SUN Hockey Pool

Hall-ted battle against Flames

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

PENTICTON, B.C. -- Taylor Hall didn't go ballistic upon hearing the news he'd sit out against the Calgary Flames at the prospects tournament yesterday.

There was no sticks slammed into the boards, no tirade, and no screaming by the Edmonton Oilers prospect pegged to be the future face of the franchise.

"I had an idea I'd be sitting out a game. I didn't know which one," said Hall, who was born in Calgary and lived there most of his life.

"But it would have been fun to play."

In fact, all three of Edmonton's stars of the future -- Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi -- were given the night off when Flames hopefuls and the Oilers counterparts squared off in Penticton.

The official line from the team was the number of players Edmonton has at the camp -- including 16 forwards -- forced the club to rotate skaters in and out of the lineup so everybody could play two games.

Naturally, hockey fans can feel free to come up with their own theories about the Flames flu or whatever, but you can bet your bottom dollar Hall wanted to play.

He really wanted to play.

He's just wisely showing patience.

"I would have been nice to play all three games (of the tournament), but there's a lot of players here that maybe have to show their skills more than other players," said the 2010 first-overall draft choice.

"It's a good opportunity for other kids. I don't mind sitting out, and, hopefully, I can have a good game (Wednesday).

"I have a former teammate on that team, Greg Nemisz, and we were kinda joking around that it would have been nice to play.

"It's too bad."

It's too bad for those on-hand in the Okanagan city, too.

However, rest assured, Hall will see his fair share of the Battle of Alberta in the years to come.

His first taste may come in one of two preseason games against the Flames, or maybe in the opener Oct. 7 at Edmonton, but there will be plenty of times for him to write his own chapter in the history books of the provincial rivalry.

He's looking forward to it, too.

"Every since I've been a kid, I've been to those Battle of Alberta games, and they're always heated rivalries," said Hall, who moved from Calgary in the summer of 2005. "I know we play them in the exhibition season a few times, and I think that will be special."

Not that Hall can actually really remember any of the truly great moments in the Battle of Alberta. When he was a youngster in the Stampede City, the Flames were going through their seven-year playoff drought.

Of course, the 2004 playoff run to the Stanley Cup final is a bigger highlight.

"That was crazy," said Hall, who's had to change his allegiances. "You'd walk outside after a Flames win and you could hear the horns beeping everywhere. That's probably my most vivid Flames memory."

Now, he's on the other side of the enemy lines -- in the way Jarome Iginla went from being a true-blue Edmonton (via St. Albert) kid to the toast of Calgary.

In fact, Hall has already scored a victory. His picture is the main photo adorning the cover of The Hockey News 2010 yearbook while Iginla's photo is the secondary picture.

"That's kinda funny. I saw that," Hall said. "I guess that's expectations I have and what people are expecting. It's all in fun.

"I'm going to do my best to put the pressure away, but it's a big honour to be front and centre."


Videos

Photos