Taylor Hall eyes Europe in extended lockout

Oilers forward Taylor Hall takes part in Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Camp at Knights of Columbus Arena in...

Oilers forward Taylor Hall takes part in Perry Pearn's 3-on-3 Camp at Knights of Columbus Arena in Edmonton, Alta., Aug. 24, 2012. (PERRY MAH/QMI Agency)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

EDMONTON - Taylor Hall admits a little extra recovery time provided by a brief lockout wouldn’t be the worst thing that happened to his surgically repaired shoulder, but if the weeks turn to months he’ll have his sights set on Europe.

While he’s currently skating at Perry Pearn’s conditioning camp in anticipation of a Sept. 15 training camp, the Oilers winger says a two- or three-week delay before the start of the season might be just what the surgeon ordered.

Anything much longer than that, however, and he’ll be looking to slip on a sweater somewhere.

“With my shoulder situation it’s going to take me a little more time to figure out what I want to do,” said Hall, adding the shoulder is solid and on schedule, but there’s never anything wrong with a longer recovery period. “A three-week delay in the season isn’t going to hurt me as much as it hurts other guys, so I’ll probably be one of the last guys to pick where I want to play.

“But if it lasts long I’m going to have to get into a lineup and get playing hockey, because when the season does start you want to be ready for it.”

A player of Hall’s marquee status can just about play anywhere he wants, with the exception of a few European leagues that don’t want to be used as training camps. So if it looks like the NHL doors will remain locked well into winter, he’ll he sending his resumes overseas.

“I’d want to go to Europe,” he said Tuesday. “I saw that Sweden is not letting players come for a short amount of time, but there are leagues that are going to accept NHL players.”

Like the KHL. A year before being drafted by the Oilers, Hall was drafted 89th overall by Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL draft. He believes he’s still their property, but he says he has no plans whatsoever to seek work in Russia.

“They never said a word to me or my agent, so I’m not really sure why they picked me but I don’t think I’d want to go to Russia, to be honest. I’d probably stay away from there if I had a preference.”

The Alps have a nice ring to them, though. And it’s hard to imagine his buddy Jordan Eberle not being on the same flight.

“If I had my preference it would probably be Switzerland or something like that, but that’s a long way away. As players, we want to start the season on time, we want to play in the NHL at the start of October.”

Last time there was a lockout the league lost the whole season and the time before (1994-95) it lost 36 games, so expecting a quick and painless resolution might be expecting a little too much.

“Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that,” said Hall. “I guess it would be a good experience to play in Europe, but I want to play for the Edmonton Oilers on opening day.”

He wants that badly, and says the timing of this work stoppage hurts Edmonton fans and players more than most.

“This is finally the year where everyone is expecting us to make the next step and be fighting for a playoff spot right off the bat,” he said, adding it would be a tragedy if the season didn’t happen. “Everyone is excited about the season.”

Three or four weeks, on the other hand, he can deal with.

“It’s hard to say if a 60-game season would hinder us or not, but come whatever day is opening day, we’re going to be ready for it.”

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ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca


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