When this columnist suggested that to coach Tom Renney in the post-game press conference, he didn’t dodge it.
“We thought about that,” he said. “But I am not the general manager. I just coach.
“That’s certainly how we approach it. We’re not privy to what’s going on, nor should we need to be.
“We’re just coaching and the team knows that. We just prepare them to play and I thought we did a pretty darn good job against one of the better teams in the National Hockey League.
“They have good size and they have good mobility with that. They are pretty linear in their attack. They transition quick and are going north-south right away.
“We did the best we could to contain that but you could see by the first couple of goals that we had a hard time dealing with that.
“Taylor was a case in point, but not the only guy who was having a tough time fighting through that. That’s all part of growing. Frustration can certainly be your enemy. But I thought we settled down, as did he, and got better as we went through it.”
You can try to coach size.
But the Oilers simply have to get bigger and tougher.
No matter how hard a kid like Taylor Hall plays when you are surrounded by Smurfs, a team like the Big Bad Bruins it’s going to be hard to play hockey.
Fortunately the Oilers had six-foot-six Devan Dubnyk in goal stopping 37 shots in a 3-2 loss in which the Oilers managed only 17. Dubnyk, who couldn’t stop anything 48 hours earlier, stopped just about everything this night.
But if you put an iso camera on Hall Sunday night, it told a story which went way beyond the shots on goal.
The guy had as much try as always, maybe more with Tyler Seguin on the other side of the ice, and as referred to above, he had an exceptionally frustrating evening.
Actually credit the schedule-maker for back-to-back reminders about the need to get bigger and tougher by scheduling the St. Louis Blues in here two nights earlier.
The comparison and contrast was obvious enough in that one to inspire Renney to suggest: “We need to get to the net with some snot in our nose.”
The Bruins have six-foot-nine Zdeno Chara, six-foot-four Milan Lucic and Adam McQuaid and six-foot-two Nathan Horton, Shawn Thornton, Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk — all of whom play it hard and physical.
“As soon as we got the puck, someone was on you,” said Hall. “I was just trying to play the game hard, on edge and as fearless as I could play it.
“Our coach told us (Sunday) that if you compared our team to all the other teams we have the most potential in the league. But they’re big, they’re fast and they work hard. More than anything, I think, it’s their work ethic and their speed.
“This whole year is about learning and there’s a lot to learn about how to play against big, hardworking guys like that.”
In a blue-collar town like Edmonton with young players with a compete level like Hall has shown so far here in his rookie season, the Boston Bruins are the kind of team the Edmonton Oilers would be advised to try to become.
Starting this morning.