Oilers’ Hall primed to return to left wing


Taylor Hall was back at left wing during the Edmonton Oilers’ Sunday practice, signifying the end of his run at center, according to the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson and the Edmonton Sun’s Derek Van Diest.

Hall, 21, played the first two games of this new season in the middle. The results were mixed:

  • He had an assist but no goals in those two contests. He had four shots on goal, which is a little off his usual three-per-game clip.
  • Plus/minus isn’t the fairest stat, but many NHL teams probably continue to judge players by it, and Hall’s -5 rating probably didn’t impress.
  • Still, he was actually pretty effective in the faceoff circle. He went 19-15 in those two games, good for a 55.9 percent success rate, second only on the Oilers to Boyd Gordon (24-18 for 57.1 percent).

The Oilers should be pleased that Hall was willing to leave his comfort zone for his team’s benefit, yet sometimes it’s best just to stick with what works. While the team hasn’t gotten it done overall, few would blame Hall, who tends to bull his way all over the ice at the wing.

He skated with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle on Sunday, so it sounds like the team’s formidable top line might be back in order.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal

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Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: