A lesser man would tell you he told you so with regards to Hall not making Team Canada but I’ll do no such thing. I got the news in a hungover stupor on vacation that Hall was out for the Canadians and Nugent-Hopkins was in for the U24 North Americans. Interesting….
My Thoughts on Hall and Team Canada
The following is going to come off as pretty anti-Hall but they’re just observations. I’ll admit Hall hasn’t been my favourite player since he’s come into the league and I’ve let my opinions be known on plenty of occasions. That being said, I am starting to see his game change for the better. So he may very well work his way into my good books and onto at least one Team Canada before it’s all said and done.
- Taylor Hall wasn’t “snubbed” as some media and fans like to put it. He didn’t have a good NHL season and he doesn’t fit the mold of the players that Mike Babcock and his GMs prefer. Simple as that. Moral of the story: It’s better to slump at the beginning of the year than the end of it.
- What kind of players does Babcock prefer? Well Subban, Letang, and Perry were all left off as well. Flash and dash can stay home.
- Some say Hall is being punished by playing on a bad team. If that’s the case, why is Matt Duchene making the team? The Avalanche haven’t been a pillar of success recently.
- He’s had a good couple of World Championships. Really?
- The last two WC’s have been played on a larger ice surface thus allowing Hall way more room to use his best assets, his skating and playmaking. So he gets to carry the puck longer and he gets more time to set things up. Of course it looks like he’s playing well.
- This year all of his points but one were accrued against the likes of France, Slovakia, Germany, and Bulgaria…
- He only scored 1 point in his final four games which were played against Sweden, Finland (x2), and the USA…
- A lot of folk on the Twitter machine say that Team Canada is making a mistake not naming Hall to the team but if you haven’t noticed, the men tasked with creating the roster have a bloody good track record when it comes to winning international events, no?
- So it’s no surprise to me that the team went with Thornton and Marchand (Both whom I said would be better options than Hall back in March), Duchene (Who looked much better than Hall in the Gold Medal Final at the WC vs. Finland), and Giroux (This selection I’m a little perplexed by due to the surgery he’s just undergone that will keep him out for up to 12 weeks).
- To me it looks like Hockey Canada was going with the hot hands. Marchand was a scoring and shooting beast this year and Joe Thornton had an outstanding season at the age of 36. I can’t speak for Duchene and Giroux though.
- But I am surprised that Corey Perry didn’t make it. Maybe his dirty ways have caught up to him a bit.
- Ryan O’Reilly not being named was also a little shocking.
- Team Canada named 11 centers? There’s a positional shift coming I believe. The days of the “Natural” (fill in the position here) are slowly dying off. In the future players will have to be able to play all positions minus the netminder.
- You can see it when we talk about Tkachuk vs. Dubois.
- Some people will pump Dubois’ tires because he can play centre AND wing. It’s not such a bad thing. It’ll force players to be better skaters, better thinkers of the game and better 200ft players.
- We also see it with defensemen. What happened to the strictly offensive defender or the dman that was specifically a shut-down player.
- Now it’s “two-way” blueliners that can skate, move the puck, and think the game at a higher level. Physicality is fine but not required as much as it was in the past.
- You can see it when we talk about Tkachuk vs. Dubois.
Team North America
- Mark Scheifele, Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Auston Matthews were the final forwards named to the U24’s.
- Scheifele I have zero problems with. He was a defensive stud for Canada at the WC’s. Played a very smart game with Ryan O’Reilly, and Mark Stone.
- Jonathan Drouin’s selection must infuriate a lot of people given he only played during the playoffs. But even so, he was one of the best players in the playoffs and completely filled the hole left by Stamkos’ absence.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ experience and two-way game get him on this team but I reckon it was barely. He’s still rehabbing a hand injury, so here’s to hoping he’s got that sorted out by the beginning of the tourney.
- Auston Matthews… This is going to be fun. Who else sees him playing with Gaudreau and Eichel?
- Matt Murray will be the no.1 goalie going into this. He got his NHL team further than John Gibson got the Ducks. That position went from the team’s no.1 question to no question at all.
- The entire team is going to be a lot of fun and I think that if one were to be a betting person, they’d bet on a Team Canada/Team North America Final. I haven’t checked but is that even possible?
Matthew Tkachuk scores the 2016 Memorial Cup game winning goal in OT😱👏🏻 https://t.co/AizhqjlaTe
— All Things Hockey (@weareallhockey) May 30, 2016
- Matty Tkachuk was hurt the entire Memorial Cup but still found a way to scored the overtime game-winning goal to win the tournament for London… Gotta love the balls on this guy. Would’ve loved to watch the game… Lucky Zach Laing…
— zach laing (@Loweded) May 30, 2016
- Former writer of the blog, Kris Hansen had a good comparison between Matt Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Stylistically, no but situationally, yes.
I have Dubois going to the Oilers in my mock draft. Kinda like Bennett vs Draisaitl, I can’t be too upset if they draft Tkachuk
— Kris (@OilerKris) May 29, 2016
- I’m torn on what the Oilers should do with that pick. I’m a draft geek at heart and using it on Tkachuk would not bother me one bit. Trading it outright would piss me off and trading down with it would leave me unsettled given the high probability the pick and/or player acquired could fail.
- Recently on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer, Jim Matheson said, and I’m paraphrasing so don’t quote me, that unless PK Subban was part of a deal; he couldn’t see the Oilers dealing down. Now that doesn’t mean the 4th overall for PK Subban, just a trade involving those pieces.
- If I’m not mistaken, the Oilers trading down at the draft has not been a story book filled with wonderment and happy endings as it is. I say take Tkachuk and laugh all the way home about it.
- Here are my top 5 options for the Oilers at no.4 overall
- Matthew Tkachuk (LW) – grit, smarts, and size.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois (C/LW) – powerhouse that plays multiple positions.
- Mikhail Sergachev (RD) – apparently has the highest ceiling and is a lefty but plays right side.
- Alexander Nylander (LW/RW) – creative mastermind that can play either wing.
- Olli Juolevi (LD) – cool and calm, very good puck mover.