Hall's no longer Batman

MIKE ZEISBERGER,, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

WINDSOR -- When Taylor Hall was a shinny-crazed tot of 5, his mother forgot to tie up his hockey pants one particular day.

Sure enough, much to wee Taylor’s chagrin, his drawers dropped down to his ankles out on the ice, exposing his Batman underpants for all to see.

That’s right. Batman underpants.

Fourteen years later, no one is using Batman references any more when referring to Hall.

Instead, many NHL scouts now consider Hall a potential Superman, a kid who might be able to boost a team’s fortunes in a single bound.

With the NHL’s June entry draft five months away, Hall, Plymouth centre Tyler Seguin and Windsor Spitfires defenceman Cam Fowler all are viewed as potential franchise players by most teams.

Especially the Boston Bruins.

Having acquired a first- and second-round pick in 2010 and a first-rounder in 2011 from the Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Phil Kessel, the Bruins feel they might have a legitimate shot at one of The Big Three.

Entering play Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes were in the NHL’s basement with 35 points, putting them in line for the No. 1 pick. The Edmonton Oilers were only slightly better with 37 points, putting them in the mix as well.

The third-worst point total in the league belonged to the Leafs, who had 43. If they still had their selection, they’d be picking third if the draft was held today.

Check that. They don’t have their pick anymore. The Bruins do.

And Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli couldn’t be happier about it.

With five picks in the first two rounds including the coveted first-rounder from the Leafs, Chiarelli is leaving nothing to chance. He already has scouted Hall, Seguin and Fowler “five or six times in person” this season, a handful of those coming during visits to the Toronto area.

In preparation for Wednesday night’s 2010 CHL/NHL Top Prospects game here in Windsor, the Bruins staff — a group that included Chiarelli and eight scouts — arrived 48 hours early. That’s how serious the Bruins braintrust is regarding this summer’s draft.

All the while, Chiarelli continues to monitor where the Leafs are in the standings.

“Sure I do because these picks are so important for us,” the Bruins GM admitted prior to faceoff from the team’s private box at Windsor’s swank WFCU Centre. “Having said that, I’m also aware (the Leafs) are capable of winning seven consecutive games and getting into the playoffs.”

No, Chiarelli wasn’t joking.

“We’ve been here watching these kids practise, watching them get tested, watching it all,” Chiarelli continued. “It’s been a good chance to stock up and gather lots of (vital) information on these guys.

“When it became evident that we had no choice but to move Phil, we went through the underage prospects with the staff. We realized this was a deep draft and picks would be valuable.”

With Chiarelli having done so much research on The Big Three, The Toronto Sun asked him to provide his own scouting report.

“Hall looks to be a strong powerful guy who likes to take the puck to the net,” Chiarelli said of the Spitfire left winger.

“Seguin is a dynamic forward. He can make plays in a phone booth. And Fowler. He’s very good at advancing the puck. He also showed at the World Junior Championship that he’s capable of being a shutdown defenceman.”

Hall was voted player of the game in the 4-2 victory by Team Cherry over Team Orr, although by no means did he easily distinguish himself from the field. He did set up the game winner with a nifty feed to the Peterboro Petes’ Ryan Spooner.

While Seguin did not hit the scoreboard, he did survive a third-period hit-from-behind from Brock Beukeboom, son of former NHLer Jeff Beukeboom. Fowler? He did not register a point but nevertheless impressed the hundreds of scouts in attendance by finishing plus-4.

Kitchener Rangers forward Jeff Skinner was the only player to record a multiple point performance, notching a goal and assist for Team Orr.

When it was all over, Peter Chiarelli and his staff walked out of the building, notes in hand. They can only hope he has a shot at one of The Big Three come June.


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