January 19, 2012
Mishap for Hall sparks rumoursSophomore winger says rumours his season's over are untrue
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Taylor Hall was somewhat surprised to hear that he was done for the season.
Especially since he’s trying to be back in the Edmonton Oilers lineup by Thursday.
A day after cutting his forehead on a skate blade during the pre-game warm-up in Columbus, the Oilers winger was still making news, real and otherwise.
Management kept Hall away from practice and the media on Wednesday and the ensuing gap in information led to internet rumours that the prized winger would not be back this season.
Needless to say, this set off a virtual panic among Oilers fans, prompting Hall and the Oilers to try and stomp out the fire as best they could.
“Despite inaccurate reporting, Taylor Hall is not out for the season and is looking forward to returning to the lineup as soon as possible,” read an Oilers’ release.
A few minutes later, Hall sent out a similar message on his Twitter account: “The reports that I’m out for the season aren’t true. I am going to be back as soon as possible. Thanks for all the get well responses.”
As quickly as possible likely won’t be Thursday in St. Louis, though, said Tom Renney.
“Having spoken to him, he’s doing much better,” said the head coach. “The swelling’s gone down, he has a clear head. All that being said, I would call it doubtful for Thursday, which I don’t think would surprise anyone. If you talk to Taylor he’d tell you he’s hopeful, but we’ll see.”
If they couldn’t beat the 30th-place team in the NHL on Tuesday there doesn’t seem to be much hope that Edmonton can beat St. Louis, one of the hottest teams in the league right now. But they’re going to play the game anyway.
“If you don’t play at the highest level you can, these are the types of teams that can embarrass you,” defenceman Theo Peckham said of the Blues, who’ve been re-born under new head coach Ken Hitchcock.
“I definitely think we have the roster in here to beat them as long as we stick to our game plan and do the things we’ve been preaching. The things that we’ve been pointing out on the video that are wrong, making sure we correct them. Making sure that each one of us, man to man, does our job.”
And even then it’s going to be tough against a St. Louis team that has shut out three of its last five opponents and won six of its last seven games. The Oilers, minus seven key players, are in deep.
“It’s going to be a real workmanlike effort from all of us,” said Renney. “This is a team that’s found themselves; they know what they look like as a team, they know how they have to play to get their wins.
“And we know how we have to play to compete against teams. If we can step on the ice and compete hard we have a really good chance of winning. We’re THAT close to getting points right now and for whatever reason we’re not able to deliver on it, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t try. If we don’t try against St. Louis you’re in trouble, so we have to show up.”