Last night we knew that Taylor Hall’s awkward post-fight fall looked dangerous. Today, the fears of Oiler Nation were confirmed as it was announced that Hall suffered a high ankle sprain and will be out for 8 weeks. Considering there are only 5 weeks left in the regular season and the Oilers have been eliminated since Thanksgiving, we’ve seen the last of the #1 overall pick for the 2010-11 season.
If a player had to lose the rest of his season to injury, Hall certainly went out with a bang. He had a goal, an assist, and a fight in less than 10 minutes of ice time—including his final shift where he completely undressed Fedor Tyutin, threw a hit on Matt Calvert, and defended himself against Derek Dorsett. He looked like the kind of player who could completely take over a game—just like they thought he could when they picked him in last June’s draft.
With Hall getting injured while engaging in fisticuffs, it has brought up the never-ending debate amongst hockey fans: should star players get into fights or let their teammates fight their battles for them? Derek Dorsett obviously went after Hall with one thing on his mind—but was it Hall’s job to answer the bell or should he have left it to one of his teammates whose job it is to protect his star player?
There’s a time and place for everything. If this were a situation where Hall dropped the gloves in a choreographed fight right off a faceoff, then it would be hard to defend his decision making. But in this instance, Hall went at it immediately when the Blue Jacket forward went after him. The fight was in the flow of the game and one of Edmonton’s best young players showed that he could stand up for himself. It’s a subtle distinction—but makes all the difference in the world.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. The fight lead to the worst possible conclusion and the Oilers lose their most dynamic player for the rest of the season. It was an unlucky break but we’ve seen situations like this before with Steve Ott and more recently with TJ Oshie. If you asked them if they wanted their best player to injure himself for the rest of the season, obviously they’d choose for him to keep his gloves on his talented hands. But he did the right thing and by dropping the gloves. He showed the type of character that has to have people in Edmonton excited for the future. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait until September to see it.
By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.
Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.
And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:
LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.
Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.
It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:
The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.
Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.
One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?
Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …
Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.
/paging Jacques Lemaire …
The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.
The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.
According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).
Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.
Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:
If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.
“I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.
It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.
The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.
Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.
(And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)
Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.
Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?