This is going to be a short article. But there are some things I’ve been wanting to say to Edmonton’s faithful who are still on the “boo hoo how could we trade Taylor Hall” bandwagon, and this is an appropriate enough time as any.
May 27th, 2016
Team Canada’s World Cup of Hockey roster is fully announced. The initial roster announcement weeks before was notoriously Taylor-less, as he had just made his presence felt in a great IIHF World Championship tourney, and everyone and their dog was expecting to see that big #4 show up on the finalized full player list sooner rather than later. Well, May 27th came and went, and Team Canada was still without, what some people thought and still think, is one of the NHL’s top-3 left wingers.
Now, at that time, we could’ve argued that he was missing simply because the coaching staff made a conscious and strategic decision to load up the forward lines with centres, and yes, at that point in time, there is validity to that.
July 16, 2016
Rumours abound that Jamie Benn, having undergone surgery to repair a core muscle injury this offseason in July, may not be able to participate as planned as Team Canada’s top left winger. Who better to replace him than one of the NHL’s other high-scoring left wingers than… Taylor Hall?! The very same Taylor Hall so heartlessly and thoughtlessly spurned from the initial Canadian roster.
August 23, 2016
Logan Couture is named to Team Canada as replacement for Jamie Benn. Christ almighty, the sky is falling in Taylor Hall Apologist land. How stupid could Mike Babcock and Doug Armstrong be to just forget that Taylor Hall is ripe for the picking for that #1 LW spot? Are these guys even paying attention? Do they even hockey, bro? Forget for a moment that Logan Couture, just a couple months prior, scored 10 goals and 30 thoroughly convincing points in a Western Conference Championship run with the Sharks, Edmonton’s twittersphere cannot fathom how New Jersey Devils legend Taylor Hall wasn’t on speed dial as soon as Benn became a question mark.
September 2, 2016
Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter is ruled out of contention for Team Canada following the announcement that he had suffered a lower-body injury during offseason training. (Boy oh boy, with all these inexplicable injuries plaguing the World Cup teams, I’m starting to think everyone forgot the All Star Game weekend isn’t until February…) Regardless, surely now is the time the Canadian management team realizes where they left Taylor’s number and fires him off a text at the very least inviting him to camp at the start of next week… Oops, Corey Perry is announced the same day as Carter’s last-minute replacement. What has Corey Perry ever done for a Canadian international squad, anyway? Idiots!
Shock and disbelief is still palpable in the tweets and Facebook comments of Oilers and Devils fans. But it shouldn’t be. The lame excuses of “Well, Armstrong just has some kind of vendetta against Hall”, or “Babcock only wants centres” are overplayed and irrelevant at this point. There were four opportunities for Taylor Hall to be named to the team, and five times he was passed over for other players. Edmonton has in the past, and to this day continues to overvalue him and overlook the obvious flaws in his play. (We’re not getting into this shit again about the truth or falsehood of the claims about his off-ice behaviour.)
We aren’t better coaches than Mike Babcock. We aren’t better at crafting teams than Doug Armstrong. There is a general opinion amongst the professionals in this league about how Taylor Hall plays hockey, and it isn’t as good as Edmonton’s media and social media commentators want to recall it was.
Follow me and tell me what a dummy you think I am on Twitter at @sife