Hall — something to build on

Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers in warm up before playing the Calgary Flames during NHL hockey ...

Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers in warm up before playing the Calgary Flames during NHL hockey in Calgary, Alberta, Tuesday, October 26, 2010. (AL CHAREST/QMI AGENCY)

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:27 PM ET

Taylor Hall knew there’d be growing pains.

He probably never anticipated they’d include the frustrations of assembling furniture.

However, like most 18-year-olds living away from home for the first time, his rite of passage into manhood recently saw him stare down something far more intimidating than any NHL defenceman — instructions from Ikea.

“Jordan Eberle and I got an apartment and the other day we went to Ikea and bought a bunch of stuff and put it together,” said the Edmonton Oilers rookie forward.

“Some stools, a bookshelf … bunch of stuff. We each did a couple of things.”

And how’d he fare?

“My stools didn’t turn out the way they look like on the outside of the box,” smiled the NHL’s first-overall pick this summer.

“But they still work.”

And so has gone his season. Good enough to warrant a year-long stay, but still plenty of room to grow.

Tons.

After last night’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Flames at the Dome, Hall has yet to find the net in seven outings. With only one assist and a team-low minus-4 next to his name in the weekly stats, Hall has yet to find the type of rhythm that saw him pick up 356 points in three years of junior and win back-to-back Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires.

However, as evidenced by his entertaining chat with the media, he’s maintained an even-keeled attitude that should serve him well down the road.

“I’m not too focused on my stat-line now — I just want to come to the rink every day with a good attitude and keep getting better,” said Hall, currently residing on Edmonton’s third line alongside Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule.

“I think I’m improving as the days go by. It’s all about comfort level. You come from junior where you’re able to pretty much do whatever you want. When you come here, you have to use you’re teammates because they’re so much better — that’s probably been the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make.

“It’s all about the process, not about what you’re doing now. I know I’m going to be a good player here along the line. I’m being patient.”

Born in Calgary, where he played minor hockey until moving to Ontario at age 13, Hall admitted before last night’s game he’d love to score his first NHL goal at the Dome, where he watched so many Hitmen and Flames games.

“I spent most of my life in Calgary, so I’d probably say I’m a Calgarian. But my hometown is Kingston — where I live in the summer,” said Hall, who grew up across from Renfrew’s Stew Hendry Arena and was the youngest player on the bantam triple-A Canucks in the Northeast.

“I have a lot of good memories from Calgary.”

Including the Flames run to the Cup final in 2004.

“I wasn’t mooning or flashing anyone, but I certainly have a lot of vivid memories from that Stanley Cup run. That was a pretty special time,” said Hall, whose only impact on last night’s game came when he was rocked by Flames rearguard Mark Giordano during the second period.

“That was my last year in Calgary there. Coming back last year to play an exhibition game before the world juniors was cool and now I’m here playing here in the NHL.”

Admittedly awed several times so far this year when facing off against the likes of Flames stars Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff and the San Jose Sharks’ top line last week, Hall does truly appear to be keeping things in perspective despite his early fame, fortune and on-ice struggles.

“Once you’re in the spotlight you get used to it a little bit. It’s not a grind at all,” said Hall, who chuckled when reminded the resident of his family’s former Calgary home recently enjoyed media attention.

“There’s been a bunch of things the last couple months that have been pretty cool, to tell you the truth, and stuff that when I was a kid I never thought I’d do.”

Like look average on the ice or assemble Swedish particle board.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ericfrancis


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