SUN Hockey Pool

Hall understands the pressure

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:32 AM ET

EDMONTON - Turns out Taylor Hall is pretty good at keeping secrets.

As he neared the end of his nine-game regular-season audition with the Oilers last year, media approached him on a daily basis asking if he thought he’d make the Oilers for good or be sent back to junior.

Hall, who was minus-4 with just one assist in his first seven games, just shrugged his shoulders and pretended to have no idea.

Turns out he’d already unpacked for good.

“About four games into the season they told me and Eberle to get an apartment,” he laughed. “Nobody knew about it, so around the seven-game mark when people were asking me if I thought I was going to be sent down, I was tempted to say ‘Well, I already have a place here, they told me I’m staying,’ but I didn’t.”

Having been there himself, Hall feels for all the players on the bubble this year.

“It’s not fun not knowing where you’re going to be the next day. It’s a stressful time no matter how good you are, but all you can do is go out there and play the game to your strengths.”

Even after he’d made the Oilers, and cleared the nine-game hurdle, Hall still wasn’t fully confident in his ability to be an impact player.

“Even though I scored in my eighth game, it probably took me about 15 to 20 to really get used to the speed, that was the biggest thing right off the bat.

“It’s not so much how big the players are, it’s how fast they are, how fast the game is, how fast you have to move the puck and get to open areas.”

EAGER ON HOLD: Tough guy Ben Eager is starting to look very doubtful for Edmonton’s home opener Oct. 9. He’s been out with a whiplash/concussion issue since the Joey Moss Cup (hasn’t even practised with the team yet) and probably won’t get a pre-season game in.

“He definitely won’t play Friday in Minnesota and I think it’s doubtful in Vancouver,” said head coach Tom Renney. “I want to be prudent with this one. I want to see how his fitness is right now, more than anything else. And if he’s not fit to play I won’t play him.

“If he’s medically cleared that’s one thing, but he also has to be fit because you put a player in a dangerous situation, otherwise.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

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