Addressing the Hall Haters

HallFonzBLHToday, myself and some of the other BLH bloggers engaged in a conversation surrounding the captaincy, and Taylor Hall. You can view Beer League Heros blog about why he thinks Taylor Hall shouldn’t be captain of the Oilers here.

I’ll touch on Hall and the captaincy a bit later, but the primary purpose of this blog is to pose rebuttals to the most commonly stated arguments I hear from people who argue that Taylor Hall is “a bum” or he should be traded. Quite frankly, I find these people idiotic (and that is putting it nicely). No NHL team in their right minds would draft a player like Hall, and then trade him for peanuts because “he doesn’t backcheck enough”, or “he is reckless”, or any of the other ridiculous arguments I constantly hear about Hall.

So let’s address some of those arguments:

1) “Taylor Hall Doesn’t backcheck”

Do you even hockey bro? I’m not sure what sport people are watching, but many of Hall’s strongest critics (and I suspect they are also Yakupov critics as well) commonly state that Hall doesn’t backcheck. This is total BS. What these people don’t seem to understand about hockey, is that sometimes a forward gets caught deep in the offensive zone, and the puck quickly heads back up the ice. This can happen in a number of ways. A great stretch pass. A chip off the boards that is carried out at exactly the right time. The point is that even a player with Halls speed and endurance can’t skate back to the puck 100% of the time if he’s caught deep in the offensive zone during a bad turn over or unfortunate bounce, or while on the forecheck. This is hockey 101, and shouldn’t need to be explained to you, folks.

2) “Taylor Hall sucked last year”

No. No he didn’t. Taylor Hall was injured. Once coming back from injury, Hall was scoring nearly a ppg playing on the 3rd line with limited minutes. He cooled off a bit towards the close of the regular season, but he was very much an impact player. People who make this argument also seem to forget that Taylor Hall was top 10 league wide in points the prior 2 seasons. Which leads me to the next argument that Hall haters LOVE:

3) “Taylor Hall is reckless. He’s injured all the time.”

We need to address each part of this argument separately, but I often see them used in tandem. If you take Taylor Halls speed, tenacity, and aggressive offensive play out of his game, what do you have left? A 3rd line grinder, that’s what. The reason Hall went 1st over all in the first place is precisely because he drives the play, he’s aggressive, he’s fast, and he wants to make something happen every shift. Take that aspect out of Hall’s game and you have a shell of the player he is today.

20141020_hall1Which brings us to the second portion of this argument. Hall DOES have an injury history, and that simply can’t be denied. However, which player in the NHL doesn’t? There are very few iron men in the league, and people should measure their expectations of Hall’s point production with his injury issues. In addition, the poor kid has been on the receiving end of so much bad luck you have to wonder if he needs a witch doctor. How many NHL players in the last 10 years have missed games because they had their face stepped on by a teammates skate in practice? Hall is the only one I can think of. Correct me if I’m wrong.

While Hall’s injury last year saw him limited to 53 games, he still posted a very reasonable 38 points, despite playing limited minutes on the 3rd line. Under Dallas Eakins. Let that last point sink in for a moment, and then simply look at his previous point totals.

Finally, there is my favorite argument against Hall of them all!

4) “Taylor Hall has character problems!”

030811-NHL-Derek-Dorsett-Taylor-Hall-JW_20110308124538535_660_320I just don’t get this at all. People who use this argument usually claim that their cousins best friends boyfriends uncle met Hall at some club, and he was a jerk. NOBODY CARES. Seriously. So you met Taylor Hall and you thought he was a jerk. Maybe he was having a bad day? Maybe you were being a jerk? Maybe you just think you’re much more important than you actually are? Maybe Taylor Hall does? Maybe I’m a jerk? I don’t give a crap. What I care about is how Hall interacts with his team mates, and how he performs on the ice. His team mates have nothing but good things to say about him, and his play speaks for itself.

Taylor Hall is on record as saying he’s often been interpreted as being arrogant because he is shy and reserved. I can relate, because I have experienced the exact same judgment due to having a very similar temperament around people I don’t know.

If you aren’t in the locker room, you have no clue. Period.

On the Captaincy

Having mentioned all of that, I’d like to address the issue of Hall potentially taking on the Captaincy. While it’s no secret I believe Taylor Hall is part of the Oilers future and it would be stupid to even consider trading him (unless the return was equal in value for the club); I’m not sure if he is ready to take over the captaincy. Ideally, I’d like to see the captaincy handed to a player like Matt Hendricks. Anyone who’s seen an episode of “Oil Change” featuring Hendricks knows he’s very vocal both in the room and on the bench, and is a natural leader. He also fits the mold of the typical Oilers captain: Hard working hard nosed grinder.

Very few of Edmonton’s captains have been offensive stars since the Doug Weight days. Most of them have been blue collar lunch pale guys that reflect the work ethic that many oilers fans love. Basically, “they backcheck lots!”. Given the fact that there were already people crying on social media for Hall to be traded after taking a bad penalty late in the 3rd period of a PRESEASON GAME, I’d hate to see how the same crowd would react if he had the C on his sweater and ended up injured or in a scoring slump. I’m quite certain many would break out the pitchforks and torches and run him out of town.

Edmonton’s captaincy issue is convoluted, and there is no easy solution. If indeed Andrew Ference is either traded or gives up the C willingly, the best options I can see are either having no captain for the time being, or selecting a captain by team committee.

This has been a subject that that has been gnawing at me since last season when people started chirping about Hall once he got injured. It was only a matter of time until I wrote something in defense of Taylor Hall, but it was also partly inspired by another blog written by Kurt Leavins which you can read here.

In conclusion, Hall haters can suck it. You can argue with me in the comments or do so on Twitter here.

HallHaters

Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Sterling

    Not hating, just don’t think he should be the captain

  • Alexander

    “Hate” is a very strong word! Allow me to suggest that “Love” or “Hate” should be words sparingly used. I think we can use the word “Love” for hockey as a game we do share a love for.

    Individual players come and go! Some leave lasting good memories – Messier did, Gretzky did. They were captains whose individual accomplishments have adequately been recorded by many “official” bodies yet, for those of us lucky enough to have been around them from their early steps into the game until late in their careers what has remained in our minds and hearts – in all honesty and speaking for myself – was their true leadership and commitment to their team and teammates!
    Rarely if ever we had any doubt that these boys – MEN really since their early days – would not show up. We had no doubt that there was NO-ONE out there who would intimidate them individually or as a team. It was not because of Semenko alone. ALL of them stood up! Little Kenny Linsman even would get into the fray… MacT would take a push from nobody. Even- the not so well liked these days – Low would play with a broken wrist right through the playoffs refusing to bow to pain or let the team out of his sight.

    These are qualities that very few of the current roster boys have. And they are definitely qualities not exhibited to-date by Hall..

    Having appreciation for what it is the young man has as an asset ( speed, exuberance a good skill-set) does not mean that he leader material. And holding the opinion that he has a long way to go to match the characteristics of a Nuge or Hendricks as a team and complete players, does not constitute “Hate”.

    And yes we Do hockey. After 60 years in and around the game – and having had what one could consider a close and personal relationship with the “Dynasty” boys, I think I am entitled to an opinion bout who and how they project themselves.

    Hall is NOT captain material – in a few years maybe….

    Kindest regards,

    Alexander

  • Kjell Iverson

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    I agree that Hall is a controversial choice for Captain. I’m not convinced he’s the right choice either. But I AM convinced he is a long term part of this team, and should remain as such unless there is a trade that brings in the return a player of his pedigree should demand.

  • Lee

    I think the trouble started way back when Hall was drafted. Everyone , including Hall felt things were turning the corner, things would get better. I remember watching a game where the Oilers were a few goals down and the coach pulled the goalie 5 minutes before the game was due to end. The other team scored and Hall came off the ice cussing the coach, it was clear they were not on the same page. Fast forward 5 years or so and I’m not sure how much has changed.
    Hall has talent, and he cares to a point, but I still feel both he and Eberle feel a bit to entitled and always have since they started playing together. Even when RNH came and Yak after, it’s always been Hall and Eberle’s team. The new coach is going to change all of that, it will be inserting to see how it all unfolds. Unlike the previous coaches, he has been used to dealing with star players , he has the backing of a GM who is used to making hard decisions. This season will show that Hall and Eberle are either on board or not, either way for them, their future is different from the past. Win or lose I’m looking forward to the Oilers playing as a team first. Right now Ference seems like the best choice for captain , providing he makes the team. If he doesn’t , none of the kids should be made captain, you need a heart and soul guy who always puts the team first , last season showed thier are very few candidates for this position. No one on the top 6 of forwards can be captain and none of the d men can either , if you insist on a captain pick from the rest.
    For my 2 bits I think Nurse will be the captain eventually , he is smart, tough and he is a leader.

  • Steve

    – Hall doesn’t have the stones to play through injury like Lowe did? …Are you kidding me? If anything, I think part of the problem has been him returning from injury too early before he was actually ready because he wanted to play so bad even when the Oilers sucked and already had no chance of making the playoffs!

    – Hall doesn’t have the passion or character as past dynasty Oilers? …Are you crazy? …Do you even watch Oilers games? …If anything, he cares too much and is too intense…. Often seeming to try too hard or do too much himself which leads to putting too much pressure on himself.

    There may be better choices for future captain of the Oilers (Guys who have a more outgoing personality, and ones who may have a better report with Refs)… But make no mistake, Hall IS and WILL BE one of the best leaders on the team for years to come!

    – A leader for working hard off the ice.
    – A leader for working hard on the ice.
    – A leader for one of the most experienced players in terms of games played on the team as guys like Ferrence, Hendricks and others slowly are replaced in the coming years.
    – One of the leaders in offence.
    – One of the leaders in aggressive play.