30th!

    • oilersfan497

      Do loving each of these two things contradict each other? Loving making the playoffs goes hand in hand with loving your All-Star forward. Just because the Oilers have lost with Hall on the team doesn’t mean Hall made the team lose.

      The fact is that Hall has some of the best numbers in the NHL backing him up. He has the ability to drive his line, which is so very rare in the NHL.

      I agree that something has to change, but why should it be Hall?

      • OILFANMEXICO

        My point was is Hall so “untouchable” to some fans, that we can’t trade him for a bonafide #1 D-man? McDavid YES, HAll (for me) NO.

        We are so out of balance being, forward strong it’s sickening. If Chiarelli can fetch what we need and retain Hall, I will be ecstatic. Reality, doesn’t look as exciting.

        In truth I can’t see us getting a stud D-man even with Hall in the convo. It’s like trying to find another McDavid, if you do he’s not going to be traded.

        • oilersfan497

          I get that, but what about what I was originally arguing about when you said “So you feel Hall gets a pass on being a give away machine, because other star players are similar or worse? … If Hall had stats that compared to the comparables you listed then maybe.”. How is it possible that Hall doesn’t make up for turnovers. He has been the best player on the Oilers for a while until this year. And also his stats are comparable to those players. If he was on a good team he would be considered a superstar IMO.

        • Seanaconda

          Chance of a team giving up equal value for hall for a top 10 dman in the league is about zero unless there is salary cap reasons or a falling out with the team

  • phiko73

    This article is an embarrassment to OilersNation. It is like an uninformed 19 year old who only reads the comments on Facebook wrote it. Oh wait… That’s because it was!

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Haha
      One of the best columns I’ve read in a long time. She wrote it, exactly like I’ve seen #4’s existence here in YEG.

      Great talent…. Not a pile of hockey IQ, but drafted into a team with historically bad defenseman and became one of the goats.

      I have said on record here at ON that I would trade Hall….only because I think the #1 Dman spot in Edmonton is such a needed commodity.

      He looked pretty good at the IIHFs though. Just wish him and 97 had the same chemistry they showed last summer at the BioSteel camp…

  • jonnyquixote

    There is likely room to criticize Hall’s on-ice play to some degree, but I really hate how it’s often conflated with conjecture about his attitude and body language as well as his off-ice personality. The end result of that combination is unfairness to the point of insanity and says way more about (a portion of) our fanbase than it does about the player.

    Hall could stand to be a more responsible player with the puck on or off his stick, and I suspect he can’t help but mentally pack it in once the season is lost. But he is a sublime offensive talent, he works very hard when there’s hard work to be done, and everything that comes out of his mouth in his capacity as an Oilers player is bang-on perfect. Even if the portion of our fanbase auditioning for LIE TO ME reads his body language and facial expressions as otherwise.

    The notion that Taylor Hall is somehow the problem with this broken franchise and its coaching carousel and its dictator-for-life at the top of the management hierarchy is and always will be patently absurd.

  • Serious Gord

    The statistical argument has been and can be made that hall is an elite winger.

    Hall also has excelled on every elite team he has ever played on.

    However any regular observer of hall during the march through the victory desert that has been his entire NHL career has seen the weaker parts of hall:

    His recklessness, carelessness, ill-temper, selfishness, insolence and general dour attitude on many nights. And one wonders at times whether he is playing for Taylor hall or for the oilers.

    My estimation is that hall is a true thoroughbred. And like all great thoroughbreds, he grows restless and cranky when he is not fully engaged in the contest – when he isn’t challenged with the opportunity to seize a great victory. I suspect he was a real PIA in junior during the middle of the season.

    Hall needs to play on a team that is either great or that is becoming great. And he needs it to happen soon before his spirit is broken utterly. I wish that he gets that opportunity this season either with the oil or, if chia et al can’t create those conditions, on another team. It would be a great hockey tragedy for both hall and hockey fans of he doesn’t get that opportunity.

    • OILFANMEXICO

      I agree, I like Hall, but in watching him play many games and for team Canada, he isn’t always “Fully engaged” as you mentioned.

      Guys that don’t leave their blood and sweat on the ice every game are wild cards IMO. Hall carries the team on his back for a handful of games then the next week he plays like he’s in the AHL.

      I’m a Hall fan 100%, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t piss me off every season. Our opinions at the end of the day are worthless…Chiarelli has the final say and the hammer will drop sooner than later.

  • CBK

    To baggedmilk, Wanye, or whoever: stick to journalists/bloggers who have credibility.

    Gregor, Willis, Strudwick, Lowetide, Brownlee are all great.

    Henderson even had to earn his stripes writing his own personal blogs and for HockeyBuzz before blogging on this website….

    Just my two cents.

  • S cottV

    Big ice suits Hall’s style of play.

    The ice favors rush tactics, less physical play along the boards, less dump and fore check to regain possession, more time and space to read and react and guys who can really skate.

    Hall gets into way more trouble having to compute the game, at the much faster and physical NHL transitional pace of play – as dictated by more restricted space.

    • madjam

      International hockey is generally faster as speed is not so easily stopped , plus the finesse game comes better into perspective . Not so easy to use the boards , etc. to cut off finesse and speed game , as it is in the NHL sized rinks . Physicality still there but not as effective or as frequent as in a smaller rink .

      • Serious Gord

        Players have far less space and therefore less time on the smaller rink.

        The big rink is harder to defend in one way because of the room to gain speed but in another way it is easier as forwards are further away from the net when they play along the boards. The mental pressure to react quickly is what is really higher on the small rink and it is where players like hall get exposed from time to time.

    • camdog

      It feels like yesterday that BM was stating the International Ice was about the size of a basement and then editting his posts after the fact.

      Over the last year I do think Hall has made major strides in his own end. But what you wrote is the reason I don’t like the his game on the powerplay-he rushes plays at times, and then the play dies. He’s sort of like Phil Kessel winger in that if he’s your number 2-3 forward your teams in a good spot, but if he’s your number 1 his deficiencies become exposed.

  • DannyGallivan

    Judge him for his play which everyone sees – that is fair.

    Don’t judge him on what you cannot see or have “heard”. His impact on his teammates, good or bad, is for those that can and should judge it – coaches and GM.

  • someguy

    Hall is one of the top 10 scoring LWers in the NHL, and has been for multiple seasons now.

    He has scored 20+ goals 4 out of 6 seasons and would’ve had the other 2 as well if not for injuries.

    He’s consistently been 1 of our top 3 scorers his entire career.

    He’s not perfect defensively but isn’t a problem child.

    Anyone who says he’s “a cancer in the room” has no idea what they’re talking about. Unless you’re actually in the room, you have no idea what’s going on in there, so let’s put this to rest right now.

    I have room for Hall on my roster all day long. You don’t trade guys like this unless a trade is proposed that blows your mind and is a guaranteed win for the team.

    • Speed Junky

      We are lucky to have Hall

      he could have left but signed long deal

      Ebs signed long deal

      they are good players and WANY to be here

      be Grateful

      2017 is the year.

      takes time.

  • abbeef

    I want to start out by saying that I know my opinion may not mean much to those running this site, but I’ll give it anyway. I read almost every article on this site. I read the articles on this site because it has varying styles of writers that bring something different (but well thought out) to the table.

    Gregor is a mostly his own opinion backed up with stats and facts.

    Brownlee is mostly opinion backed up by anecdotal evidence and a little stats.

    Willis is drawing conclusions from analytics.

    Henderson is mostly drawing conclusions from analytics mixed in with some opinion pieces.

    BM writes up the post game write ups based on what he saw

    Wanye used to have the odd comic relief piece.

    There are others but everyone historically brought something that added something of value. I just don’t see the added value of the interns articles thus far. My advice would be for them both to commit to putting some in depth thought and RESEARCH (it will take some time and work) into their next article, otherwise all their articles are doing is lowering the quality of writing on this site.

    I hope to see their next articles bring something new and substantial to the table.

  • 2Oilers4

    I read every article on this site, not a big comment writer though. Although I do not agree with everything written on this site, like this article (Hall is the second best player on the team and was the best until a certain McSexy was drafted), I enjoy the different opinions. People who do not like this article or the blogger don’t need to read it. Simple as that. Coming in the comments section and complaining about the content on this website is stupid. Do you pay a subscription? No. It’s a free site, who do you complainers think you are? Go create your own website with your own opinions. This is a blog full of opinions, not a scholarly journal where people have to back up what they say with fact. Keep up the good work Oilersnation. And to Kyla, even though I think it’s silly you were against Hall, you are entitled to your own opinion. I can’t wait for your next article. Congratulations on the new job, and good luck!

  • BlazingSaitls

    “I technically said that other people called him a cancer”

    “it is because I find him to be reckless, unfortunately efficient at generating turnovers, and a festering pit of bad attitude”

    technicalities…sigh