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.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.