Taylor Hall

Hall thinks Oilers breakout is imminent


The Edmonton Oilers, with three recent first overall picks on the squad, went into the 2013-14 campaign with the goal of taking the leap from rebuilding to competing for a playoff spot. Instead, they’re in the Western Conference basement with a 1-5-1 record, but that hasn’t crushed the team’s spirit.

“I remember playing Columbus last year at about the 20-game mark and they were a team that was well below .500 but you could tell they were a team that was playing well and about to make a charge,” Taylor Hall told the Edmonton Sun.

“I feel like we’re on that verge. We’re sticking with teams that have a lot of skill and we’re working just as hard as them. I have a different feel with this group.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets are an interesting comparison. That team started 5-12-4 last season and finished with a 24-17-7 record, but their breakout was courtesy of a strong defense and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Until that point, goaltending had been an ongoing issue for Columbus as they got glimmers of hope from Steve Mason following his rookie season, but not much else.

The Oilers need a similar defensive and goaltending transformation, but they can’t count on Devan Dubnyk or Jason LaBarbera winning the Vezina Trophy. Still, one way or another, if they can get solid goaltending for any extended stretch, the Oilers might start looking very good.

Kassian sent to hospital after being involved in car accident

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian

Montreal Canadiens winger Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident early Sunday morning.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in the vehicle that crashed into a tree.

The SUV was being driven by a 20-year-old female at the time of the accident.

Montreal police confirmed that speed didn’t play a factor in the collision, but alcohol may have.

The Canadiens have since confirmed the incident took place and have also mentioned that Kassian was taken to hospital.

A club official described his injuries as being “minor”.

“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident of the street on which the accident took place. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”

This story will be updated when more information is made available.

Habs and Fleischmann agree on one-year deal

Tomas Fleischmann,
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The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract.

According to TVA Sports, the deal is worth $750,000.

The 31-year-old was invited to camp on a professional tryout, but his preseason performance showed that he could still contribute at the NHL level.

Fleischmann found instant chemistry with new linemates David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and it looks like the trio will open the regular season as Montreal’s third line.

The veteran winger started  last season with Florida, but was traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. He had a hard time cracking the Duck’s lineup and was a healthy scratch in most of their playoff games last spring.

Fleischmann scored eight goals and 27 points in 66 games last season.