Hall wings it at centre

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

PENTICTON, B.C. -- It didn't take long to move the centre of attention to centre.

Two games.

Winger Taylor Hall was centre Taylor Hall last night in Edmonton's prospect's tournament game against the San Jose Sharks.

"I played centre a lot in my career, probably not as much as wing in the OHL but I think I'm capable of playing there," said Hall, who turned in a goal and an assist in a 4-3 loss to a bigger, older Sharks team.

Hall, of course, began his OHL career at centre before moving over to make way for less versatile teammates. He prefers the wing, but only because that's what he's used to. If he winds up spending a lot of time at centre, he's sure he'll get used to that, too.

"I'm probably more comfortable at wing right now just because I played it the last little while, but I was a good centreman there for a while and I feel I'm capable of doing it.

"On the power play in Windsor I took a lot of draws and in other situations I was actually pretty good on the draw in the OHL. It's still hockey, you still have to make plays, you still have to win races. You just have to be a little bit more conscious of what you're doing in your own end."

Faceoffs will be the biggest obstacle. Ask Andrew Cogliano how difficult it is to secure a job at centre if you can't win draws.

"I know that a lot of rookies when they play in the NHL have a tough time with draws, that comes along as you get stronger and more mature," said Hall, who lost more than he won on Wednesday.

"If I do get to play centre, then the first little while that will probably be my downfall."

Magnus Paajarvi also scored for Edmonton, giving him three in two games. James Livingston also scored for the Oilers, who finished the tournament with a 2-1 record.

ROUGH AND REA DY: The Oilers are clearly addressing their lack of grit, loading up on big players at the last draft, and it was evident at the Prospects Camp, where 27 of their 29 players are over six feet tall. And Wednesday night, when there were six fights.

Jordan Bendfield and Cam Abney, a pair of bruisers from previous drafts, are both well aware that one way up the franchise ladder is to bring a little sandpaper to the rink.

"I'm from around Edmonton, so I obviously hear that they're looking for those guys, who are willing to pay the price and go the extra mile," said Bendfield, a six-foot-two, 222-lb defenceman, who's hoping to land a gig in Oklahoma City.

"I have the tools to do it so I have to make sure I keep going at it, playing hard every night and doing whatever it takes to make them happy upstairs."

Same goes for Abney, who dropped Calgary's Chris Breen in a fight Tuesday and then pounded San Jose's Sam Finn on Wednesday.

"Everyone knows their role," he said. "I'm not going to go out there and goon it up but I'm expected to protect my teammates, fire up the boys every once in a while."

OIL Drops: Alex Plante, who missed the last four months of last season with concussion issues, left the game as a precautionary measure midway through the first period after being punched in the back of the head in a first period scrap.


Videos

Photos