Taylor Hall

Welcome Taylor Hall to the trade rumor mill


After firing head coach Dallas Eakins Monday, GM Craig MacTavish alluded to more changes coming within the organization.

“We’ve got to make changes. To think this is a coaching issue would be naive,” he said. “It’s deeper rooted than that and we have to get to the core of it.”

What might those changes include? Well according to hockey insider Darren Dreger, it could include trading Taylor Hall.

Dreger appeared on TSN Radio 1050 Monday afternoon and suggested Hall’s issues come not on the ice, but in the room.

It’s not one player. It’s the collection of players that make up a sagging work ethic and a lack of culture, but if you wanted to put a face on it or name to it, that’d be Taylor Hall. Taylor Hall, at least again from a culture standpoint, more in the room, not necessarily on the ice, hasn’t been what they hoped he would be.

When MacTavish looks into his crystal ball and tries to see what might come his way via trade, he’s got to be looking to the trade deadline and then beyond that obviously looking at the draft floor. Because if you’re moving a piece like Taylor Hall, and I believe Taylor Hall will be in play, then the rate of return is always best when teams have flexibility in the summer.

So what would MacTavish look for in return for Hall?

The needs of the Edmonton Oilers is vast. Age-sensitive, absolutely. Has to fit in that dynamic.

What you’re getting is what you need most, is that a young goalie? Probably. Is it a center? Is it a top-pairing defenseman? Any of the above.

Edmonton’s issues don’t lie only on the ice or behind the bench, as we alluded to last month, the Oilers’ draft history is rather atrocious.

Dreger mentioned Monday that changes to the Oilers’ scouting staff could be coming.

Organizationally, there’s going to be a lot more change coming here in the near future. That scouting department is going to implode, I believe. When you look beyond picking in the Top 10 of the first round, when you look at the players they haven’t found in other rounds and things like that, that comes back to the scouting and the fundamentals of a foundation of an NHL organization. There’s a lot of change to come.

Change isn’t going to happen at the general manager’s level, Kevin Lowe’s level and it’s not going to happen at Bob Nicholson’s level. It’s going to happen within scouting and additional assistant coach change.

Edmonton, who has just one win in its’ last 16, begins a new chapter Tuesday night when they visit the Arizona Coyotes, who are winless in their last nine on home ice.

Dallas Eakins fired by Oilers


Apparently, last night’s listless loss to the New York Rangers was the final straw. The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Dallas Eakins.

GM Craig MacTavish will become the interim head coach, with Todd Nelson to transition into the role sometime during the season.

The move, first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, comes the day after the Oilers fell to 7-19-5, shut out by the visiting Rangers, while being held to just 16 shots. Edmonton has won just a single game in its last 16 outings.

Eakins was hired with much fanfare in the summer of 2013. At the time, it was hoped that the Oilers would emerge out of their rebuild and compete for a playoff spot. Instead, the team finished dead last in the Western Conference, a full 10 points behind Alberta rival Calgary, the second-to-last team. Along the way, the rookie NHL coach called a frustrated fan a “quitter”, got sprayed by a water bottle, and “didn’t even leave the house” after one particularly bad loss to the Flames.

It didn’t get much better in Eakins’ second season behind the bench. Though he insisted the Oilers were making progress, and players like Taylor Hall went to bat for him, the losses continued to pile up. And with MacTavish unable to consummate a significant trade, the coach was ultimately the one to pay the price.

Same old story: ‘A couple bad shifts killed us,’ says Oilers’ Taylor Hall


The Edmonton Oilers lost again. Once again, costly mistakes came back to haunt them. And when they were down and tried to mount a comeback, they were unsuccessful.

Against the Anaheim Ducks, the Oilers fell behind three goals, meaning the end of the night for goalie Viktor Fasth, who was furious when given the hook.

He slammed his helmet down on the bench and fired a few choice words to his teammates. The Oilers were flat in the first period, with just three shots on goal compared to 10 for Anaheim. They allowed two goals just 44 seconds apart less than a minute into the second period, which increased their deficit to three goals. When it was over, and despite a valiant comeback effort, Edmonton’s struggling NHL club lost to the Ducks by a final score of 4-2.

It’s the same old story.

Costly mistakes.

How, off the faceoff at center ice to begin the second period, could Kyle Palmieri find space between two defensemen to accept a breakaway pass just a few seconds after the puck was dropped?

How could Ryan Getzlaf, a big-time point producer in the NHL for years, be allowed to walk so freely toward the middle of the ice and let go a shot?

“I feel like I’ve said this eight times this year. A couple bad shifts killed us. Two Grade A chances at the start of the (second),” said Taylor Hall, as per the Oilers’ Twitter account.

The Oilers have now lost three in a row. They have one win, which came Dec. 7, in their last 15 games.

Garbutt’s undisciplined play has ‘got to stop,’ says Nill


Though not a household name, Ryan Garbutt has firmly established himself as one of the NHL’s most reckless and oft-punished players.

And now, his boss has seen enough.

“He’s got to stop. He knows he has to change his game,” Stars GM Jim Nill said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “The message to Ryan is he’s too valuable. I know he plays hard, he plays on the edge, but some of the things, he doesn’t need to do them.

“It’s got to end. He’s too valuable to the team, we need him on the ice.”

On Thursday, Garbutt was suspended three games for slew-footing Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien — Garbutt’s second suspension of the year (he received two games in November for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall). All told, Garbutt has been suspended 10 games over the last two seasons and was also fined during last year’s playoffs for spearing Anaheim’s Corey Perry in the groin.

Nill acknowledged that anything Garbutt does now registers a huge blip on the Department of Player Safety’s radar, and said the 29-year-old forward will have to adjust his game accordingly.

“You gotta learn,” Nill explained. “There are other players who play like him in the league, but they’re not getting the phone calls. That’s what he has to find, he has to find that fine line.

“The part he needs to understand is he’s got more skills than he realizes, so use those skills to your advantage. And he’s going to get it, he’ll figure it out.”

Garbutt suspended three games for ‘dangerously’ slew-footing Byfuglien


Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended three games for slew-footing Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, the NHL announced on Thursday.

“The risk of serious injury to the defenseless opponent is heightened significantly, and the offense [slew-footing] can merit supplemental discipline,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “In this case, Garbutt kicks and drives with such force that he lifts the much-larger Byfuglien completely off his feet, causing him to slam dangerously to the ice on his back.”

Video here:

As stated, Garbutt’s history as a repeat offender played a role in this suspension. He was suspended (for charging) and fined (for spearing) last season and, last month, got a two-game ban for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall.

Garbutt will forfeit $65,853.66 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, and sit out Dallas’ next three games against New Jersey, Vancouver and Calgary. He’s eligible to return on Sunday, Dec. 21 for a tilt in Edmonton.