Taylor Hall

Oilers’ Hall (bone bruise) to sit out versus Flames

Taylor Hall will not be ready to return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Hall has missed the last two games coming out of the All-Star break, after blocking a shot off the foot during practice on Monday. He’ll now miss three consecutive games, however he did skate Saturday with his teammates.

So, that’s a positive development.

“Today was good, the pain didn’t get worse . . . it even subsided a little bit,” said Hall, as per the Edmonton Journal.

“You can never really tell when you walk around with a skate on. It was just a weird injury. It wasn’t even a hard shot. Even if you look at it, there’s nothing there. There’s no swelling or anything.”

The Oilers, while they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, have won three of their last four games, but only once with Hall recently out of the lineup.

Hall has gone without a goal in his last five games, and has only scored once in his last 13 games.

“I just took a shot kind of where there is no protection right above the boot,” said Hall, as per NHL.com.

“It’s just an unfortunate thing. It hit the bone, hit right on the fibula and bruised it pretty bad.

“It’s always tough to tell with a foot injury when you get hit with the puck. Sometimes it hurts really bad and goes away 30 seconds later. This one hung around and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to practice and eventually wasn’t going to be able to play. It’s tough coming out of the break. I thought I refreshed my mind pretty well and I got prepared to have a good last 35 games and this happens. That’s the way it goes.”

Blues won’t extend Tarasenko ’til after season


St. Louis tried to get started on a new contract for Vladimir Tarasenko earlier this season, but is now resigned to the fact it’ll have to wait until the year is over.

That’s per Sportsnet, who on Wednesday reported that Blues GM Doug Armstrong said there’ll be no Tarasenko extension until after the season. What’s more, Sportsnet also reported the Blues are unlikely to give the pending RFA a “bridge deal” — a shorter-term contract (often two-year) that would bring him to unrestricted free agency.

So, time to start speculating!

The 22-year-old Russian is in the midst of a breakout campaign, having already eclipsed his career-high in goals (24 thus far) while emerging as a point-a-game scorer. He’s also heading to his first All-Star Game in Columbus this weekend.

The 16th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, it’s conceivable Tarasenko could get a contract similar to what fellow draft mates Taylor Hall got from Edmonton (seven years, $42 million) or Jeff Skinner got from Carolina (six years, $34.35 million). The rub there, of course, is that both those deals were signed shortly before the old collective bargaining agreement expired; under the new CBA, we’ve seen more bridge deals given to RFAs, including a contentious one hammered out between Columbus and the fourth overall pick in Tarasenko’s draft year — Ryan Johansen.

It’s also worth noting that St. Louis doesn’t have a ton of money being freed up at the end of the season. Barret Jackman and his $3.25M cap hit are done, but the Blues have to also re-up with another key RFA: Jake Allen, the club’s goalie of the future.

PHT Morning Skate: Laviolette loses it on referee Kevin Pollock


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette lost it on an official last month during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks. His problem? He claims referee Kevin Pollock was winking at the Blackhawks bench. (Puck Daddy)

Remember the name Denis Godla? He was the goaltender named tournament MVP and the best goaltender while playing for Slovakia at the recent world junior hockey championship. Godla made his professional debut in his native Slovakia this month and made a couple highlight-reel saves in his first game. (The Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Eric Staal wants to stick with Hurricanes. (ESPN)

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander is in Toronto now with the AHL’s Marlies and set to make his debut on Friday night. Chris Johnston writes there’s no need for the Leafs to rush the 2014 first-round pick. (Sportsnet)

Bo Didur is a 17-year-old junior hockey goalie with superstitions reminiscent of goaltenders such as Gump Worsley or Turk Broda. (The Vancouver Province)

Mississauga Steelheads owner receivd a note on his car that scared his children. (Steelheads)

Oilers’ Taylor Hall thinks this is the worst stretch of his career. (Jim Matheson)

Yakupov: ‘I’m doing everything right’


With all the problems the Edmonton Oilers have had this season, Nail Yakupov’s struggles have been overshadowed, but unless something changes he will regress offensively for the third straight season. The former 2012 first overall pick has just four goals and eight points in 34 games this season.

“I’m doing everything right,” Yakupov insisted, per the Edmonton Sun.

“I can say I do everything right. I work 100%. I’m not cheating (defensively). I’m not doing any bad stuff.”

He added that while he obviously would like to get more points, he doesn’t “want to get crazy” over it.

Of course this wasn’t what the Oilers envisioned when they drafted him, but it’s too early to dismiss him as a major bust despite the evidence pointing towards it. He is still just 21 years old and to paint his struggles in another light, he is actually tied for the career high in goals (32) and ranks second in points (63) among players from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Is the sample size small? Obviously, but that’s kind of the point.

It’s also worth noting that his offensive struggles haven’t come in isolation. The Oilers as a team have been remarkably bad offensively and everyone from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle on down has underperformed. New bench boss Todd Nelson is hoping a system change will help spark the team and Yakupov in particular.

“We’re trying to create more offense as a team and he’s a guy who can provide that for us,” said Nelson. “You have to get into a position where he can shoot the puck. We have to keep on working with him, going into the scoring areas.

“And with the system we’re implementing, it should open up everybody. He’s just like every other player, we have to put these guys more in a position to succeed.”

Edmonton will play Arizona on Tuesday as the Oilers try to win for just the second time in 20 games.

Oilers chase Lehtonen with three unanswered goals

1 Comment

The Edmonton Oilers’ problems this season have been numerous, but one of their most glaring has been their offensive struggles. They came into tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars with an average of just 2.09 goals per contest despite having some talented, skilled forwards on their roster.

In fact, Edmonton has scored three or fewer goals in every game since Nov. 19 — or at least that was true when the day began. Dallas had a 2-1 lead going into the second period, but Teddy Purcell evened the contest just 11 seconds into the frame. Mark Arcobello then gave the Oilers some insurance with his sixth and seventh goals of the season.

That ended Kari Lehtonen’s night just 29:19 minutes into this contest. He stopped 15 of 19 shots.

Rebounds were an issue for Lehtonen, but he shouldn’t take the full blame for the Stars’ performance so far tonight. That point was emphasized when Taylor Hall beat replacement goaltender Anders Lindback on the first shot the netminder faced.