by Lisa Brown on 11/27/11 at 10:30 PM ET
“If I held my breath every time that Taylor Hall went flying into the net, I’d have brain problems… Maybe I do anyway but he’s relentless and he’s a reckless type of player and those are hard people to defend. As long as he keeps missing those posts, I’m alright with that.” That was Edmonton Oilers’ head coach Tom Renney following the Oilers 9-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks November 19th. Unfortunately for Renney, I don’t think that he’s as fine with Hall’s “reckless” play today. Following a disappointing 5-2 Oilers loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Taylor Hall has undergone an MRI.
The Oilers scored first and the game was on Hockey Night in Canada, these have been the ingredients for success so far this season, quite simply put. For whatever reason, that was not enough Saturday night in the Pepsi Center and so the loss of Taylor Hall for however long this injury will keep the winger out makes the loss to the division rival Avalanche that much worse.
The team has just returned from a four game road trip with two wins, and an injured Taylor Hall. Hall was clearly injured in a body check from Avalanche defenceman Ryan Wilson. It was quite shocking that Hall came out to take a shift shortly after but since Hall was back out on the ice, it was assumed that he was alright and that Hall looked more injured than he actually was. Unfortunately, following another hit by defenceman Kyle Quincey, Hall was out for the rest of the game.
According to a tweet by Sportsnet’s Gene Principe, Hall had an MRI today, and results will likely be discussed Monday either before or after the Oilers host the Nashville Predators. After the long list of shoulder injuries the Oilers have seen over the past few seasons, and the injuries seen to defencemen even this season, I suspect most Oiler fans are expecting a month plus despite Principe’s question of weeks.
“We’ll have a look at what the MRI tells us, and step back from the ledge first of all and just relax and we’ll see what the MRI and the medical stuff tells us.” Renney said following the loss. Renney is right, the results aren’t in, there is the possibility that Hall’s youth and athleticism may have him back on the ice long before many thought he would be. But, perhaps part of Renney’s calmness could be due to the fact that “I didn’t even see it, I saw the first one. Just a take out, it was a fair clean hit I think, and the second one actually I did not see because it was down to my left and I couldn’t see.” Not that seeing the second hit would have had much influence on Renney’s non-medical decision or opinion. Renney likely would have said the same reassuring words no matter what had happened and even if Renney had had a better view of either hit.
There were many questions during the day, and especially the next day about the rationale behind Hall returning to the game. “In fairness to T.D. [Forss, Head Athletic Therapist] you ask the right questions, you do the proper things. He’s the medical guy and the player’s going to tell you “yes” or “no” and we all know how competitive he [Hall] is for sure, and T.D.’s pretty prudent guy and I have one hundred percent faith in the decision for Taylor to come back and play based on that.”
Of course this injury could be another knock against the Oilers’ medical staff, the part of the Oilers’ organization that has been had anything but a positive reputation as of late. First were comments from Sheldon Souray, then Ales Hemsky’s shoulder concerns, then most recently Colin Fraser along with other injuries in between. The most difficult part of all of this is that although medicine in a science, there is still the competitive nature of the patient, and in this case the Oilers who have had disappointing seasons and every player has to feel in some small way that they could be a difference maker, and that they should be on the ice as soon as they can. Also, everyone is different in their injuries, their healing and their body you have to expect the unexpected when you are sitting on the outside.
In other Oilers news, defenceman Alex Plante was re-assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday as Ryan Whitney was set to return. However, with Jeff Petry feeling ill on Saturday, Plante was once again recalled, and has since been returned to the Barons. Plante may from here on in keep one bag packed, always.
With Hall’s injury, this may result in more ice time for some of the other forwards that have been cycling through the pressbox; Magnus Paajarvi, Leonnart Petrell and Ben Eager. Hopefully Magnus Paajarvi will have the opportunity to move up on the depth chart and light the lamp for the first time this season and gain back some of the confidence Paajarvi seems to have lost.
On a happier note, Oilers’ defenceman Ladislav Smid scored his first goal in nearly two years on Saturday night. Smid was quite close to a goal Friday night and I couldn’t help but think that Smid would score sometime in the near future, an odd prediction for a stay at home defenceman, but Smid’s goal was half of the total put up by the Oilers Saturday night. Hopefully Smid doesn’t ahve to wait another two years, but that’s something you come to expect. Earlier in the day, ex-Oiler Jason Strudwick also scored his goal since January 5th, 2009. What a great day for defencemen scoring.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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