Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall to make AHL debut Friday

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Today, Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall signed his first American Hockey League contract.

Tomorrow, he’ll be playing.

That’s the word out of Oklahoma City after Hall was medically cleared from injured reserve, meaning he’s officially a locked-out NHL player — and officially ready to join the AHL.

Hall will debut for the Barons on Friday against the Houston Aeros, likely alongside center Chris VandeVelde and RW Magnus Paajarvi.

If you’re wondering why OKC isn’t loading up Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle on the same line, here’s Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal to explain:

VandeVelde, who may have surpassed Anton Lander in the Oilers’ organizational chart at centre because he’s got more offensive juice, and Paajarvi played together in the AHL playoffs last spring along with Teemu Hartikainen. It was the Barons’ most productive unit, but the burly Hartikainen will be with Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle against the Minnesota Wild affiliate.

Hall feels he’s been away from game action for too long to try centre, at least for now. He’s more comfortable on the wing after two NHL seasons there, so that’s where he’ll be. And, with the chemistry of Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle and Hartikainen for much of the first three weeks of the AHL season, farm team coach Todd Nelson will stick with that line.

Hartikainen will almost certainly make the Oilers when the NHL lockout ends.

Matheson also notes that insurance on Hall’s seven-year, $42 million extension has been taken care of — according to player agent Paul Krepelka.

Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:



Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

Mike Commodore

Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

Commodore wasn’t done there:

And there was much, much more.

To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.