Tag:Taylor Hall
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 7:52 pm
 

Ales Hemsky signs 2-year extension with Oilers

HemskyBy: Adam Gretz

Another potential trade target was pretty much removed from the market on Friday evening as the Edmonton Oilers announced that forward Ales Hemsky has signed a two-year, $10 million extension.

(And yes, that is the exact same term that had been rumored earlier in the day on Friday, prompting a since-deleted comment from the Oilers' main rivals, the Calgary Flames, in a since-deleted Tweet mocking that price.)

Hemsky was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if the two sides did not agree to a new deal, and when combined with Edmonton's current place in the standings it made his name a popular one when it came to trade speculation ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

He's an extremely gifted playmaker and has been a productive player for the Oilers over the years when he's been in the lineup, averaging close to a point-per-game throughout his career. The problem he's consistently run into in recent seasons has been a seemingly never-ending run of injuries that have robbed him of quite a few games over the years.

Entering this season, he had appeared in just 279 of a possible 410 regular season games for the Oilers going back to the start of the 2006-07 season.

He's appeared in 47 games this season for the Oilers and has scored five goals and recorded 21 assists. He's never been a huge goal-scorer, but is a skilled passer and set-up man and has been one of the few bright spots in the Edmonton lineup over the years.

Now that he's signed for the next two years it helps keep together what is now a pretty promising young core of forwards to go with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

Also at Eye On Hockey

The Flames Twitter feed finds Hemsky contract talks amusing

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 4:28 pm
 

Spezza hit in face in pregame skate but plays

Spezza returned in time for the start of the game. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

With the warmup helmet conversation still going thanks to the frightening situation involving Oilers star forward Taylor Hall last week, wouldn't you know it another player took a pregame puck to the face this week?

Ottawa Senators All-Star forward Jason Spezza, who does not wear a helmet in warmups, was hit in the pregame skate on Monday night as his Sens were visiting the Los Angeles Kings. He was left bleeding, cutting his warmup short.

Fortunately for him, all he missed was the warmup skate. He returned in time for the opening faceoff. Although this irony can't be escaped, as pointed out by Ian Mendes of Sportsnet.

"What's ironic is that Spezza was asked today about wearing a helmet in warmup. Said he likes letting fans see him without one."

The NHL has a way of this happening. An accident happens, the conversation starts and then another example crops up. The same happened earlier this season with the visor debate. So this is going to only further the discussion of whether or not players should be required to wear helmets in the warmups.

Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton, never one to shy away from many conversations, weighed in on the subject last week after the Hall incident.

“Every time something happens it’s [expletive] change the world, right?” Thornton told CSN New England's Joe Haggerty. “I’ve never worn one in 15 years. Have I been hit a couple of times? Probably ... but whatever. Would it affect my game? No. Do I think they have a right to tell me whether I can wear a helmet? No.

“My first game in the minors I was told that if you’re a tough guy then you don’t wear one during warm-ups. I never wore one. One of the older guys on the team, Greg Smyth, saw me wearing a helmet for warm-ups and said, 'What the [expletive] are you doing? Are you a tough guy or not?' I also had to wear leather straps for my first three years, so the trainers didn’t have to change them when they snapped. That’s the way it was. So after not doing it for a while I’ve just never worn one.”

A part of me says he's making some sense, another part of me says that this old-time "tough guy" mentality is going to forever be an obstacle when it comes to trying to increase safety in the sport. I am a firm believer in the players' choice, but at some point maybe a little help is needed for players that might want to wear a helmet but don't want to appear soft.

In the case of Spezza, it could have been much worse. Players that don't wear visors take pucks to the eyes sometimes, but imagine if he took a puck just a little higher or to the side of the head where a helmet will cover.

However don't look for it to bring a change of heart for Spezza. This from Mendes after the game:

"Spezza told me that he will not consider wearing a helmet in warmups going forward. Felt like it was a freak accident tonight."

More from Eye on Hockey

First look at Taylor Hall
Video: Hall cut in warmups

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 19, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Our first look at Taylor Hall, post injury

TaylorHallBy: Adam Gretz

We already knew Taylor Hall was probably fortunate that his skate-to-the-face incident on Tuesday night wasn't even worse than it turned out to be, and as the picture to the right shows, well ... holy crap. It was pretty bad.

That's what Hall looked like on Thursday when he addressed the media for the first time since being injured before Edmonton's 4-2 loss in Columbus earlier this week. It occurred after Hall fell, without wearing his helmet, and was accidentally stepped on by his teammate, defenseman Corey Potter.

The cut required 30 stitches.

Hall and the Oilers have already done their part to dismiss reports that his season may be over, and the young Edmonton star has said he hopes to be back in the lineup "as soon as possible."

Also good news: he's promised his mother he will always wear his helmet during warmups from now on.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Video: Hall cut during warmups
Hall says he will be back 'as soon as possible'

Photo: Edmonton Oilers on Twitter

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 9:15 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 9:25 pm
 

Hall says he will be back 'as soon as possible'



By: Adam Gretz

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall needed 30 stitches above his left eye on Tuesday night after he was accidentally cut by the skate blade of his teammate, Corey Potter, during warmups prior to their 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That incident, scary as it may have been, could have easily been much worse, and all parties involved have to be relieved that it wasn't.

Still, that's a pretty serious cut, and on Wednesday evening a report surfaced from NHL Home Ice producer Josh Rimer that Hall may be done for the remainder of the season, a report that Hall and the Oilers have since denied.

Shortly after that report hit the Internet, Hall went to his Twitter account and posted the following message: "The reports that I'm out for the season aren't true. I am going to be back as soon as possible. Thanks for all the get well responses."

The Oilers released a similar statement on their official Twitter account, saying "Despite inaccurate reporting, Taylor Hall is NOT out for the season and is looking forward to returning to the lineup as soon as possible."

In 36 games this season Hall has scored 15 goals to go with 16 assists.

Whether he returns this season or not (and he sure sounds like he plans on it, even though you could argue that "as soon as possible" may not necessarily mean this season) the Oilers could certainly use some positive news on the injury front as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, the team's other two prized young forwards, are also out with injuries at the present time.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Video: Taylor Hall cut by skate
More Edmonton Oilers News

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 8:34 pm
 

Video: Taylor Hall cut by skate in warmups

By: Adam Gretz

A scary situation unfolded in Columbus on Tuesday night before the Blue Jackets-Oilers game as young Edmonton standout Taylor Hall was cut by a skate during warmups.

The incident occurred after Hall, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, fell to the ice directly in the path of his teammate, defenseman Corey Potter.

As Potter attempted to jump over Hall in an effort to avoid him, his skate came down on Hall's face resulting in a cut above his eye.

This is what it looked like:



The Oilers have yet to announce the severity of the injury, but Hall did not play in the game.

The Oilers are already without two of their other young Stars, forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, due to injury.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Weekend Wrap: Wild move to top of the NHL

By Brian Stubits

When I was trying to wrap my head around the aftermath of the weekend in hockey, you must pardon me if I'm a bit staggered. It's not exactly the college football landscape after Saturday, but it's equally as jolting.

It's still only late November, but a tour of the standings is surprisingly fun. And confusing.

Who'd a thunk the NHL's top team at this (or any) point in the season would be the Minnesota Wild? Was there anybody not busy laughing at Dale Tallon that they could have seen the Florida Panthers ahead of the Southeast Division? Did anybody believe Dave Tippett could work his magic again and have the Coyotes in first place of the Pacific? Lastly, who saw the Maple Leafs atop the Northeast Division?

This is the bizarro NHL. Or maybe it's just that this is the NHL with the 2-1-0 point system.

The difference between the best in the NHL (Wild and Chicago Blackhawks) to 25th place (Winnipeg Jets) is only eight points. Four of the six divisions have the fourth place team within four points of the division lead.

One of the divisions that doesn't fit that bill is the Northwest, and that's not because the Vancouver Canucks are running away with it again. Instead, the Wild are, building the biggest division lead in the NHL, holding a five-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers (we told you this was bizarro world).

If we want to take the last 10 games (which we do, it makes this look better) the Wild are the hottest team in hockey alongside the Boston Bruins. Each of them are 8-2-0 in that span after the Wild took the two points from the St. Louis Blues on Saturday with a shootout victory.

It must be the offseason additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, right?

They haven't hurt matters, to be clear. But I wouldn't go as far as to call them the reason the Wild have the most points in the league. Offensively speaking, the Wild have been well below average. Their 2.20 goals per game ranks 28th out of 30 teams.

Obviously that means it's the defense that's led them to a league-high 12 wins. The Wild are surrendering a very impressive 1.95 goals against average. It's funny how starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is the "worst" goalie of the tandem of he and Josh Harding as he sports a 1.97 GAA and.935 save percentage.

The most amazing part about this is the Wild are doing it with what most would agree is a no-name group of defensemen. Brent Burns is gone to San Jose. Greg Zanon has been sidelined as have Marek Zidlicky and Marco Scandella. That leaves a cast of characters that I doubt anybody outside of Minnesota or Houston (the Wild's AHL affiliate) had heard of; guys like Justin Falk and Kris Fredheim.

This is all under first-year NHL coach Mike Yeo, by the way. He has come in from Houston and has this team as one of the biggest turnaround stories of the season. I defy anybody, including those fans in Minnesota, to say they saw the Wild starting this well.

Speaking of surprising turnarounds ...

There's another team shocking the NHL under a first-year coach after an awful season a year ago. That would be the Florida Panthers.

Kevin Dineen, certainly with a great pedigree as a player in the NHL, has put his name in the early running for the Jack Adams (next to Yeo) with what he has done in Florida. Or perhaps we should say with what Dale Tallon has done.

The top line for the Panthers is making all the difference right now. For years, the Panthers didn't have much production from the top line. If you had to rank where they stood, it was always in the bottom five of top lines in the NHL, that includes when it featured Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Nathan Horton.

The new top line of Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg showed its prowess on Saturday night against the Penguins in South Florida. They were in on all three Florida goals, including Weiss' power play tally in the final minutes. Each member of that line is on pace for about 80 points or more. None of the three has ever had more than 61 points in a season (Weiss in 2008-09).

The team has some serious gumption. After taking the late lead on the Pens, they withstood a massive barrage, particularly the final 65 seconds when the Penguins pulled goalie Dan Johnson. That's when Jose Theodore -- another surprise -- stood tallest and denied Pittsburgh's numerous scoring chances. Theodore, by the way, has a very respectable 2.46 GAA and .923 save percentage.

We are close to a quarter of the way through the season and it's just so weird to call them the first-place Panthers. But that's exactly what they are.

Getting Bizzy

Another one of the surprising teams (boy, there are a lot of those) is the Phoenix Coyotes -- we'll have more on them this week. They have been winning in seasons past, but I think many believed that Ilya Bryzgalov was a big reason for that and when he left for Philadelphia, most predicted they would falter.

Surprise is a word that would aptly describe Paul Bissonnette's night on Saturday, too. Maybe even surprise doesn't cut it, shocking would fit better.

The Coyotes tough guy who hardly plays but is one of the most popular players in the NHL due to his Twitter fame, had the rare shot to play in Buffalo, near his hometown of Welland, Ontario. It also happened to be the first time his mother had the chance to see him play live in the NHL. And so wouldn't you know it, this happened:

As I said, shocking. That goal brings his total to five goals in the past three seasons with the Coyotes. Maybe equally shocking was Tyler Myers' play to give Bissonnette the shot on the doorstep.

Meanwhile, the Coyotes' 4-2 win moved them into a tie with the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.

We want 10!

How crazy are things right now? The Oilers scoring nine goals on the Blackhawks and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recording five assists goes here. Oh, and Taylor Hall had a hat trick.

The Oilers had eight goals at the mid-way mark of the game, prompting the chants of "We want 10!" from the Edmonton faithful. They came close, real close, in the final minutes, but didn't get it. Instead they had to settle for a 9-2 rout. For shame.

For the Oilers, it's what you would call a rebound win. They entered the game on a four-game skid. The quick start to the season seemed long ago in the rearview mirror. But then in 60 minutes they scored more goals (nine) then they had in the entire span of that losing streak (eight).

What's more, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to live up to the billing. Labeled as a play-making center, the Nuge's five-assist night was the a record-setter. No 18-year-old had ever done that before in NHL history. His 19-year-old linemate Hall had his second career hat trick. Whatever they wanted to do, they did.

As for the Blackhawks, their four-game win streak ran into the Alberta armor and went kaput in back-to-back nights to the Flames on Friday and then the Oilers.

"Right now, it seems like every little mistake we make it's in the back of our net and we're making a lot of mistakes," defenseman Duncan Keith said on Saturday. "We all as a team need to focus on committing to playing the right way and the way we know how to play. We have to. The last two games have been embarrassing. The only thing we can do is try and learn from it and move on."

Make it eight

The Boston Bruins can't be touched right now.

With their 6-0 trouncing of the Islanders on Saturday, they have won eight games in a row. With that run, they have finally climbed back into the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings.

The most amazing part of the eight-game run? The Bruins have outscored their opponents 42-14 in that time. That's an average margin of victory of 3.5 goals per game. As I said, they can't be touched right now.

Caps popped

The Capitals are in a tailspin, leading to the annual chatter of Bruce Boudreau's job safety starting up again. That can happen after taking a 7-1 pounding by the similarly struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

When asked after the game about a vote of confidence for Boudreau, GM George McPhee game a "no comment."

But it's still hard to put this on Boudreau in my mind. He's trying everything he can to right the ship. The problem is partly on the shoulders of Alex Ovechkin, who has failed to score a point in any of the past four games. The last time that happened? Go back to February of 2007.

So what's the next step after a team meeting and a practice on a typical off day? It could be the benching of Alexander Semin. The other talented Russian forward on the Caps, Semin has already seen demotions this season. In Sunday's practice, he was dropped all the way to the third line and when Boudreau was asked if Semin might be a healthy scratch on Monday against the Coyotes, Boudreau didn't say one way or the other.

Matters could be coming to a head very soon in D.C. one way or another.

Coming back to Earth

Once sitting atop the NHL in points, the Dallas Stars have gone into a funk, losing five in a row, topped off by a 3-0 loss at Colorado on Friday and a 4-1 defeat in San Jose on Saturday.

That prompted first-year coach Glen Gulutzan to go off about this team, leading to ...

Quote of the weekend

From CSN Bay Area:

“We whine like little babies throughout the game,” Gulutzan said. “I don’t know if there’s been a history of that here or not, but every team that I’ve coached, we’ve always been at the other end of the scale. I think we’re the worst penalty differential in the league, and every team I’ve coached we’ve always been the opposite.

“That’s going to change. We’re going to change that culture here. We’ve got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. The refs are human, and if you whine that much, they’re not going to give you calls. That’s just the bottom line. We’re not getting some calls, and it’s our fault.

“I’ll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don’t get out of this, but at the end of the day we’re going to do it the way we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re going to be men, we’re going to have character, we’re going to shut our mouths and we’re going to play. If that’s not good enough, then so be it.”

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:13 pm
 

No surprise: Nugent-Hopkins sticking with Oilers

By Brian Stubits

Looks like the Edmonton Oilers came to their senses after all. Either that or they just wanted to leave the hockey world in suspense.

The Oilers informed the top overall draft pick from this summer, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, that he will be staying with the team instead of going back to his junior team just down the road from Edmonton in Red Deer. His next game will be his 10th with the Oilers, the extent of the pre-contract tryout.

"He knows the spotlight has been on him and will continue to be, but he went out there and did what he's always done," Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said.

Last week the Oilers said they were still strongly considering sending Nugent-Hopkins back and giving him more seasoning in junior hockey. However I'm not sure how many people bought that. Nugent-Hopkins has been nothing but spectacular this season.

He is the team's top scorer with five goals -- including a hat trick -- and nine points. Can you imagine the justification Edmonton brass would have given for sending Nugent-Hopkins back? It surely couldn't be about not being ready to play at the NHL level.

Teammate Ryan Whitney shared everybody's thoughts on the matter.

"The Nuge is staying in NHL huh? What a shocker. In other news, sky is blue, grass is green and it's going to be cold in Edmonton in January."

This means that we will get to see a lot more of the Kids & the Hall line with the top pick two years ago Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. As a whole, the Oilers have 48 points. Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Eberle have combined for 26 of those, including 10 of the team's 17 goals. Perhaps the most amazing thing about that line is that Eberle is the elder statesman at 21 years old.

"Taylor and Jordan have been amazing mentors for me," Nugent-Hopkins said. "I'm thrilled that I get to keep playing with those guys."

"The Nuge" -- I admit, I cringe when I type that, but it's just so much more convenient than Nugent-Hopkins -- did have some proving to do as his size was the question, but those questions should be gone. That was the only question to answer, and he nailed it.

Welcome to your NHL career, Nugent-Hopkins. It goes without saying this was the right choice.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 27, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Video: Panthers announce Gudbranson staying up

By Brian Stubits

Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson has earned himself a spot with the team full-time. Coach Kevin Dineen made the announcement in front of the entire team at the morning skate before Thursday's game in Ottawa.

It led to some great moments both on and off the ice.

First, there was this. Gudbranson being congratulated by his teammates and then doing the old riding the stick across the ice. It's awesome to see a moment like this, which is usually done privately, caught on camera.

“I was wondering how I was going to deliver it," Dineen said. "A lot of times in this business you’re delivering bad news, so it’s nice to let someone know that’s a heck of an occasion, not only for him but for his family, his minor-league coaches, a lot of people can really enjoy that. “Playing in your hometown there’s enough stuff going on already so I picked the right call to let him know and let him know in front of his teammates."

Gudbranson's family was in attendance at the skate, so obviously they were around when it was announced Erik was staying in the NHL. His dad, Wayne, could hardly contain himself. From Harvey Filakov at the Sun-Sentinel

In the stands, Gudbranson’s father Wayne broke down and couldn’t even speak to reporters because he was overcome with emotion when witnessing the on-ice celebration. It’s also special because Gudbranson grew up nearby and skated on this ice as a 5-year-old Pee-wee player when he was rooting for the Sens. His whole family will be in the stands tonight, except for brother Alex, who plays for his old junior team the Kingston Frontenacs.

Gudbranson was mobbed by the Ottawa media.

“It’s exciting and I’m really pumped," said Gudbranson, who doled out about 25 tickets for tonight’s game. “It was nice my dad was in the crowd for morning skate, so he got to see it. As much as it’s a dream for me I’m pretty sure it’s twice as exciting to see his kid do that and I give [my family] all the credit in the world."

Gudbranson was the top pick by the Panthers two seasons ago, taken third overall behind Taylor Hall by the Oilers and Tyler Seguin of the Bruins.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com